Thursday, October 25, 2012

Autism, Grandma was right!

My Grandma often dispensed wise Irish wisdom while I was growing up like:

"On a hot summer day, drink a cuppa." (that would be a cup of HOT tea)

"FM radio stands for Fine Music"

"Don't forget to say "add a ride please" to the bus driver or you won't get home" (Causing me to believe as a 6 year old that I needed to say this to the school bus driver or I would have to live in the convent with the nuns.) 

"Eat your carrots.  They're good for your eyes"  (Hey, she wore glasses till the day she passed at 93.  What the hell Grandma?)

One saying has always stuck with me.  "With a house, there's always something."  No truer words have ever been spoken.

Now I know she meant it in regards to the joys/pains in the arse of home ownership.   Something is always breaking and needing to be serviced or worse, replaced.   You have dreams of a new design, your hot water heater leaks and changes your design vision.

However in an "autism house", this is also rings true.

My kiddo has like most kids, typical or not, behaviors du jour.  Ones that are so maddening that they would drive a Buddhist monk to drink.  As my husband calmly reminds me, "Don't worry hon.  Soon he'll forget this one and do an even more annoying one".  There is in some way a comfort in that.  Ebb and flow if you will.  There is some behavior we always addressing, redirecting and modifying.

On the flip side, there is often something that is positive though.   While my son is currently driving me around the bend with constant coversations about poo and pee, he also finally starting to eat new foods! A big effing deal in this house.

But then we are also dealing with his anger issues.   He gets mad at me,unfortunately for Daddy Fry, takes it out on him.  Seriously, the kiddo runs from me to go hit him.  Yeah you can laugh.  It is kind of funny.  Well not so funny to Daddy Fry but to the rest of us it kind of is.  

Upswing though, more independence in the whole bathroom area.   (which may be related to the constant poo/pee chatter)  Kiddo mastered number one but number two still needs work.  However he's finally making more of an effort there.  So props kiddo.

But then even that has another set of issues.   Bedwetting.  It is driving me up a wall!  I think I heard my washing machine sigh the other morning when I brought another set of sheets down to wash.  So there's another "something" this autism house is dealing with. 

We'll get through it.  Really what other choice do we have? Zip!  Oh well, it's least it's "something"  to write about in the blog. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Autism!!!! (some accessories sold separately)

I don't think there is a day that goes by that I am not on the hunt for some product/thing/toy that's going to help soothe/entertain/engage/give sensory input to my kid.  Honestly, from the time we started this walk on Autism Avenue till just last night.   One thing is very clear.  IT'S FREAKING EXPENSIVE!!!!!

Last night on the facebook page for this blog the topic of Epsom Salt baths came up and I once again find myself "Googling" like a mofo autism and salt baths to research.   Between what people responded and what I found, yeah I'm going to give it a try.   Even if the kiddo doesn't like it, Hell, I'll use it.   Ten minutes in my own bathtub alone sounds likes like a spa treatment nowadays anyhow. :-)  I'm not sure what it will do other than help unwind the spinning top that is my son.  Maybe help him with his gut issues.  It's not to costly to give it a whirl.   But I couldn't help but sigh as I handed over my money today to the clerk at the pharmacy.  It's always some product that's going to make the difference.  And my boy is 8 and there's been A LOT of products.  Yep been burned to many times.

I get that if he was typical I would be spending left, right and center for him.  I understand that it would be for sports or lessons or whatnot.  It just seems we parents with ASD kids kind of get well, screwed.  Trust me, this is no pity party on my part.  But there is a huge difference in just complaining that you have to buy new cleats because their foot grew and me frantically searching for a weighted blanket that won't break my piggy bank cause I just want him to get more than four hours of sleep in a row in his own bed.  Yeah your kid is convinced those new sneakers will make him play better or feel cooler.  I"m just looking for stuff that's going to help my kid not feel like he's jumping out of his own skin.   You worry about your kid eating to much junk food, I just worry about mine eating period.  If that means he will only eat the name brand whatever, this mom will go with the generic something else for herself. 

The line that makes me twitch is when some very well meaning therapist or teacher says "Oh you should really get/pick up/buy.... for them".  Yeah that's great.  You treating?  Cause I listened many times to those suggestions and many of them are sitting here collecting dust.   So pardon me if you think I'm crazy not to run out and get it.  You know how many times by now I have run out and got it?  Yeah my good looks aren't getting any of these things for free. Juggle that with an overwhelming sense of guilt/confusion if I don't get it or if I do get it and it doesn't do anything.  Broke if I do, damned if I don't. 

Thank god fries are cheap.  :-)

Saturday, October 13, 2012


So the kiddo is going to be in a "Holiday Concert" this December.  Just got the note home to save the date.   Like any good worry wart mom with a kid on the spectrum, I immediately started to plan.

He has never been in a concert before.  Yes, he's done the before the school ones but parents too?  Loved ones?  Oy vey, over stim central!

Part of me thinks he will be fine.  He's my boy.   Mama Fry has done quite a number of Christmas concerts in her day.   The boy loves music and singing.  Life in this house is a walking musical sometimes.  (a musical with a score that includes Vanilla Ice and One Direction but a musical none the less)  Christmas tunes are his FAVORITE!  He has been known to sing "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" in his pool in July.   This should be right up his alley.

However, the autism mom part of me knows his limitations.   So to the war room I go to start the battle plan.  The war room being anywhere I can get five minutes with my iPhone and email his teacher and music teacher in a complete "Oh my god!!! He's going to be way overwhelmed with all that!  What do we do?? What do we do????" panic.  

Luckily the kiddo's main teacher is very used to my near constant stream of emails and she talked me off the ledge. (Yeah the kiddo is the one with anxiety?  More like Mama.)  Another email came from the kiddo's much beloved music teacher stating both reassurance and a little bewilderment to my concern.  Dude are you new to autism parents?  We don't do squat without a plan!  I can't go to Burger King with my kid without a plan. (You sit with him while I order.  You get napkins and ketchup.   I'll get the food to the table).

I suppose to just bring him on said day and sit with the rest of the parents?!?!?!  Well look at that.  They even do inclusion for us parents too. :-)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It's a dog's life.

The brothers.  What I refer to as the kiddo and the dog.

We got the dog a few months after I had the kiddo.  Being completely sleep deprived with a newborn, we thought "Hey life isn't exciting enough.  Let's adopt a stray puppy!"

OK we fell for the sob story of a dog thrown out of a car in front of barn, abandoned. That douche of an owner did us a big favor though. That dog is awesome. From the get go we saw it. He started sleeping under the crib.  I used to call it the bunk beds for the two of them.

He has since displays extra levels of awesome that cannot be measured by any means.   For the dog that was tossed like yesterday's trash, he is the perfect pooch for the kiddo with autism.

He has managed on many occasions to distract the boy out of a hissy fit meltdowns.  He has nudged him into conversations by having to answer someones question about his dog.  He has been a playmate and a partner in crime.   He is, as my friend "K" describes him, "a carpet with feet".  He doesn't mind (to much) how less than gentle the kiddo is with him or when he lays all over him.  He accepted his fate being locked in the laundry room while the kiddo was getting early intervention therapies.  He earns his keep by eating whatever snack the boy may drop.  (Seriously, how do you non pet owners do it?  Pets are vacuums!)

The kiddo knows no other life without him.   This makes me happy but yet terrified.  This dog isn't going to live forever.  We think he's 9.  (He's never showed us his papers.)  There is a bit more white hair on him now.  Can dogs go gray? Side effect of an autism owner? Not sure.  I panic at the very idea of what would happen if something happen.  This is s kid who cried his heart out when we took the dog to the groomers for a bath.   (which then led to us stalking the grooming window at the pet shop.  Fun free activity!)

Is it wrong or morbid of me to plan like this?  To think that maybe we ought to get a deputy dog?  A spare to the heir?  Because a second dog, that's not extra work or anything right? HA!   And if we did, we could get a female one. I wouldn't be the one gal in the house anymore.

 However she and I would have to talk. There is only one head bitch in charge here. :-)

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Princess and the Pea had Sensory Issues.

As I was wrestling with the kiddo tonight in an attempt to trim his toenails, I seemingly ran out of curse words to describe how much I hate effing sensory processing issues.  Honest to god.  I know those toes had to get done.  They were clicking on the tile when he walked barefoot in the kitchen.  Of course tonight, one had to start peeling off on it's own.  A little chip in the nail most mortals would of ignored till they got to it.  Not my kid.   All hands on deck!  His toenail was bothering him!

He wants the problem fixed but seeing as he hates getting his nails trimmed more than Eagles fan hates the Cowboys, I knew what I was in for.  I gathered my resolve, the clippers and what's left of my sanity.  

Ten minutes later and only one foot done, I said eff this and I'll do the other when you sleep.  I probably will forget as I write to blog tonight. (I did!)   I'll have this whole damn dance tomorrow with him. FUN!

Anyway, my point is, this sensory processing disorder stuff BLOWS! It is the hardest part for me to fully understand.  Like dude it's not that bad!  I pay someone to cut, file and paint my toes and I think it's a treat!  But when I think about it, everyone kind of has something that is a sensory processing issue.

Like you remember that kid's fairy tale of The Princess and the Pea.  The gal had to prove how dainty she was by sleeping on a stack of mattresses and would she be able to detect the pea that would disturb her slumber.  Now me?  If I was in a bed alone without a small child in it with his to long toe nails in my face, I could get over a mutha truckin pea under the mattress.  Seriously, what is that Princess bitching about?  Could be way worse girl! But that's her so whatever.  Eye roll.

So when I have to sit on my kid to trim these nails, I really have a parenting fail.  Cause I have screamed "Get over it!! Mommy goes to get her toes done to relax!!  What's the problem!?!?!?!"

Meanwhile, I don't like to eat ribs because they are to sticky and I don't like the stuff on my fingers.  So go ahead, eye roll at me.  We all got one.  Even you.  :=)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Schooling them, Autism style yo!

Often in the morning I get a chance to have a good chin wag with cousin "D" as she commutes into her job.  These conversations are usually about what's going on in each other's lives, reality TV, my kiddo, and the occasional waltz down memory lane of some fuzzy hazy night in our 20's where I may or may not of fallen "up" the steps to her apartment after last call. (She has no proof!  None I say!)

 So thank her,blame her, buy her a beer for this next post. She inspired it.  She did ask a very legit question. 


Mad props for honesty.  Seriously folks.  What is it that we need to hear from people?  We all know what is helpful and what is well, NOT!  I know many of us have similar tales of woe and "Oh no she didn't!?!? Girl hold my earrings."   I also know some things are said in that gray area of "god damn what do I say here?" They mean well but FAIL like Wild E. Coyote falling off the cliff after the Roadrunner.

And I really had to think about it.  That's a damn good question she asked.  We're running around wanting awareness and acceptance.  OK, they're aware.  Now what? So here are a few things that sprung to my mind.  Feel free to add more.

I don't think I need a magically phrase as much as an attitude.  A response of action more than a declaration.  To quote that old hair band song, "More than Words".   (lighters up for the power ballad!)

Like when you see me struggling, "What can I do to help?" is always perfect.  I may play martyr here and say "Nothing".  Ask again. Smile.  Hold out a hand.

I tell you he's on the spectrum, feel free to share with me if autism or like disorders directly effect you or your family.   Not your co worker's hair stylist's nephew.  I'll talk shop with anyone.  But please, spare me proving your autism street cred.  Would you tell a cancer patient you knew that your mailman's daughter's boyfriend's cousin had cancer?  See how ridiculous that sounds?   But if you are looking for a great speech therapist or a good social story to explain getting ready for a trip to the doctors, let's chat!

Also, when I am struggling, this is not the time for a Frequently Asked Questions session  for me.   However, just chilling on a park bench while I'm watching my kid go on the slide for the hundredth time, go for it.  The only stupid questions are the ones not asked.  I don't expect anyone to be able to score a 100 on a autism fact test.  I have no red pen.  I won't take marks off. 

And as open as I am about autism, please pepper in a few questions or thoughts that are NOT autism related.  Ask me what my kid is into.  Talk to me about what your kid likes to do and I will do the same.  Ask about his school, his teachers etc...   (You will tell me he is seriously good looking because he is ridiculously good looking.  Not trying to brag here.  My kid is a handsome hunk.)  Talk about parks, stuff to do, movies you like etc... Anything.  We're a tired parent who is in need of adult conversation just as much as you. 

 I'm not solely defined by my son's autism.  Anymore than he is.  It's a part of us but not all of us.  We're a pretty cool duo and I must say, and a damn good time.

We even share fries. :-)