Thursday, November 29, 2007

The funny thing about noses

Right when Bubba leaped off the bus: "Mom, is there something wrong with my nose?"

Me, quickly contemplating what I should say, or more specifically what I should not say: "Is your nose bothering you?"

Bubba, pleasantly: "No..."

Me, analyzing his nose for redness, scratches, foreign objects: "It looks OK."

Bubba, not convinced, pace quickening: "Maybe I should look in the mirror."

Me, jumping to conclusions: "Did someone say something about your nose?"

Bubba, as he analyzes his nose in the mirror with utmost intensity: "No..."

Me, trying to figure out what he's trying to figure out: "Does it hurt?"

Bubba, unsuccessfully trying to peer up his nose in the mirror: "Sometimes."

Me: When?

Bubba, matter of factly: When I put my finger in there.

So long story short, we discussed not putting fingers in our noses because that would in fact make our noses hurt. And then everyone was happy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Random Photos

Thank the good Lord for trains. It's still up in the air who I should be thanking exactly for train shows.

Homework did not go well tonight. It never does on Daddy's day off. Or on early release school days. Routines. Who needs them? (Um...we do!)

The line between a kleptomaniac and a habitual hoarder is a thin line indeed. Note the topaz bracelet and earring (from my rarely opened jewelry box in our bedroom), Daddy's work keys (from the bakers rack--I'm guessing--since Hubby has never hung his keys on the strategically placed key hook ever), pennies (from ???), and screws (from ???) emptied out of Moosie's pocket at bedtime.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tired Vent

My head is spinning after tonight!

Bubba really wanted to spend his tooth fairy money (he yanked out a tooth yesterday) at the dollar store. He brought it up the minute he got off the bus, so I would like to thank whomever at school planted that little seed about the dollar store being a possibility.

We had a full schedule, which didn't matter to Bubba even after it took us 5 minutes just to read the schedule board. After 10 minutes of crying, hugging, pleading, scrunching his face, and looking utterly confused, Bubba resigned to carrying the chairs into the kitchen (after I mop I leave them in the living room for him to carry in after school as a chore and "heavy work") and then passively ate his "donut snack." He really wanted to watch TV, so he earned 15 minutes by completing his reading "homework" (in 2nd grade, he even gets homework from his resource reading pullout!).

[Yes Aunt Piggy, I was doing that proofreading 'favor' during all of this!]

A few minutes later Moosie got off the bus, and after 10 minutes give or take, we made it into the car and on to the chiropractor, Bubba's occupational therapy, and then back home for dinner.

Since I had a buttload of homework staring me in the face, and homework is never pleasant, I decide to dangle the carrot-- if Bubba did all of his homework--which we already reviewed on the schedule board)--I would take him to the dollar store to spend his tooth fairy money.

The deal was made with minimal pencil throwing, minor pencil banging, lots of chattering, and even more redirection. But we completed record amounts of homework. He did a spelling word worksheet (this week's words), a math (money) worksheet, his 10 minutes of reading, a book journal entry, and practiced last week's spelling words (because he missed 7 out of 12 last week and apparently gets a "retest"). He was in a good mood, and it still took over an hour with constant redirection, assistance, modification.

I think I should do my yearly thing and call an IEP meeting in 2nd quarter since he is now struggling in spelling (he can't read half of the words and can only spell them if I say them really slowly sounding out each letter, letting him watch my lips), money, time, addition, subtraction, reading, etc. The gap seems to widen every year and I just can't fathom me tutoring him in every academic subject along with everything else. Making cookies last night with the boys was SO much better than an hour of homework!

Meanwhile, as Bubba did his homework, Moosie tore up the house, played in laundry detergent, ripped up paper, wrote all over stuff...ugh. I have yet to master how to engage him while keeping Bubba focused. TV is out for obvious reasons. Anything to distract Moosie, distracts Bubba. And Moosie in a room by himself is not good either, not that it doesn't happen all of the time, but it's just not good!

The school nurse informed me this evening that Moosie has cellulitis on his finger (infection), which is from chewing on his fingers and stuffing them in his mouth, and he is falling down at school several times a day again (no reason, he just falls and lands on his chest), and Bubba's OT did a quick occupational therapy evaluation for me yesterday so I was better prepared for Moosie's IEP meeting tomorrow and most of his fine motor skills stopped where we left off with early intervention a year ago. His muscle tone is still poor (limbs, core, and mouth), and he has sensory integration issues blah blah blah. No surprises. I wonder if this counts as regression since he's mad minimal progress in a year and seems to have lost some skills? The school did their own evaluation so it should be a fun IEP tomorrow. I didn't push for fine motor services last year since there were so many other things that were priorities like oral motor (stuffing and choking), speech, language, social. Now that he's made so much progress in those areas, I'm wondering if I should've thought more about OT and PT. But then I realize I wouldn't have changed a thing. I didn't want him in therapy 4 hours a day then and I still don't now! I wanted him in the classroom with his peers rather than walking up and down stairs in a therapy room or practicing eating with a work in isolation. He's only nearing 4 years old for goodness sake.


We finally make it to the dollar store where Bubba selects a PowerRanger knockoff that might just stay in one piece until we get home. Moosie lucks out because I am tired and don't want to risk a meltdown, so he also has a dollar in hand. Luckily no one questions why he didn't have to lose a tooth to get said dollar.


Boys are bathed/showered, nails trimmed (ah shit, can that nail infection be spread? I didn't clean the clippers in between fingers/toes or kids), vitamins chewed, bowel movements made, teeth brushed, some toys picked up, and the TV time earned--for all the above tasks--watched.


The boys are tucked in bed. The evening went smoother than I could possibly imagine, but I am damn tired. I mean DAMN TIRED. Almost too tired to realized how blessed I actually am that me and the boys accomplished as much as we did as uneventfully as we did. There was crying, yelling, pushing, etc., but all in all, not too bad!


Hubby gets home from work. He's relaxing now...

Guess I should go clean up the laundry detergent etc. now. Luckily I was smart enough to request Moosie's IEP meeting to be on two different days (tomorrow is just OT evaluation results, updating present level and Monday is the icky one with services, minutes, goals, etc.), so not too much preparation needed for tomorrow.

Oh, tomorrow is another fricken half day of school for Bubba!

More Hiking Pictures

More hiking pictures from Uncle Guitar man and Aunt Piggy.

Thanks are the best! We miss you.

Dat's Cwazy Tawk

Over breakfast one morning:

Moosie, speaking to no one in particular: waybee

Bubba: What?

Moosie, smiling now at Bubba: waybee

Bubba: WHAT?!

Moosie, pointing at his plate: waybee!!!!

Bubba, agitated: "Are you saying gravy? Are you saying gravy?"

Moosie, excited: "YEAH!!!"

Bubba, perturbed: "Mom, I think you need to tell his speech teacher he needs to learn how to say gravy!"

Moosie, singing happily, head bobbing from side to side: waybee! waybee! waybee! waybee...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Earth shattering! Or not.

Hubby has worked in the cellphone industry for over 10 years. What a heavy burden of guilt he must carry.

There was that one time when I was pregnant and standing next to the microwave reheating a large tuna steak while I was talking on the cellphone and e-mailing someone from my laptop...

Sometimes all of this is really too much, don't you think? Gag.

Mean Mommy

Bubba and I were reading--finally--after 20 minutes of him trying to get out of it. Since we were venturing into rough waters reading a book with more text on the page, we were taking turns reading pages. I was also paraphrasing and asking what I thought were straightforward questions every now and again to assist in comprehension.

After reading a page about Bossy the cow who had greedily eaten a garden full of daffodils, I asked Bubba a question:

Me, asking with gusto: Who is Bossy?

Bubba, responding quickly yet with the attitude of a disgruntled little boy: Mommy

And there you have it.


What's better than Thanksgiving? Eating the yummy leftovers on a cold, rainy day without the hassle of cooking, cleaning, socializing, or driving. And wearing your stretchy sweats while doing it.

Mmmmmmm turkey. Mmmmmmm sweet potatoes. Mmmmmmm stuffing.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Power of Words

Do you ever hear or read something just at the right time, just when you needed it? I read the following here, and it was one of those phrases that washed over me and answered so many know, those questions you didn't even know you had until WHAM! and the answer fills the Swiss cheese in you heart, your brain, your soul.

"Go forward, love your child without reason. You are doing exactly the right thing." --Ann Bauer

I thank MOM-NOS for sharing the wonderful words she discovered.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Hoarder

I read this, which inspired me to have a little scavenger hunt of my own since it had been a few days since the last one.

Moosie has always been a hoarder. Well, for his first year he wasn't mobile, technically he wasn't really that mobile until he was 18 months old. Even then he would cry to be put down and would crumple up his favorite crochet blankie (he used to hold his arm straight in the air to 'sign' for it, but now calls it his "ahck ate ate" [black blanket]). He chewed the thick yarn with his fingers as much as he chewed it with his teeth.

But once he was mobile, he would wander. I would find him under lots of things. At first this frightened me because he was so quiet. I would get lost in something, and look around after realizing that Moosie was gone. Now when Bubba was 18 months old, he would be out the locked back door, down the deck stairs, and approaching the fence gate in the time it took me to get milk out of the fridge, so when Moosie would disappear, my heart would race, my pace would quicken. But eventually I learned to look in 4 or 5 places--under his bed, under the chifarobe, under the baker's rack, behind the recliner, and, his all time favorite, under the quilt rack.

So when Moosie wanted to be around me or the goings on of the house--or in the car, or really anywhere he couldn't escape--he would hold as many items as possible. Trains and cars, books were a favorite. And as a good Mommy, I wanted to make this easier for my baby. He would get so frustrated dropping an item each time he bent over to pick up another. So I showed him how to use bowls and buckets, he even got a stroller for Christmas one year. And the little stinker piled them high and still carried an arm full.

But now, since some time earlier this year, Moosie prefers to do his hand hoarding (which must be distinguished from his mouth hoarding) alone. He disappears quietly several times a day, each time little trinkets, toys, and doodads trailing behind him to the promise land. I, of course, do not realize what has been swiped because I can't even remember which direction the kitchen is nowadays.

So every other day or so I go on a little expedition.

Some times I find popcorn. Or pretzels. Or apples. Sometimes chewed up, sometime spit out.

Sometimes I find my checkbook. And car keys. Toys and books are a given.

Sometimes I find candles. Or picture frames. Or lots and lots of blankets.

And sometimes I find this...sound asleep.

What are you thankful for?

I am always a day (or so) late and a dollar (or a lot more) short, but after a 3-stop Thanksgiving tour, here's my short list.

The way my boys love parades, but are just as excited to watch them on TV. Snuggled with Mommy and Daddy. In a king size bed. With flannel sheets. And a down comforter. All warm and toasty. The air with the smell of freshly bathed little boys and crisp coolness.


Only having 3 places to go on Thanksgiving, which is down from 4 places.


Knowing that no matter how cruel kids may be, my boys always have each other. To love. To fight. To entertain. To be brothers.

Having friends that get me or if they don't, still letting me be me.

Realizing that home is still there for me even though I spent most of my life trying to get away. It may still be dysfunctional, but sometimes it's just good to be in the familiar. Sometimes.

Lots of wine.

Having a husband who loves me. Who thanked me last night for staying home and taking care of the boys. For knowing that I needed that validation. That approval. That understanding. That I am doing what is important right now. Even though it is difficult. Even though I have doubts that I am doing what is best for everyone. And we are approaching financial hardship. And Hubby hates his job. But we are still happier and more in love than ever.

Cheap wine.

A near 8-year-old who has recently started to take showers. And wash his hair. With minimal assistance or prompting. And not emptying shampoo bottles. For this week anyhow. A little boy who all of a sudden is choosing to read at bed time. Dr. Seuss. Curious George. Clifford the Big Red Dog. To his brother.

A near 4-year-old who did not shut up during Thanksgiving dinner. Who is now speaking 3- to 4-word sentence approximations very loudly. When he could not produce more than an "ahhh" sound less than a year ago. And then just a few words here an there. Who could only randomly do ending consonants 6 months ago for most words. Who no longer chooses to use sign language as his primary means of communication. Who enjoys his voice. Who is learning how to dance. When his brother sings.

Blogs to read. To make me feel not so alone on days I forget how lucky I am. And to remind me of human kindness, human diversity, and what really matters.

My sisters.


I would be really thankful for a house that cleans itself, if that was a possibility.

The ability to make choices. And to learn from bad ones.

Family. Immediate. Extended. Those I get. Those I don't get. Even those I don't want to get. Those who live nearby. Those who don't. Just knowing that they are there.

Not having to go Christmas shopping today. Not having money does have its upside.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Flipside

Sometimes I crash, usually in the fall (that is, 'autumn'). And when I do, I don't have enough energy to write about it. I mull over my thoughts again, and again, and AGAIN, but they usually don't make it on this blog.

Let me clarify, posts are saved in the drafts folder, but they rarely are published. I have nearly twenty-five half-written posts on everything from medication to modification. Something usually holds me up, usually my own self-doubt, confusion, grappling for understanding. So there it waits in the drafts folder, but really there it waits in my subconscious ready to permeate my brain at any given moment.

Sometimes, my thoughts tumble out of me when I read other people's blogs. They tumble out in spite of misspelled words and incomplete thoughts. And sometimes that's important, although I know many people who read my blog who know me, don't see that side. So I thought I'd show you by pasting a few of my comments here. Someday the well-thought-out posts will come. Some day.

I need to vent. I need to analyze. I need to process and rediscover. And yes, sometimes I just need to feel sad and overwhelmed and not know why. But please know that even though there are days, many many days, where I need support, when it comes to my life, my husband, my family, my children... I don't need sympathy. Well sometimes I do regarding my husband... have you met my husband? [If you don't get my humor well, too bad...]

Comment 1
I really felt your pain regarding the police officer story. I can hold it together when Bubba is in full meltdown mode. We are both outside of our bodies. Him floating without boundaries, not knowing what to do or aware of what he is doing. Me almost like a robot, my movements and voice very monotone and even. But if someone breaks in, even with a simple look or an “Are you OK?” or worse “Someone needs a spanking!” then I am painfully thrust back into myself and the feeling comes back, emotions flooding to the surface. Sometimes it’s anger, or exhaustion, or saddness, or worthlessness.

My kids don’t fit the stereotype of “autism” so I have no one word to say when I need a “get out of jail free” card. If I say “autism” I get the “autism diagnoses are handed out like candy” look. I could say “agnesis of the corpus callosum” or “developmental disability” or a slew of other things that mean nothing to an onlooker. If I say nothing, I get the “your kids are out of control [or weird]” look. I tend to say nothing because I don’t think I need to label my child for them. I only explain where they need some modification and understanding if they are people we will see again and again. But sometimes the child in me screams… when you see it enough, hear it enough, feel it enough… sometimes you begin to think it’s true, that you really are an incompetent parent with out-of-control spoiled brats. What’s worse than thinking that of course is letting that way of thinking permeate my children.

Sorry. It’s been an off month.

Comment 2
It's a long ride... I just wanted to give you some serious hugs because it's tough! I have two that are autistic, aren't autistic, maybe autistic. And I'm like I really don't fucking care, just give them the modifications and supports they need to be successful little boys in their own big ways. But technically, I really DO care... because I'm tired of people coming up to me and saying "Hey, your kid is weird." and then turn the corner and someone else says "Hey, your kid is so normal!" and then turn another corner and "Your kid is autistic." and then turn another corner and "Your kid is SO not autistic." It gets really tiring. Doctors, therapists, one agrees.

Truth is both of my kids are different in different situations, different times of days, different times of know!

My older one is seen as a behavior problem and no matter what he is dx with (there is no denying he is missing his corpus collosum) he is still seen strictly as a behavior problem. The younger one has so much more problem solving and impulse control ability than his older brother, but because he 'stims,' for some reason he gets away with stuff and isn't considered a behavior problem. But because he is social now at nearly 4 and is starting to become verbal, his PDD-NOS dx MUST be wrong. Maybe it is. But why are we so hung up on it? Just give him what he needs!

Sorry for the vent, but I totally empathize. Elementary school really sucks. Unfortunately what bettejo says is so true.


Moosie's expression (and some interpretation) of "giving thanks."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Circus Peanuts

Thanks to my Uncle Bug Man (he owns an extermination company, get it?), we enjoyed a night at the circus--floor seats no less!

It was our first circus attempt with the boys. With all of the lights, noise, and excitement we just didn't want to torture us or them. But this seemed like a simpler circus, nothing too over the top, so we decided to take a chance.

We prepped them ("We are not buying toys at the circus!"). We came prepared (with earphones). We stuck by our guns during intermission when there was crying, and stomping, and pleading for the over-marketed toys. We survived the circus. Dare I say we actually enjoyed it?!?!

Before the circus

Moosie acting like a clown.

The tallman passed Bubba the trick plate. Doesn't he look a little anxious?

The boys got to choose one extra special thing to do. Bubba chose riding an elephant and was thrilled. Moosie chose riding a pony and was less than thrilled. "Me no ike! Ooo buhpee!" [Me no like. Too bumpy!"]

The Show Highlights

Bubba's favorite part was the clown and his "broken" bike.

Moosie loved the dog show.

I think being up close to the ring kept the boys engaged, though at times they were more interested in the rafters and the wires. I was just happy they enjoyed being there in general and that we didn't have huge rebound meltdowns at bedtime!

Birthday Blues

Yesterday was my birthday. It was a really cruddy day, but thankfully followed a nice birthday weekend.

Saturday, I went out with some friends. I ate a little too much pasta, drank a little too much wine, but had a lot of fun. I came home to sleeping boys and a messy house, but that's how it goes around here.

Sunday, we went to the circus and survived.

Monday, well, surprise!

The house didn't clean itself. So there it was waiting for me. Moosie had managed to make it even worse Sunday night by spreading popcorn everywhere from the bedrooms to the kitchen. He has a habit of chewing it until he can't manage it anymore, and then he spits it out (rather than choke). We've been working on spitting in the trashcan, but by the looks of it, he didn't make it to the trash can quite a few times.

I was peed on.

I wiped stinky butts.

I immersed myself in the middle of seven boys so that my kids could have some play time with kids that bothered me more than they played with my boys.

I left my purse in the car, which Hubby took to work. Since I didn't realize this until after I promised the boys McDonalds (so I didn't have to cook), I only scrounged up enough change to buy the boys hamburgers, fries to spilt, and water to drink. I had a Lean Cuisine TV dinner a few hours later.

I suffered through a library activity where the boys weren't that bad, but the lady seemed perturbed... Bubba kept asking where the other kids were. He's a question asker. That's how he communicates. But the library lady didn't think twice: "What did I say? What did I just say?" I pretty much felt like the worst mother. Then when she got huffy when Moosie was trying to sit by Bubba and Bubba didn't want him too...well that pretty much made me regret even trying to gosh-forbid let me children participate in the community. She wasn't too happy when newly-verbal Moosie attempted repeating every other word she said. I think she may have 'got it' when she passed out the crayons and Moosie about fell over doing the "happy dance" since he loves holding crayons.

I missed most birthday phone calls, which was OK since I didn't feel like talking to anyone anyhow.

I spent another 30 minutes (of a total 300+ minutes) on the phone with the hospital regarding an almost $6000 bill I've been trying to resolve with United Healthcare since June! I told the hospital several times that we have no money, so they best be fighting UHC along with me.

I paid the $1300 dental bill for Hubby's root canals a few months ago. Well, if you can count using an over-used credit card as "paying."

No birthday presents since we have no money. A card would've been nice, but really, it wouldn't have made a bit of difference. However, I told the boys I wanted kisses for my birthday, and they did oblige!

Hubby got home from work at 9PM. The boys were already in bed (I've been really trying to make bed time earlier even though it means they miss daddy.).

I tried to soak in a friend's hot tub, but the temperature never got above 95 degrees. So I went home, drank a glass of wine, and fell asleep listening to a football game.

Luckily today is another day. But wouldn't you know it... the house STILL hasn't cleaned itself.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Candy Man Can

Who can make the sun shine on a cloudy day?
The Candy Man can!

Grandma bought the boys a gingerbread kit, which was on the schedule to do on Friday. Bubba waited patiently until Friday (This weekly chalkboard schedule thing is working well!) to create his gingerbread man. Of course Moosie wanted to do one as well, although he proudly exclaimed his as a "candy man."

With a little help from mom and a whole lot of sugar, two cookies were born and then, a few minutes later, mauled limb by limb.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bah, Humbug!

I tend to avoid Christmas celebrations in November. I just think it is flat out wrong that Thanksgiving doesn't get more than a few party plates and napkins in the back aisle (though it must still rate as a commercial holiday since this year I have seen inflatable yard turkeys).

In any case, I was overruled by impatient children, one complete with a book containing the truck he wants for Christmas (an actual, full-size truck mind you). I got to giggle as Bubba asked Santa, "Are you real?" He then accosted Santa about every detail regarding making the truck he wanted.

The boys got to ride a train on wheels and enjoy a short horse and carriage ride, and of course they saw Santa, Frosty, and Rudolph.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hiking Again

Aunt Piggy and Uncle Guitar man were in town, visiting from Oregon. We took our annual hike. This year we went to Castlewood park. I'm not sure we could have found a better place to have an adventure, and I'm sure we will return many times in the future. Where else can you skip rocks, walk in the woods, collect big sticks, eat lunch, play on the playground, and see lots of trains and beautiful scenery up close and personal?

I don't have any pictures of the boys train watching, so you'll have to wait until I score some from Uncle Guitar man. I will tell you that Bubba has decided he likes Union Pacific trains rather than Santa Fe trains since Friday!

I think Aunt Piggy was the only one who actually got hit when Moosie found a "good rock." While Bubba tried to actually skip the rocks he picked up, Moosie captured only 3 basic steps:

1) Locate a "good rock"
2) Pick up the "good rock"
3) Hurl the said "good rock"

He tended to forget to look before throwing. He seemed to enjoy watching the rock fly and watching the rock land (wherever and possibly on whomever that may be).

Bubba only exerted his independence a few times, taking off down unknown paths to discover things before we could assess their safety. We took turns sprinting down through the woods as needed.

No one got hit with a stick that I recall, which was an amazing feat of itself. I'm not sure if that was due to divine or human intervention, but as you can see, the boys were carrying some big sticks! Both boys got pretty close to falling in [or jumping in Bubba's case] the water, but only hands entered the cold water this time!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Unexpected

I've learned to literally take a snapshot when something simple, yet unexpected happens. As I've said before, sometimes those seemingly little things catch me in just the right way at just the right time.

I found this downstairs on the blackboard wall. I don't know where Bubba found the chalk, but I tried not to think about that part.

Bubba, did you do this?

Yeah. I was teaching [Moosie] his math.

No one told you to do this?

I don't know why I asked this, although I do suspect we have little magical and honry elves that live in our house. I guess I questioned his work since me asking him to write or draw usually instigates a bloody meltdown?

No mom. I did it for [Moosie]. He needs to learn his math.

He steps gingerly over all of the crap on the floor to point at the drawing.

See. There's a bus [he points at the picture and then the word] and there's a street [again he points at the picture and then the word]. That makes a bus on the street.

He points very proudly at his nearly complete sentence, pausing dramatically over the prominent punctuation.

Moosie wasn't the only one who learned something.

And for those of you who don't see what math has to do with anything here, Bubba added two parts to make a whole...give or take a few parts of speech.

To the guy...

...who kept me up late, I just want to let you know that Bubba has a half day of school today (Thursday) and no school on Friday.

You SO owe me.

And "the guy" is not my husband... let the rumors fly...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Partners 2008

If you are in Missouri, The Missouri Planning Council for Developmental Disabilities is recruiting candidates for the 2008 Missouri Partners in Policymaking session.

It is a wonderful program for parents of young children with developmental disabilities and adult self-advocates to access resources, challenge their way of thinking, and learn how to be involved in policy and legislation at local, state, and national levels.

I am a 2006 graduate, and it was a wonderful experience. I am still evaluating, re-evaluating, learning, challenging myself and others everyday, but I don't think I would be who I am or what I am without the program.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

And another one...

For anyone keeping track, according to today's note, Bubba pulled some one's hair in class.

After 15 minutes of coaxing him, Daddy got out of Bubba that he is trying to gain attention when a "friend" doesn't respond to previous (more acceptable) attempts. We deal with this outside of school all of the time since the kids around here get tired of his incessant questioning and just stop responding.

I jotted a note to the teacher that maybe how to gain a friend's attention when the friend ignores him should be added to his social skills curriculum... maybe it could even take priority over the "passing papers properly" lesson.

Maybe they could even teach the "friends" how to react to Bubba when he doesn't stop asking them questions, especially since the kids doing nothing doesn't phase him! He doesn't get the concept of ignoring to show disinterest (even though he does it all of the time!).

I can pass the buck too.

Touchy Subject

So the same day I wrote this post, Bubba got a "Behavior Warning" sent home for not being able to keep his hands to himself. Apparently it is the second time this week, which I think is actually great for him!

He used to have a 1:1 paraprofessional [classroom aide], but he was getting so dependant, we were pulling back in all areas where he could be successfully independent. We've also implemented the Stickids program (it took me years to get the school to recognize that "self-regulation" is a sensory issue, that just because he doesn't scream when there's a noise or isn't tactile defensive doesn't mean he doesn't have sensory integration issues). I was hoping having playdoh to manipulate, heavy lifting, etc. would reduce the issues at school. He's already on medication. Again, I just don't know what the right thing to do is.

[Bubba] pinched another student during content. This is the second time he has not kept his hands to himself this week. [We] talked w/ him last week when he was lightly poking a student. This went beyond a light poke. -- Regular classroom teacher

All I can do is shake my head. I do not think my child is above discipline; A child like mine with impulse control issues and attention issues has a hard enough time keeping his hands to himself much less think it through whether or not it is a poke or a pinch and which would have a more severe punishment. Idunno. We did our duty and talked to him about it and he just looked confused:

"But I won't pinch!"

"But you pinched your friends at school today."

"But I'm not pinching!"

Yes, we just talked to him. Later we will do some role playing. Punishing him for something that happened at school is of no benefit to him. He makes no connection. He doesn't learn not to do it next time. It's like kicking a dog when you found something they tore up 3 days earlier. All the dog knows is that you kicked it. [I do not kick dogs. Nor do I think my son is a dog. I'm just illustrating the stupidity of the situation].

I'm just tired. I know he needs guidance on what to do when he has the urge for his hands to jut out, he wants a peer's attention, or whatever other function the 'hands-on' behavior is serving. We've worked on it for years. Bubba has matured, he's figuring it out, it just takes him longer.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Wrong Thing

Have you ever had one of those heartbreaking moments? One of those physiological moments where your heart sinks into your chest with a deep thud?

I was cleaning up and came across a notebook. With Moosie's affection for paper, I find notebooks, notepads, and the like all over the place. Today I decided to flip through one of them and found something that Bubba had done awhile ago.

I could tell immediately by a few punctuation marks that it was done either late kindergarten or early first grade. He had independently written something, but not being able to form many words yet, the page was full of random large free-flowing lowercase and uppercase letters.




But at the top of the paper were a few things that he must have written so many times that he could duplicate them independently.

[his name]

robo rapTr
[what he wanted for Christmas for several years and got last year but never plays with because it "scares" him.]

and finally, what truly broke my heart:

I Will do The rit thag [I will do the right thing]

How many times must they have made him write this in class?

For years we have tried to explain "lack of impulse control" and "doesn't foresee consequences" to Bubba's school. He has a behavior intervention plan that we worked very hard to be a POSITIVE behavior INTERVENTION plan. But really it doesn't matter when people perceive him as always doing things voluntarily for attention or because he is choosing to be bad. Does he do that sometimes? Sure. But many times he is escaping from something he perceives he will fail at. Many times he is escaping from something that bothers him. Many times he can't fight an impulse.

And this is what saddens me because we deal with this every day. It doesn't matter what his IEP says if the people implementing it have a different perception. Bubba has always been treated as "He knows better" "He knows what's expected of him" when in fact, he knows what to write after he gets in trouble but has no idea how to avoid getting in trouble.

As the gap grows bigger between Bubba and his classmates in the areas of self-regulation, problem solving, and social maturity, the school is starting to see where he needs support to avoid behaviors rather than punishment after behaviors. But it is a slow process. "Support = success = willing to take risks = reduction in escape behaviors" is something we've preached for years. But when the school sees a kid as a behavior, it treats him as a behavior irregardless of what is written on paper.

But we persevere. We try to counteract the wrong things (which sometimes backfires). But mostly we try very very hard to do the right thing, even though many times we just don't know what that is anymore.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Short Term Worry?


I am just under 5 feet tall (according to the doctor, even though I believed until recently that I was 5 feet tall for the past 15 years or so). I have heard the term "short," but never applied to my memory.

I was known for my memory. I never had a "photograph memory" or anything like that, but I could recall every detail of specific situations, each word spoken, each gesture, each scent, each color. I could tell you what I did last Tuesday and what is on schedule for next Tuesday without trying.

At work, I could tell you every problem a specific project had, how it was fixed (or not fixed), who was in charge of each leftover issue, the current state of every element from animations to design.

I could tell you everything my husband did right or wrong since the day we met. I could describe that one look he gave me and exactly what was playing on the radio. That time we were at a Pizza Hut, what we ate, what he sang to me.

I could tell you what Bubba wore the day he lost his first tooth, exactly what happend when he threw a curvy piece of Thomas the train track toward his brother and the exact splatter of blood after it hit him.

I could tell you what someone said 2 minutes earlier.

People would say "Ask Ange. She'll remember."

The truth was, if it was important to me somehow in someway, no matter how insignificant it appeared to others, I remembered it. (Unfortunately I have large splinters missing from my childhood, but my guess is there is a reason. I hope it's not because it isn't important enough. Maybe in fact it is too important?)

Also truth be told, memory is the crux of my anxiety, depression, OCD. Things play over and over in my mind. The slightest trigger--and the details explode like a flash, taking over rational thinking. Each detail then has to be individually tucked back into its box, locked carefully, reshelved purposefully to try and avoid the one little crank of the handle that will again cause the anger, happiness, and desperation to pop out like an evil jack-in-the-box and fill me with confusion.

So now, I recognize my short term memory loss, and it frightens me. Because although in some ways I am happier because my memory skirts around the edges of necessity, but in other ways it feels as if I am losing control. Spurts of forgetting and not being able to recall mean I am not in control all of the time. This also feeds my anxiety.

Two days ago, I was working downstairs. The phone rang. I looked up to see the words "Incoming Call" flash on the small screen. (I am very aware that we are too cheap to pay for caller ID, and even though we have never had the service, it is a strong reflex to look at the screen.) I remember thinking "Hubby will get it."

Less than 20 minutes later, back upstairs, I have a memory jolt. The phone rang. I wonder who it was? Then I recall having the same memory jolt two or more times before, chide myself for not remembering to ask Hubby who it was, and quickly go to ask him before it eludes me again.

He stared at me. "You answered it."

"No I didn't I thought about it. But I didn't." I described in great detail what had happened, what I thought, and why I didn't answer it.

"Yes, when I answered it, you were talking to someone."

"No." I was adamant. There was no recollection. Nothing. I could see myself looking at the phone. Hear mysef thinking that Hubby would get it. I saw the words flash, felt the cozy crevice in the chair, the exact screen of what I was looking at on the monitor. Then nothing. I could retrieve absolutely nothing.

"Maybe they were talking to someone as they were hanging up. I'll do a *69 to see who called."

I picked up the phone, dialed *69, and only heard the area code when the flash exploded, the jack-in-the box claimed its prize.

In 1 second everything rushed in at once and engulfed me. My heart quickened, my face went hot.

Vision therapist thinking I would just go ahead and get it picking up the phone appointment speaking filing away the appointment time 'is that on the calendar?' vision exercises hanging up the phone woman's voice image of the receptionist saturday is coming where is the binder 'is Hubby working this weekend?'

Hubby just laughed. This is his way of life. This is him, has always been him.

But this is not me. I have never had the experience of being told something that happened and not be able to recall any of it--not even a tiny thread that I could pull slowly to unravel the entire memory--until recently.

There was nothing. And then there was everything.

As I hear more stories about bits of my childhood, in some cases, there is nothing to grasp. And it scares me when the "everything" will come.

I don't like not being able to trust myself. Then again I understand why Hubby is always so dang happy. Hard to obsess about something you don't [won't?] remember happening.

During my follow up with the doctor this week, I confessed to my not following the Low Glycemic Index diet recently. I later confided about my short-term memory issues.

"A lot of my patients with ADHD bring up short term memory issues increasing when they eat a high glycemic diet heavy in refined sugar and wheat."

Huh? Was she saying I have ADHD? Not possible. I am OCD thank you very much. Hubby is ADHD. I am not him! Must be just an example of the "what you eat affecting how your brain works" theory.

Of course my eyes were darting from side to side, I only heard part of the sentences she was saying, and I suddenly remembered to ask her about root vegetables, which I forgot again a second later until just now.

What was I talking about again? I guess I won't worry about it.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Pesky Kids

Halloween was a little more interesting this year. Bubba was more agitated then usual and Moosie was tall enough to reach the sweets.

I guess Bubba has watched a few too many Scooby Doo episodes. I love Scooby Doo and saw no harm in sharing my love of TV's finest dog and ingenious animation (How smart for them to always wear the same clothes and always visit similar places? Patch a few clips of film together with a few new scenes and you have a whole new episode!).

Alas, there is a downside. Bubba did not like the masked costumes. He couldn't stand that he didn't know who was behind the mask. And if he didn't recognize the person coming to our house, well then, they must be wearing a mask. Let me clarify. There were more than a few kids who had no masks or the slightest bit of face paint. At one point Bubba surprised us all as he deftly reached up and yanked on a 12-year-old's moppy hair.

"Ow! That's my face dude!"

Apparently he caught some flesh. Bubba was not deterred.

"But who are you?"

He did not recognize this person. Surely he must be wearing a mask. I had to give Bubba an inconspicuous hug and high-tail it outta there. All the while I was laughing inside thinking of the Scooby Doo episodes where the villain is unmasked. And SURPRISE his or her human face is unmasked again to reveal an even more unlikely suspect (even though I knew who it was the whole time of course!).

Moose, on the other hand, decapitated more than his fair share of cupcakes. After calling it a night outside, in a one-hour time frame I found over 5 cupcake stubs littered throughout the house. The delicious sugary icing heads were eaten clean off, leaving only the small but rejected cake stubs behind and a few orange fingerprints. It was clear. Moosie had been there.

We never saw him actually eat the cupcakes. But he is a sneaky little ghoul. According to the wrappers we found stashed around he ate a few packages of skittles, a handful of lollipops (we'll probably find those half-eaten somewhere else later), candy bars, peanut butter cups, and something that wasn't identifiable as edible. But all is OK.

We shipped them off to school. Score one for the public school system!