Welcome to my work in progress. A little rough around the edges, but hopefully will educate as well as provide some relief for those also going through the craziness of daily life with Autism. Hope you enjoy it :o)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why I read Harry Potter.

I know what you're thinking. Harry Potter, really? I didn't even start reading the series until right before the 5th book came out. I was hooked immediately. I've always been an avid reader. I read anything. Newspapers. Cereal boxes while I was having my bedtime snack. Instructions to electrical appliances. (that just screams geek!) The books I usually read were high schooler type books. (duh. i was in jr/.sr high at the time) Nothing as sci-fi fantasy as Harry Potter though.

I remember hearing on the radio when Goblet of Fire (book #4) came out. "People are lined up around the block to grab JK Rowling's latest success!" I thought, "Oh my goodness. Really? A book?? Lame." Little did I know that a few years later, *I would be one of the ones waiting for the books!


Living in a world with Autism, means you need some sort of escape from it all sometimes. For me, that escape is reading Harry Potter. I used to scrapbook. Not that I won't ever again, but it's very expensive and time consuming. It's realaxing, but also something I can't just leave out for fear of Jacob getting into it.

I think one of the reasons I like HP so much is because it could never happen. As much as some people are waiting for their Hogwarts acceptance letter, it's not coming ;-) It's total fantasy. When you read these books, you get wrapped up the world of make believe. Of wands. Wizards.

And Severus Snape.

Sometimes I sit and pretend that Jacob doesn't have Autism. I picture bringing them all to the Mall without the stroller. Or the Leash. Or a backpack full of books and snacks to distract. Letting all three kids run ahead to look at whatever they want, instead of dragging a 70 pound screaming 8 yr old behind me because he "DON'T WANNA GO TO THE AMERICAN GIRL STORE!! I WANNA GO TO BARNES AND NOBLE!!" I don't really blame him, but, you know. People stare. And comment.

People whisper and stare at Harry Potter too.



Jacob doesn't look like a kid with Autism. He's affectionate, funny, and sweet. You can't really tell what's going on unless you watch him closely.

Harry Potter doesn't look like a wizard either.



I don't want to change Jacob. His Autism makes him who he is. If he were 'normal', maybe he wouldn't be such a mama's boy. He would probably be off and running around with friends all the time. He loves mama so much that when I leave for an hour, I come back and he acts like he hasn't seen me for a week. Sometimes I think it would be nice to be able to do more normal things with him, but I'm not sure I'd want to do that forever. It's fun while it lasts, but then you need to go back to reality. I don't live in one of the four houses at Hogwarts, but if I did, I'm betting mine would be Slytherin.  Living in a special needs world requires a fantasy escape sometimes.
And that's why I read Harry Potter.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Changing dreams.

late.
worry.
maybe.
yes.
no.
surprise.



When you're expecting a child, you have all these things in mind that you want to do with them, and things that you're excited for them to do. Play sports, be in theater, play an instrument, etc. Play catch with them, run around playing soccer, and hanging out at the park.

When I found out I was pregnant with Nicholas, I was a little bit (okay, a LOT bit) in shock. He wasn't planned, but a nice surprise. Of course we found out ahead of time that it was a boy. (So I'm a planner, okay?) I was so looking forward to being a baseball mom....teaching him not only to play the game, but to love watching it as well. We bought him Vikings clothes galore, and teeny baseball caps. He played a few years of baseball and soccer, but decided it wasn't for him. Instead, he's the intellectual.

18 months later, Emily came along. Yay, a girl to dress up and do her hair! An independent little thing from the start, and still is, she loves to dress in pink, but hates having her hair done. She plays softball, soccer, and hockey, and comes in from playing outside absolutely filthy.

When Emily was 2 1/2, Jacob was born. A couple years later, he was diagnosed with Autism. I could see my dreams changing. Instead of watching him on the ballfield, I was watching him spin in circles and walk on his tiptoes back and forth behind the backstop, trailing his hand along the links of the fence.

At the park, I couldn't just sit and watch him play. I had to be two steps behind him, making sure he didn't run off. He didn't sit and play with the other kids, he walked along the border of the park, flipping his hands around.

He might be able to play baseball someday, but until then, I'll be content with the fact that *he's happy wandering around the park.

I read this poem years ago, and it pretty much sums it up. It's called "Welcome to Holland"

Welcome To Holland
by
Emily Perl Kingsley


I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

So, I haven't given up on my dreams for my kids, I've just changed them a little.




Thursday, January 12, 2012

As the World Stims.

Stims? That's a weird word.

Kind of like Sims. The word. Not the meaning.

~~Stimming is a repetitive body movement, such as hand flapping, that is hypothesized to stimulate one or more senses. The term is shorthand for self-stimulation. Repetitive movement, or stereotpy, is often referred to as stimming under the hypothesis that it has a function related to sensory input~~

Make sense now? Sort of? Not really? Join the club.

Jacob's stims usually involve some hand flapping, he skips or gallops instead of walking, makes short screeching sounds at the top of his lungs, and other things I probably don't even notice anymore.
He has sensory issues, for sure, but tell me how this:

wouldn't drive a normal person insane?? He has TEN electronic toys going here at once. Normally he's limited to two at a time, but he dragged them all upstairs, and of course I had to snap a pic. This drives ME insane. Maybe he's immune when it comes to Leapfrog toys.

He knows exactly which of his stims piss his sister off too. Whoever thinks kids with Autism have no idea what they're doing, haven't met many kids with Autism! He knows how to push Sissy's buttons, and boy, he does a goooood job at it!



 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

About a boy.

just some random pics.

I love this one.

watching the dolphins at the mn zoo.

frosting, anyone?

I love stop signs!!

help! I don't want to go swimming!!

mmmm.....pudding

All about me.

And that's exactly what this post is. Because it's my blog, and I'll write what I want. So, since I'm stuck at home with a sick child AGAIN, I figure I'll post what I like. And don't like. Feel free to move on if you know this already. Some of my faves......

 tv shows.



Country group.....Rascal Flatts 

flower. carnation.

place to be in the summer. target field.

movies.
Back to the Future.

Toy Story.

my favorite ball player.
Justin Morneau.

books to read.


if I ever get married again,
the theme will be baseball.
it's going to be epic.



dislikes:

clowns. specifically, Pennywise.
So, explain to me why IT is my current favorite book?
Probably because I can't SEE the clown.

cottage cheese.
need I say more?
yuck.

butterflies.
you heard right.
they fly all over with their erratic movements,
divebombing my head.
no me gusta.
I guess that's it for now.
There is so much more to me.
Maybe that's another post.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

He might be okay with it, but I'm not.

Nicholas will be 13 next month. 13. A teenager. Some days, you can really tell!! Other days, the Aspergers takes over, and he curls up on my lap holding an Elmo blanket that I used to wrap him in when he was a newborn. It's a well loved blanket.

I told him that since turning 13 is a pretty big deal, we should do something special. I wasn't too worried about what he would pick, since he is probably one of the least adventurous kids I know. He sort of shrugged and said "I dunno." Okay. I get that. You're turning 13 and have to spend your birthday with your mom? Welcome to Geek City. I suggested maybe a movie with a friend or something, and asked him if he had anyone from school he wanted to take. "Nope." How about church? "Nope."


No one? "Is it that you can't decide who you would take? Someone might feel left out?"
"No, I just don't have many friends." Doesn't have many friends. Okay, I sort of get that too. Being anti-social is an Aspergers trait, so I can see that. Middle school is the worst for a neuro-typical (NT) child, I imagine for someone in special ed classes it's a thousand times worse.

I'm not sure he notices the looks he gets when we're out and about, and he's whining about this or that, or acting like a class clown would. But I do.

He probably doesn't even care what people are thinking when he's wearing an Ironman mask, a Darth Vader cape, shorts over his sweats, and carrying a Captain America disklauncher. But I do.

Why do we care so much? It's because people judge. I'll admit, I've done the same. Sometimes I'm sure I still do. But I can't just walk around Target yelling, "Yes he's 12, but he's got Aspergers, and sometimes leaving the house is more important than what we're wearing!!" Well, I suppose I could, if I wanted to get kicked out. Then what was the point of even going??

I think I may have lost my train of thought......I've heard that happens from time to time.  I'm just glad it never happens to me. Ahem.

He's content to sit in his room for hours, listening to the radio and playing Legos. Sometimes he's happier by himself, so I guess if his birthday consists of me taking just him to a movie, that might be okay.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I get that a lot.

"Wow! You certainly have your hands full!"
I don't hear this nearly as much as I used to, when they were all under 5, but every once in awhile, someone makes a comment. Usually after they hear that Jack Jack has Autism, and Dash has Aspergers.
----
I get that a lot.
----
"How do you do it?? I can't even imagine."
I couldn't either, until it became my life. How do I do it? I just do. You get used to fighting little feet into shoes in the morning. Practically force feeding him his pudding because it's got his Ritalin in it. Wrestling a coat on. Pulling toys back out of the backpack because they're not allowed at school. Holding his hand everywhere we go because he's a runner. Pulling him off of shelves everywhere because he's part monkey. I have no idea how I do it, I just do.
----
I get that a lot.
----
"Did you know that Jack Jack looks just like your brother?"
Yes. Thank you. He pretty much has since he was born. It's the brown eyes. The other two have blue. If I had a dollar.......
----
I get that a lot.
----
"You know, maybe if you used some discipline, he wouldn't have tantrums all the time."
Oh THANK YOU lady in the mall who probably hasn't even heard of Autism. You're a BIG help. Maybe she *was trying to be helpful, I don't know. What I do know is, I almost told Jack Jack to walk around with her the rest of the day to watch her try and 'discipline' him.
----
I get that a lot.
----
“You really need to work on getting him to eat new foods. His diet isn’t very healthy.”
Sigh. Yes. I know. Try forcing a square peg into a round hole. That's how fun it is getting him to try now foods. But only if the peg is screaming and gagging at the same time.
----
I get that a lot.
----
I'm sure there's more. LOTS more. But those are the ones I can think of right now. It's really not so bad. When I tell people about his Autism, most of the time they're willing to listen. Some people don't care. I don't use it as an excuse, but rather to help educate.
----
This picture was from Christmas 2007. It cracks me up everytime. Jack Jack's got his grrrrr face on, and they're all lovin on their mama <3

Friday, January 6, 2012

Introduction

This post probably should have been first, but the other one was in my head screaming to get out. Not that I hear voices in my head, mind you, (I'm not Edward Cullen) but when you're at home day in and day out watching Smallville marathons, you get that Stream of Consciousness thing goin on. Names have been changed, btw, for safety and privacy. And because we love The Incredibles.

I'm Tina. 36 yrs old. Divorced. SuperMom of 3. Diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder and Generalized Anxiety. I love baseball. I'll be a Twins fan for life. This pic was taken at Target Field, my second home from April to October. As I'm sure you can tell, I love watching Smallville. I read non stop. I'm a Twilight and Harry Potter addict, and have just gotten into Stephen King books. They creep me out, but for some reason I just can't put them down. I dress to be comfortable. That means jeans and tshirts. Sweatshirts if it's cold, and sometimes jerseys...baseball or hockey. Oh yeah, I like the Wild too. Back to the Future is my favorite movie, my favorite color is purple, and I prefer carnations over roses.
Nicholas. My first born. Sensitive. Soft spoken. A thinker. He'll be 13 in February, has Aspergers, ADHD, loves Legos, anything outer space related, and watches Storage Wars with me. He walks around answering "YUUUP!" to my questions because of that show. Thanks, Dave Hester. He's read all of the Harry Potter books, (Nicholas, not Dave. Although, I don't know that for sure, so ignore me.) and likes the Percy Jackson series.
Emily. Middle child and only girl. Also diagnosed with Aspergers. (and in my opinion, a little anxiety thrown in) Independant. Strong willed. Daddy's girl. She's 11 going on 16 with the attitude to match. Loves her American Girl dolls, plays with Monster High dolls, and watches Biggest Loser with me. She's my reality show junkie. She adores having cousins, and will be a great mom someday.
Jacob. The baby. Independent, but relies on mom. A do-er. Has Autism and ADHD. He'll be 9 in March. Loves going to the mall, playing with his Leapfrog toys, and reading books. (I love that I have readers!) Most of the time I'm his human jungle gym. It's cute, but wearing at 1am. His current obsessions are Care Bears and Powerpuff Girls.....okay. He is one of the most affectionate autistic kids I've ever met, and I love it.
I guess that's all. I'll answer anything I can about whatever you want to ask. I'm still learning about Autism, but I know a lot about Harry Potter.

Baby's First Word

I'm sure every parent remembers their child's first word. Or at least what they think was their first word.....da da, mama, cookie, ball...etc. But do you remember where you were? What you were doing at the time? I do. When Jacob said his first word, he was 5. Not months, years. 5 years of my little boy not talking, responding when I told him I loved him, or saying mama.

He was 2 1/2 years old when he started attending Southwood, an ECFE school in our hometown. He had the best teachers, and made friends. I loved the class he was in, a class for kids with Autism. I think there were about 6-8 kids in the class. From what I remember, most of them were capable of talking. (in my head it was, most of THEM were capable of talking!!) Those kids were awesome. Always interested in what was going on, and wanted to see everything. I don't remember everything that Jacob did, except gag at play dough, but what I do remember was the rule that when you got there to pick up your child, you waited in the hall until the teachers opened the door. There was a narrow window in the door, and we all peeked in periodically hoping that our kids wouldn't spot us, so we could see what they were doing! One particular day, I was standing there peeking, when Jacob spotted me. He got a huge grin on his face and yelled, "Mommy!!" I flung open the door, sorry Jennifer, but I think it was warrented this time ;-) and said to everyone, "Did you hear that? Did you guys hear that?? Jacob just said Mommy!" I'm pretty sure I had tears running down my face with a grin of my own. I will never forget that day.

Jacob will be 9 in March. NINE. Do you know what that means? (In my head, I just said that as Doc Brown. For those of you not familiar with Back to the Future, the next line is, "It means that this damn thing doesn't work at all!") Ahem. It means that next year he'll be in double digits. How does this happen?? Babies aren't supposed to grow up, are they? They're supposed to be little forever.

He may be growing up, but no matter how old he gets, how many times he screams out of frustration, he'll always be my baby. <3