Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Well, that was a long break.  I skipped the entire month of May.  That wasn’t intentional though.  I wish I had some type of exciting excuse such as being assigned to perform espionage or perhaps participating in an ultra marathon to stamp out world hunger.  But no.   I just got caught up in other things and blogging dropped to the bottom of my priority list. 

As for an update…….well I’ll give it to you in a nutshell. I’m a big fan of breaking things down to make them simpler. If you are curious as to how I feel about these certain updates, please note that I will have a visual following each one.  So here we go:

  • Alec is doing great in school and starting to enjoy reading long books  😀
  • Matt has had several great weeks at school in a row and continues to improve verbally  😀
  • Alec talked me into letting the stylist color his hair blonde 😕
  • John won several tennis matches in his tournaments 😀
  • My mom turns 60 this week 😆
  • I bought a new stun gun to go running with 😈
  • Our underground irrigation pipe broke 😡
  • This week is the last week of school for the kids (there is no emoticon available that appropriately describes the way I feel about this!)
  • Matt had a rough weekend this past weekend 😦
  • Matt has had much better days since 😀
  • I have been interrupted 3 times since writing all of this 👿
  • I appreciate all of you who read my blogs! 😀 

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Just the other day, I was having a conversation with a friend who was telling me about all of the interesting things that go on in his neighborhood. He mentioned how he liked his neighborhood and all the quirkiness that comes with it. Such as a gentleman neighbor on the corner who wears spandex all the time. Or the girl from across he street who is always barging in my friend’s house forgetting the fact that it’s important to knock first. And lets not forget about the 60 yr- old woman from 3 doors down who is always chasing her disobedient puppy down the street while in her underwear. There were many other interesting features about my friend’s neighborhood. Features that actually have a resemblance of an episode of “Desperate Housewives”, but I won’t go into that. Sorry 😉

I said to my friend, “Wow, my neighborhood is dull in comparison.” I added, ” There’s nothing all that entertaining going on in this cul-de-sac”.  Then I pondered a little.  Well, there is that one gray house with the Christmas lights still up.  Yes!  That gray house with that family of 4!  One of the little boys in that family likes to walk this red bike around the cul-de-sac over and over again. He doesn’t even ride it! Every once in a while, you will see this same little boy run out in the front yard in nothing but his boxer shorts and socks! Sometimes he’ll do this in the dead of winter! Then his poor mom ends up chasing him all around the front  yard untill he jumps into the back seat of their car and locks the door so his mom can’t get him.  The mom just shrugs her shoulders and walks back in the house. As soon as the mom does that,  this boy will jump out of the car and run back into the house….but what happened to his boxer shorts???! Did he take them off in the car?  Sometimes I notice them in the driveway the  very next day. 

I notice this little boy has an older brother.  He doesn’t do the streaking-outside thing but I notice he is quite loud. I can tell whenever they are on their trampoline in the back yard.  Sounds like a hyena is being tortured but I know it’s just him having fun on the trampoline.  

Then the husband. Seems like a nice family man and a great provider.  But would it kill him to take the rest of the Christmas lights down so his poor wife doesn’t have to?  She’s the one who puts them up every year.  Poor, poor woman. 

Yes, this gray house keeps our neighborhood very interesting.  Would it surprise you to know  that me and my family are the occupants of this gray mad house?  

I often wonder what perspective my neighbors have regarding the madness that spills out the front door on an almost daily basis.  But then again, I don’t think I want to know entirely.  One thing I know about my neighbors is that they are all precious! They are not judgmental like many people.  My neighbors practically have front row seats to a great deal of what goes on outside.  They probably lost count of how many times Matt has launched his backpack in the middle of the street because it wasn’t fitting just right.  But they don’t judge.  They show love, acceptance, and grace.  We are lucky.  The neighbors directly across the street happen to have a son with Autism Spectrum Disorder who is grown up. They remind me that they’ve been there.  They know.  Even our neighbors who don’t understand the challenges of raising a child like Matthew-they still love. They still care. They don’t ever criticize or pretend he’s not there.  Not too many people in my shoes can say that about their neighbors.


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A lot of books about autism have been given to me.  I haven’t read all of them yet.  I kind of pick and choose depending on what mood I’m in.  Many of the books are reference books and many are based on someone’s life.  Most of the books that I have seen are written by a parent of an autistic child. 

Recently my son’s teacher and my mother-in-law both told me about an article in our local newspaper.  It was about a writer who was coming to our small town to release her new book titled “How to be a Sister”.  My mother-in-law suggested that it would be great for me to contact her and get her book.  Hmmm. Get a book titled “How to be a Sister”?  I dont’ even have a sister.

The author of this book titled “How to be a sister”  is Eileen Garvin. She does have a sister. An older sister. A sister with severe autism. In this book, Eileen  narrates her own personal experiences of being raised in a family with her sister Margaret–who has severe autism.  This book is nothing like the others I have read.  As I said before, most books I have read are by the parents of children with autism. There are also many great books written by people with autism. 

What about siblings of children with autism?  Aren’t they affected too?  What roles do they play?  Eileen had a special bond with her sister that naturally placed her into a role as caregiver.  One of the things Eileen mentions is that “siblings of people with disabilities have all the same hardships as parents-only longer”. 

This book describes autism from the sibling’s point of view.  But this book is not meant for just siblings to read. I think everybody should read it. It is witty, humorous, heart-breaking, and affirming all at the same time.  Nothing is sugar-coated in this book. It is the real thing.  I am thankful for this book. I am thankful for the author. I am thankful for her sister Margaret. I am also thankful that my mother-in-law took Alec to the bookstore with her to buy Eileen’s book and have her sign it.  Alec was thrilled to meet Eileen and he was thrilled to know that this stranger knew exactly what he was going through.   http://www.howtobeasister.com/ 


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Shut up!

I hate it when my kids say “Shut-up!” to each other. So rude. So disrespectful. I suppose there are a lot worse things they could say to each other. I’m sure they’ve said them. But “Shut up” seams to be the number one top choice phrase between my two boys. They know the words have power. The power to tick each other off and the power to make mommy’s hair fall out. Alec will usually tell Matt to “shut up” as a result of Matthew scolding him or telling on him.

Matt: Alec, you can’t eat marshemellows. They not healthy for breakfast.
Alec: I can too!
Matt: Mommy, Alec eating marshmellows!
Alec: Shut up, Matt!

Matthew will often use the “shut-up” phrase out of context. Such as when an expectation isn’t being met:

Matt: You want to swing with me, Alec?
Alec: Not right now.
Matt: SHUT UP!!!

Well, I guess he still gets his point accross :8:

But still, I can’t stand hearing it.

A couple days ago John took Alec and Matt to his grandmother’s house while I stayed home. Alec and Matt love playing in their big green yard.  On that particular day, a boy who lived accross the street from his grandmother’s came over to play with them. The kids wrestled, chased, and played catch. They were having a blast.  All while John and his family observed from inside the house. At one moment, the neighbor boy had a stick and was trying to poke Matt with it. Matt protested and then the boy looked at Alec.  “What’s wrong with your brother? He’s stupid!” the boys said.  Alec marched over to the boy, “SHUT UP! Don’t poke him with the stick, he doesn’t like it!  And don’t call him stupid!  He has autism and its a brain disorder! I told you that!”

After that, the boy didn’t say another mean word about Matt.  According to Alec, the boy started playing nicely with Matt for the remainder of the time.  It’s probably a good thing that I wasn’t there. I tend to want to interfere when I should just wait and see how the kids work it out.  Chances are that if I observed the altercation, I might have had to demonstrate for the boy what it feels like to be poked with a stick. 

I was so proud to hear how Alec handled the boy. Never was I so happy to hear about my child saying “Shut-up!” to another :).

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After having Matt completely off the Mirtazaphine (night-time antidepressant drug that helps him sleep) for 5 days, I decided to have him take 1/2 of one last night just to see if his behaviors would in fact become worse:

And the results are in:

Obsessive/Compulsive behavior—worse

Moodiness–way worse

indecisiveness–way way worse

Irrationality–way way way worse. 

Causing mommy to age faster than the speed of light—you get the picture.

Is this just a coincidence? 

But hey, he did get a great nights sleep! (sigh)

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Since the sleeping medication appears to have worsened Matt’s anxieties and obsessive behavior, we decided to eliminated it.  Behaviors and anxieties have improved a great deal since we’ve stopped giving him this medication.  As far as his sleeping patterns………well, that’s another story. Here is an example of what the past few nights have been like.

8:00pm–Matt is ready for bed.

8:05pm–Matt falls asleep

9:00pm–Matt wakes up. Mom walks him back to his bed

9:05pm–Matt falls asleep.

10:03pm—Matt wakes up. Mommy gives him a melatonin, and walks him to bed.

10:25pm—Matt falls asleep.

1:15am—Matt wakes up and wants to watch a dvd.  Mom says no.

1:20am–Matt falls asleep.

3:02am–Matt wakes up and wants to visit. Mom says “The sun is not up. Go to sleep.”

4:00am–Matt falls asleep

6:45am–The sun starts to rise and Matt is wide awake. 

Good morning to everyone. 

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About 7 years ago, our family began going through a drastic change. I say began because this change didn’t happen overnight.   7 years ago, our family was thrust into a new world as a result of one word: Autism.  In that 7 years time, our outlook on parenting changed.  Our feelings toward other misbehaving children changed. Our views regarding chemicals, processed foods, wheat, dairy, vaccine…..all changed.  And on some things (vaccines), our views changed more than once.

Our family’s vocabulary changed too.  We frequently began saying things  like “spectrum”, “IEP”, “sensory overload”, “motor planning”, “casein”, “gluten”, “meltdown”, “stimming”, “thimerisal”, “toxins”, “Jenny McCarthy needs to quit beating the dead horse regarding vaccines”………………This is all very common language in the autism community. Except for maybe that last part. The thing about Jenny McCarthy is just  my personal opinion.

So we have come a long way in 7 years and I have a feeling our vocabulary is about to change again.  As I have mentioned before, Matt has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder comorbid to his autism. In other words, autism is not the only thing going on with this child.  He’s been diagnosed with Autism and Anxiety Disorder-NOS (Not otherwise Specified) . The “NOS” part of the diagnosis is really a way of saying, “we know he has an anxiety disorder, but that’s all we know and we can’t narrow it down for you, sorry.” 

We have discovered this last week that the anti-anxiety medication Matt was taking has not helped his anxiety disorder at all. In fact, his psychiatrist has suggested that it could be making it worse, which would really explain the increase in  aggressive behavior on his part. Since my last positive, sunshine-birds-are-singing-life-is-great blog post, things went kind of downhill for Matt again.  Why would an anti-anxiety medication not help calm his anxieties? Especially after giving him a higher dose?  It’s a medication in the anti-depressant family of meds and the doctor told me “antidepressants can actually increase mania (such as in manic/depressive disorder)”.  So I asked her, “Are you suggesting that he has a bi-polar disorder?”  She answered. “It’s not important what we call the disorder. What’s important is that we find a way to stop these continuous outbursts and the way we might have to do that is by stabilizing his mood.”

I appreciated her response.  I know where she was going with it.  He has a serious mood disorder, but slapping a label on it at this point isn’t what our goal is here.  That’s fine with me.  We have a better goal now.  Stabilize his mood.  That means we jump back on our medication rollercoaster.  I think we are at our 3rd stop.  Since Zyprexa was a bust, we are now on Clonidine.  A high blood pressure medication that is often used off-lable to help with impulsivity and aggression.  So in conjunction with his therapies and help from us, I feel good about the direction we are going.  Its been 3 days since he’s been taking  Clonidine and his obsessive/compulsive behaviors have reduced by quite a bit.   

Here’s the draw-back.  That anti-depressant medication that the doctor suggested was making him worse, was also his sleeping aid.   Since weaning him off, Matt has been waking up several times throughout the night.  Ugh. We are still in the early stages of all this so I still have hope it will get better.  Here’s to a good night sleep…..maybe.

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