Sunday, December 30, 2012

Autism ala Les Miserables

No, I don't think any of the characters were on the spectrum.  No wait a minute. That Inspector Javert guy was kind of obsessing a bit on Jean Valjean.  Like dude, it's like 20 something years gone by since he skipped parole over stolen bread.  Let it go. 

Anyway, there is a point to this post.  The kiddo has been doing pretty good over this long break.  I can't say that this time off of the routine has been that bad.  Other than being so far up my bum I swear he's lounging on my kidneys.  Honestly though, I saw that as a good thing that he was craving some sort of interaction and not off is his own head somewhere. 

My mom offered to take him for the afternoon so Daddy Fry and I could go catch a movie.  I guess by now you figured out we saw Les Miserables. (side note, IT WAS FANTASTIC!)  He had a good time as always at Granny's and ate her out of house and home.  Further convincing her that we never feed him.  I then suggested grabbing an early bird dinner at Applebee's.  He happily went and ate all his fries and his fathers.  (Hey honey, you ever notice that's why I order onion rings? Stops the fry thievery)

Got him home, got him showered and pajamaed up.  Thought, "Sweet!" and then ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!  Frankly I still don't know the full how and why.  This boy melted down into an epic fit of rage.  The likes I have no seen since the pre Risperdone days.   I think he started to realize that even though he had an awesome day it still was not the usual routine.  He started in on a missed bike ride and that was it.  Into the zone of no return.  I thought we could ride it out.  Sometimes he's just got to scream.   Time outs galore.  We tagged each other out and took turns with him.  He was very aggressive towards my husband.  It finally got to a point after two hours of me looking at the husband and saying "Eff this.  He's going to bed"  Melatonin and more drama but dammit if Daddy didn't wrangle that boy off to dreamland. 

 While I'm listening to the last bits of screaming/protesting coming from the kiddo, I drive myself mad trying to figure out what the hell was it that set him off so bad.  Maybe it was this?  Or that?  Or WTF!?!?!  Like I said, could of been the bike ride that didn't happen but we've had to miss those before due to events or weather.  So I am left wondering once again if there was something we could of said or done differently that would of kept it from going there.  It can really break my heart sometimes not to be able to make whatever is making him so "Les Miserables" go away.  I'm a mom.  I'm suppose to make it better.  I'm suppose to hug him and reassure him but when he's like this, hugging is the last thing he wants.  In fact it makes it worse.  So my maternal instinct is of no use here.  There was no talking him down.  I just had to hope we would have a better day tomorrow. 

He woke up today extra early but it's par for the course.  Still a little pissy but was able to come round.   I gently encouraged my husband to go into the office to "catch up on work" but also I knew he could use the quiet time to decompress.  Hell, he earned it after getting the boy in bed.  So if he spent the time drinking coffee and checking Facebook, I don't blame him.  I would of done the same.  The boy seemed delighted to go to the supermarket with me and help.   We kept to the rest of the Sunday as per usual.  With the exception of setting up the Wii and having a grand old time bowling.  Not his usual Sunday afternoon activity but maybe today will be different.  Knock wood, so far, so good. 

I just jinxed myself by typing that didn't I?  When will I ever learn?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Break is no break.

Hey there!  How's it going?  We survived yet another dooms day prediction of the end of the world and Christmas.  Way to go! Kind of proud of the kiddo.  It was a whirlwind of activity for a few days and he handled it better than most adults do.  Of course there was no sitting at the table to eat with everyone.  He continued his cocktail party style of dining.  A nibble here, run away, come back, repeat.  Predictably he was able to sit still long enough for dessert.  Behold the power of ice cream. 

Santa was good to the kiddo this year.  Some new DVDs of movies he's seen in the theater and liked but will now ignore for a few months until he warms up to the idea of viewing them.  Or I just shove one in the player in a fit of "oh my god I cannot watch Steve get stumped by a dog again!" And then he'll obsess on them.  I look forward to hearing some new key phrases repeated by him again and again.  Speech therapy by Disney Pixar for the win!

Our big gift to him was a desperate attempt on my part to get him something age appropriate, so we got the Wii.  (and to quote my dad, what does Wii stand for?  What is it? That's pretty funny right?)  In true fashion we still haven't set it up nor is he asking for us to do so.   Why?  Because darn it there's Mouse Trap to play with and when I say play with, I mean set up his own rules and just make the little ball go through the maze a thousand times in a row because that's what happened on some Baby Einstein video that he remembers from years ago.   So project goal for the weekend is to set up the new gaming system in hopes to teach turn taking and working on motor skills.   Also, so Mama can kick his butt in Just Dance. 

Off from school till next week.  It's Thursday now and part of me is like "oh we can make it.  That's not to long to go."  A few hiccups of no therapy this week.  Damn those therapists that actually want to spend time with their kids!  What about our needs?  Just kidding.  I'm used to it now but there is still a part of me that looks at things like Christmas break as anything BUT a break.  A kiddo that thrives on routine and a schedule written in stone isn't to keen on puttering around the house to much.   Maybe I should get him a pair of yoga pants in his size. Perhaps that would make him more relaxed like I am right now?   Maybe I can get him to fixate on doing laundry for us.  Seeing as he makes so much of it.  Can folding clothes become his new hobby?

So that's the long and short of it.  Daddy Fry is back at work.  Mama Fry is seriously earning that paycheck I don't get. :-)  If all else fails to entertain, I'll just take him out for another side of fries.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A letter to the new autism parent

Welcome to Club Spectrum!  You didn't want to be here.  Don't feel bad about that.  No one signs up for this gig.   Think of it this way, at least you now know what the Hell is going on.  Better than not knowing at all.  Mama Fry ain't no expert but I do have some tips that help you from going bat shit crazy. 

1)Pace yourself.  You are about to start a never ending marathon.  Know when to take a break.  Embrace the couch and some bad TV.  Or if you are one of those gym goers, do that.  Avid reader?  Go fire up that kindle or go old school and buy a few books.  You're going to have a lot of time in therapy waiting rooms.  Might as well enjoy reading some check your brain at the door novels.  Know it's okay to get absolutely nothing done on some days.  Or weeks.   

2) Get off the Internet.  It can scare the crap out of you. Seriously, stop playing Dr. Autism Google.  You're looking for the autism cure needle in a Internet haystack.  Step away from the search engine. 

3) Get on the Internet.  I know, opposite advice.  Here's the twist.  Get on social networking sites.  Talk to other parents.  Get to know them. Not just what they did to treat X Y and Z. You'll get a better understanding if those choices are right for you.  Autism can make parents feel very isolated. Sometimes it is hard to get out and network.  Facebook, Twitter, and online groups are awesome.  Mainly because when you are in the dark on your kid's iPad hoping like heck the melatonin will kick in soon, you can chat away.  (Don't you go Googling melatonin yet.  You read this all first buddy!) Autism parents/caregivers are always awake somewhere on the planet. 

4)Be prepared to hear a lot of advice you did not ask for.  Warning, it never ends. I find sarcasm and raising my eyebrows  over my glasses helps a lot. 

5) Respect your elders in the ASD world.  Now don't go taking their world as gospel but recognize what they do works for them.  You'll see why as you earn your stripes.  The kiddo is 8 and we've been dealing with all things autism since he was before 2. Trust me newb, what you are telling me to try, we've done. Seriously, do you really want to be the type of person I just described in item number 4?  Don't be that know it all parent out the gate. Remember they have been sleep deprived much longer than you. They will be quick to shut you down.

6) Accept the fact that you are going to try stuff that is totally not going to work.   That miracle thingie you just read about in a chat group won't do jack all for your kid.  Meanwhile every other kid who has, is thriving.  It's the luck of the draw with this folks.  You meet one kid with autism, you have only met one kid with autism.  Some cures/therapy/meds will be duds.

7) Autism is effing expensive.  So when Grandma or Uncle Frank wants to know what your lovey wants for their birthday, CASH IS KING!  Don't be afraid to ask for therapy and or lessons for something as gifts.   These folks care about you and your kid.  They'll be happy to know what they bought is actually getting used.   Not sitting around collecting dust.

8) Accept that some folks who buy gifts for your kid won't do the above.  You're going to get a lot of gifts that your kid won't even be remotely interested in.  They meant well.   They knew it was a hot toy.  Save it.  You never know.  Maybe in a year or two, they might like it.  Or donate it.  Regift it.  Return it for therapy cash.

9) Be open to doing stuff you think is ridiculous.  You really just don't know what your kid is going to respond too. Give it an honest college try before you realize if it's a hit or a miss.  This means diet, meds, therapy, supplements etc. Just try.

10) Take your kid out everywhere.  I'm serious.  It may be small trips at first but it is the best thing you can do.  You're teaching them coping skills.  Life happens.  People have to food shop, go to the bank, post office etc.  You would be doing it anyway if they didn't have autism. Know their limits of course.  Baby steps first.  Today, it's a trip to buy milk.  Another time, maybe it's a trip to the pet store and the library.  Life from now on will take military like planning. Warn them what's coming but go about your business.  They smell fear.  Seriously, the more panicked you are, they will turn that dial to "11".

11) Allow yourself a pity party.  Moan, cry, rant and rave and do it when you need too.  More than once.   Just remember you still have a kid that needs you.   So don't dwell in it to long.   If you find yourself doing it to far to frequently, know when to ask for help.  Be it from a partner, family member, friend, or doctor. Yes, this isn't what you planned but it's here.  So now what?  Exactly. 

This isn't about getting through it to an end point.  This is your life now.  This is your new normal.  I can't promise it will get easier.  You will just get better at dealing with it.  Be it through humor, prayer, yoga, crafting, blogging, or a thousand other escapism activities. You will do this.  You can do this.  Remember for as hard as you are working, so is your child.  So now and then, relax and just order another side of fries. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Autism, you're doing it wrong!

Or so I've been told.  A lot.  Lately.  Almost daily.  Can you tell I have some stuff to get off my chest?  Bear with me folks. This one is a rambling mess.

Since dipping my toe into the autism blogging waters boy can I just tell you how much my views on autism have changed?  Well not really.  More like my views on how folks view autism now range from "Wow that's a really interesting perspective." To the more extreme "WTF!?!?" On many occasion.

I knew opening up a door to my life to the World Wide Web that I was bound to hear some criticism. I get at.  Here's the thing.   I'm not an expert.  I'm just a mom with wifi and a smartphone.  Up till this, I kept my arse out of the autism warrior mom wars for completely selfish reasons.  I value what little sanity I have left.  I'm only trying to help one kid and one kid only.   MINE!

I get that some folks although well meaning just cannot stop themselves from telling me or another one of my fellow in the trenches with me parents how we are screwing up our kids.  I suspect if we were all just parents of neurotypical kids only, these folks would still be telling me how much therapy my kid is going to need because of me as an adult.  I know these people just exist.

Some are nothing but clueless shit stirrers.  You know it.  I know it.  They can paint that perfect picture of what they CLAIM to be doing.  Doesn't mean they are actually doing it.  Or if it is really working as well as they say.  It's really easy to put on the mask of the perfect parent hiding behind a computer screen.  I do find myself  rolling my eyes and trying like Hell to let it roll off my back.  To not take it personal.  It's really hard sometimes to not engage.  To not explain more than once why we do what we do.  I've ignored it as much as I could but yeah there are days I've had to break out the delete and block buttons.  (Not gonna lie.  Trying to figure out a way to build a real life "Ban" button.  Hurry up science!)

The Facebook page that is connected to this blog has exploded in a way I could of never of fathomed.
Even though I really didn't think it could ever grow like it has, I am so grateful it did! It's been so supportive to me to say in a quick status "Oh my god I want to slap Steve from Blues Clues!" and immediately I'll get a ton of comments from folks plotting the deaths of SpongeBob or Elmo.  Folks who get that their kid's quirks aren't so bad because they will be the first to admit they have their own. (I am so jealous of my son's weighted blanket).  People who know that when one of their kids has autism, the whole family has autism.  It's just a completely different way to live.

If I have learned anything from this experience, I'm living autism the way it's right for this family.   Just like everyone else is doing what works for them.   Even if I think it's nuts.  You can save yourself a lot of heartache if you stop panicking you're doing it wrong.  You probably are, in someone else's eyes. But who cares?  Is it working for you?  Then game on dude and order another side of fries.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

There's sick and then there's autism sick.

Like most things with the kiddo, even the simple yet miserable event of a cold is extra complicated/annoying/frustrating due autism.  Don't get me wrong.  I know any kid when they are sick are not fun to be around.  But allow me to explain/whine.

There is no "Mommy I don't feel good" coming from this kid.  Ever.  This is a kid who dropped a 12 pound bowling ball on his toe, breaking it, and kept on playing.  Is he gonna be able to stop and tell me he feels hot or his stomach hurts?  No, he's more of a visual kind of guy.  He'll tip me off by throwing up all over himself and then falling back asleep in it. (True story from the rota virus incident of '09).

There will be no taking of his temperature other than feeling the back of his neck and maybe if I'm lucky the ear thermometer. (Which I know is not accurate but you know how long it took him to tolerate that?!?!?  Yeah I'll use what I got).

I always knew I was really sick when my mom rolled the old 13 inch black and white TV into my room.  Mom's orders, stay in bed.  She used to really get serious taking my temp and my pulse.  That's when I knew I better stay still, sip my flat ginger ale and watch cartoons.  I have a son who will be running a 102 fever (I think) and will be running all over my house!  I will have to hide foods that I know are much to harsh for his sick tummy because he won't listen to reason that the B.R.A.T. Diet is his friend.   He has been known to barf while running.  Barfing freaks him out completely and only seems to rev him up even more.

Then let's add the fun of medication.  He won't take meds straight at all ever. I've resolved myself to that.  He knows I put his daily supplements and such in milk.  We've made that compromise.  But when he's sick, milk is the last thing he should be having.  So while feeling miserable I get to wrestle with him, trying to get some Tylenol in.   Of course wrestling/fighting/fussing usually leads to more running around up chucking.   I find my washing machine just sighs a lot when it seems me coming with another load of puke clothes.  I give that old girl a lot of work.

But this is the worst part of autism sick vs just sick.  He's gonna regress.  Something or things are going to get lost in the shuffle.  A typical kid will probably have a quiet day or two before they are fully back in the swing. My kid?  It could be a week.  Maybe more.  We'll see some skill lost.  It might take complete retraining to get it back.  If at all. Yes, he'll be happy to see that order routine back but he won't be fully on board with us again.   If anything, he's probably going to remember how when he was sick, I wouldn't let him go swimming while he was barfing and therefor I am the meanest mom ever.

This is one of those times I really lose my mind.  I'm his mom.  I'm suppose to make it better and I don't even fully know what's wrong to make better. Last night it was clear to us when he willingly skipped his whole nighttime routine to go to bed by 7 something was up.  I will now obsess on every sigh, sniffle and behavior for the next few days.

 After he was out like a light, the husband poured me a glass of wine.  Aka, "Mommy's meds". No, he did not have to fight me to drink it. :-)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

All I want for Christmas is gift ideas.

The holidays are approaching.  People are gonna ask what does he want.  I haven't a clue.  Well I do but sometimes making up a list for things a kid on the spectrum would want might look a little um odd to the average Joe.

In a perfect world that would hold "quirky" in high regard my son's ideal list would be the following.

1) DVDs of DVDs he already has.  Completely not age appropriate. Yeah he's 8 and people guess he's all in SpongeBob.  I would welcome that goofy little character with open arms if he would only watch him. Nope you can get him copies of Blues Clues.  Hell he rediscovered Baby Einstein on YouTube.  Shoot me.  He also loves these DVDs to death. Scratches them up and of course freaks the hell out when they skip or god forbid don't work.

2) French Fries.  Seriously.  Mommy and Daddy, in his eyes, don't buy them enough.  Forget visions of sugar plums dancing in his head.  Sacks of these in his stocking would make his day.

3) 217 brand spanking new small spiral notebooks.  To continue the age inappropriate theme.  He can pretend to be Steve from Blues Clues.  You don't even need to wrap them.  Just scatter them all over my house.  That's where they are going to wind up anyway. Don't forget a few in the bathroom or in my bed.  I love rolling over onto spiral.

4) Random flash cards. He's not going to care what the subject is.  He's just gonna want to scatter them all over the floor and then leave.  So go with what's on sale.

5) A 36 pack of YooHoo with the the straws punched them in already. Time saver!

6) Clothing with a nice texture he can chew.

7) A school bus.  Not a toy one.  A real one.  Yes you can never have to many rides on a bus.

8) A dog that would actually enjoy being rough housed.  One that begs "please poke me in the eyes!"

9) Various dog chew toys.  Not for the dog.  The ones with the squeakers are the best!

10) Wine for Mommy.

But I can't really give out that list can I?  I try to find something. Because how many times have we all heard "He has to have something to open!' when you ask for a gift card or to pay for some therapy.

Seriously side of fries people! It  would make him happy!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Today was a good day.

Dammit we earned it.  We earned a day off of school/work/therapies.  We earned a day off of autism.  Still I feel slightly guilty about it.  And kind of confused.  I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop or be thrown at my head. (Which has happened).  Once we hit 7 o'clock I thought, "Maybe we made it"

Bedtime. Big sigh of relief.  We did it.  A calm day.

There was no yelling.  No tantrums.  No meltdowns.  He was content to play and just hang out.  I haven't had a day off that was so pleasant in EVER.

I can't help but wonder if the planets were in the right alignment?  Or did I correctly say or do the routine perfectly?  How do I do it again?  How can we recreate this? Because I've been driving down this autism road a long time.  I will pay for this somehow.  Something is gonna happen.

Plus you know what's nuts?  I feel bad.  I know there are other ASD families out there that didn't have a good day.  That this day was nothing but stress.  I'm sorry to you that it was.  I assure you next time, you'll be in the clear.  You paid your autism karma debt today.  You'll get your day.   When that day is, I am not sure.   As much as our kids love that calendar, they never do tell us when these great days are gonna happen.

Tomorrow is gonna kick my ass isn't it?  ;-)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Are you fluent in autism?

Autism.  It's own culture.  My Facebook page has made me very aware of this.  I am not just a visitor in Autism Land.   I have established residency long enough to run for public office.  I'm sure I could secure the French Fry vote.

I live in a world of ASD, ABA, IEP, GFCF,OT, PT, OCD, ADHD, SIB's, EI, PDD-NOS, PROMPT,inclusion, brushing, sensory diets,input seeking, stimming, flapping, perseveration, echolalia, pica, etc... I know some of you reading this right now are like "what the what?"  Please google. Mama's tired.  But those of you that haven't been voted off the island, you all know what I mean.  You may not know where your car keys are but dammit you can rattle off your kid's APGAR scores still.  

I come from an unusual if not lucky position.  I was in the biz before we decide to "go pro".  Working in a special needs school.  Who knew it was a much needed internship for my future.  So some of the language was familiar but let me tell you, no less scary or confusing.  And every now and the husband looks at me like a U.N. translator at our school meetings.  Even after all these years it can be culture shock to be in this autism land.  

It's taken some time to get used to the customs of this place.  How the inhabitants often don't care for eye contact but on the upside they don't rudely stare at you if make a cultural faux pas.  A quick high five with minimal contact is way better than a firm handshake and when you're happy and you know it flap your hands! I'm so up my kid's bum to adapt to my world when I really ought to give him some of the same respect.  So yeah, rocking back and forth and pacing does feel pretty good and really it's not much different than just swaying to the music.  Hell, Quiet Riot told us to "Bang Your Head" and to "Come on feel the noise". Perhaps they were just totally aware of the joys of sensory seeking behavior.

So it looks like I'm here to stay.  Really it's not like I got a choice to go.  I guess I'll just dive right in with the natives and order another side of fries.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Common sense is a super power isn't it?

Here I am a week later and I am still the Gypsy Mama Fry on the road.  No power still thanks to Hurricane Sandy.   Another nor'easter on the way today, that I guess will knock out the power I don't have anyway?  And cancel the school that's already been canceled.  I'm so confused.  (more so that usual) 

Anyway, camping out at Chez Grandparents.  They were lucky enough to have power! Very kind and or crazy enough to invite all of us, dog included to stay.  Having had enough of living Little House on the Prairie in the burbs, we took it.  They have now gotten to witness the 24/7 of what goes into Autism LIVE!  I'm thinking it's a blessing my dad wears hearing aids and therefor adjusts them accordingly. 

So I started Day 10 of no power by calling the electric company again.  They think putting me on hold with 70's easy listening music is gonna make me just crumble and hang up?  HA!  Clearly they are not familiar with an autism mom's work of constant phone calls to doctors, school, therapists, teachers, insurance etc.  Bring it on biotch!  I got no problem singing along to Chicago's "If you leave me now" until my call is picked up. 

Today's representative was pretty decent and seemed to put on a good act of being concerned with my family living with relatives and needing to get our lives back.   Yes, I did pull the Autism Card and stress the importance of how utterly hard this up in the air was for him.   How he's missed two weeks of school and will most likely regress in some way.  Her suggestion?  "Can you stay at a shelter?"  Really?  Oh yes a large county building filled with strangers and chaos, yes, that would be ever so calming to him.   Just when I think that surely all this "Autism Awareness" is doing something, someone has got to prove that they are out of the loop.   While I will always be the first to say I don't expect everyone to know anything about autism if they don't have to like we parents do, here's the thing.  Use common sense.  It can get you very far.  Does that really sound like a good idea for a typical kid?  Yeah guess what?  Not so much for my kid either.  

Friday, November 2, 2012

Rock You Like A Hurricane!

Not just a fun cheesy 80's tune!  Dudes, this week at French Fry Inc., we lived it.

So if you follow me on Facebook, (You don't? Well go do that now!  I'm a funny gal) you know we are from the Jersey shore and are currently living it La Vida Amish with no power, limited water, no heat and to strike fear in all your hearts, NO COFFEE!!!  We are incredibly lucky.  No damage to our home.  So many lost theirs.  If I have to pay my karma by using gobs of dry shampoo this week, I'll take it.

Of course in an autism house, well a power outage is a little bit different.  No wifi?  No YouTube to watch Japanese toy commercials? Holy crap we are in trouble!  If I ever met the person that only created the portable DVD player and the car charger with it, I would probably fall to my knees ala Wayne's World style telling them I wasn't worthy to be in their presence.  Seriously that dude, I love you man!  Yes, I was that person charging stuff in my car during gale force winds.  When you are an autism mom, a hurricane doesn't scare ya as much as a kiddo off his routine.

And he is so off his routine.  No school all week. He understands its "Hurricane Week" and "no power". I wonder if he now thinks this time off will be an annual event.  Every therapy and fun thing canceled.  Not sure if next week we'll even get back to "normal". Well whatever that means right?

I write this now from a conference room at my husband's office, which luckily had power restored.  He sits and watches another DVD.  I rest up because I expect another epic meltdown bedtime as it has not been good at night.  I wonder when we finally go back to the usual, what of his will be lost?   I have seen regression for every illness.  Why would this be any different? Will we lose those new foods he's been eating?  Or his development in starting to seek out other kids?  Will his new found love of Math be gone?  Which would suck cause I was really hoping he would explain algebra to me one day.

Last night we found a lone McDonald's open and ran in for dinner.  One thing didn't change.  All orders of fries are still his fries. :-)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Autism, Grandma was right!

My Grandma often dispensed wise Irish wisdom while I was growing up like:

"On a hot summer day, drink a cuppa." (that would be a cup of HOT tea)

"FM radio stands for Fine Music"

"Don't forget to say "add a ride please" to the bus driver or you won't get home" (Causing me to believe as a 6 year old that I needed to say this to the school bus driver or I would have to live in the convent with the nuns.) 

"Eat your carrots.  They're good for your eyes"  (Hey, she wore glasses till the day she passed at 93.  What the hell Grandma?)

One saying has always stuck with me.  "With a house, there's always something."  No truer words have ever been spoken.

Now I know she meant it in regards to the joys/pains in the arse of home ownership.   Something is always breaking and needing to be serviced or worse, replaced.   You have dreams of a new design, your hot water heater leaks and changes your design vision.

However in an "autism house", this is also rings true.

My kiddo has like most kids, typical or not, behaviors du jour.  Ones that are so maddening that they would drive a Buddhist monk to drink.  As my husband calmly reminds me, "Don't worry hon.  Soon he'll forget this one and do an even more annoying one".  There is in some way a comfort in that.  Ebb and flow if you will.  There is some behavior we always addressing, redirecting and modifying.

On the flip side, there is often something that is positive though.   While my son is currently driving me around the bend with constant coversations about poo and pee, he also finally starting to eat new foods! A big effing deal in this house.

But then we are also dealing with his anger issues.   He gets mad at me,unfortunately for Daddy Fry, takes it out on him.  Seriously, the kiddo runs from me to go hit him.  Yeah you can laugh.  It is kind of funny.  Well not so funny to Daddy Fry but to the rest of us it kind of is.  

Upswing though, more independence in the whole bathroom area.   (which may be related to the constant poo/pee chatter)  Kiddo mastered number one but number two still needs work.  However he's finally making more of an effort there.  So props kiddo.

But then even that has another set of issues.   Bedwetting.  It is driving me up a wall!  I think I heard my washing machine sigh the other morning when I brought another set of sheets down to wash.  So there's another "something" this autism house is dealing with. 

We'll get through it.  Really what other choice do we have? Zip!  Oh well, it's least it's "something"  to write about in the blog. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Autism!!!! (some accessories sold separately)

I don't think there is a day that goes by that I am not on the hunt for some product/thing/toy that's going to help soothe/entertain/engage/give sensory input to my kid.  Honestly, from the time we started this walk on Autism Avenue till just last night.   One thing is very clear.  IT'S FREAKING EXPENSIVE!!!!!

Last night on the facebook page for this blog the topic of Epsom Salt baths came up and I once again find myself "Googling" like a mofo autism and salt baths to research.   Between what people responded and what I found, yeah I'm going to give it a try.   Even if the kiddo doesn't like it, Hell, I'll use it.   Ten minutes in my own bathtub alone sounds likes like a spa treatment nowadays anyhow. :-)  I'm not sure what it will do other than help unwind the spinning top that is my son.  Maybe help him with his gut issues.  It's not to costly to give it a whirl.   But I couldn't help but sigh as I handed over my money today to the clerk at the pharmacy.  It's always some product that's going to make the difference.  And my boy is 8 and there's been A LOT of products.  Yep been burned to many times.

I get that if he was typical I would be spending left, right and center for him.  I understand that it would be for sports or lessons or whatnot.  It just seems we parents with ASD kids kind of get well, screwed.  Trust me, this is no pity party on my part.  But there is a huge difference in just complaining that you have to buy new cleats because their foot grew and me frantically searching for a weighted blanket that won't break my piggy bank cause I just want him to get more than four hours of sleep in a row in his own bed.  Yeah your kid is convinced those new sneakers will make him play better or feel cooler.  I"m just looking for stuff that's going to help my kid not feel like he's jumping out of his own skin.   You worry about your kid eating to much junk food, I just worry about mine eating period.  If that means he will only eat the name brand whatever, this mom will go with the generic something else for herself. 

The line that makes me twitch is when some very well meaning therapist or teacher says "Oh you should really get/pick up/buy.... for them".  Yeah that's great.  You treating?  Cause I listened many times to those suggestions and many of them are sitting here collecting dust.   So pardon me if you think I'm crazy not to run out and get it.  You know how many times by now I have run out and got it?  Yeah my good looks aren't getting any of these things for free. Juggle that with an overwhelming sense of guilt/confusion if I don't get it or if I do get it and it doesn't do anything.  Broke if I do, damned if I don't. 

Thank god fries are cheap.  :-)

Saturday, October 13, 2012


So the kiddo is going to be in a "Holiday Concert" this December.  Just got the note home to save the date.   Like any good worry wart mom with a kid on the spectrum, I immediately started to plan.

He has never been in a concert before.  Yes, he's done the before the school ones but parents too?  Loved ones?  Oy vey, over stim central!

Part of me thinks he will be fine.  He's my boy.   Mama Fry has done quite a number of Christmas concerts in her day.   The boy loves music and singing.  Life in this house is a walking musical sometimes.  (a musical with a score that includes Vanilla Ice and One Direction but a musical none the less)  Christmas tunes are his FAVORITE!  He has been known to sing "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" in his pool in July.   This should be right up his alley.

However, the autism mom part of me knows his limitations.   So to the war room I go to start the battle plan.  The war room being anywhere I can get five minutes with my iPhone and email his teacher and music teacher in a complete "Oh my god!!! He's going to be way overwhelmed with all that!  What do we do?? What do we do????" panic.  

Luckily the kiddo's main teacher is very used to my near constant stream of emails and she talked me off the ledge. (Yeah the kiddo is the one with anxiety?  More like Mama.)  Another email came from the kiddo's much beloved music teacher stating both reassurance and a little bewilderment to my concern.  Dude are you new to autism parents?  We don't do squat without a plan!  I can't go to Burger King with my kid without a plan. (You sit with him while I order.  You get napkins and ketchup.   I'll get the food to the table).

I suppose to just bring him on said day and sit with the rest of the parents?!?!?!  Well look at that.  They even do inclusion for us parents too. :-)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It's a dog's life.

The brothers.  What I refer to as the kiddo and the dog.

We got the dog a few months after I had the kiddo.  Being completely sleep deprived with a newborn, we thought "Hey life isn't exciting enough.  Let's adopt a stray puppy!"

OK we fell for the sob story of a dog thrown out of a car in front of barn, abandoned. That douche of an owner did us a big favor though. That dog is awesome. From the get go we saw it. He started sleeping under the crib.  I used to call it the bunk beds for the two of them.

He has since displays extra levels of awesome that cannot be measured by any means.   For the dog that was tossed like yesterday's trash, he is the perfect pooch for the kiddo with autism.

He has managed on many occasions to distract the boy out of a hissy fit meltdowns.  He has nudged him into conversations by having to answer someones question about his dog.  He has been a playmate and a partner in crime.   He is, as my friend "K" describes him, "a carpet with feet".  He doesn't mind (to much) how less than gentle the kiddo is with him or when he lays all over him.  He accepted his fate being locked in the laundry room while the kiddo was getting early intervention therapies.  He earns his keep by eating whatever snack the boy may drop.  (Seriously, how do you non pet owners do it?  Pets are vacuums!)

The kiddo knows no other life without him.   This makes me happy but yet terrified.  This dog isn't going to live forever.  We think he's 9.  (He's never showed us his papers.)  There is a bit more white hair on him now.  Can dogs go gray? Side effect of an autism owner? Not sure.  I panic at the very idea of what would happen if something happen.  This is s kid who cried his heart out when we took the dog to the groomers for a bath.   (which then led to us stalking the grooming window at the pet shop.  Fun free activity!)

Is it wrong or morbid of me to plan like this?  To think that maybe we ought to get a deputy dog?  A spare to the heir?  Because a second dog, that's not extra work or anything right? HA!   And if we did, we could get a female one. I wouldn't be the one gal in the house anymore.

 However she and I would have to talk. There is only one head bitch in charge here. :-)

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Princess and the Pea had Sensory Issues.

As I was wrestling with the kiddo tonight in an attempt to trim his toenails, I seemingly ran out of curse words to describe how much I hate effing sensory processing issues.  Honest to god.  I know those toes had to get done.  They were clicking on the tile when he walked barefoot in the kitchen.  Of course tonight, one had to start peeling off on it's own.  A little chip in the nail most mortals would of ignored till they got to it.  Not my kid.   All hands on deck!  His toenail was bothering him!

He wants the problem fixed but seeing as he hates getting his nails trimmed more than Eagles fan hates the Cowboys, I knew what I was in for.  I gathered my resolve, the clippers and what's left of my sanity.  

Ten minutes later and only one foot done, I said eff this and I'll do the other when you sleep.  I probably will forget as I write to blog tonight. (I did!)   I'll have this whole damn dance tomorrow with him. FUN!

Anyway, my point is, this sensory processing disorder stuff BLOWS! It is the hardest part for me to fully understand.  Like dude it's not that bad!  I pay someone to cut, file and paint my toes and I think it's a treat!  But when I think about it, everyone kind of has something that is a sensory processing issue.

Like you remember that kid's fairy tale of The Princess and the Pea.  The gal had to prove how dainty she was by sleeping on a stack of mattresses and would she be able to detect the pea that would disturb her slumber.  Now me?  If I was in a bed alone without a small child in it with his to long toe nails in my face, I could get over a mutha truckin pea under the mattress.  Seriously, what is that Princess bitching about?  Could be way worse girl! But that's her so whatever.  Eye roll.

So when I have to sit on my kid to trim these nails, I really have a parenting fail.  Cause I have screamed "Get over it!! Mommy goes to get her toes done to relax!!  What's the problem!?!?!?!"

Meanwhile, I don't like to eat ribs because they are to sticky and I don't like the stuff on my fingers.  So go ahead, eye roll at me.  We all got one.  Even you.  :=)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Schooling them, Autism style yo!

Often in the morning I get a chance to have a good chin wag with cousin "D" as she commutes into her job.  These conversations are usually about what's going on in each other's lives, reality TV, my kiddo, and the occasional waltz down memory lane of some fuzzy hazy night in our 20's where I may or may not of fallen "up" the steps to her apartment after last call. (She has no proof!  None I say!)

 So thank her,blame her, buy her a beer for this next post. She inspired it.  She did ask a very legit question. 


Mad props for honesty.  Seriously folks.  What is it that we need to hear from people?  We all know what is helpful and what is well, NOT!  I know many of us have similar tales of woe and "Oh no she didn't!?!? Girl hold my earrings."   I also know some things are said in that gray area of "god damn what do I say here?" They mean well but FAIL like Wild E. Coyote falling off the cliff after the Roadrunner.

And I really had to think about it.  That's a damn good question she asked.  We're running around wanting awareness and acceptance.  OK, they're aware.  Now what? So here are a few things that sprung to my mind.  Feel free to add more.

I don't think I need a magically phrase as much as an attitude.  A response of action more than a declaration.  To quote that old hair band song, "More than Words".   (lighters up for the power ballad!)

Like when you see me struggling, "What can I do to help?" is always perfect.  I may play martyr here and say "Nothing".  Ask again. Smile.  Hold out a hand.

I tell you he's on the spectrum, feel free to share with me if autism or like disorders directly effect you or your family.   Not your co worker's hair stylist's nephew.  I'll talk shop with anyone.  But please, spare me proving your autism street cred.  Would you tell a cancer patient you knew that your mailman's daughter's boyfriend's cousin had cancer?  See how ridiculous that sounds?   But if you are looking for a great speech therapist or a good social story to explain getting ready for a trip to the doctors, let's chat!

Also, when I am struggling, this is not the time for a Frequently Asked Questions session  for me.   However, just chilling on a park bench while I'm watching my kid go on the slide for the hundredth time, go for it.  The only stupid questions are the ones not asked.  I don't expect anyone to be able to score a 100 on a autism fact test.  I have no red pen.  I won't take marks off. 

And as open as I am about autism, please pepper in a few questions or thoughts that are NOT autism related.  Ask me what my kid is into.  Talk to me about what your kid likes to do and I will do the same.  Ask about his school, his teachers etc...   (You will tell me he is seriously good looking because he is ridiculously good looking.  Not trying to brag here.  My kid is a handsome hunk.)  Talk about parks, stuff to do, movies you like etc... Anything.  We're a tired parent who is in need of adult conversation just as much as you. 

 I'm not solely defined by my son's autism.  Anymore than he is.  It's a part of us but not all of us.  We're a pretty cool duo and I must say, and a damn good time.

We even share fries. :-) 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


There comes a time for the big revel.  You've been there with me.  You meet someone new.  You do the general pleasantries of what you do, are you married which of course leads to if you have kids.

Then you mention you do.  For a brief moment you are on an even playing field.  You are a parent talking to another parent.  You should have gobs in common.  Except...

Your son, while he is 8 is not in the same grade as their kid.  In fact he's been in school so long since early intervention preschool days and you kind of panic and forget what grade he SHOULD be in.

He does not ride the big bus home to the bus stop while you wait parked in your mini van with all the other parents.  He is dropped at your door by a small bus. (Not gonna lie.   This is kind of a sweet perk.  My kid's bus stop is my driveway)

His afternoons are not filled with little leagues, being casually dropped off at someone else's house or off to ride alone on his bike. It is get in Mom's car.  Go to speech, OT, PT, music therapy, Social Skills training playgroups etc... (Heck getting him to ride a bike was a big effing deal that required a consult with both an OT and PT)

So eventually the jig is up.  You really can't pretend to be one of the crowd and you mention that your kiddo is on the spectrum.   It's like pulling back the curtain to reveal that The Wizard is just a man.  (who just happens to be on the spectrum of course)

You might get one of several reactions.

"Deer caught in headlights" (She is NOT ONE OF US!)

"Oh my neighbor's boyfriend's daughter nephew is on the spectrum too!"  (Yeah and? You don't have to prove how down on Autism Ave. you are folks.)

"But he's eating wheat.  Don't you know about you can cure him like Jenny McCarthy did?" ( I'm sure she is who you would consult with for all your major medical decisions too right?)

"Oh I see" followed by treating you like one of the gang.  (Of course this is a rare but glorious reaction.   I have to keep myself from kissing people on the mouth when this happens.   Socially inappropriate much? Gee I wonder where the kiddo gets it? )

My frustrations and joys maybe different than yours, I am a parent just the same.  At the end of the day, we all are in it together.  Cut me some slack would ya?  Be nice to me and I might just share a side of fries with you.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Is there anything more seductive that a warm cozy blanket, pillow and bed.  Sleep, you are one sexy muthatrucker!

Oh yes, I knew tired once.  But then I had the kiddo and he has introduced me to a whole new world of tired.

First there was "newborn tired".  Where you are violently awoken randomly throughout each night for feedings/changing/burpings/i need to be heldings.  I eventually accepted my fate that the bags under my eyes would never go away.   Maybe I could start packing things in them like my keys or lipstick.  Wouldn't that be handy.

Then there was "toddler tired".  Yes he could start doing more things on his own now but this was also coupled with the fact THAT HE COULD DO MORE THINGS NOW ON HIS OWN!!!!  Crap!  Oh and drop a nap now?!  Wtf?  Mother of god I thought I was going to die.

Then came "autism tired" and life has truly never been the same. 

It is a never ending nagging tired of worry, frustration, elation, disappointment, breakthroughs, breakdowns, boredom, laughter and tears.  It is constant.  It is fabulous.  It is never ending.

 It has made me wish some days to be placed into a medically induced coma just so I can catch up on some much missed Zzzzzzz's. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

And then?

If I had a nickel for every time my kiddo said this, the national debt thing?  Yeah I could cover that for ya.  I'd insist on a nice statue of me somewhere.  Like a tacky fountain on the White House lawn would be cool.  Bo the dog could play in it.

Anyway, these two words are the reason Loreal Hair Color gets my money each month to cover the stress induced grays. There was a time the kiddo could not say these words or even had the concept of time and order of events down.  Which led of course to daily chaos that eventually inspired the infamous "Friday Night Mystery Cocktail" time.  Mama is a heck of a bartender. ;-)

Now though, we live our lives, all of us, to these words. If the kiddo had it his way, he would have every minute, every facet of his life planned out till the moment he took his last breath on earth.  I even have visions of him arriving at the pearly gates and being greeted by St. Peter. Welcomed to his entirety only to have him turn around, look at God and say "And then?" Yep almighty power, you better get a schedule up of what the kiddo will be doing for infinity. Or prepare to meet his wrath.

There is no such thing as flying by the seat of our pants.  Just seeing how a weekend will go.  From the moment he wakes till he gets tucked in for the night it's "and then?'.  I'm not gonna lie.   It's a bit of a drag.  It flipping sucks.  Yeah every now and then it's cool cause we do get done what needs to be done.  However in areas like say vacation, it blows!  Remember when Clark Griswold dragged his family through The Louvre in 20 minutes?  That's the kiddo on vacation.  We run through each scheduled activity/event/place simply for him to be able to turn to us and say "and then?"   For he has checked off an item on his list and he must get to the next one.   Meanwhile Mommy and Daddy are wondering if 4pm is to early to go eat dinner "and then" go to bed. 

Luckily for us, answering that we will order another side of fries is often a good answer to "And then?"

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Food! Not so glorious food!!!

Eating and autism.  Who knew it was "optional"?

How is it one day my kid can't get enough food into him?  The next he will survive on one cracker and glass of milk.  It is maddening.

The sensory is a HUGE component in this.  We're not just talking picky fussy eater.  Oh no!  It's much more Hellish than that.  Textures, smells or even how it looks can be enough for him to be like "OH HELL NO!"   This kid is on a hunger strike for a political cause he has not shared with me.

The irony being this kid LOVES to go out to eat.  If Anthony Bourdain had more of an obsession with French fries than foie gras, these two cold totally hang.  Who am I kidding?  I just want to hang out with Anthony Bourdain. He's one cool mofo.

But again, the eating out.  Does Zagat need a fry reviewer?  Cause the kiddo could totally do it.  For free.  Well for the cost of the fries.  That kid never brings his wallet.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Fries go with anything you silly girl.  Or so I have been told by him.  Yeah breakfast.  And what of it?  You all eat hash browns.  Same thing sunshine!   And don't forget the bread.  There best be some bread on that table.  That 50 shades of brown diet he's on also includes bread, bagels and rolls.

Washed down with chocolate milk.  Want to see him go mental? Offer YooHoo. It's like crack to him. I can't even have it in the house because he looses his mind and goes on a bender.  We once had a habit of getting him one on the way home from speech on pizza night.  He'd have it sucked dry by the time I drove home, gripping the empty container like that creepy hobbit from Lord of the Rings. "My Precious"   Then that sad day when they stopped carrying it?  Yeah we couldn't go there for a while.   I swear they still twitch when they see us come in from time to time.

When we were getting him on meds the doctor probably thought I had lost my mind in his office when he said it "may make him loose his appetite" and I started laughing hysterically.  Cause honey he is living on five Fruit Loops at this point.  Really could it get worse?

So he eats when he eats.  I try my best and offer the best that I can.  Some days he will surprise us.  Others, well, we just order another side of fries.  :-)

Monday, September 10, 2012

I don't remember sending in my resume.

Who here has heard this?

"You're so strong.  That's why God gave him/her to you."

I get this coupled with "and with your background.  You're just so good with him". (worked with the autism population in a school for 7 years. Plus another 2 years in a group home.)

I suppose on paper I look qualified for the job.  I don't remember applying for it.  I don't think anyone in their right mind would.

"But you worked with these kids???"

Yes and then they went home and so did I.  Two separate homes.  And I got nights and weekends off plus paid vacations.

This does not make me the perfect parent.  No parent is.  I'm no saint.  I cuss to much.  I have zippo patience and have been known to say horrible things.

I am no autism angel. I have crap days too. (shit! I cursed again. Dammit! ugh!)

Strong enough? Pffft! Funny enough?  Yeah, I'll give ya that one.

And not just funny looking.  ;-)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Bowling balls are heavy.

Things we learned this weekend.   Sports injuries can occur in bowling.

Things the kiddo learned this weekend.  When mom and dad keep telling you to use the kid size balls only, LISTEN.

Yep folks a nice adult weight bowling ball landed smack on the kiddo's foot last night while at his weekly game.  And like most kid's on the spectrum, it didn't really slow him down.   Well not for long. Because DAMMIT, he had a game to finish. Sigh...

And while he can choose at times to be most specific on his needs and desires, telling us does your foot/toe really hurt at all?  Not so much a priority when it was very necessary of him to go running into the bowling alley bar twice.  (proof he is so our kid).  Maybe he thought a shot of whiskey would help ease the pain.  But he has no ID and never brings his wallet so that didn't work.

We played it by ear at home.  He went to bed but this morning the toe was swollen and the nail black.  I know!!! Mega Ewwwwwwww!   This is the shit you just can't ever be truly prepared for when you are expecting.  Like you have a rational understanding of baby spit up and poop.  But did any of you really think one day you precious baby would have great stinky sweaty boy feet with a black toe nail about to fall off?  Nope you didn't.   Go get some wine.  I'll wait.

Take a sip.  You feel better now don't you.  For I have warned you.

More things I learned.  Hospital ER Gurneys are awesome.  Beds on wheels!   That's like a spectrum kid's dream.  That's when he finally cried.  When we had to leave his wheel bed.  

I wonder if I bought him one would he actually stay in his own room all night?  Hmmmmm

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I am missing the "Oh how I miss him/her/them" gene.

All over Facebook land for the past two weeks, my fellow mom friends and I have been doing a group countdown to Back to School.

Now two days into it and it's a list of moms saying how much they miss them.

I,however, am not.  Therefore I am evil and I must be destroyed.

Or I could just be an "autism mom" finally recharging her batteries.

I'm suppose to feel horrible here that I don't miss him right?  Maybe I should feel horrible about not feeling horrible?  Nope, don't feel that either.

He is my only child so he is my only experience I can draw from.  It just seems mothering him is ten times harder than the average kid.  The yelling, the crying, the hissy fits etc...  And that's just from me.

Right now I got a dog at my feet sleeping so soundly he's snoring and I actually can write out a shopping list from beginning to end without being stopped 14 times to go look for a toy he's obsessing on.  So go on other moms.  You can go miss my kid for me.  I've earned this.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Meds, Schmeds. Pffffft!

I am going to preface this post with the following.   Medication works FOR US.

I've said it before.  You meet one kid with autism, well you've met only one kid with autism. What works for one won't for another.  However for the kiddo, meds do.  And I am forever grateful for it.   That being said, a few of you have asked what's worked. So I share it with you.  Not to tell you to do it. (hey husband is that a good enough legal disclaimer? that's good right?  CYA people.  Cover your ass!)

Anyway when the kiddo was around 4ish years old and the husband and I were about to drop dead on our feet from being worn out, we went to the developmental pediatrician for some ideas.  The kiddo is a mega sensory seeker.  Always looking for movement.  This was making school very difficult as well as any outing or life at home.   He prescribed a very small dose of methylin or what I call the "oh what you do to meeeeee"  (I'll explain why.)

We were instructed to give it to him on a Saturday so we could carefully observe him for possible side effects.  Which would of been MAKING HIM MORE HYPER!!??!!  Mother of god can you even imagine?  I DIE!  So I slipped it in some juice and hoped for the best.   About 30 minutes later my son was laying in bed with his karoke machine singing the Plain White T's "Hey There Delilah" (ooooooh what you do to meeeeeee!!!!!) at the tops of his lungs.  At first I panicked thinking "what have I done??!!"  He's taken to his bed!  Then I realized he was smiling.  He was enjoying the feeling of being still and decided to express it in song.  He was like a breathing Broadway musical.   Later in the day I took him with me to a pet store which was always an over stimulating place for the kiddo. He loves animals.  The outing went AMAZING!  He was content to hold my hand on line looking at Dog Fancy magazines while we waited our turn.   I knew then, we were NEVER not going to use this medication.  He finally was able to stop and see the world.   I wouldn't deny him that.   Not to mention I got a break!

Now things around 5 got a little ugly.  The kiddo was having some major rage and anxiety issues.  Most of which happened at night.   We are talking up at all hours, screaming his head off and objects flying.  This then start creeping into the daylight hours as well.  Just hours of meltdowns.  It was a house of crying.  Him, me, the dog.  He was going to school with bags and circles under his own eyes from lack of sleep.  It was a cycle of chaos that we had to do something about.   Again, a tearful couple of calls to the doctor and with that came Risperidone.  It is an FDA approved drug for treating the symptoms of autism.  It was "the big guns".  He was given the smallest dose again and it would take a few weeks before we saw any change.  We had to be patient.  We had to keep forging ahead.  We had to buy A LOT OF COFFEE!

Now this was also the time the wonders of melatonin came into this house.  So combined with the Risperidone, we got this kiddo sleeping through the night as a start.   Then the Riperidone started slowly working for the anxiety and rage.   If it did anything, it got him to start learning how to cope.

 It's by no means perfect.  He still gets anxious but with meds, therapy and maturity we are able to talk him down before we go into full on meltdown mode more now.  And if he does hop into meltdown mode, they don't seem to last anywhere near as long.

Also around 7 we added a zinc supplement to his diet.  Kids on the spectrum often have wonky zinc/copper levels.  Now I was told it would help with behavior.  Does it?  Well I'm not really sure if it's helping behavior or just helping him build up his immune system.  I have to say in the year he's been on it, he hasn't gotten sick in a long time.  And when he has, it's not that long or serious.  So maybe staying healthy enough to not disturb the routine is what it is doing.  That's good for him and for us.  Not to mention, who wants to see their kid sick?  So on it he stays.

This is what we do.  Will it change?  Probably.  Everyday is the same.  Everyday is different.  We roll with it and order another side of fries.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Wiping the slate clean

My kiddo is a crafty evil genius. Just when I am ready to rip my hair out of my head over something he is doing, he pulls out the big guns. Do you want to know what he does?  Of course you do!

He is a master hugger/snuggler.  The sneaky sonofabitch!

The idea of kids with autism are not affectionate could not be further from the truth with my boy.   He is a love bug.  A hugging machine who can wipe any memory of why I was annoyed at a behavior of his by climbing on the couch at the end of the day next to me and snuggling in.  He's a Svengali with my heart.    Before I know it, I am a puddle of "Awwww" and have forgotten about the 15 times out I gave him that day.

Also, he is like ridiculously good looking.  Seriously.  It's almost unfair to other kids he shares a class picture with.

Plus his other super power?  Acting cute. That bastard!

He'll go sweetly pet the dog while singing a made up song, like "Dogs Are Great". Oh you are not familiar with the lyrics?  They are as followed:

Dogs are great!
Dogs are fun!
Dogs are furry!
I love dogs!

Catchy right?

By the show stopping conclusion of "Dogs are Great" I forgive him for dumping out the entire container of hand soap for kicks.  Or having tried to see if he could in fact pop out the dogs eyes. (the dog and the kiddo have a very codependent relationship).

 And I think for about 30 seconds that life is perfect.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The WTF!?!?! Moments

My son in his usual way was walking around holding a random piece of plastic toy train track. He occasionally will chew on random stuff.  This was no exception. Lots of prompting on our part to get it out of his mouth.

Would you like to know what he did tonight when I told him "out of mouth please". Of course you do!  It's gonna be good. Seriously you will not be disappointed.

He took it out and then STUCK IT IN MY EAR!!!!!!!!

Did I lie?  Betcha did not see that coming.  Anymore than I did.  WTF kiddo???

I try to understand him.  Try to open my eyes to his world.  See things the way he does.  But I'm sorry. What the Hell was that?!?!

If that wasn't a WTF moment in parenting, I don't know what was.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Meltdown vs Tantrum

One of the biggest issues I deal with on a daily is behavior. I know all parents do but discipline with a kid on the spectrum is a smidge more stressful.  For all. Including the dog.

Many folks may think a screaming hissy fit is just a bratty kid having a tantrum.   OK all the autism parents, let's all have a collective laugh because we sooo know it is not.  Hahahahahahahahaha!   For when my son has hit meltdown stage, fire in the hole!!!!!  Nothing can be said or done to talk the the boy off the ledge.  Not even his beloved fries.

You see a tantrum has a defined want. Whereas a meltdown is a weather front that just has to run its course.  Now like any parent, I can see potential triggers.  I have a defend and distract approach. Circle the wagons or get the heck out of Dodge.  If this doesn't work, well no need to sound the alarm.  My son's screams will be warning enough to the surrounding counties.

This is not to say I just let him go.  The 80's band Tears for Fears had it right with that song of theirs "Shout" (come on sing it with me.  Shout! Shout! Let it all out!  These are the things I can do without! Come on now! I'm talking to you come on!)   Oh I feel the need to tease my hair up big and spray it with Aqua Net.  Pink can of course. Whoops! Slightly off tangent. Anyways, sometimes he just has to scream it out. Lately he is accepting going to his room to do so.  This is big improvement from kicking holes in the walls. (*fist bump* to all the parents who keep spakle and wall patches on hand.  HOLLA!)

  Like knowing his triggers, I just know sometimes I just have to let him get all his anger out.   This is also combined sometimes with being so emotionally spent at that moment where I just throw my hands up and wish someone would send me to my room.   Please Mom!  Come over and ground me!

Then he finally asks for a tissue.  Wipes his face and I starting thinking maybe the storm has finally passed.   Plus hope like hell he's not just recharging for round two.  By then I'm wondering how much hearing I have since lost since becoming a mom or if one can have a seizure based on listening to so much screaming from their own child.  How many grey hairs have I gotten?  How is it I cannot bring the comfort my child needs to him?

And lastly, when is Daddy coming home?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Now on Facebook!!!!!

Hey all!  This blogging stuff is all so very new to me but by popular demand Autism with a side of fries is now on Facebook!  Go "like" it to keep up on latest blog posts and doings at French Fry Inc.

School?!?!?!? Where are you?!?!?!?

Back to school can not come soon enough in this house.  On September 5th, the beautiful sight of my kid on a bright yellow bus driving away from the house will be glorious.  I love the kiddo but dude I am DONE with being "Julie the cruise director" for his entertainment.

Kiddo does not have siblings.  Well there is the dog but since my medical insurance won't cover him, I guess he doesn't count.  Don't tell him. He'll get a complex. Anyway, I don't have those instant playmates for the lad.  It really took till this 8th year where he not only wanted to see other kids but he actually could verbally express it.  It's pretty huge.

So I organize the "play date"  which is dating for moms in the burbs.   I'm not sure which one of us is the wing man but I must say he and I do make a good team.  Seriously folks, the kiddo and I are a darned good tootin' time.  It's nerve racking.   Let's face it.  He can get along with the other kid but if the moms don't click, well... And since his social skills aren't the most appropriate at times, it can get ugly, fast.  When it works it's like angels singing on a cloud passing out margaritas!  Whoohoo!

Plus this poor kid, he may not have the best verbal skills in the world but the look on his face says it all sometimes.   I know he's tired of looking at my face.  He needs his neat ordered scheduled day of school time.   Where the ringing of the bell for the next period is a comforting sound to him.   The neurotypical kids might resent every minute of the school day planned out of him but my boy LOVES it.  

This has been the summer of "and then?".  I swear he would love to have his life fully scheduled till he is 72.  Or this could just be how he plays me for another order of fries.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pay it forward was a really crappy movie.

But dammit if it's not the mantra to this autism mom.  We started this journey when my kiddo was about 22 months old. He's 8 now.  It that time, we've have gotten A LOT of advice.  Believe it or not, some of it was actually helpful!   (except that early walker, late talker bs.  From his doctor no less. Geez let's just blow up that already for the nonsense that it is).

Yesterday I was asked to share a day of my life as a autism parent by a local radio station. (read it here if you are curious. Hell yeah I'm pimping this out.  It was beyond cool to do it! An amazing thing happened.  Perfect strangers contacted me and thanked me for it.  Another parent just sent me an email asking me where we take our kid to therapy.  If the school gives us trouble for services etc.  And here I am passing on what I know.

I've become the Circle of Life y'all!!  Cue the music!!!  I can't pick up my kid over my head.   He's way to heavy now. But you know what I mean.

And then these awesome friends I have started sharing it on their Facebook pages and their friends started giving it props.  Then it got shared again!  I can't even begin to describe how incredible that felt. It was amazing.  

So whatever you do, pay it forward.  Trust me, what comes back to you makes you feel so uplifted and kind of like a rock star. 

We live in mortal danger!

Here I am.  Wondering what direction to take this blog in and the kiddo decides he needs to press the "test" button on the Carbon Monoxide detector for the 783rd time.  Which makes the most god awful high pitched beep that scares the piss out of the dog. (warning, I cuss like a sailor on shore leave). Ive had enough and have removed it for the time being.  If I never post again on here assume that I have been overcome by fumes and have passed out on my keyboard.

OK I probably won't but this is an excellent example of what I deal with everyday.  You've seen Groundhog Day right?  (Spoiler alert if you haven't.  The same thing happens to the guy every day till he gets it right.  Don't complain I ruined it for you.  That movie has been out for years). That is my life with the kiddo.  8 years of the same thing, day in, day out. My son has the ability to find what button to push to drive me and my poor dog over the edge.  It's his super power. Five minutes in a room.  That boy will know exactly what sound,behavior or whatchamacallit to make you loose your effing mind.  The parents of kids with autism are nodding right now. Fist bump folks!  

Once that boy obsesses, he could power a small city with his passion. 
Not another autism blog!

Let's get a few things on the table.  I am not a writer.  At all.  I suck at grammar and spelling and you better thank your lucky stars I'm typing this. My handwriting is abysmal. 

I have done two things really well.  One, I picked an awesome husband. Two, we made the best kid on earth. Handsome too. We also made one that is on the autism spectrum and here I plan to write about that.  

When you have a kid with autism, you really have a whole household with autism.  The rules change dramatically. (and often without warning).  Now I don't plan on addressing the how's and whys of it. Although that does interest me and I may.  Hey, my blog, my rules.  Look at me switching them up like my kid or something. :-). Nor do I want to make this a Debbie Downer my life is the pits.  (I'll give you all fair warning if it's a pity party I'm inviting you to and you can just chose to skip it) 

I tend to be snarky and rather flip.  About autism, life, marriage etc... It's just what I do.  I'd rather be laughing than crying and if I can be cracking the jokes first, all the better. 

I just know one thing, life with my son is NEVER boring.  Often funny.  And frustrating. And repetitive. And challenging. And messy and repetitive.  (oh see what I did there? ha! I am funny) 

So I will try to share that with you all. To show you what life with autism and a side of fries can be life.  If there is one thing the kiddo has taught me, fries go with anything.