Friday, December 29, 2006

Dog gone emotions

Quite literally. Duke is gone. My buddy is gone. The one thing that loved me unconditionally and listened to me more than my husband or children is gone. I will miss him terribly, but his life goes on with his new family and ours goes on without him as it did before.

Duke is a great dog, a great big dog in fact. He was nearly perfect in every way...well except for his puking and chewing and jumping and... well mainly his anxiety was the issue. And his anxiety and uncertainty around Bubba who is full of anxiety and impulsivity just wasn't mixing all too well.

Bubba had taken a liking to squeezing Duke's head and Duke finally had enough and started to growl softly. Then the growl turned into Duke biting himself.

The local dog whisperer came, took one look at our situation, and told us that Duke was a wonderful dog but our home was not the best home for him. I knew he was going to say that exact thing, but it was still hard to hear, and even harder to accept.

So it has been over a month or two since that dreadful day, but we finally found a family that seems perfect for Duke. A place where he can become the dog he deserves to be...part of a family, walked every day, loved every day, and much less anxiety.

His new daddy picked him up a few moments ago. I did not cry, but I know it will come with the realization that big, slobbery, messy, chew-up-all-of-my-bras Duke is truly, permanently gone from our lives.

Moosie adamantly pointed to the floor when I told him that Duke was going bye bye to live with a new family. "NO! No." He firmly said while shaking his head and finger. Bubba just asked why and then went on to talk about his new Godzilla toy.

For me the hardest part will be losing those moments where Moosie would roll around on Duke and make those sweet babbling, pre-language sounds that we never hear otherwise.

And the happy-go-lucky way Bubba would start calling Duke with this high-pitched squeal..."Dooooooker!" every morning and every day when he got home from school.

And the way Hubby would love on the dog and talk to Duke in a soft, childlike voice when he thought no one was looking.

And I'll miss the late nights when I could snuggle with Duke when I couldn't sleep and he would lay his big head and paws on my lap and just give me the quiet acceptance I needed to still my mind.

Ok, the tears are coming now.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Happy Dance

The "Happy Dance" is what we call Moosie's out-of-body excitement jig. If he's standing, his legs are kicking and stomping, his arms are a twitching and twirling, and he's got the "mascara face" going. When he's sitting, the only difference is his little heels hit the floor a million times a minute and it sounds like he's playing the drums.

Some in the autism world call this "stimming," some call it "self-regulation," and we call it the "happy dance." We've called it the happy dance since before Moosie turned one, before he was even in early intervention or had a single label. Wait, not true, he had the "failure to thrive" label to try and overcome. Anyhow, I think Moosie's been kicking those legs since the day they formed in the womb.

In any case, now whenever we go anywhere, people know when Moosie is excited. He looks like a little wind-up toy that was just released from a tight grasp. It makes everyone smile, and I used to smile too.

But now, instead I think, "When will this stop being cute? When will people no longer find this so innocent? When will others find this distracting and intrusive?"

I know the answers to my own stops being the "happy dance" when it is no longer age appropriate. I know this because of the many things that Bubba does that are no longer OK just because he is chronologically another year older.

This saddens me because Moosie will still be the same Moosie, but the expectations surrounding him will change. Not that expectations can't grow and change, but why does expressing excitement, release, frustration, and pain have to be confined to such strict limits?

I wonder how Moosie will react once his Happy Dance is treated as more of a distraction rather than a glimpse of pure joy. For now, I am going back to smiling.

Cycle Break AGAIN

Ok. We have started yet another cycle break. Didn't we just have one of these?!?! This one's short though...2 weeks mixed with holiday hubbub, so it shouldn't be too bad.

Today started out rather interesting with Bubba falling on his back kicking and screaming every time I placed a demand on his prickly little head...

"Bubba it's time to get dressed." ...kicking and screaming
"Bubba it's time to eat." ...kicking and screaming
"Bubba it's time to go to Disney World." ...kicking and screaming

It seriously didn't matter what I said to him.

Moosie was of course running around like speed baby, doing his "happy dance" every five seconds because he was so happy Bubba was home.

The day turned around, and by late afternoon we accomplished quite a bit... art [me and Moose made a Rudolph puppet and Bubba made a Santa Claus puppet], math [we worked on addition by playing dice games and I'm sure we learned something by playing the War card game?], reading [I tricked Bubba into 'helping' me read a book on Snowplows], and then a little bit of everything by incorporating what we read about with some shaving cream and toy trucks on the kitchen table. We had salt to 'melt' the snow but we had to improvise and use Paprika for the sand to help give the trucks traction.

Then we had dinner...spaghetti, carrots, and garlic bread, which were only partially from a jar/can/bag. Hey, I diced the damn onions and browned the ground beef!

Then off to the library where not even one book was least not one that I'm aware of. Even got Bubba to do one worksheet (leftover homework from last quarter) before we made Magic Cookie bars.

Now the boys are watching a little bit of Thomas the Train before I tackle bedtime, which happens to be right before Daddy gets home from work. To prepare, I'm drinking store-bought eggnog (yes with brandy) in a plastic chewed-up cup with Easter chicks on it. I added a sprinkle of nutmeg to class it up a bit.

All and all a pretty good day I guess.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Worth It

As I was trying to get Bubba asleep, he asked why he weighs 57 pounds now instead of 60 pounds like he did the last time he was at the doctor. I talked to him about good food choices and bad food choices, and what foods will help him grow up big and strong. We went through many foods, classifying them as healthy and unhealthy.

Bubba rolled over and hugged me while softly saying, "Mommy, loving you makes me strong."
and then quizzically
"Mommy? I feel your spine."

I never know where these statements come from... learned, expressive, or otherwise, but those kinds of seemingly spontaneous moments hit me in just the right spot at just the right time.

IEP Update

The IEP went OK. There were some things I pushed for on which I received resistance, but I had to keep reminding myself about doing what is right for Moosie specifically, not just what is technically the right thing to do in the actual IEP document according to the law.

Those issues will be specifically noted in detail in my follow up letter and I will be watching like a hawk. They are not things I think will hurt Moosie unless something is interpreted terribly wrong...but I'll be watching and ready to take action when needed and I'll have my documentation just in case...

The only time I cried during the meeting is when we discussed his days of services. We agreed to 4 half days a week and it just hit me that my little boy will not be with me 4 half days a week. I'm tearing up just writing it down. I worked full time (not at home) when Bubba made this transition, so this part is so new to me.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Oh Come All Ye Faithful

Hubby and I were laying in our bed with the boys trying to get them to fall asleep easily. I was singing Christmas hymns because I love singing them and now's the only time of year I can get away with it!

Anyhow, after a quiet rendition of Silent Night, I extinguished the candle I had burning on the dresser. Seemingly out of nowhere, a sleepy Bubba exclaimed, "Mom, you sure blow things good!"

I'm not sure who snickered louder, me or Hubby.

IEP Hell

Moosie's 1st IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting is tomorrow. We've been through a gazillion of these with Bubba and the school district. I've learned to prioritize, tackle what I can, and then request additional meetings to tackle the remaining issues.

For Moosie's initial IEP, my points of contention are to make sure he is in the regular ed preschool, he receives adequate speech/language therapy (including in the classroom), he receives adequate occupational therapy/consult (in the classroom) to address his sensory issues, and he gets ESY (extended school year - I perceive this to be the most resisted item) services. Next on the list is communication in the classroom (between Moosie/Peers/Teacher and Home/Classroom/Therapists!).

Tonight's my IEP planning night but I stayed up until 2AM last night doing some freelance work, so I have eaten into some of my sleep bank!

Tomorrow should be interesting.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fit to be Tied

For those of you keeping track, Bubba now has the labels of ADHD and PDD-NOS velcroed to him. I think that has him and Moosie tied. Tied for what, I'm not sure.

I tried fighting the system, but have caved in to get my kiddos what they need...funding for equipment, assistance in schools, etc. It's ridiculous that they can't get certain things unless they have certain diagnoses, regardless of what issues are affecting them and impacting their access to successful, meaningful lives.


I've noticed lately that things aren't making me nearly as anxious as they used to. I've also noticed that I'm starting to laugh like a giddy school girl at the ridiculous clips on the America's Funniest Home Videos TV show. I'm not sure what that means, but it can't be all good. I still find the announcer extremely annoying, so at least I'm still registering on the positive side of the sanity gauge.

Friday, December 8, 2006


While driving around looking at Christmas lights one night, Bubba asked why some people had Christmas lights and some people didn't.

Even though I knew he was looking for the answer "Because some people hang them up and some people don't," I decided to try and be wise and thoughtful:

"People believe different things. Some people don't put out Christmas lights because they don't celebrate Christmas."

"Why mommy?"

"Some people believe in Christmas, some people believe in Hanukkah, some people believe in Kawanza, some people believe in Jesus, some people just believe in the spirit of giving..."

"Why mommy?"

And so it went for the entire car ride until we finally got to the answer he was satisfied with: "Some people think it's too cold to hang Christmas lights."

And so I thought my one-sided discussion on what people believe was unappreciated.

So the next night as we were driving around looking at Christmas lights (yes we drive around a lot at night!), Bubba proves me wrong:

"Mommy, I don't believe in Jesus."
"I don't believe in Jesus, just Santa Claus."
"Honey you can believe in both, you don't have to choose."
"OK. Santa Claus."

I can't wait until he announces this at church.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Shame Shame Shame

Yesterday, my dad gave us a couple of coffee mugs that he swiped from work. The word "Integrity" is boldly displayed on the cups along with the company's ethics hotline. If you are silently laughing to yourself, then you get the irony...

Monday, December 4, 2006

Martyr Mom

OK, because I think everyone should feel my pain...

Bubba is off school today AGAIN. This is day 5 of no school. Remember, 4 days off for Thanksgiving, and in 2 weeks we have Christmas break...or Holiday Break...or whatever the hell they call it.

So today I was on the phone with various therapists and doctors... with screaming kids and growling dogs in the background, kids running out of the house into the ice with no shoes on, kids throwing their candy icing gingerbread house all over the kitchen during a pretend army get the idea.

I haven't even touched my massive to-do list that I created 2 weeks ago because my "in the moment" to-do list never ends.

Today we went to pick up my glasses (so I can stop wearing my half-glasses while I work (Moosie broke one of the arms off months ago), ordered Bubba some new glasses (he destroyed his in a meltdown a few weeks ago), and then I called therapist for private therapy for Moosie, a doctor for vision therapy for Bubba, called another doctor to fax Bubba's records so he can have vision therapy, faxed Moosie's new evaluation to the school in preparation for his IEP, and scheduled his IEP for next week. Crap, that reminds me of the other things I need to do before 4PM.

By the way, if you're wondering why I have time to type this? I don't. My kids are now pulling files out in my office, so I have probably paid dearly for this little vent. In the time it took to type the previous sentence, both boys ran upstairs and slammed the door. Chances are they will be across the street by the time I get upstairs.

Tonight when Hubby gets home I get to work. Yeah. Happy frick'n Holidays. :)