My Life with a Ninja Turtle (or, living with a 2 year old on the autism spectrum)

The last several months have been challenging, exhausting, exhilarating and eventful, all at the same time. How can all of those emotions happen simultaneously? If you have to ask that question, then I am almost certain that you do not have a child on the autism spectrum.

Living with a toddler can be challenging in and of itself, but when that toddler is on the autism spectrum, the emotional responses to everyday occurrences will vary much more widely.

For example, a typical day for us would put many parents over the edge.

To hear my child screaming at the top of her lungs that the washer is too loud and to “turn it down” might seem strange and daunting to many. To me it is a triumph that she is telling us what is bothering her, rather than just having the outright meltdown and tantrum that will often accompany an overload of some kind for her system.

See, we just got a washing machine. We had either done our laundry at laundromats or relatives’ houses, or more recently, we had taken to washing our clothes by hand. But a few days ago, I found a washer for sale for a price that was within our budget and so I jumped on it without hesitation. 30 bucks for the ability to have clean clothes and not have to scrub them in buckets? Hell yeah.

So I had no idea that the sound that the washer makes when it goes off balance was going to put my little one over the edge. Nor did I know that even when not off balance, the sounds emitted by the machine would still put her over the edge. She does not like loud noises, and yet can sleep through pretty much anything.

I am now on the hunt for ear plugs or noise reduction ear muffs that will help her with this challenge.

We are also on the hunt for door alarms. Which pretty much brings me to why she has been dubbed the Ninja Turtle. It is a bit ironic, really, because she is quite fond of the Ninja Turtle cartoons. This morning, after I worked all night and finally passed out around 6 in my recliner, I awake at 7:30 to my husband standing over me and telling me I need to get up because we have a problem. Ninja Turtle managed to get past us both while we slept, and proceeded to “help mommy” by cleaning out the refrigerator. There were about a dozen eggs and 3 pounds of sugar encrusting on my kitchen floor. Our floor is tile. This was a big mess. Not to mention the last of the sugar for a week. As my husband is assessing the situation, I get handed a gallon of milk. Apparently, luckily for us, she couldn’t figure out how to open the jug. I could tell that she had only done this level of destruction just minutes before because the milk was still cold.

Now for today’s journey, I am on the hunt for a door alarm so she will be less likely to leave her room undetected. I am also on the hunt for a way to childproof a side-by-side refrigerator.

Anyone have any tips?


Very Frustrated Mommy Today

So, I find myself being a very frustrated parent today. I am sitting here watching my little baby girl and I just want to cry. She is sitting in her playpen watching cartoons, but if you weren’t here, you would not know that less than an hour ago, she had yet another seizure. This one was a pretty bad one, too. Nothing could get her attention. She just stared off, eating one grain of rice at a time, and you could just tell by the look on her face that she wasn’t there, didn’t notice what was going on around her, and for a few moments, nothing in the room existed.

I often wonder where she goes when she “wanders off” like this, and it seems they come more and more often as she gets older. And yet, I am frustrated because this is a journey we have walked for 15 months now.

You see, Lauren is 18 months old. She has had these frustrating little “moments” since she was about 2 or 3 months old, and we are no closer to an answer now than we were then. Today’s was the worst she has had in months. I was lulled into the complacency of thinking that they were getting better and maybe she was outgrowing them, and then today, BAM, here we are again.

She has had neurological evaluations and EEGs, but the news is always the same: “We just aren’t seeing it, and we cannot find anything wrong.” As a mother, that makes me absolutely want to SCREAM!!!!

Today’s event was witnessed, which gives me a small amount of solace in that at least now people will know that I am not exaggerating what we deal with on a day to day basis, and what we are always hoping we won’t see on any given day. But it does not really bring any comfort at all. I really wish some days that I were exaggerating and that this was not really happening, because if you have never had a child with health problems at all, you cannot possibly understand how frustrating it is to know that there is nothing you can do at all to help, to make it better, to make your child know that you are helping them and trying to fix the problem. Mostly because there does not seem to be a fix. There is nothing I can do to prevent them. There is nothing I can do to stop them once they happen, and there is nothing I can do to ease the utter FEAR in my child’s eyes when she finally comes out of the haze that this creates in her mind.

The Casey Anthony Injustice

Posted On July 6, 2011

Filed under Children, Insanity, Rant, Sad

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I didn’t know any of these people personally, though I know people who did/do.  I have to speak about this because the whole thing makes me very, very angry.  I hear a lot of people saying “Who cares, it is over.”  Others say “This doesn’t involve me, so why get upset,” and still others who just are so apathetic about it, and refuse to allow themselves to feel anything at all over the situation. 

The way I look at it, this affects all parents.  It shows that someone can harm my child, and there will be no justice.  It shows that the state will just do what they want, and there is nothing I can do about it.  All I can think of is that poor baby, and how her life was yanked away from her, regardless of the cause or who did it.

I don’t proclaim to know whether or not her mother killed her, but if she did not do it herself, she knows what happened, who was involved, and what was done, and won’t speak up.  How any mother could have their child yanked away from them like that and show no emotion whatsoever, I will never, ever understand.  I am sorry, but if that were me, I would be devastated.  I know where my children are at all times, and if they aren’t where they are supposed to be, I would hunt until the day I died, if my child were missing. 

 A full month passed before the baby was reported missing.  If her original story of “I dropped her off with the babysitter, and that is the last time I saw her,” were true, then why the hell did she not call the police that day, if she went to pick her up and she wasn’t there?  The answer to that is that the woman did not care.

People keep telling me I should not get so emotional about this, but how could I not?  This happened in my own back yard, and our justice system has failed this child.  I am ashamed to say, now, that I live in this state, and that I so adamently supported the justice system for so long.  How can I put my faith in a system that allowed that woman to walk free? 

I am sitting here while I write this watching my 8-month-old child playing and my heart breaks.  I think about my child’s future, and then I think about how that little girl’s life was so tragicly cut short.

Yes, they found her guilty of providing false information to law enforcement, on four counts, and each count carries a MAXIMUM of 1 year in jail.  Woop-de-doo.  She has been in jail for three years.  The reality is that she will probably get time served and probation.  I think the woman needs to be punished by making sure there is no way she could procreate again, so she cannot do this to another child. 

Okay, friends, my rant is over, and I am sorry if I have offended anyone.  I do not mean to, but after all, this is my blog, and I have been granted the right of free speech by way of the United States consitution.  Until that right is taken away from me, I can write on whatever topic I want without being persecuted, within certain limitations, anyway.  I try to stay away from controversy most of the time on here, but I just had to speak out about how I feel about this.  If I were that woman, I would probably be afraid for my safety, living in such a state as we do, where family is valued, and a large part of the populace is extremely enraged about this situation.

And so our Journey Begins

Posted On June 12, 2011

Filed under ADHD, Children

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I find myself sitting here in a sea of overwhelming information in my journey to help all of my children live their lives to the fullest.   Please bear with me as, for reasons I am sure many of you will understand, I may be a little vague in the way I say things, and some of the wording might be confusing to those on the outside looking in.

Many of you will be aware of the challenging journey that life has taken on for myself and my wonderful family.  Well, this past week, we gained some outside insight from a professional level on some of that, and i am still processing all of that.

My oldest child “thinks outside the box.”  His way of understanding and doing things may very well be VERY different from the way your 7-year-old will see, understand, and do things.  That does not mean that I love him any less, but it just means I must find a way to balance between how I think things should be done, and how he thinks they should be.

Part of the insight we were given, I expected, and even welcome.  The other part, however, is new and unknown to me, from a personal level, and is not what I expected, nor am I certain how to handle it.

Life begins to be a balancing act, between my child being gifted, and yet having challenges that make that not as obvious to those on the outside looking in.

And those of you that know me well, know that now the journey really begins.  I will read every book, article, blog I can get my hand on.  I will delve as deep as I can go into the mechanics, science, and nature of the things we must face as a family.  I know that a united front is key, and that keeping things as consistent as possible is the most important thing we can do, but as of yet, I am not sure how to accomplish that.

I will keep you updated as I can along the way.  This proves to be an interesting journey, and I am not sure yet if I look forward to the ride.

Summer is here!

Posted On May 24, 2011

Filed under Children, Cub Scouts

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School is done.  Summer is here.  And I am feeling pretty good about that.

We all collectively got my son through another school year.  We survived another cub scout year.  And now, we get to take a deep breath and relax a little before starting it all over again.

My son, this afternoon, when I picked him up from his dads, asked what we were doing at scouts today.  He is eager to start his journey as a Bear.  This is a very welcome change from last year, when he couldn’t wait for Tigers to be over because he was bored and wanted to quit.

So, now I am faced with a dilemma.  How do I make the Bear year as fun as the Wolf year was?  The honest truth is that I didn’t do all of the work.  I had a great co-lead.  She handled all of the paperwork and came up with some awesome ideas for getting them going and getting started on the journey through the year.

I want to do some things with my den over the summer, but I am at a loss as to where to begin.  I also want to get more organized and be able to keep track of the paperwork a little better myself this time around, and I am looking into pieces of software to help me with that.  I know about Beartrax, but is there anything else out there, or is that all there is?  I need to get it in gear.

One of my ideas for the boys for this year centers around their getting their Whittlin’ Chip and being able to use their pocket knives, which is a daunting task that almost frightens me.  Does anyone out there have any tips on that one?

I want them to make memory boxes.  A smallish wooden box to keep some of their scout stuff from years past, neckerchiefs, slides, patches, et cetera in.  We will build them from scrap lumber, and assemble them, stain them, and carve our names into them.  Well, I guess the name carving probably needs to come before the staining, huh?  But what is the best course of action to do that?

I have some big ideas, and now I just need a course of action.  I am really looking forward to things to come!

Another End, Another Beginning.

Posted On May 22, 2011

Filed under Children, Cub Scouts, Reflective

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Today, the Cub Scout Pack my son belongs to, and I am a den leader with, had its end of year “pack graduation.”  This term confused several of my friends.  Many of the packs they belong to call it “bridging over,” but our pack reserves that term for the boys crossing over from cubs to boy scouts.  That is not what happened today.  We did that back in February at our pack spring campout.  Today, the boys who remain in the pack “graduated” from their current rank, moving up to their next rank.  For my son, this is a transition from Wolf to Bear.  For me, it is the same, but also much, much more.

Yep, mom found herself feeling all nostalgic today.  For those of you who have never read with me before, I am almost 30 years old, and my cub scout is my oldest child.  There have been quite a few bumps along the way for us.  Today, I saw him very, very excited, when this time last year, he wanted to quit.  Scouts had gotten boring for him, he said.  A lot of that fell back on me and what I was doing wrong.  While I had a 100% retention rate in my den from Tiger to Wolf, the delivery method I was using needed a serious revamp if my own kid was getting bored.

But, there was a huge dilemma with that.  At the end of last year, and subsequently, the beginning of this scout year, I was pregnant.  I was due in October, the third month in our scout year, as here in Florida, scouts starts when school does, which is the beginning to middle of August.

So the first order of business was going to be making things fun, while finding a co-lead who was going to keep my boys engaged and doing something in my absence.  I had planned to take off the week or two before the baby was born, returning the end of November, beginning of December, with my return slated for the Pack Holiday Party at the absolute latest, which is the second week or so in December.

So, total score, at the beginning of the year, I got a new boy, who came along with an adult (step-father of sorts) who was totally willing to step up to the challenge.  Well, when the time came, he bailed.  Left the boys hanging at a time when I was not able to be there.

So then, the Pack’s committee chair stepped up.  She stepped up to the plate and kept things going.  She offered to stay on with me after my return, and I graciously accepted.  I was extremely grateful to her, both for filling in where there was a need, and for showing me the light on how I was doing things and how I could do them better.  It was totally enlightening for me.

So, with a few bumps along the way, there were many events that kept the boys coming back, although I do fear I am going to lose 2 or 3 of them this year, which will put us back to 4, but I will take that as it comes, and do the best I can with what I have to work with.  We started out our tiger year as a den of 2, and ended our wolf year with 7 boys on the books, so it always works out as it is supposed to.

This year, there is no hesitation for my son.  He WANTS to be a bear.  He loves every minute of scouting, and probably doesn’t even realize that it is shaping him into a young man who any mom would be proud of.

For me, the transition to Bear means that he is not such a little boy anymore.  He is almost a year younger than his grade peers, because his birthday falls on the 1st of August, so he was just 7 at the start of this year, and will be just 8 at the start of next, which does make him younger, but I think the maturity level is there, and he is quite wise beyond his years.

It makes me sad, because he is not my little baby anymore, and trust me, he gets madder than all hades if I call him “baby,” although he will occasionally allow it, as long as it is in private!

And I am armed with an arsenal of understanding that I didn’t have before.  I have a plan.  I have found a few activities that will keep this boys coming back.  Oddly, one of them is fishing.  We have gone twice; once with rod and reel, and the second time with cane poles.  While no one caught anything on the cane pole excursion (and admittedly, that was freshwater fishing, and I was totally clueless on that one), they still seemed to enjoy themselves.

For the most part, my entire den of boys are slightly “high-strung” and “high-energy,” which can be a challenge.  If an activity is not “amazing” by kid standards, after five minutes, I have lost them.

Another point for today was that my little man earned the Cub Scout Conservation Award, which is an incredible amount of work, along with 8 Arrow Points, one gold and 7 silver, all total.  …yes, he completed over 80 electives.  He is, after all, a bit of an overachiever and he gets that from his mother.

So today, for me, was the end of an era, but one that I will embrace with open arms and move forward.  And to the Pack 726 Bears, as they are now known, hold on to your hats, gentleman, because this coming year is going to be awesome.  I have a lot of projects and activities in mind that are going to keep you on your toes.

Yes, I realize the likelihood that 7-8 year old are reading my blog, and that is probably a good thing most days, but I felt like I needed to say it.

To the rest of you out there who are scouting families, I hope you also had a great year, and here is hoping that next year is awesome.  I really thing scouting is one of the best things to have ever happened to my family.  It has opened my eyes to so many things.  Life is good.

Alright, 2:30 a.m., time for shuteye, as 7 a.m. comes early around here, usually with loud squeals from an infant that translate to “mommy, daddy, I am awake, where the heck are ya!”

Good night my friends!!

Can someone wake me up when the world makes sense again? Kthanks.

I find myself sitting here very confused.  I will never understand why some people act the way they do, or the thought process that goes into some decisions I have seen made around me.

The universe has gone to hell in a handbasket pretty quickly when certain behaviors appear to become acceptable, and that scares me.  I have intentionally not blogged in the last few weeks because I didn’t want to upset anyone, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do so with a clear head and an open heart.  Today, I have given up on that, because I cannot change how I feel, and I need to get it out.  I will be vague and keep specifics out of things.

I apologize ahead of time if I say things that do not make any sense because, out of respect for those involved, I will not give specific details.  This is just the way it has to be folks, and I am sorry if you don’t like it, but it is what it is.  Get over it.

I find myself very uncomfortable with the knowledge that mankind really has not evolved much.  People still make the stupid choices that destroy lives, and some people can never learn from the mistakes that others have made, or from their own mistakes, for that matter.

Why is it that some people choose to do things willfully that they know is going to affect more than just them, and will do so negatively, and yet they still make those choices and act the way that they do.  I see it all around me and I am astounded by the lack of common sense employed day after day.

I find it insanely sad that the person in my life who seems to have the most understanding of their actions and how they affect others, and the consequences that should hold, is a 7-year-old.

My oldest child, my baby.  I love him so much.  He had a bad behavior morning at church today.  He was hyper and just all over the place and couldn’t seem to control his impulses.  When we got home, he said to me, “Mommy, I am not allowed to play my DS today.”  When I asked the obvious question of why,  he said, “Well, I did not really behave myself in church this morning, so I should have to give something up.  Now, realizing this myself and taking it away from myself does NOT mean that because I know I did something wrong and learned something, that I earn my DS back, and I understand that.”

All I can say is, out of the mouths of babes.  That is the most intelligent thought process I have heard in a long while.  I love that little boy so much.  He is constantly teaching me things that I never thought I needed to learn, and it amazes me.

I guess the moral of the story is when life is confusing, and you don’t understand anything that is going on, spend some time with a child.  The innocence that lies there, and the knowledge that they have, may very well surprise you.  They hold the keys to our future, and I will more people would realize or remember this, because in the end, they are the ones who have to live with the mistakes that our generation makes, and are the ones who will have to clean up the mess and play damage control in the long run.  Take a deep breath, and realize that life is too short to not live every day to the fullest, and that the reality is that not everything is as important as we would choose to make it, but at the same time, choose wisely, because others have to live with our choices, too.

Reflecting on Life in General.

Yes, I am a mom.  But that is not all I am.  There are some people who think being a mother is the easiest gig in the world.  I also work at home.  There are even more people who think that is a gravy train type of life.  There is so much more to it than that, and I wish people could see.

I am a mom to three wonderful children.  They are 7, 5, and 6 months old.  My oldest has had a rough few years.  He has had to deal with some issues around him that no child should ever have to deal with.  He had to deal with divorce, moving around a lot, three little sisters and being the only boy, and his dad having a work schedule that makes it hard for him to spend time with him, no matter how much he may want to do nothing more.

He also has shown signs of ADHD and some sensory issues from an early age.  Sometimes his behavior is not ideal.  Sometimes going grocery shopping with him is a trial in patience more than anything else.  But I am equipped to deal with these things, better than some people maybe who don’t have to deal with these things.

I fully believe that the powers that be gave me this boy because I was equipped to manage his differences, when maybe another parent would not have been.

He is also highly intelligent, and sometimes that trait can be his worst enemy. He is so much like his mother in that if he knows he is right about something, he will not give up until everyone else recognizes that fact.  This is a trait that I have been trying to work on a lot lately, as I need to be a better example for him.

My middle child, my oldest girl, just turned 5.  I can’t believe it.  It is surreal and I have no idea where all of the time has gone.  Life got in the way on this one, and I have not done all that I should have for her over the years, and I am trying to make up for that now.  Let me tell you, folks, you absolutely cannot turn back the hands of time, and there is no such thing as “making up for lost time,” because time just keeps going.  If you worry too much about trying to make up for what has been lost, you forget to enjoy the present.

This little girl is so full of life, and has thrived in spite of her mother, I think, some days.  She starts kindergarten in the fall, and everyone who talks to her MUST know this fact!  She has the little diva/princess attitude that all little girls get when there are a lot of people who love them.  But, I am sure she will be just fine.

My littlest, well, she is a handful.  She gave us all a heck of a scare at about 3 months old with a crying fit that landed us in the ER, and resulted in an episode that they never clearly delineated as apnea or seizure, or what have you, and said episode earned us a week at a specialized children’s hospital where we met some of the kindest, gentlest doctors and nurses one could want to have involved in the care of your child.

Now, three months later, we still have the staring off episodes that make everyone think that she is still having these “seizure” episodes, but no one has been able to clearly delineate what they are.  She had a run of eye problems, and some signs that pointed to increased pressure in her eyes and the fear that glaucoma might be present.  Well, so far so good on that front.  She goes back the end of this month for a dilated eye exam, and then hopefully we will get a break from some of the doctors for a little while, as right now we spend more time at doctor’s offices then anything else, and it is a very tiring prospect.

She is 6-1/2 months old now, and still has a little trouble sitting up without a little help, and hasn’t crawled or said anything that actually resembles a word yet, but I am convinced she is where she needs to be.

On the working at home thing, I am a medical transcriptionist, and this is a career I have enjoyed for ten years.  Wow, has it been that long?  While I do work at home, I do not get to just sit and do what I want when I want to.  I punch a time clock, and have deadlines to meet and goals to achieve in order to keep up my obligations to my employer and keep my family’s finances where they need to be.  My life is not a cakewalk, but it is the life I have chosen and I love living it.

In a nutshell, I juggle children, a career, a marriage, cub scouts, and anything else that may come up and manage to do so with grace and dignity as often as I can.  Sometimes I may say or do things that others will not approve of, but this is who I am and how I am living my life today.

So my message to anyone who feels the need to judge anyone and how they live their life, please take a look at your own side of the fence, and make sure all is right before you cast a stone out on anyone else.  You do not know anything about their lives until you have walked a mile in their shoes.

>Yep…Still here…

Posted On August 10, 2009

Filed under ADHD, Children, Insanity, School, SPD

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>I am still alive. I swear. Things have just been extremely insane this last year and I have not had much time to breathe, let alone figure out what it all means.

We have had a rather interesting and insightful summer with my little man, now 6 years old and off to his first day of 1st grade!

We set him up with a therapist, thanks to some lovely events that occurred in his life that I was unaware of until after the fact.

In this process, we learned that the little man has SPD and probably also ADHD. We also had him tested and he is classified as a gifted child. I am anxiously awaiting how the public school system in Brevard County is going to handle this, and I will keep you all posted. Things are interesting and exciting and exasperating all at the same time. The behavior has not gotten any better. Some days, the outbursts are just downright ugly, with throwing things and kicking and screaming, and other days, he is a loving, wonderful little boy. I feel like I am dealing with two little kids in one little body!

Well that is my update for today. This being the first day of school, and my doodlebug off at Daycare, I am off to enjoy the day with a cup of coffee and a good book.

Best wishes to all!

>September 20th, 2007

Posted On September 20, 2007

Filed under Children, Insanity, Insight, Peace, Thoughtful, Writing

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>Today, I face a world that may not understand. Today, I hold my head up high, knowing I will do the best I can.

I am a 26-year-old woman. I am strong, and yet I am weak. I can accomplish and achieve many things, and I can withstand many challenges and pains. And yet, I am weak because the tears of my children will bring me to my knees every time, usually with a few tears of my own.

I don’t expect anyone to understand the decisions I have made. I choose to walk this path alone. I refuse to be, or allow my children to be, hurt again. The pain of their father walking away was enough for all three of us.

I mean, sure, my Mattie was little, and my Caity only on the way, but their lives were forever changed by his surrender, and thus, my sentence to solitude.

Yes, I am a warrior, but there are some things I just cannot fight. I do my best every day, but it is not easy, this path that I walk. I have fallen many times, in a manner I never thought I could. I guess I am not as strong as I thought I was, after all.

But, I try to show a part of me to the rest of the world I cannot see, even though I want to believe that it is there.

I pray, for my children’s sake, I can find and choose the right path. I pray that I may find the peace and soundness of mind and heart, so that I may be the mother that my children deserve. For tonight, I must try to find a peace within myself, and the acceptance that it is okay to just “be.”

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