Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

"I don't know how you do it."
"It must be so hard."
"You have an extra hard job."
"It takes a special person."
"G-d doesn't give us more then we can handle."

When I hear these comments, I know they are meant with love and respect.  I know this.

But they can be said about any mother.  Not just me.
I can say the same comments to the Mom's out there that are potty training their toddlers.  Or the ones who have extra, super, outgoing kids.  Or those who have kids who might be a little more shy then others.  Those dealing with newborns or teenagers.  Mothers of all kinds.

My friend Jody used to say, "Every kid has something."  Ours happens to be Autism.

Autism is a part of our lives, yes.  But so is work, music, exercise, laughter, love, back pain, families that live far away, food, and more.

I'm Jonathan's Mom.  And yes, when we received an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis over three years ago, I was very sad.  But Mike and I both have unconsciously decided to roll with it.  Not let it define us.  Jonathan has taught me to be a flexible Mom. To not expect anything, and enjoy every little thing.  To laugh at all the funny things.  To stop and smell the roses.  To listen with open ears and love with an open heart.  To understand that everyone has something that makes them different.    He is my greatest gift, one that give back to me everyday.

And I know I'm not alone in how I feel about being a Mother.

Just like Autism does not define my son, it does not define me.




<3 <3 <3 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Time Keeps on Ticking....

He is obsessed with calendars.
Obsessed.
He has my 2013 planner, a 2013-2014 planner I bought for him, my current 2014 planner (that he steals from my purse everyday), and a 2014 Mickey Mouse calendar on his bed.  He sleeps with them every night.

His favorite app on his iPad (next to google maps) is the calendar.  He can flip from year to year.  I glanced over and saw him all the way up to 6250. Ya know, the year six thousand two hundred fifty.  Right around the corner.

Recently he said, "January is going on a trip.  And January will be back in 2015."

He spent a morning with me at work a few weeks ago.  He grabbed my desk calendar and wrote in the days that were missing at the beginning and ending of each month to fill in the weeks (you know from the previous and upcoming months).  He filled the days in for each month.  I love that I can look at that everyday and see a part of him when I'm at work.


I wonder how he sees the calendar.  I wonder what it is about the calendar that bring him so much joy and comfort.

At least I'll never have to worry about knowing what day it is.  He'll always be sure to let me know.

The minute it turned February, he yelled with glee, "It's February!  Happy Valentine's Day, Mommy!"

He filled out Valentine's for his classmates today.  Writing their names in the "to" section and then his name in the "from" section.  He finished 19 for his classmates, and I didn't have to help once.

He is learning so much at school.  He is getting so tall.  He is becoming such a mischievous, independent, and a rambunctious little boy.

If only that calendar could go backwards sometimes.
I'll even take staying where it is for a bit longer too.
It all moves so fast sometimes.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

How Do We Keep Going?

So I really shouldn't check my Facebook first thing in the morning, before my coffee, before I'm upright. 

That was apparent this week: 
I learned of a childhood friend who's husband is dying, and she will soon have to raise two young children on her own. 
I was reminded of the year anniversary of Sandy Hook. 
There was another school shooting.
A "Superman" in the body of a sick 9 year old boy that left us all too soon. 
It made me wonder why it was even worth getting out of bed?

Then I will hear these words from the other room, "Can I go potty?"

And all I can think next is, I love hearing him say full sentences.  

Better get up and make the coffee and start this day.

And I'll remember to not pick up my iPhone / Facebook until after I get a big hug from my sweet six-year old.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Headache of a Different Kind

The other day when putting my boy to bed, I asked him to stop working on a puzzle so we could go upstairs and put his jammies on.  He objected a bit, as he does every night.  But I reassured him he can finish tomorrow. 

Up the stairs we went.  We finished out nightime routine of washing up, brushing teeth, putting on jammies and reading two books.  As we were moving on to the final step before turning on music and going to sleep, which is getting a small cup of water, I turned around.  He was in tears.  Sudden.  Abrupt.  Makes your heart hurt, tears. 

I asked him what was wrong.  He couldn't answer.  Between the hyperventilating, all he could say was, "Nap." Nap is his description for "I'm sad and need a break."  So I took him back to his room and hugged him as tight as I could.  He was sad about something.  I couldn't figure it out. 

When he settled down a bit, I asked him again why he was sad. 
"I'm sad."

I know.  Is it school?  Is it friends?  Is it Mommy and Daddy?

"No.  Take a nap."

Tears again.

Mike came in to see what was up. 
"Jonathan, does your belly hurt?  Does your head hurt?"
Jonathan pointed to his head as the area that was causing him the discomfort. 
But this cry was not one of pain.  It was one of being sad.  He would stop crying, and then start again a few minutes later. 

Jonathan wanted me to write him a book.  He dictated it to me.  It was called "Jonathan is Sad."
It didn't provide much info, except "I crying.  I take a nap.  Mommy does breathing.  We will do yoga tomorrow.  The end."

So I tried again after about a half hour of on and off crying. 
"Buddy, what hurts?"
He pointed to his head.  Something in his head hurt. 
Could it be his brain?  Like something was left un-done?

"Buddy, do you want to go downstairs and finish your puzzle?"
"YES!"

We went downstairs and he finished the puzzle.  He looked at his finished piece, smiled and said, "OK.  Now we have water and go to bed."

His head hurt, because something was left undone. 
And it broke my heart. 
Little things, like an unfinished puzzle, can weigh so heavy on him. 
Sometimes we need to slow down; listen to hear what he is trying to tell us. 




Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving Thanks


So obviously I have not done such a hot job of keeping up with the blog this year.  And I am not making excuses for it, whatsoever.  2013 has seen a lot of joys, challenges, triumphs and defeats.  But I feel like our little family lived every moment of it all. 

With the holiday season upon us, kicking off with Thanksgiving this week, I thought it would be appropriate to quickly reflect on what I am thankful for, from what I learned this year.

  1. I am thankful for Mike.  We celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary this year.  And I was reminded how much fun we have together.  We took a trip up north to Door Co, and laughed the entire time.  This trip came after a rough few months earlier for us as a family.  But through adversity, we came together with strength, commitment and a lot of humor.  Can’t ask for much more!
  1. I am thankful for my growing boy.  As he gets older, he is gaining more confidence, independence and his own way.  We are seeing more and more his sense of humor, his likes and dislikes, and the desire to do things on his own.  Since he started Kindergarten this year at “big school,” it has been amazing to see this growth.  He is learning to make friends; he is trying so hard in everything he does.  I worry as he gets older the factors of adolescence.  Growing up is hard.  I can’t even imagine the outside factors we have ahead of us.  I can only hope for acceptance, tolerance and of understanding.  But I’m also excited to see who this little man will become.

  1. I am thankful for the system.  The system?  Yes.  The school system that is giving our son support that he needs, even if we have to push a little for it.  And for our health insurance that pays for his advanced therapy.  And for the people that work to help him so much.  Without these systems, we would be alone and in the dark.  And we’ve met so many wonderful, good people along the way. 

  1. I am thankful for those that came before us, to fight for assistance where it’s needed.  Sometimes I don’t feel like a “Warrior Autism Mom” because the people that came before me have set up such a positive path.  I still fight where I need to, but knowing I don’t have to fight as hard, and can concentrate on my family makes things that much easier.

I could keep going, but I haven’t blogged or written down my thoughts in a long time.  So I’m a little tired, yo!  Until next time!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sometimes I wish I was Leslie Mann

We are two weeks into Big School. He has been doing great.  I love his teacher.  She seems to get him, and helps him. 

I'm struggling a bit with his special services at school, but it is the beginning of the school year, which I know is a hectic time.  But I hope for some constancy soon. 

He is so wound up by the end of the day.  Poor kid... he goes to school all day, and then has therapy until 6:45 everyday.  It is a full day for anyone.  And he just wants to stay up and sing, yap, dance, read, etc.  I think by having a new routine for the fall, he thrives... and it is hard to settle.

I did have a little boy in his class tell me I have a mean kid.  That my kid pinches the teachers.  Well, I already knew that.  My friends at work told me I should have gone all "This is 40" on the kid.




Honestly, it was funny, because this same kid told me the day before that Jonathan has his friend, and gave him a hug. 

But all in all, we are all getting used to our new routines and new schedules. 


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Change is in the Air

Our little blog received a bit of love from blueridgeoutdoors.com.  And after realizing it had been since May since an updated post, I knew I was woefully behind.

But what to write about?

Our family seems to be in that in between time.  That time where you know change is going to happen soon.  You can see it coming from down the road.  There is nothing you can do to stop it.  You have to just wait and enjoy the ride.

I felt this when I was pregnant with Jonathan.  When we were getting ready for our big move to Wisconsin.  And now again.  This time.... Kindergarten.

Our son has been attending the same preschool since we have moved to this area.  He was 2 1/2 when he started.  He will be six at the end of this month.

We've been preparing for a while.  We had his IEP (Individualized Education Program) worked out with the school system in March.  We've meet teachers and educators at the school.  We talk about "big school" daily.  He knows the first day of school date.  He knows some friends that will also be there.

But he also thinks we will only be visiting Kindergarten, getting back into the blue car, and going to his current classroom at the preschool.

It is getting close to the time I need to write the official social story about "big school."

I've been purchasing the school supplies, noted off the cryptic list his school sends out. Yesterday, while at Target, everyone and their mother were in my way, down each aisle, while I tried frantically to figure out which pre-sharpened pencil brand I needed to purchase.  (Seriously, a family had three generations buying school supplies were in my way!)  I wanted to run in tears.

How can he be this big for school supplies already?  He is no longer a baby, toddler or tiny tot.  He is a school-ager.  He is tall.  He looks like a big boy, with his missing front tooth.  His clothes size no longer match his age, but rather are marked as small, medium or large.

And I worry.   I'll always worry.  It is the unknown that scares me the most.  Will be make friends?  Will other kids like him and be as patient with him as his preschool peers?  Will he be able to keep up to academic expectations?  Will he like school?  Will he like his teachers?  Will his teachers get him?  Will he always be so innocent and lovable and affectionate?

But I need to remember...this is not about me.  This is his journey.  I'm only there to gently guide.  It doesn't make it any easier, does it?

Big Boy walking our neighbor's dog.  What a good helper!