Friday, February 29, 2008

First playdate

Wes had his very first hosted playdate today. We had to reschedule due to some appointments. It went okay. We did have some hiccups because he's not used to sharing his stuff with someone else besides Casey. Z and Wes used his train table and when Wes had had enough, he turned the trains off even though Z wasn't done. When I told him the trains weren't all done, he had a bit of a tantrum and needed to go to time out to regroup himself. Z's mom understood and kind of let me guide the kids through the playdate. We did some 'fishing' with magnetic fish and fishing poles, painted, and built with megablocks.

I know that most playdates aren't that structured and I wondered if Mom was a little unsure of what I had planned. If I didn't keep it semi-structured, then Wes and Z would have been off in different areas and not engaging in play. When we've gone to other playdates with lots of kids, I let him do his own thing. If he wants to run up and down the hallway and the host doesn't mind, then so be it. I can't structure the kids life 24/7. That's not what life is about.

I'd like to be one of those mothers who can just sit back and enjoy watching her kids play, but the reality is, I can't. I don't mind getting on the floor and playing along. It's fun and listening to the kids and their imaginations is great! I'll get my chance to be one of those mom's when Casey is older. He has no problems jumping into groups and joining in. I can see that already in him. By the way, he had a great time with Daddy and completely wore himself out. He was ready to get in a nap almost immediately when he came home. I'm so glad he got a chance to be Casey.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bad day

Wes has been on vacation this week and we've been stuck indoors due to the weather and the constant snow (Thanks again Mother Nature!). We needed a day out of the house so I decided to take the kids to The Children's Metamorphosis Museum. I hadn't been there, but so many people have said good things about it so it was going to be our day out for today.

It was smaller than I had expected. There was only one other parent and child there when we arrived so it was rather quiet and the boys had their run of the place for all of 15 minutes. Being it's vacation and the weather has sucked the big one this year, everyone was heading to the minimal amount of indoor places for kids. As it filled up, Wes became too overstimulated and refused to go into the larger room where most of the kids were hanging out. Instead, he wanted to hang by the front door and desk stimming like a mad man and visually stimming off the chaos in the other room. Every time someone said anything, he repeated it with such gusto. I could already see some of the other kids staring at him. I tried so hard to get him involved in some of the things in the small room. There was a rice table, a water table and a small train table. He wanted nothing to do with any of it and when I tried to engage him, he started to throw a mini-tantrum. Oh boy! Casey was playing so nicely with the train table. Pushing the trains along the tracks and down the hills. Totally content and behaving! The longer we were there, the worse Wes was getting. After less than an hour, I decided we needed to leave before Wes had a meltdown from the overload. Casey was not happy with me as I put on our coats and hats to make our way to the car. He was crying so pitifully, it broke my heart.

After I got the kids in the car, I broke down. I cried for Wes who just couldn't handle the activities that typical kids do. I cried for Casey who got the shit end of the stick again because we had to leave when he was having fun. I selfishly cried for me. As I drove home, I pictured 5 years from now when Casey is six years old and wants to go somewhere and I have to say no because Wes can't tolerate it. Or dragging Casey here and there to Wes' appointments even when he doesn't want to go.

Tim has tomorrow off and our play date with Z was moved to tomorrow too. I told Tim that he needs to spend the day with Casey doing something really fun that a 1 year old can enjoy. Another one of those indoor places I'm sure. I'll be sure to pack hand sanitizer!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

And the Award goes to..


I wanted to pass this award off to some amazing Mom's I know and hold dear. I relate to each of them in my own way and I want to make sure that they know how wonderful and inspiring they are.


Amy from A Day in the Life (An Autism Journey) for this post. I think every parent who has a special needs child has a day or even days like that. I certainly have my fair share. The ups and downs of daily life with an autistic child make you question a lot.


Next, to my wonderful best friend Kelli over at Life with my Boys. She has a truly remarkable little boy who amazes everyone he meets. He's overcome so much in his young life, yet still has a smile that could melt an ice burg. The post here brought tears to my eyes. She knows what the stares and under breath comments are all about. We never imagined how our similarities would continue after we had our babies. I love you Kel!


And to Peggy at Lucky Number 7 for her recent post here. Another amazing mother on a journey that she never expected. It bugs me when people say "Oh, I'm sorry" when I tell them that Wes has autism. C is a beautiful little girl with amazing eyes and an even more amazing smile. I feel so fortunate to know her even if it's through a computer.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My first Blogging Award


I guess I've officially joined the blogging world because I received my first blogging award. Thank you to Maddie over at Whitterer on Autism . Thank you for recognizing my blog and this specific post. Just another one of the amazing glimpses into my wonderous son's mind.
I promise to pass this award on tomorrow. I want to relish in it by myself for a day!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Might as well jump...and poop

This boy never stops shocking us. Just when we think he's at a plateau, he comes up with something new.

It's another snowy New England day and Wes loves to look out the window at the snow and watch the passing cars drive by our house. I'm not sure what possesed him to do it, but he turned around from the window, said jump, bent his knees like a frog and lept off the ground. Tim and I looked at eachother with "did he just do what I think he did" faces. I asked him to jump again for Momma and he repeated the process with a smile as wide as the Grand Canyon. Over and over he jumped while Tim and I cheered him on. He hasn't started physical therapy yet in school, but they still must have been working with him on this. I was still letting him jump on the couch while holding my hands. I guess it helped.

So fast forward to the bedtime routine. Wes always get's a bath before bed. It helps calm him down and organizes him so he can rest. Tim is usually the one who does this routine. Shortly after the bath started, Wes looked at Tim and said "Poop in bum". For months, I've been saying this when he has done that in his diaper. I make him look at me and repeat it. So, Tim grabs him out of the tub, checks his backside and sits him on the potty. Wes stayed there until he finished. Tim cleaned him up and put him back in the tub.

He's peed on the potty once. I'm pretty sure it wasn't on purpose because he hasn't done it again since. This is his first time pooping on the potty. I'm still not 100% sure that he's ready to be potty trained, but I might start really trying this summer when it's easier to clean him up and he'll be wearing less clothes.

I'm so proud of my Super Star!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Contact made

Today, the kids in Wes' class exchanged valentines cards. No, I wasn't able to find Thomas cards in any stores. I did find some online, but didn't have enough time to order them. Instead we went with Silly Face Sticker valentines. You can create faces using stickers on blank faces. I thought the other kids would like the stickers and what 3 year old doesn't like being creative? I made sure to put our phone number on Z's card. Well guess what!? Mom called today! We have scheduled a play date for the Thursday of winter vacation. She sounded really happy about getting the boys together and I am too.

I'm not really sure how to host a playdate. We don't have many and we usually go to someone else house. I told her this was new for us and she said she understood. I don't drink coffee, so now I need to go get a small coffee pot incase she does. I didn't ask and I didn't want to seem like a putz for asking. I'm already planning a cleaning list in my head of what I need to clean the two days before our playdate. We aren't messy people, but I'm not a clean freak either. Except when company comes over. Then I scrub the floors, vacuum every rug and dust like a mad woman. I'm just so excited to connect with this mom and give Wes an opportunity to continue his socializing with Z outside of school. I'm going to talk to his teachers and see if they have any suggestions on how to make this a productive playdate for all.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Climbing on the soapbox

It's been an excrutiating long winter and I'm not sure how much more snow, rain, sleet, and freezing rain I can handle. I needed a break. I needed a night out. I took the opportunity to hand the reins over to Tim and go out. A nice relaxing and quiet (no stimming, screaming, whining kids!) evening at Borders Bookstore . I wanted to take the opportunity to read Jennie McCarthy's book Louder than words. Again, I'm not sure about this whole healing thing and I don't believe in curing autism. I believe that our children are not broken, but just need the right guidance to become funtional in our society. That being said, I was still curious. So I settled in with a cup of mint tea and dove right in.

It was an interesting read and I could certainly relate to some of what she was feeling. My son didn't have life threatening seizures though. That must have been so terrifying for her family. I couldn't imagine feeling as helpless as she must have. The short of it is she believes her son always had a weak immune system and after receiving his MMR shot, it weakened more. It caused him to have Leaky Gut Syndrome . Basically, yeast or candida builds up in the intestines and can't be flushed out. Most of our immune system is in our intestines. Link the two together and there you have it. If you want to know more, then click the link above. Jennie believes that getting rid of the yeast and intensive therapy allowed her son to be healed. She took her son to the top neurologist, the top allergist, a DAN! doctor, so on and so forth.

The thing that really irked me was that she nearly condemed the other parents who didn't want to go the DAN! route. She couldn't understand why some parents didn't want to do everything they possibly could to help their children. Why weren't the pediatricians telling parents about yeast, and GF/CF diets and DAN! doctors, blah, blah, blah!

Now my opinion. Shut the hell up lady. Some of us can't afford special diets, doctors who charge up the nose and insurance companies who stick it to your ass. We are doing the best for our kids. No parent that I have met wants their kid to fall through the cracks and turns their back on them. We don't have a million dollar house to refinance for outside therapies and clinics. And most of all, some of us don't want to make our kids guinea pigs when it's not guaranteed to work. So we've just wasted thousands of dollars with no results and we're back to square one with NO MONEY!

Okay, I'm off my soapbox. I'm sure I'll be blasted and scoffed at for 'not caring about my child'. That's fine. I'm entitled to my opinion, and you are entitled to your own.

Monday, February 11, 2008

PT , here we come

Wes was, as I figured, approved for physical therapy through the school district. Coincidentally, I was just going to ask at drop off tomorrow if the eval had been done yet. We are scheduled to meet on the 3rd to go over the evaluation with the PT and add it into Wes' IEP. I'm looking forward to what the PT has to say and what his goals will be for the boy. Honestly, I'm really not sure where he is in this area or what exactly will happen in PT. I know what he can and can't do, but I don't know where he is in terms of age range.

Today, in OT, Wes jumped without holding his therapists hands. They were standing on a blow up mattress and practicing jumping. She let go of his hands and asked him to jump and he did. The mattress gave him a little boost on getting his feet off the ground. When she asked him to jump off the mattress, he couldn't. He can get his heels off the floor, but that's it. I've been letting him jump on the couch while holding my hand. I can hear all those grandmothers out there gasping at the thought of letting a child jump on furniture. Well back off Grannie! No, I'm just kidding. It's good for the boy to practice jumping and learning to bend his legs and push off. I'm just so stinkin' proud of him!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Anniversary

Today marks the anniversary of when Wes was diagnosed. It was a year today around 11am that we were told what both Tim and I knew but feared. It was a very dark day for me. We left the doctors office and I cried the entire way home. I immediately turned the computer on when we got home and started searching like I had never before. I wanted to know everything and anything there was to know. I wanted to connect with other parents who knew how I felt. I overwhelmed myself to the point of near hysterics.

Looking back, I still taste the nasty bitterness of my realizations being confirmed. I don't feel the same anymore, but I can still remember. Wes has awed me in every way possible. He was nonverbal, tantrums at every corner, and lost to us. Today, he has an abundance of words, using sentences and clearly making connections with peers and other adults. It never occured to me that I'd be able to talk with my son, that our connection would be so much greater than it already was.

The word 'cure' has left my vocabulary. There is nothing to cure. There is only growth and fostering his amazing abilities. There is only learning from him and enjoying his quirks. There is only Wesley. The same child I gave birth to over 3 years ago. The one I've loved since the first time I felt him kick inside me. I thank God for choosing me for this journey and for being able to raise a special child like Wesley.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Autism Rap

Thanks to Casdok for posting this on her blog. While I was browsing through, this caught my eye.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Bits and pieces

I don't really have a whole lot to post about, but I wanted to post something so here are some bits and pieces.

Wes is doing awesome on the bus. Granted he's only had 2 opportunities because Mother Nature is rearing her ugly head and keeping a firm hold onto winter. He got right on the bus, sat in the seat and willingly got into the harness. He sat quietly and looked out the window. Our house is about 2 minutes from the school. Seriously. I'm not surprised he did well. He was actually asking for the bus on Monday. All good signs. The first day Wes came home on the bus, I thought Casey was going to...well I'd say pee his pants, but he does that already. He was delighted to see his brother home and did his happy dance. Then proceeded to kiss him even though Wes was pushing him away.

I'm still experiencing being a first time mom again. Casey has been bringing me books to read when we're home together. We climb up on the couch, get comfy and dive right into the book. That is right up my alley. When I'm finished reading, it's his turn to read to me. It's, of course, jibberish but I love it with all my heart. My boys are book readers. Who could ask for more? He's also following directions well. Of course he still doesn't come to you when you ask him to, but hey, what child does? His language is coming along slowly. I'm only slightly worrying. He is a typical boy.

Wes' class is having a Valentines Day party and they are passing out Valentines. It's my mission this weekend to find Thomas the Train Valentines. I will go to every store in this and the neighboring cities until I find them. I'm going to send a little note home to Z's mom mentioning a play date again. February vacation is coming up real soon so it would be a perfect time. I figure, why not be pushy. I don't have to see her at pick up anymore so if she thinks I'm annoying, oh well. I just want my son to have friends!

So that's about all. I need Spring to come real soon. I am itching to get the kids outside and to the playground. Casey was crawling the last time the warm air graced us with it's presence. I keep daydreaming about chasing the boys around and staying out until it's time for dinner. Ah, those are the days!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The new American Idol

Wes was singing up a storm tonight so I wanted to catch it on video. He and I were in my bed and he put on quite the show. Here it is

Friday, February 1, 2008

Yellow Rides and Social Guys

Okay, so I know this is more my hang up than it is Wes' so I'm taking a deep breath and letting him grow up. As of Monday, he will be a bus rider. Damn, this is hard for me. Why is it so freakin hard for me!?! He's still my little boy, that's why. He's still my three year old who needs me. Maybe I just want to believe he needs me more than he does. Letting go is the hardest part of parenting. Would it be easier if he were a girl? I don't know.

Yesterday, while I was running up to the school with Casey in tow, Wes didn't see me so he just got right on the bus with C (his aide) right behind him. He went to the back of the bus and when C asked if he wanted to sit, he crawled right up on a seat and proceeded to flap excitedly. I know it's because I wasn't there. I put my hang ups on my child. So, after learning this, I decided we'd give it a go. One way of course. I will still drive him in the morning because I want to still be able to connect with his teachers and such. I'm a hands on parent. I'm so nervous for him, but it will be much easier on me and Casey. Poor kid gets the short end of the stick with this one.

His aide came out to show me a video she took of Wes and his friend Z. Z is the same little boy who made that wonderful picture for Wes. They were rolling down an incline mat and having a ball. Wes was actually saying "One, Two, Three, Go Z! ". It was so cute. Then Z would take his turn and Wes would watch while doing his happy dance. He's really connecting to this little boy and it looks like Z is connecting with Wes. He has started labeling the kids in his class using their names as well. The teachers took pictures of them all and using those pictures, he's learning their names. He doesn't have them all mastered, but he absolutely has Z mastered! I really hope to have Z over some day for a playdate. The ball is in Z's moms court. I gave her our number when I gave her the thank you note. Maybe I'll try sending another note. I don't want to push her, but if the boys are becoming fast friends in school, I'd like to continue that out of school. We'll see.

Update on parking

Shortly after I sent the email, I received a call from the principal. She called to apologize for how she approached the issue and she wasn't thinking it through. She said she should have called me instead of confronting me in front of other parents. I thanked her for her honesty and her apology. I explained further my issue with safety and how I am trying to get Wes on the bus (more on that). She said that would be the best avenue, but wanted to come to a solution because I still want to bring him in the morning. That will give me a chance to connect with his teachers and his aide to find out how he's doing and what he is working on. I explained that in our house, Wes' learning does not end because school has. We continue working with him on what he's learning at school at home. I think she was a little surprised by that. I explained that I want to be as much as a part of the team as all his teachers, therapists and aide.
Anyway, we came up with an agreement that we can all live with.