Children's Schedule, church

I tried skipping my coffee… it did not go well.

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I am a tired person.  I am making soup and its cloudy and rainy outside and its just making me so drowsy! Whew.  Today is going to be a coffee in the afternoon kind of day.  I try not to caffeinate after noon, but honestly its that or sleepwalk through the rest of my day.  Miss S has been fascinated with plants lately.  It is wonderful and adorable and I love it… but its beginning to seep into my day.  For example, I sleepily got everyone into the car to go to school the other day and I’m walking out the door with my giant coffee mug and after taking a sip I find there is something papery in my mouth!  I have papers in my cup!  How did this happen?!  Oh.  Oh wait, its a leaf.  Its leaves actually.  In my cup.  Miss S says she added them for extra flavor.  Yum.  Later in the afternoon I am doing dishes when I look at my (formerly) empty flower pot on the sink and find it filled with green leaves and water.  She wanted to make sure they could still grow.

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I’m not a green thumb by any means, but we’re going to go over gardening 101 this weekend.  In the meantime, its cute.  Well, except for the leaves in my coffee.  That kind of freaked me out to be honest.

The third week of school is upon us and the kiddos have collectively turned in 2 projects.  Swimming lessons, youth group and Sunday school classes have started – we’re in full swing.  I tell you, I was on the phone the other day when I was asked what activities the children were doing this fall and I rattled off a few and then… I dunno, it felt like that wasn’t enough and the person I was talking to also seemed to feel like I was “missing” something and so began to mention how I would be saving money by not having the children in so many activities at once.  While that is true (hey, swimming lessons x 3 is not cheap) they are also doing youth group and private therapy and to be honest, I just can’t run around more right now.  We really went all out last spring and when it came time to sign up for fall activities I just couldn’t over extend myself again.  Maybe we’ll ramp up this winter with a 3rd activity.  Maybe not.  How many things do children do at a time these days?  It seems like they’re over scheduled or under scheduled.  Its difficult to strike a balance.

Be Fierce.  #AimforBalance

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

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Autism

I Had Trouble In Getting To Solla Sollew

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“I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat! I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”-I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew, Dr. Seuss

If you haven’t read this book.  Read it.  Right now.  I’ll wait.  :::::waits:::::waits::::::  There!  See how awesomely amazing that was?!  SO inspiring.  DH and I read this to our children’s classes every year.  The kids love it, we love it, it has a great message… just so much love.  I thought about this book this past week.  We had those darn swimming lessons again and by golly there we all were, all 5 of us (DH was able to work from home for a few days) on Wednesday at the pool.  After some pushing, prodding and doughnut bribes we got M in his swimsuit and down to the pool.  I swore to M that there were no fewer than 6 adults ready to dive into the pool should he look like he was not keeping his head above water.   (and then of course I had to point out which ones they were around the pool you know… precision and all.)  All 3 mons-ners were in their classes and DH and I were the only parents sitting on the bench AT the poolside leaning way over towards the water.  Giving M (and A and Miss. S too) the biggest thumbs up and cheers that we could manage and still be indoors.  I tell you what that little boy got in that water, absolutely terrified, but he did it by George.  There was some crying and some negotiation.  He refused to swim to the deep end and opted to get out and walk around to the deep end instead.  But, once there, he did jump in the water…. at the deep end, with the rest of his class, and he swam back, through the deep end to the shallow water.  Good heavens we were so proud.  SO proud that he faced his fear like that and gave it a good try.  SO proud that he didn’t just give up.  SO very proud of him for being brave.  That is such a hard lesson, to learn to face your fears and try something new while you’re scared.  Its a difficult concept even, that its OK to be scared, but also the idea that it shouldn’t necessarily stop you from doing something.  Whew.  Anyway, there was MUCH celebrating after swimming lessons that day and M indeed earned his iPad back.  On Friday, after having made several “scenes” by the pool over the course of the previous couple of weeks, DH casually asks, “You told the swim instructor that M is autistic, right?”.  Um…. oh no!  I’m not sure… “Uh, I dunno, maybe?”.  ::::face palm::::  Really??  Have I forgotten to mention this for the past 6 weeks??  O.o  So much fail.  So, dashing over to the pool right before the lesson that day I ask the instructor if we had mentioned that M was autistic and he says, “No”.  Of course.  I apologize and quickly give a few pointers for communication with M before heading up to the stands to watch the class.  In my head I am kicking myself profusely.  You see sometimes we do disclose, but sometimes we don’t.  Its hard to tell when its necessary at the beginning of an activity and it can bring up irrelevant and obsurd conversations that I try to avoid.    Obviously, there was some difficulty around week 3 with the swimming lessons so I should have disclosed and probably just thought that I had mentioned it.  M is autistic, but its not all he is.  Depending on the setting and activity, you often can’t tell that M is any different, so why bring it up?  I don’t meet people and say, “Hi, I’m Kelly, I have a moderate hearing loss”.  Right? Wouldn’t that be weird if I did that?  He is a bit different in a social group, but eh, he has really learned to use most of his quirkiness to his advantage and well, the rest of the time, it may look odd, but it certainly doesn’t bother him at all.  I love this quote, “Your curiosity, is not my problem”, and I try to keep that in mind.  (I once had a lady try to give M a diagnosis in the check-out line at the grocery store.  Seriously.  Too much time on her hands.  Buy a sukoku book or something, anything!)  I digress.  I often hear in my autism moms’ group that its two steps forward and one step back, two steps forward and one back.  That seems to be how its going for now.  Still, progress is progress!  So!  One “trouble” down!  Next up!  My troubles are going to have some trouble with me. #IamAFierceMom Kelly

Autism

Pow!

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Oh I am so frustrated!!  SO frustrated!!  I simply cannot get M’s complexities all lined up so that I can effectively communicate with him.  Its like a never-ending rubix cube!  M will not go to swimming class this week!  He just won’t go in the water!  He does what I call the “spider”, re:  stretched out arms and legs attached to anything permanent.  698160_32724648On Wednesday at the mid-week class, I couldn’t even get him out of the car!  I had to give-in to agree to let him sit that class out so that I could get my other two to their swimming class.  He also got in trouble for pulling that power-struggle with me and is now on restriction from video games.  Oy vey!  I’ve tried pleading, begging, reasoning, reassuring him that we will work with his instructor to try to make it as painless and comfortable a transition into the pool as possible.  No dice.  Here is how serious he is… he actually came up to me the other day and said, “Its ok if you want to keep my iPad mommy, you can have it”.  *headdesk*  Just.  Broke.  My.  Heart.  I don’t want your iPad child!  I want you to NOT drown in the water!!  My head could not be hanging any lower right now.  The current bribe I’m offering is return of the iPad and a trip to the bakery (!!)  if M will attend swimming lessons voluntarily.  We have a super-good bakery in our little town folks, Bennison’s, I mean that alone would have me dog paddling away in that pool.  (Not so great for my Paleo ambitions though I suppose, right?)  M has a lot of Aspberger tendencies, but apparently does not actually have Aspberger’s.  (I really could swear he has Aspberger’s though.  He has every single one of the things you look for in an Aspberger’s diagnosis – even though they don’t technically diagnose that anymore.)  Because of this he has a niche interest in high-level video games.  I really really thought that would be enough to persuade him to just try the swimming again.  We talked about the noise level and I have ear plugs to help with that.  He has a very small class so there is a lot of one-on-one attention and his instructors are SO understanding and patient.  At some point though he has to make the choice to try.  He has to be the one to get IN the pool.  Somehow he is just not making the connection between working and a reward.  As in, you have to go to work at a job (hopefully one that you enjoy!), and sometimes have to do parts of the job that aren’t your favorite things, or that may be difficult and where you may have to try and try again, but in the end there are rewards to be had!  Feelings of accomplishment, confidence, growing your skills, monetary rewards in the case of a job, etc.  Is he going to learn this?  Am I expecting too much from him?  I have developed this little habit of trying to keep myself from falling into a depression spiral.  I use various self-talk phrases to remind myself of what is happening in reality (ie.  not in my head) and what is important.  So right now, its:

  • He’s 8.  I’m his cheerleader.  This is just a small bump in his road.
  • He’ll get through this.  I refuse to believe any differently.
  • If he can learn to read, he can learn to swim.  *This one is a big one for me.  Keeps me sane.
  • #prayhard.  I am his mother for a reason.  I won’t give up on him just because its hard.

Stubbornness.  Its hereditary.

So I have so much built-up anger!  I’m not even sure what I’m angry at!  The water?  My inability to persuade M?  I should have gone to kick-boxing class today.  That always kicks my butt and I leave with a clear head.  Maybe I can hit the gym this afternoon.  That would help me to reset.

#IamAFierceMom  *I won’t give up, just because its hard.  (and today, its really hard)

Kelly

Autism

Letting go, but not giving up

A Happy Moment in the Pool

I want what probably every mom wants for her children… I want them to grow up happy and healthy and to be involved in activities and to make friends and have play dates.  Often, usually when things are “going well” around here I get a little too ambitious and I have this odeous habit of comparing my family to other families.  That is so wrong on so many levels its a post of its own.  But still, I do.  So, we made it through the crazy busy-ness of the holidays and into serious winter with gobs of snow and ice everywhere and the unending subfreezing temperatures and I had just about had e-nough of my children bobbing up and down indoors with excess energy.  I swore to DH, “we are getting them into an activity no matter what!”.  Swimming is actually a big wintertime activity here in the Midwest becuase almost all the pools are indoors.  Swim Teams are all over the place up here.  This, I thought, would be perfect.  Besides, all of their cousins swim like fish, its beyond time the mons-ners had some lessons and soccer doesn’t start up for another 6 weeks.  (See that comparison there?  Keep your eye on that one.)  Ok, got everyone signed up and we were ready to rock the pool!  ::::deep breath here::::  Not sure if you’ve ever had to bring 3 children (1 special needs, 1 toddler)  in from the snow to a pool, get them in swimsuits, showered and down to different classes, but its a j-o-b.  I was determined!!  I am a Fierce Mom!  I’m doing it!!  Ok, sweaty (me) and half naked children running around the (wrong) locker room, but eventually we made it to the classes.  45-minutes later and they were done except for one little thing.  M just hated his class.  Sobbing with tears running down his face when I picked him up by the pool, I was pretty sure there was no way I was going to get him in the pool again even with my magical special needs parenting skills.  Fastforward to class number 2 pretty much the same….. and the sobs.  At class number 3 we found the correct locker room!  Woot!  Still with the sobs.  Today was class number 4.  More sobs.  I was sitting in the gallery watching my littles swim around and two of them are giggling and splashing like little maniacs and M, long, slim and lanky, wailed as his swim teacher pulled him towards the deep end of the pool.  I went into “mom-mode” you know, where you can hear your children’s individual voice even in a sea of others?  I heard the crying, the pleaing, the call for me.  My eyes watered and my fingernails dug into the thighs of my jeans.  I willed myself not to look too closely at him, not to catch his eye because it would just make the situation worse.  I tried to take deep breaths and keep my composure.  There were other families from our community and school all around us and I didn’t want to be the “freaked out mom” in the swim gallery.  I know when to push M and when to let him slide.  DH and I discussed the lessons at length before signing the kids up and we knew that it would be hard for M, just the setting of it, the noise and echoes in the pool are stressful for him.  We both agreed that swimming was not optional, its a safety issue as our home is walking distance to Lake Michigan.  As soon the children learn how to swim, reasonably well on their own, they don’t have to take lessons anymore unless they would like to join the swim team.  Until then, its lessons every session.  We made it through the sobbing session in the deep end of the pool and bless the swim instructor he had M giggling before it was over with and eventually back in a more reasonably shallow depth.  I was sad.  I was really really sad that even swimming lessons would be so hard for M to get through and as I was beginning to wallow in my self-pity with my sweet mons-ners not being the little fish that their cousins were DH simply looked up from his laptop (working from the pool!) and said, “You realize he didn’t get out of the pool.  He didn’t even ask to get out of the pool.  He stayed.  He is trying.  With all the noise and the over-stimulation and the constant movement of people and water, he stuck it out”.  Instantly I could not have been more proud.  He did, didn’t he?!  That boy.  That sweet, quirky, overly energetic boy is learning to self-regulate.  Its painful to watch.  Like fingernail marks painful to watch, but he’s getting it.  Just this past week he was up in the middle of the night doing his homework because it was unfinished after a long day of school and social communication therapy and you know, most ASD children don’t like to leave something unfinished, its like a lighted beacon until the action is complete.  He can remove himself from loud situations at school on his own.  He can move himself to a corner to complete his work, on his own, so that he is not so easily distracted.  He is getting there and I think he will get these swimming lessons done as well.  Its me that needs to change, not him.  He’s battling uphill though loud echoes and water.  I need to reevaluate my expectations and timetable.  He will probably take this particular class again while his brother moves on and you know what, that is ok.  As long as he makes progress and eventually gets those important skills, that is all that matters.  We’re not in a race and there is not a finish line.

#IAMaFierceMom

Kelly