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Archive for April, 2010

Sensory Seeker + Concussion = Extreme Vigilance

It doesn’t take much time spent reading this blog to realize that my 8-year-old son, Edward, is a sensory seeker.  Running, bouncing, spinning, crashing–these movements and sensations are all a therapeutically necessary part of his everyday life.  These actions provide the proprioceptive input his body craves in order to maintain some sort of focus and order, and without them, he cannot sit still, concentrate or maintain his emotional composure for any length of time.

Edward takes sensory breaks during the school day during which he bounces on a mini (I shudder to utter the word) trampoline; his classroom is equipped with multiple bean bags and large pillows for crashing and smashing.  He pops over to the OT room for some intense spinning in a mesh swing, and thrills to careening all over the OT room on roller boards.

Edward spends almost ever afternoon after school outside in the back yard swinging, playing “tackle” football with his brother and rolling around in the grass.  We have devoted an entire storage closet in our new house to being a “crash room” outfitted with huge pillows, futons and mattresses.  Only after these activities is he focused enough to endure his social skills class or attempt handwriting practice.

So after Edward’s untimely tumble off an un-netted trampoline, (at a friend’s house), and subsequent ambulance ride, we leave the ER with this sage advice from the attending doctor: “His recovery should be fairly easy.  Just keep him calm and quiet for the next week or so…no running or jumping or rough-housing.”

My husband and I looked at each other and our shoulders kind of slumped.

The next day we wondered aloud why we hadn’t asked the doctor for a sedative…for all three of us.

We have made it through the one-week mark, and I have to say I am beginning to relax just a bit.  When he tripped over his sister’s huge box of crayons yesterday afternoon, my heart did stop for a moment, only to start beating again when he assured me, “That was my hip, Mom, not my head!”

Posted on 29 April '10 by , under Autism Spectrum/Sensory Processing, Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 9 Comments.

Childhood Expressions, Channel Style

First, let me say how glad I am to have met Dr. Barbara Boucher through the blogosphere.  She is an OT, PT and has an PhD in Human Development and Family Sciences.  I really wish she would move in next door to me because I need someone like her on an hourly basis, but at the very least I can encourage others to visit her blog which is full of all types of wisdom and insight!

This week Barbara is hosting a blog carnival where she encourages us to write about favorite childhood expressions.  Last week, I started this quasi-eloquent essay about a stuffed bear that has seen our family from tonsillectomies to MRIs, elbow casts to, now, concussions, but the essay has grown a life of its own and I need to think about it more.  In the interest of actually making a deadline, I have decided to write about some of the the quirky, odd expressions my children have come up with through the years.

NURSING NOMENCLATURE

I nursed all three of my children well into toddlerhood, and all three devised funny methods of asking to nurse.  Joseph crafted this this “Na Na Na” chant that served him well from about 8 months through 14 months when I found myself exhausted during a second trimester of pregnancy trying, unsuccessfully, to nurse a toddler.  To this day, if he has a question about that particular anatomy, he will refer to those “parts” as “Na Nas.”

Edward, often direct, did not devise a particular word, but would simply command, “Now,” and aim himself in the general direction of a “na na.”  He was also known to propel himself in the direction of strange “na nas” if a familiar one wasn’t in view.

(Not surprising, really.)

Sue crafted this new word “nernie” for nursing, and she, like Joseph, continues to use the word “nernie” to refer to a woman’s bosom, as in the question, “Look at that lady’s nernies!  Why are they so pointy?” and the encouraging and accurate, “Why are that lady’s nernies so much bigger than yours?”

I am well aware that one of the taboo subjects in any motherhood blog is potty training or potty-related writing, but I’ve been at this for almost three years and I just don’t care any more.

POTTY LINGUISTICS

When Edward turned two, he declared/deduced that poo poo should actually be called “brown” (because most of the time it was brown).  He then proceeded to call it such in all situations.

We have had to explain this lexical confusion/genius? to teachers, babysitters, friends’ parents: “If he says he needs to ‘make brown,’ that means he needs to poo poo.”

Our entire family has embraced this terminology for the past six years—even grandparents and great-grandparents:  “No, we’ve got to hurry, hurry!  He said brown—brown do you hear me?”

This of course changes the meaning of seemingly innocuous comments like “Brown Head” or “He smells like brown.”  Or, “I think there is dog brown on my shoe.”  “What’s that on the carpet—it looks like brown!”

Or the ever-popular: “This casserole is yuck–it tastes like brown!”

So now, not to be outdone, Sue has labeled tee tee “fountain.”

And now we have conversations like this: “Is it brown or just fountain?”  “There’s a little bit of fountain on my princess potty.”  “Uh-oh…fountain in the car seat!”

(Fountain over brown any day, I say!)

I am not precisely sure this rather ridiculous post is what Barbara had in mind when she asked us to write about childhood expressions, but this is my quirky take and the best I can muster under the circumstances.  (Please remember I am spending every waking hour trying to keep my sensory-seeking-eight-year-old from running or jumping or bouncing or hopping or bopping or crashing or soaring because he has a mild concussion and can’t return to school until Wednesday and then it will only be for half-days.  Yep, I’m homeschooling again, at least for this week, and it feels sorta good!)

Please pop over to Barbara’s blog and join the carnival!

Posted on 26 April '10 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 10 Comments.

Only A Mild Concussion: Thank You For Your Prayers !

I am overwhelmed by all of your kindness and prayers after my frantic tweet last night!  Edward has a mild concussion but will be absolutely fine and is home from the hospital happily playing Wii.

For those who didn’t hear, he fell from a friend’s trampoline last night, lost consciousness and was taken by ambulance to a nearby children’s hospital.  He gained consciousness during the ambulance ride, and by the end was grilling the techs about Mario.

By the time we got in the trauma room, he was quizzing the doctors and cracking jokes.

The doctors were like, “Does he always ask this many questions and talk this much?”  And we were like, “Yes, absolutely!”

(Never again will I complain about answering all of his endless questions.)

Edward has several extremely busy guardian angels, and a God who loves him desperately and obviously has grand plans for him, as He has for all of us.  I was continually reminded by this last night, and cannot thank you all enough for all your encouraging tweets and emails.

For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;

They will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

Psalm 91:11-12

Posted on 23 April '10 by , under Faith is the Evidence. 12 Comments.

What the Heck? I Magnified My Eyes!

These wonderful sisters came up with this twist on Wordless Wednesday!  Please join them if you dare!

Posted on 21 April '10 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 11 Comments.

Random Tuesday Drivel, Plus A Chance to Win!

Thanks be to the Unmom for her ingenuity!

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My disdain for Burger King’s Neopets may soon be usurped by McDonald’s dragon toys that come equipped with, you guessed it, a virtual online world.  Don’t get me wrong.  I thrilled to Cressida Cowell’s books after Tari turned my boys onto them…this was way before Ms. Cowell got so cool and became endorsed by McDonald’s and all.  Someone I don’t think this whole online avatar deal was her idea…she is far too creative and well-read.

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I am pleased to report that the free “home warranty” that was part of my recent  home purchase is actually costing me money.  My dishwasher began leaking and, because we had the “warranty,” I called the sanctioned repair professional who happily pocketed my $50.00 deductible and then told me that all I needed was a $12.00 seal.  But alas, “seals and gaskets” are not covered in the “home warranty.”  So a stupid seal that would cost me $12.00 at Sears, and could have been installed by my 8-year-old, has now set me back $50.00.  Plus my hardwood floors are now beginning to buckle from the leak, although the sanctioned repair professional informed me that he was certain the buckling had nothing to do with the leak and must be related to some faulty hardwood floor installation.  So happy!

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I have officially solved the problem of Fajita, the guinea pig’s, cage smelling up my pantry/office.  Mint hay has completely eradicated this issue.  Maybe I should fill bowls of mint guinea pig hay and place them in each bathroom?

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I love Sue’s preschool teacher so very very much.  Not only did she take down a troubling painting of an elephant with an “evil eye” that was preventing Sue from using the bathroom during the 5-hour school day, but today she found out that Sue thrills to her brother’s leftover pirate costumes and declared this Thursday will be “Pirate Day.”  As she explained to me, “Everyone else will need to either find a costume or draw on a beard.  Sue has a costume so we’ll have an official day!”

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I need a Monsignor.  First person to comment who knows what I’m talking about wins a bottle of “Twilight Woods” Bath and Body Works bubble bath!

Posted on 20 April '10 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 6 Comments.

How much do I hate thee, Neopets? Let me count the ways…

I seriously could not believe it!  Last night was my father’s 73rd birthday party complete with pizza, cake and a fruit tray, and since Edward is GF/CF and Sue has recently become casein-free, H popped over to the local Burger King to procure some suitable fare for our unorthodox brood to consume during the festivities.

My poor sweet husband innocently purchased one kid’s meal.

Yes, one.

This should have been copacetic, however, because BK has had rather lame toys of late so nobody has been fighting over them.  But what to my wondering ears should I hear than the shrill scream,

“NEOPETS!  NEOPETS!  Remember the them from last year!  There’s one in the bag!  This is the greatest night ever!”

(Because a grandfather turning 73 is just small potatoes…)

His or her name is “Jub Jub.”

Compelling, isn’t it?

And then I just cringed because I knew what was coming:

“Where’s the web-enabled code?  I don’t see a code!  There’s got to be a code!  You must have a code for web-enabled play!  Where are the BK bags?  Don’t tell me you threw then away?  Who would do that?  Let’s dig in the trash to find the bags and get that code!”

We dug through my sister-in-law’s kitchen trash.  We sifted through coffee grounds and old orange peels.  We found the crunched bags, but, alas, there were no web-enabled codes to be seen!

Eerily familiar, isn’t it?

We left the party dejected, demoralized, and with me vowing to never, ever step foot or van wheel on Burger King property again.

Still, because I am an good mom idiot, I checked out the BK web site to try to understand more about these elusive codes.

The web site explains that the codes are on the “collectible box.”  The site promises:  “Be sure to check your Neopets collectible box from BURGER KING® for a Virtual Prize Code. Enter it below to claim your virtual prize!”

Golden!  I scan the box.  I turn it over and over and inside out.  I compare my box to the box depicted on the helpful web site.

Except my box DOES NOT HAVE A CODE!

Do you see a code?

Do you think my family has received a leftover “collectible box” from the days when the web–enabled codes were printed on the BK bags?

Do you think this fluffy, friendly “Jub Jub” should be enough to appease children promised by the Burger King Corporation to receive a non-existent VIRTUAL GIFT?

I just drew a line in the sand, Burger King.

Consider yourself warned.

Posted on 16 April '10 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 14 Comments.

Autism Awareness: Today, I’m Just Mad

Here we are the day before tax day and the midpoint of Autism Awareness month, and I find myself over here just feeling incredibly mad.

There have been some fascinating news items and blogosphere controversies surrounding autism this month.  Some excellent dialogue has taken place and I believe much has been accomplished in the arena of Autism Awareness.

Yet today, I am just angry, pissed off and flat-out livid toward this exhausting developmental challenge called Autism.

I am sad that a mother in my child’s school promised a playdate within actual earshot of my child and then just never called back or returned my phone call.  She doesn’t have to listen to the endless questions about why she never called and why that boy must not want to play with my child.

She doesn’t realize that this was the VERY FIRST playdate that he has been invited on since we moved to this town in August of 2009.  This mother used to work in an autism clinic!  I’m just mad and I sure don’t want to see her in the school halls anytime soon.

I am world weary of fighting with my insurance company to somehow coerce them to pay for at least a fraction of my son’s treatments.  I am almost driven insane by the cost of summer camps that cater to children on the autism spectrum.  As if we haven’t paid enough out of pocket throughout the year for supplements and non-covered treatments, now summer comes and we have miraculously find more cash.

Yes, I am sure there are some perfectly grand camps out there sponsored by Easter Seals and the like, but my child needs intense social skills work and let me just tell you that anything associated with social skills is ridiculously expensive.

I am so sick and tired of friends and relatives who hint, or actually come out and say, that my son’s autism was caused by something I did or didn’t do during pregnancy.  Or that his difficulties stem from me not loving him enough during infancy.  Or that perhaps he has a completely different disorder that they have vaguely heard about on the news but has absolutely nothing to do with his challenges!  Google it people!  Don’t throw disorder names around when you have absolutely NO IDEA what you are talking about!

I’m relatively pissed off at my child’s teacher who pulled me aside after Edward’s solo to tell me that she was extremely proud of how far he had come this year, but then looked deep into my eyes, grabbed my arm and reminded, “But you know he still has a long way to go.”  No sh** woman!  You think I don’t know that?  But thanks for the reminder.  Made my day.

I usually try to end my posts with an uplifting, hopeful comment or message.  Today, however, I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel or the pot at the end of the rainbow or the promise of my child garnering a great engineering or programming job at the end of an Asperger’s diagnosis.

Today, I’m just mad.

Posted on 14 April '10 by , under Autism Spectrum/Sensory Processing. 13 Comments.

Parenting Books I Adore

Genny over at My Cup 2 Yours wrote about her three favorite parenting books today, and I thought that would be an winning way to begin the first day of Non-Spring Break, as I like to call this day.  I am dedicating this day to five loads of muddy laundry, picking up all the exploded water balloons throughout my back yard and treating the poison ivy that I apparently garnered during one of our hiking adventures.

In the meantime, here are a few books that I have loved since becoming a parent:

I am a big fan of The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman.  I try to re-read it every few years so I can attempt to discern what love language each child responds to because I have found their languages change as they grow.  My oldest child used to be “Quality Time,” but as he has creeped into tweenhood, “Words of Affirmation” have usurped his desire to spend so much time with me…unless I am taking him to a restaurant or the ball field of course.  Edward’s love language is quite tough to discern these days.  He is a major lover of gifts, and likes “Words of Affirmation” somewhat, but he is just such a complex child it is hard to say.  Sue’s language is absolutely “Quality Time” spent playing with Barbies, building babies and playgrounds out of Legos, and making worm houses out of sticks.

I also find myself reading through Bringing Up Boys every few months, even if it is just to remind myself that the brain of a boy is bathed in dangerous chemicals, and that is why they feel compelled to build bombs, climb way too high in fragile crepe myrtle trees and nearly crash through plate glass windows.  (The window thing happened yesterday.)

Another favorite is Praying the Scriptures for your Children: Discovering How to Pray God’s Will for Their Lives, by Jodie Berndt.  This book is divided into five sections such as “Praying for Your Child’s Future” or “Praying for Your Child’s Relationships.”  I have spent a lot of time in the chapters entitled “Praying for Self-Control, Diligence, and Self-Discipline” as well as “Praying for Health and Safety.”  I have a cool testimony associated with that book that I need to share one day.

On the autism front, I have read so many books that they all run together but my latest favorite is The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome by Tony Attwood.  This books is so well-organized and answers so many questions about the typical road to an Asperger’s diagnosis.  In reading this, I realized that our road to diagnosis was, surprisingly enough, fairly typical and that has alleviated some of my own guilt regarding whether or not I should have taken Edward to get more developmental testing at an earlier age.

If you would like to write about your own can’t-live-without parenting books, just pop on over to Genny’s site and grab her button!

Posted on 12 April '10 by , under Autism Spectrum/Sensory Processing. 6 Comments.

How I Survived Spring Break

It’s 5:25 on Friday afternoon which means I have successfully made it through an entire vacationless Spring Break week!

(If a coworker loaned you a Florida condo free of charge for a week, please do not tell me.  Everyone all over the country seems to be flocking to these grand free condos but me.)

Per usual, I have learned a few important life lessons this week, some of which make me miss homeschooling and others that make me glad we are having a run at a neighborhood school so my children can return there Monday morning.

1.  Ten-year-olds are much better at spotting snakes than I am.

2.  Our family still attracts ticks at an unnatural pace.

3.  No matter what kind of life-changing coupon you receive in the mail from Chuck E. Cheese, DO NOT GO THERE!  It will take four children more time to choose their “prizes” than to play every sorry game in the place twice.

And Chuck’s vacant eyes terrify most children under the age of five.

4.  Having blood drawn and getting an X-ray of your hand does not qualify as a Spring Break activity if you are eight.

5.  Puppies will go into heat *again* if you “forget” to do something medically about that natural wonder.

6.  You can teach a ten-year-old how to use a crock pot but you cannot make him eat ham-potato casserole.

7. Boys can make a competition out of pulling up wild onion weed.

8.  Fig Newtons have hard stemmy things in them that can break a tooth.

9. If you give two boys Pop-its, Silly String and balloons, they will try to make a bomb.  It may end up inexplicably on your roof.

10.  Children will drink hummingbird nectar.   Out of the feeder.

Yep.

Posted on 9 April '10 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 18 Comments.

The day we met twin snakes

First of all, I blame my dear friend Stimey for raising the bar on a Spring Break “staycation” concept.  She took her brood to museums and multiple educational and social skills/sensory outings last week.  Pop over there if you haven’t already and read about the splendid job she did making dioramas out of marshmallow peeps and raising ladybug larvae.  It’s impressive.

Tari told me I should just leave my group in the backyard and let them make their own fun, which involved at one point taking the luge sleds down the slide into a sand pit, but I caved to the pressure and took them on a hike.

Please note how clean we are…this will change.

Look at that cool cave!  Let’s go up there!

No stop!  I think I see snakes!

I think those are just vines.

Vines…with eyes?

Nothing like strolling through the woods with a pack of Ritz.

Until a stink bug attacks!

Because I fancy myself a photographer…

A girl with two brothers can’t be afraid of bugs…

Look!  A leech family!

Good sensory action:

If I could just freeze this moment…

Posted on 7 April '10 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 6 Comments.