#Autism and Teenage Hormones

I love my son so much.  It’s what gives me the ability to be patient and understanding with him.  Raising a child with autism has many challenges.  I take them on, day to day, and handle them to the best of my ability.  Some are easy to deal with, others are not.  Now that my son is a teenager, some of them seem to be getting harder.

My son has always had a stubborn streak.  In the past, I have been able to manage this.  He was easily redirected to something else.  Now, he isn’t.  He gets his mind set on wanting to do something, or get something, and there is no redirecting him.  We’ve been having a really hard time at night because of this.  He doesn’t want to go to bed when it is time.  He wants to be on the computer, or he wants the computer turned off.  He won’t go to bed if the computer is on, even though we are using it.  My son has always been OCD, but it was always minor.  It didn’t interfere with day to day life.  Now it does.  His OCD has gotten worse.  One example is walking.  In the past, he would walk around a different surface type, and avoid stepping on things.  It wasn’t a big deal, but could be challenging when walking across a parking lot.  Now,  he has to step on everything.  Any little difference in the surface, any object on the ground.  His entire focus is on the ground.  This is dangerous when we are walking in a parking lot.  It’s also lead to him walking into people, or things.

I blame this on teenage hormones.  Becoming a teenager isn’t just a matter of my child getting older.  It means things have changed internally.  Chemical changes.  Every parent of a teenager will tell you that their child completely changed when they became a teenager.  I had hoped that I wouldn’t have to deal with this with my son.  Of course, that was wishful thinking.  The teenage years are officially here, and I feel overwhelmed.  The school has even noticed differences.  I have an IEP meeting scheduled the last week of school.  I am going to talk to them about a behaviour plan.  We haven’t needed one before, but I think it is time now.

We’ll get through this, I know.  It’s just going to take time and patience.  Something I’ve gotten good with.


The #Avengers and Dinosaurs

It was a great weekend.  We went to the movies on Saturday, and saw the Avengers.  My husband and I were looking forward to watching this movie.  I was worried about taking the kids to see it, but they loved it.  I was also worried about the cost, but this movie was worth the money.

There were a lot of great moments in the movie, but two stood out as perfect.  To have one perfect scene in a movie is great.  To have two perfect scenes is incredible.  These two scenes had everyone in the theater laughing and cheering.  If you have seen the movie, I’m sure you know which two scenes I am talking about.

They both involved the Hulk.  The first one was Hulk and Thor fighting the aliens.  When it was just the two of them standing next to each other, it happened.  The perfect moment.  The perfect scene.  One quick movement from Hulk, and the audience was laughing and cheering.  Too bad for Thor that the movement, or punch, was directed at him.

The second perfect scene was Loki and Hulk.  I won’t describe it, because it’s one of those things you just have to see for yourself.  Again, if you have seen the movie, you know what I am talking about.  It’s the only scene with just the two of them.  It was awesome.

These two scenes were what everyone was talking about after the movie.  There were other great scenes, and my husband and I talked and laughed about them afterwards, but we always came back to the two perfect scenes.  If you haven’t been to see this movie, you need to go.  The Avengers is an absolute must see.

The next day, Sunday, we went to the zoo.  It was a great day.  The weather was cool, and we were able to see some great attractions.  The NC Zoo in Asheboro, NC, has a new attraction that we were looking forward to seeing.  It was a dinosaur exhibit.  The dinosaurs were mechanical, and were amazing.

Isn’t he a sweetie?  He’s the last one we saw on the dino trail.  I just had to stand in front of him and admire the little cutie. My husband was standing off to the side, as was everyone else.  I was standing in front of him, watching his head move, and listening to the sounds he made, when it happened.  I was in shock when it happened.  I couldn’t believe it.  It spewed water out at me!  Cold water!  I was in shock, looking around at everyone in disbelief.  Then I started laughing and it happened again.  When I was standing there, coming to terms with what had just happened, it didn’t even occur to me to move out of the line of fire.  The second time it happened, my brain started working again, and I moved.  And what was my husband doing?  Laughing!

Dinosaurs were not the only thing that we enjoyed seeing at the zoo.  Here are some pictures of some other animals that we enjoyed seeing.  The trip to the zoo was great.  It was fun, and the kids had a great time.  I’m glad I took the weekend off from working, and just spent time with the family.

When Things Get Worse You Keep Smiling

It’s not easy.  Just when I thought I was getting better, I got worse.  I have an ear infection, and it woke me up this morning with popping and then fluid draining out of it.  It hurt.  It still does.  I had to cancel my dentist appointment, and go see the doctor.  As miserable as I was, I kept smiling.  I was not going to let it get me down.

Before I went to the doctor, I caught my sister on Facebook.  That doesn’t happen that often.  She lives in a different state, has a really busy schedule, and is fighting Leukemia.  She had a doctor appointment today to see if she was in remission.  She also told me she has been suffering from depression.  This fight with Leukemia has been hard for her.  When I got home from seeing the doctor, I checked her update, and she isn’t in remission.  I just want to go down to FL and put my arms around her.  She needs help, and I am too far away.  Her husband has been great, really supportive of her needs.  I just wish we lived in the same state, and town.

I don’t understand what she is going through.  I don’t know a lot about Leukemia.  I do know that it is physically and mentally taking it’s toll on her.  I worry about her.  She was up here last month, and seemed to be doing good.  But that is my sister.  She puts up a good front.  If she can, I can.  Even though today was tough for me, I can keep smiling.  I’ll get better.  I just hope my sister will, too.

Trying Not To Be Sick and Failing

I went to bed Thursday evening feeling sick.  I had a pounding headache, and my throat was feeling soar.  I woke up Friday and was miserable.  I had big plans on Saturday, and couldn’t be sick.  I also had both kids for most of the day.  I took it easy, as best as you can when you have two kids in the house.  When my husband came home, after work, he went straight to bed.  Alright, I thought.  He’s tired.  A few hours later, he gets up and doesn’t look too good.  I asked him if he was sick, too.  He did his best to answer yes.  Poor thing, he had lost his voice.  So, what’s worse than both parents being sick at the same time?  Both parents being sick, two kids that aren’t, and a busy weekend already planned.  Yikes!

I didn’t get much sleep Friday evening.  I was so congested, and was head throbbed.  I got up early Saturday, took some medicine, stood in a hot shower, then got myself together for the day I had planned.  Remember the big plans I said I had?  I had reserved a spot at our Golden Corral parking lot yard sale. (Golden Corral rents out parking spaces in the lot to raise money for their camp.  I don’t know how often they do it, but I think it’s once a year).  I had to load up my stuff, and leave the house early.  It was difficult, but I was able to do it.  By the time I got over to Golden Corral, my medicine was helping, and I was telling myself I was going to be fine.

I was out there with my Unit Leader.  Did I mention I did this to sell some of my AVON inventory?  This was important to me and I couldn’t let being sick stop me from doing it.  We were out there for about seven hours.  It was very successful.  I forgot my sunscreen, but I had my hat.  My arms got burnt, but my face didn’t.  I pushed all thoughts of me being sick to the back of my mind.  While I was out there, I wasn’t sick.  I did great.  Until we were done.  And my husband and kids showed up right as we were breaking down.  Talk about perfect timing.  They wanted to eat.  I wanted to go home.  But, I was hungry, and I had been smelling their food all day.  I didn’t eat much.  My throat just wouldn’t let me.  I managed to get some green beans down and a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

I spent Sunday resting, and doing the mom thing.  My husband went to the truck race.  He still sounded miserable, but he said he felt better.  He enjoyed the race.  I started feeling better by the end of the day.  Then, when we went to bed, we both started coughing really bad.  Really?  The coughing had to start when I thought I was finally going to be able to get some sleep?  Another night of bad sleep, and feeling miserable.  Now we are up to this morning.  Still miserable, but working hard on getting better.  Trying not to be sick, and failing.  But I won’t give up.  I have a busy week planned.

Easter and My Before and After Weight Loss Pictures

Easter was fun.   We went to Mount Airy (NC), or you may know it by another name.  It’s the little North Carolina town that is known as Mayberry by many.  We had dinner at my mother-in-law’s place, and went to church services.  Then, before we left, we walked around “Mayberry.”

The shops were all closed, but it was nice to walk around and look in the windows.  We saw some familiar names and faces.  Here’s one that you might remember.

We also had an amazing view on the drive up.  Mount Pilot is a wondrous thing to see.

I also wanted to share a before and after picture of my weight loss.  I still have more weight to lose, but I thought it would be nice to share what I looked like before and what I look like now.


Communication Device Broken At School

communication deviceI mentioned it on Twitter when it happened.  My son’s communication device was broken at school.  It’s a Say-It! SAM device.  My son is completely nonverbal, and this was his main way of communicating.  The device, which is expensive, was paid for by his insurance.  The repair for it isn’t covered.  That will be coming out of our pockets.

My husband sent it off last week.  If the only thing that is wrong with it is the screen, the cost of parts will be $267.  I don’t know what the cost for labor will be.  I’ll find out when I get the bill.  I also don’t know how long it will take.  I’m hoping that it will only be a couple of weeks.  A very long couple of weeks.  Try not talking, at all, for two weeks, and then you will understand what my son is going through.

I don’t know how it was broken at school.  No one there knows.  Bottom line, as long as no one there knows anything, the school isn’t liable.  When I first held the broken device in my hands, I felt like my heart had been stabbed.  I went off on my own and had a breakdown.  I didn’t want to do it in front of the kids.  Communication is so difficult for my son, losing his “voice” was painful for me.  It had taken so long to get him that device.

If you are a parent of a non-verbal autistic child, I’m sure you understand how the broken device has been such a hardship for my son.  If you aren’t, just imagine that your child isn’t able to speak, and you will have an idea.

The new statistics for the rate of autism is 1 in 88.  My child isn’t the only child with autism that is nonverbal.  It seems like, as the rate rises, it becomes harder to get help for my son.  Have people become desensitized to autism?  Have they decided that it is something to be accepted, and can’t be changed?  By people, I mean doctors and government officials.  April is Autism Awareness month.  From what I can see, we have plenty of awareness.  People know about autism.  Chances are, you have a child with autism, a family member with autism, or a friend with an autistic child.  Awareness isn’t the problem.  We need action.  We need actual help.  We need to know what causes autism and how to minimize it or cure it.  With the way the rate of autism keeps rising, how long before it becomes a 1:1 rate?

Boys and Girls Weekend

This weekend was a boys and girls weekend.  My husband and son did camping with the Boy Scouts.  My daughter and I had a girls weekend.  My guys left on Friday, and returned home on Sunday.  My son rode on the Boy Scout bus, while my husband drove the truck.  Lucky for all of the scouts, our truck also serves as our storage for all of our camping equipment.  The scouts had food, but did not arrange for anything to cook the food in.  My husband pulled our all of our camping pots and pans for them to use.  Our canopy was also put into use.  My husband and son had a great time.  They were tired when they returned home, but willing to go out as a family to walk around some stores.

Friday evening, my daughter gathered her dolls and put them in my bed.  We’ve made it a tradition for us that she will sleep in my bed when the guys go camping.  I have to say, I was extremely happy to have my husband in bed with me Sunday evening.  Sleeping with my daughter and all of her dolls is not fun.

Saturday was a busy day for us.  My daughter had bowling in the morning.  Then, we had to go get some adjustments made on her glasses.  I also had an AVON meeting to attend on Saturday.  It lasted a couple of hours.  We took it easy Saturday evening, but was up and out of the house Sunday morning.  My daughter needed an Easter dress, and a bathing suit.

Shopping for the bathing suit made me realize why my mother and daughter do so well together shopping.  My mom always insists that everything gets tried on.  My daughter thinks everything needs to be tried on.  I prefer to pick a couple of items, different styles,  have her try them on, and pick the best to buy.  My daughter wanted to try on everything.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the same style as something she has already tried on.  I did it her way.  I let her try on everything she wanted to, and then we picked out the best one.  I don’t think I have ever spent an hour shopping for a bathing suit before.

Sunday was miserable.  The morning started out as a battle.  My daughter wanted to go out to a fast food restaurant for breakfast.  I didn’t.  I told her it was either eat at home, or go to one of two places I specified.  We went around and around about it, and it took an hour before we were out the door.  After my husband and son came home, and their laundry was started, we took off for some stores that were out of town.  I wanted to look at things that I couldn’t find in my little town.

We went to two different stores, and I ended up with such a headache.  My daughter wanted me to buy her all kinds of things.  Towards the end, she was fixated on me buying her an Easter basket and treats for her classroom.  I was planning on getting those things today, when she was at school.  I told her this.  She didn’t want to wait.  I ended up very frustrated from constantly saying no, and telling her I will take of those things the next day.  I ended up with a really bad headache. I just wanted to go home.  I was disappointed, because I had started off enjoying myself.  I really just wanted to look around in the group of stores we were at.  They had a lot of things that the stores in my town don’t have.  I could tell my husband was not happy.  There were a couple of stores he wanted to check out.  But, he understood.

I have the month of April packed with commitments.  I am hoping to be able to fit in a family camping trip before it gets too hot.  We’ll see.  It would be nice to get away from the computer and phone for a whole weekend.

How was your weekend?

Allergies and Sick Child

I set up a table to sell my AVON, on Friday.  It was a teacher work day, so my kids didn’t have school.  My daughter came with me, and she lasted a couple hours before I had to call my husband to come get her.  He was off of work that day.  An hour later, he called me and said that our daughter was sick.  She was dehydrated.  He spent the rest of the day taking care of her.  She was better the next day, thankfully.

This morning, she was coughing and sniffling.  Her allergies were making her feel miserable.  I gave her some medicine, and had her go to school.  I’m staying close around the house today, just in case I get a phone call from the school.  The pollen is awful around here, and I’m surprised that the rest of us aren’t miserable from it.  My son and I have really bad allergies, too.

I tried something new with my AVON this weekend.  I made up an Easter Basket with 2 large bottles of the Jelly Bean Bubble Bath, and a basket with Footworks and Naturals.  I made a delivery to a customer at a doctor’s office, and took them with me to show the ladies.  One bought a bottle of Bubble Bath from the Easter Basket, and another bought the Footworks and Naturals basket.  The lady that bought the Bubble Bath was oohing and ahhing over the other basket, and said she would call me about doing up a couple for her.

I have to get some housecleaning done this week.  My kitchen and dining room look awful.  I also have AVON boxes stacked in both the living room and kitchen.  I’m surprised that my husband isn’t complaining.

This week is looking like it will be a lot easier for me.  I don’t have that many plans.  I’m going to take advantage of it by getting caught up with my computer work, and my housework.  I’ve also planned some new meals to try this week.  Last night, I made Chicken Fajitas.  They were great!  Of course, my husband had to find something to complain about.  There was no cheese.  He loves his cheese.  That didn’t stop him from eating several of the fajitas.  There were no left-overs.

Next weekend, it will just be me and my daughter.  My husband and son are doing a Boy Scouts camping weekend.  I need to plan some activities for a girl’s only weekend.  I’m looking forward to it.  We don’t get that many opportunities to just have fun together.  It will be nice to not have to worry about whether or not my husband and son want to do what we want to do.  We like to go to the stores and look at clothes.  They like to look at the stuff in the electronics department.  We like to take our time.  They are always rushing us.

April will be a busy month for us.  I intend to take advantage of this coming weekend, and relax and have fun.

My ABC News Interview

Katie Moisse, Health Reporter with ABCNews.com, interviewed me for an article that was posted today. The article came about because of studies that show that autism moms have a lower income than moms without an autistic child. She wanted to interview actual moms, raising an autistic child, and find out how the studies relate to us.

I think that the only moms of an autistic child that didn’t see their income lowered, or eliminated, due to raising an autistic child, is a celebrity mom. I had to stop working. My family struggles to get by on my husband’s income.

During the interview, I addressed questions about my experiences raising my son. It was difficult. Even after all of these years, talking about the years before my son’s diagnosis rips at my heart. I was talking to a friend about it last week, and I was holding back the tears. I try to not look back. I try to focus on what is, and what could be.

Yesterday, we were out bowling, and there were several birthday parties going on. My son made his way over to one of them, and the mother of the birthday girl was trying to talk to him. I rushed over to him, and apologized. I quickly explained that he doesn’t talk, and that he was autistic. My son was pointing at a little bag of Doritos that was on the table. She told him he could have it, and I thanked her for her kindness.
Later, I looked around and saw that he was back over there. She was handing him a plate. My son came back to us, and sat at the counter. He had two slices of pizza and a bag of chips. I went over to her, and before I could say anything, she looked at me and smiled. She said it was no problem, they had plenty. I thanked her for being so kind to my son. I could feel the tears in my eyes, and I could tell that she noticed them. We exchanged a couple of words, and I returned to my family.

Our lives are not easy. We struggle with taking care of our autistic child. Moments like that, the kindness of a stranger, makes things a little easier.


Staying In The Goldilocks Room

I spent the weekend at the beach with my family.  It has become a family tradition to go to the aquarium for my son’s birthday.  We opted to spend the night at the beach this year, and give ourselves a break from doing all of that driving in one day.  During the off-season, it’s easy to get a room on the beach on Carolina Beach.

We stayed at the Dolphin Lane Motel, what looked like a nice, little place from the outside.  The inside was a different matter.  The rooms are outdated, and the floors were filthy.  My kids had black feet from walking barefoot in the room.  The worse part was the beds.  We started off with the kids in one bed, and my husband and I in the other.

Our bed was way too hard.  I wasn’t happy.  My husband said the other bed was softer, so I switched places with my son.  Immediately after laying down in the other bed, I said that the bed was too soft.  I could feel bed springs.  I was getting really frustrated.  My husband replied with a comment about it being a Goldilocks room.  In turn, (I couldn’t resist), I said “Where’s my bed that is just right?”

A few minutes later, I was extremely unhappy.  I started having a hot flash, and my daughter was cuddled up with me.  She’s a furnace.  I told her to scoot over.  Wasn’t happening.  My husband called her over to the other bed.  That put the three of them in a little bed, and me in one by myself.  Was I happy?  No.  I was hot, and laying on a very uncomfortable bed.  Note to self, do not stay at that motel again.

We didn’t let the motel ruin our weekend.  The aquarium was great.  We went on Saturday, and returned on Sunday morning.  Walking through the aquarium on Sunday was great.  There wasn’t anyone else there, we got in right when they opened.  My kids loved it.

We ate supper Saturday night at Buffalo Wild Wings, in Wilmington.  I love their hot wings.  Breakfast was at Kate’s Pancake House, in Carolina Beach.  Kate’s is one of our favorite places to eat on the strip.  The food and service is always good.  They have a nice selection of healthy meals for those who watch what they eat (like me).  And the prices are reasonable.

There wasn’t much else to do during our visit.  Except for the motel, we had a good time.