Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Recap

Before jumping into this post, I would first like to give thanks....
Thanks to Mr. Steve Jobs, may he rest in peace.  Without him and his iPad, our trip would have been completely different.  haha!
Being "calm and quiet"

As you can see, we are home.  We survived travel, plane rides, dinners, etc.  Jonathan was a superstar.  AND, still is rocking the potty training like a champ. Not all days and moments were sparkling and gleaming...but I think we all learned from the good and the bad and the bad and the good.

- Every time Jonathan saw one of his uncles, he would say their names and point to them with such delight.  "Uncle Jake!" "Uncle Bob!"  "Uncle Tom!"  At one point, as we were leaving dinner, he turns to Jake and says, "Come on, Uncle Jake. We go to Grandpa's house!"
- When saying hello and good-bye to people, he looked at them directly in the eyes.
- A hilarious father-in-law has a lovely woman who cleans his apartment named Rosa.  We crossed paths at one point with her.  I told Jonathan to say hola to Rosa.  And he says, "Hola, Mayor Rosa."  Mayor Rosa is a character on Handy Manny. So of course, this Rosa must be a Mayor too!  And when I told him to say adios, he said, "Good-bye, Mayor Rosa."  She got a kick out of it too.

Showing off his iPad skills to Uncle Bob, Daddy and Aunt "Kaffy"

- Don't take your child to a loud, hot and cramped Chinese restaurant for a 3-hour meal at 7pm.  It didn't work for us.  Jonathan and I had to leave dinner early...he was tired, fussy, and we could sense a temper-tantrum coming, like a storm tracker smells a storm.  So we left, while Mike and his family enjoyed dinner.  And it really was OK.  I realized that Mike and I do know Jonathan's limitations, and need to speak up when it is time to say so.  Also, it helped prep us for the meal times and day events for the rest of the trip.  Each day, I would write out the steps of the things we were going to do, and review them with Jonathan...very similar to what I do at home every morning during the week.  And it worked!  He knew what to expect ahead, and didn't fuss later.
- Don't sit in the last seat on an airplane...second to last row is ok, but not the very last.  There is no window.  You can't see jack.

Honestly, I am so glad we did the trip.  Jonathan got to spend time with family, knows his Aunt, Uncles, cousin and Grandpa better.  And they were able to see him and know him too.  I think the prep work ahead helped, with the book, and later, the daily schedules.  So really, I should be thankful for the time we had together.  And for Steve Jobs too.  (have I mentioned Jonathan loves his iPad?)

I feel like I have so much more to say about the trip, and may add more later.  For now, I'm going to sit.  Oh, and enjoy the Thanksgiving meal Mike is making.  After all, we still have to have our Thanksgiving at home. 

Too cute not to add.  Pepper tried to be our stow-away.  She was happy when we got home, and her boy was happy to see her too. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

iPads, Potty, Thanksgiving, oh my!

A quick glimpse into a convo Jonathan and I had tonight.

Mom: OK, Jonathan.  One more show.  Make it count.
Jonathan: One.  Two.  Three...
Ahhh, I forgot.  He takes it all so literal.

So, if you follow my Facebook, you will have seen we purchased an iPad for Jonathan.  Not only am I excited for him to use it for therapy, but we also leave for NY soon, and it is a great time-sapper for the airport. 

He LOVES it.  Although, I can see him becoming obsessed and more separated from human contact...which is what we're avoiding.  But where is the balance?  I told him the iPad had to go sleepy, and he broke out in tears.  Like, heartbroken, his best friend just died, tears.  But I'm sure we'll figure it out.  Since he is so highly motivated by it, I think it would be best to use it as a reward and time usage.  Of course...after our trip.

And in potty training news:
Mister Rockstar Potty Trainer is doing great.  He has maybe one accident per day.  But really, I can't complain!  He was wearing only pull-ups just a few weeks ago.  Now he is a potty pro.  And today, for the very first time, he told me he had to go, rather then us taking him up at scheduled time.  Amazing.

So, now we'll see how Thanksgiving goes.   Jonathan has been reading his "Jonathan Goes to New York for Thanksgiving" book.  He really likes looking at the pictures of his cousin Thomas.  I think it helps that his name is the same as the train.  And Uncle Bob has the same name as Bob the Builder.  All bonus points in his book. 
So wish us luck. Recap to follow.
Prep for the worst and hope for the best.  :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

P-P-P Potty - Day 3

If you're still reading about our weekend, you must be either family, or really like me ;)

So today, I think was really successful!  We laid low and didn't really leave the house.

Looking at my "potty log" for the day, Jonathan successfully went 7 times on the potty, and only had 2 accidents.  We were going about every hour.  He had his 2 accidents back to back in the afternoon, so I moved our potty visits to 45 minutes - success - 50 minutes - success - 55 minutes, etc.  I think that helped him build up his confidence again to go on the potty. 

Funny, when he couldn't "go" he would look at me and say, "help.  help please."  Sorry kid, can't help you there!

And we did a lot of playing.  Putting puzzles together, played blocks, more time on the computer playing the Caillou games, and even threw in a few Handy Manny episodes.

I'm a little nervous for tomorrow.  But I need to let go and put him in the capable hands of his teachers, therapists and his Daddy.  I've just been the main go-to all weekend.  But a bird's gotta fly, right?  ha!!
This is the most potty success we've ever had.  So I'm feeling pretty hopeful.  At least for now.   

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Potty Post - Day 2

It is 7:15pm on Day 2, and I'm still alive.  Day 1 and Day 2 are in the books!

We kicked off this morning, after sleeping in (bonus!) at 7am.  Kid's pull-up was dry.  He was mad to go on the potty, but he did it.  We read a book...and success!  Later on that hour, an accident of the number 2 variety showed up soon after, but we haven't really been focused on "the deuce." So I wasn't too worried.

I was worried about the long morning ahead.  We were back to 50 minutes on the potty and 10 minutes off. Somehow, Jonathan was REALLY interested in computer games on my laptop.  I thought for sure he would want to watch DVDs on his portable DVD player.  But he wanted nothing to do with that.  He wanted to play a Caillou game I have on my computer.  And then a funny thing happened.  His first 50 minutes was up, without success, but he didn't want to get up.  He wanted to keep playing.  So I let him...and 20 more minutes later...SUCCESS!  (each time he has a success, we knock off 5 minutes on the potty to 5 minutes more of a break).

King Commode - Potty, 'puter, and Popcorn

And that's what we did all day.  Played on the computer, success, break, accident, back on the potty, played on the computer, success, break, accident, back on the get the picture.   I was pushing the liquids the whole time too.  My brother accused me of water-boarding when I told him.  Ha!

Mike did give me a reprieve.  I was able to sneak in a run and 3 loads of laundry. 

But I have to say, I kinda enjoyed my one-on-one time with Jonathan.  We did a lot of laughing.  I was forced to focus on the playing the games with him, and sitting with him, rather than my usual running around the house doing this and that.  This one game he really enjoyed was a memory game, where he had to match a picture (ie. a cow), with the word (COW).  There are probably a dozen different images and words, and he knew them all!  Totally site reading.  And the best, he understood the memory game aspect of it, which he didn't like to do before.  He caught on and remembered where items where, and I saw him do it.  One of those moments that if I didn't stop, I wouldn't have caught it.  So I guess, I'm grateful for this potty weekend in other ways besides the whole potty training aspect.

Mommy and Jonathan in all our glory!

So the last few potty attempts, we go up, and he goes right away!!!  YAYAYAY!! We are currently on a 45minute break.  I think the kid has peed in the potty like 10 times today (thanks to all that water-boarding). 

I know this is not the "end-all-be-all" to our potty journey.  But feels good that we've made strides in a positive way.

uhhh...gotta go.  He totally just crapped his pants.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Big Potty Day - 1

We had our big potty day kick off today.

He went on the potty this morning, and received his reinforcer of choice for going in the potty, a nutter butter cookie.  We have signs all over the bathroom and den "First- pee pee in potty.  Then - get a nutter butter!"

After school, he came home, and his therapist started potty day, which equaled hanging on the pot until success.  55 minutes on, then 5 minutes off.  Then, when he has success, 50 min on, 10 minutes off, and so on. 

First success this afternoon happened around 3:30.  He did great!  So so so proud.

He had an accident around 5:50.  Back on the potty.  Success at 6:50.  Hooray!  Accident at 7:35. 

And there you have it.  A few successes.  A few accidents, but I think you'll have that. 

I wanted to cry when the last therapist of the day left.  It was nice to have a third-party back-up person.  So this weekend, it's me and hubs.  I think he's scared of me.  I'm a little grumpy. 
But look how cute that tushy looks in his big boy underpants :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Everyone is an Expert

So I know there is a lot of information about Autism out there.  And I think it is great.  Awareness for the disorder is front and center.  Families are telling their stories, just as we are.  More and more people are becoming vocal, and it is empowering and wonderful.

Here is the catch.  I get unsolicited advice from people who may have watched a special or a documentary on this or that.  And all of a sudden, they are an expert. And really, sometimes I just don't want to hear it.  It's not that I don't want people to suggest things, or bring Autism up. It is just that this is sometimes hard enough as it is...and you're not living my life.  You're not HERE for the struggles, the tantrum, the tears.  You're not HERE for the joys, the laughs, and the breakthroughs. 

It is great that a woman from India tore paper to get her child out of his own world.  It is amazing that by switching to a strictly gluten-free diet, some kid can't even be detected as being on the spectrum.  And good for you, for trying the hyperbaric chamber clinic, that happens to be around the corner from my house. And the man who took his child to Mongolia to ride horses and see Shaman is a visionary, and did right for HIS family (it was a good read though).

We are doing the best we can for now.  We are taking this day by day, as any family can.  Do I want to learn more?  Of course!  But I need to get there in my own time.  And sometimes, I don't want to think about Autism.  Sometimes, I just want to watch TV, or be at work, or G-d forbid, relax.

I may be a little sensitive right now.  But these are my honest feelings.  I don't want to be unapproachable.  I think I must put up a good front...and at the same time, I feel like I'm always showing my cards. Just understand, none of this is easy.  And no matter what, we're doing the best we can, for now, for our son.

In other news...Potty Day is scheduled for Friday.  As the great Baby Bear said in "Elmo's Potty Time" movie, "We'll let you know how it all comes out...more or less." 

Quirky Crap My Kid Does

Jonathan memorizes cartoon episode.  Current favorite is Handy Manny (it used to be Caillou).  Handy Manny carved pumpkins.  That is why Jonathan knew to say "Two eyes, then a nose, then a mouth."  It is part of him scripting that he does.  It is funny that he knows the right situations to pull out the right script.

So when we asked if Jonathan wanted to go to the bowling ally, we knew he would be all about it.  We currently have 3 episodes of Handy Manny's that revolves around the bowling ally.  He, of course, brought his tools with him.  I just didn't realize they would also be playing.  I hope I didn't have to pay for their lane.

Pat and Stretch Go Bowling!

As you may have read, Jonathan has an obsession with yellow milk.  I bet you didn't know, yellow milk also dressed up for Halloween.  I mean, he is a member of the family.

Looking smart, yellow!

Oh, and don't leave out Pepper in the quirky department.  She is pretty funny herself.

Old McPepper Had a Farm!

Just a small helping of quirk.  :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Recap

Well, Jonathan's stomach bug caught up to me.  So I'm home from work at the moment.  Oh joy.

Anyway, Halloween. 
He wore his costume to school, and promptly took it off when we got there.  Not sure if the teachers got it back on for a class picture.  All the kids looked great.

I came home from work around 5:45.  His therapists that day had done some social stories about "Trick or Treat."  So when I asked if he wanted to go, he said, "Trick or Treat!"

He put on the costume, again, Handy Manny, which was a red and white baseball cap, a green tshirt (coat on over it b/c of the weather) and a yellow tool belt.  I held his tools, and we were off. 

We went nextdoor to our friend and neighbor.  He rang the bell...and then opened the door and let himself in!  It was OK, since we do go over a lot.  He then took his costume off, and we hung out for about 5 minutes or so.  He didn't want to put his costume back on, so I added it to my armload.

Next stop...our house!  Lots of trick or treaters were just leaving, so he wanted to ring the bell and have Daddy answer.  It was sweet.

We went to three more houses.  Each one he tried to go inside.  Once he was successful, but we knew those neighbors too, so it was OK.  After the third house, he turned to me and said, "Go home!  See Daddy!!!"

We made it home.  We passed out candy and ate our lot. 
All in all, not bad.  I'm glad he was able to express his wants and his limits.  He even said, "Trick or Treat" and "thank you" at each house when prompted. 

Now...on to Thanksgiving.  And then Christmas / Hanukkah.  Should be interesting, since he really is starting to understand these holidays now.  Should be fun.