A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.
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Friday, December 31, 2010

Return to NOT Witch Mountain

We took my half day off work and took the entire crew back to Stone Mountain for our annual trek.
There is something bizarrely satisfying about sitting on top of Atlanta and looking down at the world.



It's otherworldly up there. Like stepping off the planet and into another place, which is sort of magical and relaxing. We really like it.I wonder where the boy gets THIS?


Oh yeah THATS where...

It was a fun goofy day on the mountain but they were still doing all their Christmas holiday shows and attractions so we got to do some of that fun stuff as well. Like a freezing cold ride around the mountain in an open air train car!
Ok it wasn't bad it was actually fun even though we were so cold even the free hot chocolate at the train station didn't warm us up.
But there was cookie decorating. Yeah it was kinda gross...


In case you are wondering that's a chocolate chip cookie with green icing, M&Ms and gummi bears + sprinkles.
But at the end of the night the Snow Angel comes and makes it snow, and if you are six, that's pretty freaking awesome.



It was one of those perfect days. I am glad I was there for it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

With Beer and Cherry Cordial In Hand

So for Christmas Santa got me a guide book for the rest of my life.

It's called WHAT WOULD KEITH RICHARDS DO? And yes it's daily affirmations.

If you aren't aware, Keith is my absolute FAVORITE Rolling Stone and I prefer above all others the songs HE sings (Little T&A anyone?).




So you have to understand, my love for Keith is deep. I realized that Keith was a rare voice of reason while watching an old film clip of some stuffy reporter asking the obviously wasted Stones how they came up with the album title "Some Girls" to which Keith slurred loudly, "We couldn't remember their fucking names."
I've had a deep love of Keith ever since that moment.

So you can imagine my glee at receiving this book.

His first step to wisdom?

KNOW YOURSELF.

Slightly less fancy that the oracle at Delphi but no less poignant I suppose.

So, who am I?

I am the sort of Mom who thinks is an awesome baby outfit for Christmas.
I am the sort of mom who thinks Santa likes variety.



And I am the sort of Mom who thinks this is not too many presents.

But mostly I'm the sort of Mom who is awake at midnight eating a cherry cordial, drinking a beer and listening to the Stones on YouTube.

Because some days, that's how I roll.

And I know myself.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The One Where Echolalia Almost Gets Me


Our Miles was recently categorized into Moderate Autism vs. Severe Autism. This is because he CAN speak. He talks all the time actually. Singing, counting, REPEATING EVERYTHING HE'S EVER HEARD.
He exhibits echolalia a lot. Now, that isn't to say that he doesn't actually communicate, because he does and gets better a little at a time. But a great deal of the time, he's just parotting words. It's really less cute than the movie RainMan I promise you.
It's loud, it's never ending, and it's nerve wracking.
I was at a school event sitting next to one of the only other mom's I know, and the two twins were making an insane amount of noise. She was kind of giving me the side-eye, not really knowing what to say.
So to put her at ease, I whispered, "They sure are loud for a couple of kids who don't talk, aren't they?"
She burst out laughing. Then I think was horrified that she had done so, but I laughed too, to let her know that it was alright.
So he jabbers, and talks, and repeats. ALL THE TIME.
But fairly recently, in the last few months, we'd hit a developmental milestone that really, REALLY touched my heart.
I gained a name.
I became Mommy.
It's probably hard for you guys with typical children to understand, hell it's hard for ME to understand. But until recently, I had two six year olds who didn't verbally identify me as anyone. It's kind of a big deal, developmentally, the saying of Mommy and Daddy. But it hadn't ever happened for me.
So when I became MOMMY all of a sudden, and was getting "Kiss, Mommy", "Hug, Mommy", "I love you, Mommy"....well, I was fairly choked up and thrilled.
It just seemed - a notch in his development. A huge step forward.


Then last night on the bed, the kids and I were all playing and cuddling, and he kissing the baby. I said, "Kiss the baby!" and he repeated my words and then kissed her. Then I said, "Kiss Mommy!" and he repeated my words....
and then kissed the baby.
I froze. I said again, leaning toward him, "Kiss Mommy".
He giggled, and repeated my words - and kissed the baby.
And I shattered.
He didn't know my name. He was just repeating. Echolalia.

I cried later, giving the baby her bath, and trying to tell my husband what happened. But he said no, that the boy cries when I leave the room, calling Mommy, he cries for Mommy in the night, that NO emphatically-I was wrong.

I didn't believe him, until he called him into the bathroom and told him to hug Mommy.

At first he just giggled, but then he turned around and took my hands and looked up, and said "Hug Mommy".
And clearly he meant me.

I don't demand much out of this life. But I really, really want my little boy to know I'm Mommy. I hugged him tight and felt kind of victorious. Screw you autism. Mommy won this one.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Seriously?



The boy says "And the teacher has TWO BOXES of Hubba Bubba bubblegum behind her desk and she never gives us any. And as you know - it's the RAREST of all bubblegum."

I didn't even know what to say to that.




Friday, December 03, 2010

IEPs for Everyone

Apparently there haven't been enough IEPs in my house. If you don't know, the IEP is the magic document that the school system uses to allocate special services to children. So, if your have Special Needs children, like we do, you learn the IEP process in and out.
It's fairly tedious yet important. It gets my kids therapy and the things they need to help them progress.
So my oldest boy has this speech impediment.
I stood on my head at the school during Kindergarten and First Grade, getting him "speech therapy lite". A "little" speech therapy. Everyone felt that it was something he was going to grow out of.
I went to meetings. I pushed. And for some reason, they just didn't think he needed more help.
Now he's in 2nd Grade and there is a new Speech Language Pathologist at his school.

I got a call. She says "The Boy needs aggressive speech therapy, if he continues like this he's going to talk this way when he's 39."

FINALLY. In the process of talking to her I realize though - he's got to go on an IEP.

Sigh. So now my GIFTED Child and my SPECIAL ED children all have IEPs. I am totally getting my tax money's worth out of the damned school system I SWEAR I AM.

He has what they call LOW TONE - which refers to the strength of the muscles he uses to talk. Low strength. It's why he struggles to pronounce words his brother who is autistic says crystal clear.

So I went to the IEP meeting for HIM today, and watched the therapists head blow off when I told her I already HAD two IEPs for the twins and they were autistic. I love the question "how do you do it?" lol. Lady, we just do. We just do.

Anyway, I was frustrated because I guess I don't like the IDEA of the IEP for my big boy yet I want nothing but what will help him.

I am an IEP road warrior.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Blogging As The Baby Screams In The Background


Oh don't look at me like that. She's fine. It's bed time. She doesn't want to go.
This post isn't about her anyway.
No, it's about the bus driver.
Well, one bus driver.
Whom I have decided is an a-hole and I don't like.
One boy who was promoted to "moderate" autism was moved to a different school. It's fairly impressive. He LEARNS things, like how to write letters, and to spell. He speaks some.
(and no he's not "creative" or a savant, Rainman is a movie not reality)
But he also wants to do the things that he's learned.He wants to do them, ALL THE TIME.
So, he's learned how to unbuckle his seat belt.
And apparently, started doing it ON THE BUS.
The afternoon bus driver didn't ever bother to mention this. Nope. She apparently let it happen several times, and then just decided she was done and promptly kicked my special needs child off the bus.
No warning.
So his teacher promptly responded that NO, there are solutions and that just kicking him off the bus isn't the answer.
Apparently, something like THIS is.


Add a few more straps under the legs and around him and this is what we have now.
The morning bus driver,who apologized profusely and said he didn't know what was wrong with that woman, he'd never had a problem like this he'd just turn the buckle over and he'd never had a kid figure it out.
But here we are.
This boy who is the more developed of the twins, who has learned the mystery of language is now being strapped down every morning into this harness that upsets him. He looks even more special than he is and has to parade out in front of our neighborhood wearing his HARNESS.

I want to slap this bus driver.

You know my real issue here, isn't that we had to land here. I want him to be safe. I understand she's driving a bus and she can't have a kid running around on the bus but OH MY GOD. Could she have said SOMETHING? Could she have mentioned it? Could we have worked together on this to ATTEMPT some other solution?

See, because this kid of mine, he learns routines and learns them well. He could've learned exactly what to do. Now he's labeled as some sort of bus hooligan that has to be literally STRAPPED DOWN into his seat like an animal.

He's my child. He's not an animal. It makes me angry he was too much trouble to even try something else with.

He learned to say Happy Halloween this year. He counts. He's a person too.


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