Sanity Check

Originally written 12.23.16

This week has been one roller-coaster week. It’s no wonder I cried twice, okay three times, when watching Moana today, in the theatre to boot. The week started out rough, well to be exact last week ended rough and this week started even rougher.

Last Saturday, we had planned to do all these fun things with J but life & weather got in the way and we just couldn’t make it work. We did get out for a quick lunch, that was interpreted by a completed meltdown. J was watching Nemo for the billionth time but freaked out yet again over Nemo getting captured by the scuba drivers. (understandable.) I went 3 shades with this episode but we were able to quickly usher him out of the restaurant. Then the rest of the day was just okay. Woke up Sunday in a funk and that is how I stayed for the day. Nothing I tried could get me out of it. Didn’t help that we made a lot of candy for J’s teachers at school but while packing it up, realized it had cashews in it. It’s a no nut school. Mom Fail!

Then Monday happened. I originally wrote this that afternoon. – Today I was the lowest point of myself ever. I don’t think I was even myself but some horrible monster version of myself. I screamed, yelled, spanked (twice) and withheld affection from J this morning. I completely fell apart, all because he didn’t want to cooperate which is like any other morning. I did feel that it was little worse than any other day though, not that it forgives the way I acted. I had promised him last night that this week was going to be better than the off weekend we just had. Today he fought me, like he always does, at certain times for the things he didn’t want to do or the thing he wanted but I wasn’t letting him have due to his behavior (iPad). But today, instead of the normal whining and fussing, he came after me. Scratching, hitting, trying to bit, kicking and I just lost it, all my logical reasoning was gone. I was the worst of me. I’ve never wanted a redo as much as I wanted one this morning. I was awful, mean. I literally hate myself for my behavior. After my episode, I was able to calm down and finally got down to his level. He sat on my knee and embraced me. ME! The one that had just acted so appalling. I hugged him so tightly back, crying, telling him I was so sorry, how I loved him so much. He still fought me as I got him into his coat and out the garage to the waiting bus (shrug). He wouldn’t say goodbye to me, just crunched up his face. I plan to spend every minute possible, every minute he’ll allow me, with him. I can’t change or erase what I did but I can damn well do anything I can to make sure my terrible actions don’t occur again. On a side note, I have to figure out how to make our mornings work better. I know there’s something I can do to help this, just need to figure it out.

The rest of the week was okay, things seemed to get better and back on track. It was definitely a one-day-at-a-time week. The most important thing was I was able to keep cool and remain level headed without any bumps in the road.

By Friday, I was looking forward to our four day Christmas weekend. Lance and I took J to see Moana. He did so well sitting through it (except for the 20 minutes! of previews but even I was having a hard time through that too), img_2548even if dad had to be the human couch throughout the entirety of the movie. We were able to go to J’s favorite restaurant for lunch, Red Robin. It’s quite funny, he loves eating there and is good for the first 10 minutes until he realizes he can ask to watch a movie. We came home after that. I took a nap (I’m the queen of naps), while J and Lance played ‘quietly’ and watched TV. Then we got ready to visit friends which was such a nice time and J did well again, and then out for an early Christmas dinner with my folks. J did so well with the whole day, as did I. No meltdowns or unwanted tears but plenty of smiles, handholding, hugs and giggles.

It’s crazy how the week started off as bad as it could possibly get and in five days we had the best day ever with J. It’s a lesson I seem to have to learn over and over again. J and I had a bad day, so what. I have to pick myself up and learn from it, move on, move forward. The decisions and the way I act this minute don’t have to affect the decisions and the way I act the following day or even the following hour. There will always be bumps in our day, J has autism, it’s a given but I make the day I choose to have, no one else, but me.

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These times they are a changin’.

I can no longer pick J up. He has gotten so big, both factors of weight and height. I feel so bad for him when he asks to be lifted up. He doesn’t understand why I can’t. It took me a few weeks back to realize why my arms, back and chest ached so bad at times. It was because I was lifting my almost 75 lb. child and maintaining that hold too long. I have started to teach him that I can give him a hug instead. Going down to his level to make sure it is done properly and I’ve especially started using this to promote finishing a task such as leaving for school each day. He does like to be held and squeezed tight, and since I love to snuggle this is perfectly fine with me. He seems to be doing well with this and I am too. Our boy is growing up, literally, too fast.

No More Naps!!! J hardly takes naps anymore. Unless he decides to get up at 2 or 3 am and stay up for a couple hours or till mom finally gets up too, then he’ll come home after school and crash for a few hours. Naps though used to be a time I loved. Time to get things done or time to spend with the hubby or me time; reading, painting, watching RHONJ (those ladies are CRAZY!). Didn’t realize how much I depended on those 2 hours during the weekends. It’s funny now though how he can still be so tired on the weekend but he fights it so hard. Like he’s afraid that he might miss out on something if he closes his eyes for one second too long. We now are pretty stringent about his bedtime. One, to make sure he gets enough sleep and two, momma needs to watch RHOOC too!

It’s hard to comprehend that we’ll have a 6 year old tomorrow that isn’t potty trained. The constant need to remember to take him to the restroom cause he doesn’t care if he wets himself is exhausting. We had one success when we did a hard 4 day potty training weekend but once again nothing stuck. He just doesn’t care. We’ve heard that you really need to take a week to have a more successful trial. I know what you’re thinking cause I thought it too, who wants to take a week off of work to potty train?!?! I guess we do…so that’s what we’re doing for J’s spring break week. Lance & I will be taking donations in the form of wine & whiskey in order to keep our sanity. Email me for details of where to send that too.  Thanks everyone.

Even though he loves going on car ride adventures, we’re having a rough time of it lately. If we go past the library, Cabela’s, McDonald’s, Target or even the zoo and he sees the desert dome, he has a full fledged meltdown cause he doesn’t understand why that isn’t our destination. We are even having issues taking him into places. J likes HyVee’s spirits section with the tall ceiling, bright contrasting lights and fun walk in cooler that he likes to go see but gets too nervous to actually go into and Wal-Mart with the big circle air vents in the garden center. We either have to have one of us accommodate him while the other does the shopping or work together to redirect him onward. If you were at Wal-Mart last week and you saw a child physically wrestling with his father, the father’s glasses being knocked clean off his face and a mother trying to keep the child’s hands from slapping or hitting, then you saw us! I would have waved but we were a little preoccupied. I know people were staring and it was embarrassing but we are trying to teach him good behavior. By the time we got to the other side of the store we were a completely different family, J was all smiles and giggles. I would like to think that this isn’t getting to us but it is. We are keeping him home more. Utilizing online ordering and pickup, using out lunches to run errands instead. But in the same breath I don’t want to hide my child because he may have a fit in public. How is he going to learn he doesn’t always get what he wants. We have to do what is right for J, not what is easier for us or for everyone else.

Lastly, I cried a little this morning. On the eve of J turning 6 he lost his first tooth. It was a happy cry. J could of cared less. Didn’t noticed it myself tell I was brushing his teeth this morning. Was thinking that he must have swallowed it during the night but there it was in his bed when I went to check. It’s such a small thing, looked bigger when it was in his mouth. We expect the other bottom tooth to be out any day now since it is sitting at an angle. Co-worker asked me today if the tooth fairy would be coming. Sadly no. J doesn’t understand those concepts. Slowly I’m coming to terms with that. We celebrate in our own way, as we will celebrate his birthday tomorrow quietly at home with brinner (breakfast for dinner) and a movie, probably Nemo for the 542th time.

The Toddler Years

J wasn’t walking or even attempting to walk by 1 year. He hated even being on his feet. Didn’t like his play saucer or having us bounce him on his toes. He’d just bring his knees up and fuss about it. After an MRI to check that J’s brain was developing correctly, which it was, we started Early Invention through the school district on the recommendation of our pediatrician soon after he turned 1. Suzanne was our very first physical therapist. She was, and still is, amazing with him. j7We soon had a speech therapist, as J hadn’t started talking at all yet either, and an occupational therapist. Along with a Service Specialist to help coordinate the 3 different appointments we continually had going. We were able to find the help and support we needed with these 4 women.

Those first few years were probably our hardest. Lance was teaching classes in the evenings Mondays thru Thursdays, sometimes till Saturdays depending on his schedule for that semester & I was working during the day. We never really saw too much of each other. Half the time we didn’t know what we were doing, hoping we were doing something, anything right & praying we weren’t screwing up. We were consistently learning about J and what we could do for him. We learned about stretches and massages that help promote strength and sensitively in his feet and legs. The school provided a walker that he sat in but it allowed him to use his legs to push himself around. We got him orthopedic ankle braces to help build stability due to his overstretched muscles (aka lower muscle tone). j6We learned games and activities to encourage speech and hand movements. We learned about special straws, cups & utensils to promote strength in his mouth and hands. And we read and researched & researched and read to gain understanding and learn new techniques to help our J…to help us.

I look back and realize it was all a whirlwind. Always something new to learn and we weren’t even to school yet. To add more to it, J started seeing a PT and OT at a pediatric therapy center. Tried speech too but insurance wouldn’t approve that at the time. As I’ve stated in previous posts we were so lucky to get into the RiteCare speech therapy program at the Munroe & Meyer Institute. Best thing we could have ever asked for.

We did all this for 4 years. 4 YEARS! No wonder we were tired all the time.

In the beginning…

j1I’ve always known or I think I’ve always known that J would be different. He didn’t cry at all when I delivered him. His face was all crunched up, angry at being removed from his cocoon, but he didn’t make a sound. He hardly cried for the first few weeks actually.

I was very protective from the start. He had terrible jaundice, to the point that we had to have a medical light bed brought to the house. That was an awful 48 hours, we had to keep the light on him at all times j3so if he wasn’t in the bed he had to wear a light band around his belly. We joke now that he was only so small for a day or so because of how much he grew in his first 3 years but he was actually small for quite some time. He didn’t want to put on weight and it didn’t help that my milk never came in. Switched over to formula soon enough.

J was a very mellow baby, only really cried when he was hungry which turned out to be all the time. Loved to giggle and laugh (still does). Had a rather large head, so gaining some neck control took some time and he never learned to crawl but used his head leverage to roll himself around. j2He didn’t like tummy time at all and he also didn’t fancy sitting up on his own without our assistance.

Therefore I’ve always been protective, some might say overly, because my child is/has always been different. I sometimes feel bad about that. I tried to share him and let others enjoy his tiny fingers & toes, the so kissable cheeks (which are still this way today) and his wonderful baby smell but it was so hard. I can’t explain why I was like this. All I can chalk it up to is… I just was and am. This is the mom I am and it’s gotten harder as the years move on not to be. I want to make sure that he is alright all the time and since he can’t tell me himself I will always be the ever so present mom. Others will just have to deal. Sorry, not sorry.