I put the “I” in Impulse

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Being a parent puts you in a club so-to-speak with other parents.  For some it was a dream come true, for others a “gift” and depending on one’s circumstances it could be quite scary heading into the unknown waters of parenthood.  When you’ve found out you’re the parent of a special needs child you’re then put into a sub-group of parents that you never asked to join!  For some, after getting over the shock, it can be a relief to find other kindred families who may be going through similar growing pains.  To others it can be saddening or shocking.  As for me, I tend to bounce back and forth between relief of knowing why certain behaviors are happening with my child, and frustration at not being able to handle everything better.  Nevertheless, here we all are in this club.  Now, when you find yourself here, its really a sink or swim situation.  Most people become reluctant experts on their child’s particular type of disorder if they want to function.  Its almost impossible not to be.  A few years ago I just knew that something was wrong with my son.  I knew it.  I would ask family, friends, doctors and everyone said, “he’s fine, really, all kids do that”.  Yeah… I was still skeptical.  I didn’t believe it.  You know how it all those parenting books for new babies where they tell you to trust your parental instincts, well, I could just see the alarm bells going off in my mind.  There was something wrong, I didn’t care what anyone said.  I was determined to figure out what it was.  I scoured the internet for similar behaviors and asked all children’s experts that I came in contact with.  I finally got someone to take me seriously.  It was M’s first preschool teacher.  I asked her if he was doing ok in school one day before picking him up and she said “yes, he’s doing fine”.  I then saw M (through a glass window) begin squealing and running around as the children changed stations in the classroom.  (Transitions.  M still has trouble with transitions to this day.)  I pointed out that I didn’t think that behavior was normal and  without missing a beat, she offered to have him evaluated.  DH and I thought this would take a couple of days, or maybe it would happen the next week.  The very next day he was evaluated and we had a conference with the on-site social worker.  She shared her thoughts about his behavioral issues and gave us pamphlets on various occupational therapies and social therapies in our area.  Hooray!  We had a piece of information!  It wasn’t a diagnosis, but it was a place to start.  We received information about a special needs pre-kindergarten and M tested into the program.  Finally, we were going to get some help!  The program was amazing.  M was doing things that I didn’t think we were ever going to get him to do.  (Like sitting in a chair for circle time in class and learning to hold a pencil correctly.)  Towards the end of the year I asked the social worker there if she thought maybe he had ADHD or something similar.  That afternoon M came home with a stack of papers on Aspberger’s Syndrome.  (The school is not allowed to give a diagnosis of course, but this was her way of pointing us in the right direction.)  M had everything on the list.  Every single symptom.  Things began moving more rapidly after this and I found a great autism support group for parents and play group for children.  I found a behavioral pediatrician to receive a medical diagnosis.  We began private therapies and M received an IEP for kindergarten the next year.  Whew.  It was a lot – a long road and it had just begun.  I mention all this because even though I “know” so much about what is going on with him, it doesn’t always click with me right away.  For instance…. impulse control.

M has always had difficulty with self-restraint if its something he really wants.  When he was 3 it was strawberry syrup so we had to stop buying it because he would sneak into the fridge to get it.  When he was 4 it was wandering off – extremely dangerous, so we installed an alarm system and put locked gates around our house.  Now, its video games and granola bars.  While not as dangerous, its still frustrating.  The games I am working on – we have our schedule sheets that the children follow and it helps.  The granola bars…I dunno.  I may have to lock them up.  I’m not sure.  I just find it fascinating that often I can’t spot an impulse problem with M.  How can I not see it??  Is it because he is older and its just not the first thing I expect him to do?  So, my first impulse is to yell.  Its as effective as talking to brick.  I don’t recommend it.  My next step is going to be putting a meal plan on the fridge so that M knows when meals/snacks are going to happen.  I hate to feel like I’m structuring all the children’s lives around M’s issues, but it helps him, which keeps things calmer for everyone else and maybe it will help them as well.  Schedules, lists and calendars have always helped M to feel more grounded.  He can see what is coming next and its not a surprise.  This may work or it may not.  My particular brand of parenting seems to be a lot like running with your shoelaces untied.  I get a few good running strides in until I  trip and fall on my face and and then I get up and do it all over again.  Its a good thing I’m naturally tenacious.  Its a good thing M is so naturally forgiving.  Its worth repeating…impulse control is hard.   Transitions are hard.  Both may always be a problem.  Hang in there folks.

Be Fierce.  #MakeASchedule

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

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I. Just. Want. A. Sandwich.

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So I was dashing out the door to an appointment last night and I realized that I had made dinner for my children to have with the babysitter, but forgot to pack anything for myself and *lightbulb moment*:  I will pick up a sandwich from Panera.  Yum!  No problem, right?  Well….   I was in a hurry and I remembered how I had called in an order before or maybe I had ordered online, I couldn’t remember, so I thought, “oh!  I’ll just order it for pick up online!”.  I have developed sort of an aversion to talking to people on the phone when not necessary, especially businesses, so when I can I use e-mail or texts or chats or something similar, I’m all about it.  I thought this online order would fit the bill.  Well….  I went to the website on my phone which all but made it impossible not to download the app, “Why are you still using the mobile site”, it said, “download the app for easier ordering!”.  Oh, ok.  So I went to the app store and downloaded the app and started to create an account.  (high-pitched this time) Well….  Eventually I figured out that I already had an account, but I couldn’t remember which e-mail address it was connected to.  After a few minutes I got that figured out as well, but then I had no password.  :::headdesk:::  I just want a sandwich.  I just want some dinner.  I have 10 minutes to get where I am going, please to me a sandwich.  Hungry!  So now I was beginning to get really frustrated and hungry and time was running out.  After finding the e-mail address to which my sandwich account (Panera) was connected to, I downloaded yet another app for that e-mail address and I tried to log in.  :::send help::::  I have forgotten my password.  By this time I have run out of time to actually order online and I have arrived at the Panera to just order in person.  (the snail mail of food ordering)  Ugh.  Plus interpersonal skills on the weekend.  Grrr.  *sigh*  Ok, ordered and picked up food and have used my little club card thingy whereupon I discovered that had I figured out how to order online or through the app I could have saved $5.00.  Seriously.  Frustrated.  Feeling defeated I continued on to my appointment rather excited about my sandwich, but upset about my side choice with my You-Pick-2.  Why don’t I ever choose the bread?  I love the bread!  Just get the bread!  Grrr.  Online I would have chosen the bread.  Anyway.  I later did get that password figured out for my alternate e-mail account that was connected to my sandwich account and now I have synched them up with my club card thingy and am ready to rock.  Next time.   I downloaded 2 apps and spent probably half an hour trying to order a sandwich.  I thought this was supposed to be easier.  I remember not too long ago when it would not have even occurred to me to download an app to my phone to place an order for something.  Online technology changes our routines, our social patterns (when was it that I stopped liking the phone so much?), makes things easier to a point, but also can occasionally cause so much extra work.

Be Fierce.  #technicaldifficulties

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

“You know you’ve sworn off BAKERIES for lesser offenses..”

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This was what my husband said to me after tiring of hearing about all of our church drama.  I just stopped mid-sentence.  Um, yeah, but its a church, not a doughnut.  I do really really love gourmet doughnuts.  You may recall my post here where I just “lost it” while waiting in line at Bennison’s, a local bakery here.  Quick recap:  I have 3 children plus DH and myself, I spend a minimum of $18 walking into a bakery and usually its more if we get loaves of bread or rolls, etc.  Its hard for me to get there to begin with, what with all the wiggly ASDness and whatnot, and its usually a “treat” for my children.  I don’t expect special treatment, but I do expect to get my “turn” in line after I’ve been waiting there for ages.  In any case, I know what he meant.  “Leave the drama alone”.  Per our difficulty with our special needs child at church and other religious education goals not lining up, we have officially left our church and the notification e-mails have been sent and phone calls made.  Here was my original post about that.  I am more upset than I thought I would be, but I do think it was the right decision in the long term.  I am most sorry that I have lost a couple of new, but good friends from the congregation due to just…. drama I guess.  I’m not even sure what happened.  Here are the reasons we left the church:

  1. Our spiritual journey is not aligned with that of the church and we can’t in good conscience continue along this path of religious education for our children.
  2. Our children are getting older and moving into the “big kid” classes.  It is important to us to have a more structured environment for their religious education.  At this time the staff, model and  structure for caring for our ASD child does not meet our needs.
  3. We have felt that the church is becoming more and more committed to social outreach causes instead of nourishing the body and spirituality within the church.
  4. Along with ministering to those with regards to racial diversification, economic inequality and immigration reform, ministering to individuals with special needs and the families who care for them can indeed be its own method of “outreach” into the community and we would like to be in a place where this is more of a priority.

I was also especially hurt because our “spiritual journey” is pushing us in more of a conservative direction right now and its just not something that I ever thought I would be judged for.  We don’t all take the same path.

Anyway, I’m off to Hewn.  They have amazing croissants.  😉

Be Fierce.  #Dropthatdoughnut

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

Shopping Shenanigans

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Oh groceries.  How I love thee!  So much excitement over a newly opened canister of coffee!  New yogurt flavors, new applesauce containers.  Yum!!  So much fluster over those flipping plastic bags that seem to procreate on their own…  O.o  “They have babies!”, my stepsister-in-law says.  They do accumulate.  I’ve tried several “styles” of shopping lately trying to solve various obstacles I’ve found myself up against.

For a while money was my biggest obstacle with groceries.  For a couple of years we were on such a slim budget that I created an excel sheet pricing grid and kept up with sales and pricing to the penny.  It was tedious!  Also weirdly fun in a way?  As a result, I still am able to tell you where the best prices on various items are within a few miles of my home.  It helped and amazingly, we got by.  ( I never did figure out how to do some of the awesome couponing I’ve heard about.  What’s it called?  Super-couponing?  Supreme couponing?  Something like that.)

Over time, our budget somewhat smoothed out and just in time, I hit a new obstacle, my anxiety disorder.  As mentioned in previous posts, due to “life” I was off of my anxiety medication for a period of time and eventually decided I didn’t need it anymore.  (I was mistaken.)  Very very gradually, my anxiety increased to the point where I would have occasional panic attacks while out shopping with my children in tow.  It was not fun.  I one time had to leave a shopping cart full at Target and dash out of the store (once the dizziness had passed and I was able to safely leave).  Thinking back, it probably wasn’t the best time for me to be driving home, but well, there I was.  So – for this issue it was medication that solved most of my problems and I began to find stores that for whatever reason, I felt more “comfortable” in.  I began to steer clear of traditional grocery stores, but instead would hit big box stores and bulk stores.

As my children got older, it became a little harder for me to put them ALL in the cart when I was shopping and around this same time we got a diagnosis for M and we began to learn what some of his triggers were for his difficult behavior.  Some of them are: buzzing and yellow overhead lights, echoing sounds from a  warehouse-type of building and the motion and low rumble of many conversations at one time.  I learned where I could and could not shop very easily.  There are probably 2 brands of grocery stores that I simply do not take M inside of because I think it is actually rather hurtful for him.  We just don’t go there.  There are also probably 2 stores that he can handle for a short few minutes that I can bring him, and my other two children of course, in and grab a few necessities when I need to.  Honestly, this wasn’t that big of a deal for me.  Some people like red apples, some like green – whatever floats your boat.  I feel lucky that I live in an area with a variety of groceries stores to choose from.  Truly, its helpful.  But then the growing started.

Oh the growth spurts.  My stars but my children can eat.  As many of you probably know of children they will eat you out of house and home while growing and then seemingly be not so peckish for a few days off and on until they start those mad growth spurts again.  My mother-in-law had been measuring the children for clothes that she makes them and while we were visiting over the summer, we compared some of the charts.  The boys had grown almost 3 inches taller in the span of 6 months and Miss S was not far behind.  Their arms were much longer (no wonder that new shirt I got Mr A lasted only a couple of weeks).  Their feet were bigger.  They were bigger!  I digress.  So, we were flying through our groceries and I was constantly trying to figure out how to fill the pantry while managing our schedule and over-stimulated and wiggly children in the store.  And then I re-discovered Peapod.

I used Peapod briefly a very long time ago when it first was offered in our area, but now, now I felt like I really needed the assistance with getting the food into the house.  As I mentioned, I previously was shopping at some bulk grocery stores and big box stores.  (Target is a favorite.) This was lovely, but then often, I wouldn’t actually be able to get the groceries out of the truck and into the house with any timely manner and sometimes because I just couldn’t lift it.  I began to bring in the perishables and then leave the rest for when I could manage it.  It was frustrating.  It was inconvenient.  I needed to fix this weirdness.  I began ordering Peapod again and oh the happiness of being able to just open the door and have my groceries come all the way into my kitchen was amazing.  I heart grocery delivery so much I got the “pod pass”.  Did you ever hear of such a thing?  You basically pay for all of your shipping for 6 months so then you have free (or discounted shipping) for your orders.  Amaze!!  (I know, I know, I’ve been watching too many Barbie cartoons with Miss S.)  Still.  There were a few things I could not get from Peapod.  Hmmm…. Amazon?  We’ve been Amazon prime members for a while now and I highly recommend it.  Especially for the holidays.  Ok, this sort of filled that gap, but there were still a few things missing…. And then…..Amazon Prime Now.

Crazy bananas.  You just download this little app on your phone and you can order a gillion (ok, not a gillion, but a lot) items to arrive to your house in 2 hours for FREE, if you’re an Amazon Prime member.  Yeah.  I’m going to let that sink in for a minute.  ::::::::::::::::

This will change my life.  Oh!  Oh!  And…. they will take away the silly plastic bags to have them recycled!  Woot!  Save the planet – check!

:::doing the happy dance::::  Silly shopping shenanigans….I got it down.

Be Fierce.  #saneshopper

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

Would you go Paleo?

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I’ve been looking at doing the “Whole 30” eating plan.  The basic premise is that you eat exculsively Paleo for 30 days with no exceptions and then you can moderately ease into a less restrictive Paleo diet.  I’ve been thinking about it 1) becasuse I have got to do something to increase my energy level and 2) I have a couple of friends who have gone “Paleo” and they love it, although they say it takes some discipline to start.  On the Whole 30 site it says, “Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”  That’s true.  I feel like that can includes so much more in my life when I take a step back from my life “busy-ness” and look around me.  Little things can feel hard, when they disrupt our comfort.  Let’s take today for example…  I am AWFUL about getting all the tedious paperwork done for our vehicles on time.  I do it… just not on time.  I feel like that “maintenance” red light on the dashboard of my car is like a built-in back up just for me.  Its going to stay there staring at me, until I take the car in for an oil change.  Its like the car sticking its tongue out at me blowing raspberries.  So, I did that yesterday and no more red light.  Yay!  Today I took the car in for emissions testing and then to the Currency Exchange to get a current tax sticker for the car.  I cannot tell you how I dislike those shops.  They feel dirty inside.  You would think the atmosphere alone would be enough to make me send in my payment ahead of time so that I wouldn’t have to go there.  I believe that because I’m not confronted with it, I just put it out of my mind for as long as possible.  Eventually I have days like this, where I have a panic attack, lose my phone and phone cover, step on a bumblebee and then get a ticket for not having a wheel tax (??  seriously, its a thing) all in one day and I wish wish wish I had done all of my car paperwork early.  This year I’m making my wheel tax payment online.  *cheers for not having to go into a creepy building*  Anyway, my point.  All of those little things seemed so hard, but they weren’t actually hard.  I had just built them up in my head. Eating “clean” as in a Paleo plan has been built up so much, because it pretty different than what I am used to and I have convinced myself that its hard.  I’m so intrigued by it and I can’t even tell you why.  Is it because its called, “the Cave Man Diet”?  Is it because I have friends who are doing it?  Am I really that influenced by my peers?  (still?)  I have no idea.  In the meantime, I have gotten a book about it called the Paleo Manifesto by John Durant, and I’m trying to learn more about it sort of hoping it will cure my curiosity.  I don’t think I could drink my coffee black though.  I think I would have to switch to unsweetened hot tea.  As Momastery says, “we can do hard things”!!  (Even things that aren’t actually hard, but seem hard at the time.  You know what I mean.)

#BeFierce  *Tell that car paperwork or hot tea who’s boss!

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly