Sunday, December 21, 2014

Things They Didn't Teach Me In School....

"Mom, I think my friend Dustin at school has autism too."

"You do?"

"Yes, but I think it might be a different kind of autism."

"What do you mean by a different kind?"

"Well, in some ways he is a lot like me, and in some ways he is different than me, but the ways he is like me I think are things that are special to autism."

He proceeded to tell me about how his friend Dustin perseverates on things like Mario & Luigi, the planets, and Sam (from Green Eggs & Ham).  I talked to the Boy about how we are all different ie: boys/girls, different ages, likes/dislikes, etc. so that he could understand that whether one is autistic or neurotypical, we have ways that we are alike & ways we are different.

"But Mom, I don't think he knows he is autistic; he doesn't talk about it like we do in our house."

"Well honey, some parents wait to share this information with their kids.  Some families aren't as open about it as we are.  Some people, even adults, don't even know that they are on the autism spectrum."


"Whoa...why are you yelling at me?"

"If the doctor tells you that you have something, & you are a kid, you NEED to know about it--it's your body and your RIGHT to know!!!"

"Okay, I get it, but we can't judge others for whether or not they choose to share; they may have different struggles in their house.  They may not have fantastic doctors, teachers, OT's, SLP's, & PT's on their team. We can support & love our friends.  We can share our experiences if it will help others.  Okay?"

"Okay.  But Mom??"

"If it's your body, you have a right to know so that you know why things happen, tight?"

"I agree with you, son, but we are not going to judge someone if they do things differently."



"Sometimes I don't like my autism; like when I get into the bad realm, then have a meltdown."

"Me too honey, but we are working on things so you can control it when you get overloaded."

"Would you take it away from me if you could?"

"Well honey, that isn't possible."

"I know, but IF you could, would you?"



"Because if the autism was gone, I don't know if other awesome parts of your personality would be gone too.  I love you for you, no matter what."

"Thanks Mom."

So....that is how I discovered just how my son is waayyy more observant than I ever knew.  He sees autism in his classmate. He thinks that we all have a right to know things about our bodies.  He asked a question I didn't think he would ask until he was older.

He's a keeper.....

Monday, December 15, 2014

Trust Your Gut...

I realized that I haven't done a blog post since August, right before school started.  If you go back & reread that post, you are about to learn how things have changed so so very much in 4 months. For those of you who do not follow Sassy Pants Lives Here on Facebook, I will try to sum it up for you.  Not in a nutshell because, as you know, I take the long way home every time I should be sprinting the shortcut. 

the Boy started showing signs of wanting to go back to school towards the end of September.  I thought I was imagining things, so I held back & watched his behaviors.  He finally came right out & asked if he could go back to school to be with "friends I haven't met yet."  He then asked me if I would find a teacher who will "follow my IEP the way a teacher is suppose to do."  Yep, it was time to start the search.  So, we did.  We found what I was certain was going to be the perfect fit for him.  He started back to school half days on December 1st.  After Christmas Vacation in January, he will go full days.  We have a wonderful IEP mapped out.  He was super excited to go back to school.  YAY!!

Day 2 was not good.  He had a substitute teacher.  Guess what??  When his teacher, Mr. R returned the next day, everything was ironed out.  Again, YAY!!

Last week, I got a call while I was at work.  Mr. R asked if he could keep the Boy all day, as my child was shutting down, & refusing to work.  Mr. R needed to stand his ground, be consistent, and show the Boy that this one task needed to get done, AND they needed to find out just what it was that caused the refusal to work.  My heart about leaped out of my chest; he wasn't calling to send my child home, he wanted to keep him there & work on the issue at hand!!! 
We agreed that the Boy could stay all day, but if the issue could be resolved, he could hop on that bus at his usual dismissal time.

The issue at hand was dealt with, and the Boy came home at his usual time.  I expected to have to deal with a meltdown of epic proportions when he got home.  Guess what???  NO MELTDOWN HAPPENED!!!  He was smiling when he got off of the bus!!  I told him I was so proud of him for pulling it together & working things through with Mr. R.  He smiled & said, "I know."

Fast forward to today:
I decided to get a mani/pedi this morning.  Listen, this is a luxury I haven't afforded myself since the end of April, so I got a special coffee & treated myself.  Try it sometime if you can~~it's peaceful & quiet.

Until the school calls.....

Mr. R called to ask if the Boy could stay at school longer, as he was refusing to work, then decided he wasn't going to answer any questions when spoken to.  Sure Mr. R, do what you need to do just don't call back in the next 20 minutes because my nails are about to be tacky.  Seriously though, I am impressed at the communication skills this man has.  Please know, he HAS to call me if the Boy is to stay later, since my son is enrolled for partial days.  I told him to remember to offer a break to the Boy, as he needs to know his options for turning the situation around, and to let me know if things get worked out or not.

So, my nails were dry & I was on my way home.
Mr. R called....

The cause of everything?? Shellfish.
Yep, they were having shrimp poppers for lunch today.
My child is severely  allergic to shellfish.
My child packed a lunch today, but that wasn't enough.  He is in a new lunchroom, & doesn't want to be in the same room as shellfish.  He told Mr. R that all his brain could think about is the noisy lunchroom, and what if someone touched him after they had the shrimp poppers.  During the lesson in the classroom, his brain started perseverating on how he was going to make it through lunch.

Believe me, meals are a favorite time of the day for the Boy.  He shouldn't be stressed about his allergy; we take all precautions for his safety, but he was bothered.  Guess what???  Mr. R found him a quiet place to eat his lunch whenever the lunch being served is shellfish!! 

No meltdown.  Communication was two-way.  Coping skills were used.  My child came home happy.  No trips to the Principal's office.  No suspension from school. 

Any doubt that may have been in the back of my brain about sending the Boy back to school is gone.  I trusted my gut, & did what he needed & wanted. Now if you will excuse me, I'm going to go & cry some  super happy tears....

Monday, August 11, 2014

This Wasn't The Way It Was Suppose To Go....

Tonight was Meet The Teacher night at the elementary school.  Little Boy is having a sleepover at Grandma & Grandpa Sassy Pants house, so we will take him to visit with his teacher tomorrow after he comes home.  the Boy stayed home with Mr. Sassy Pants~~no need for him to visit when he already knows his Resource teacher.  He will have a new Speech teacher, but he can meet her tomorrow when we take Little Boy in.

the Girl was so excited to meet her new teacher.  the Girl said that 3rd grade will be the best year ever because she will get to learn how to write in cursive.  It was so much fun watching the joy on her face as she greeted friends whom she hasn't seen in three months.  She even had to go to the opposite end of the school to meet teachers from prior years.  She really is a model student & is a smart thing at that. 

Since we've been home, I've been feeling really blue, though.  Not because summer is almost over~~believe me, I'm ready for the kids to go back to school.  Not because I will have my 'last first' of sending a child off to Kindergarten.  I will be weepy, but I will get over it.  Not because we started 4th grade Homeschool with the Boy today.  Granted, there were glitches, but it's all for the best.

I think I'm feeling blue because this wasn't the way things were suppose to go.  This was suppose to be the year that I had three children all in the same school.  The Three Musketeers.  The three children who I would alternate having lunch with.  The three classrooms to help out in.  It didn't happen that way.  It won't be that way ever, as far as I know.  If & when it's time to send the Boy back to public school, it will not be at this school, as I know there is a black mark by his name.  Not by his choice.  Not his fault.  He had no say in the fact that his teacher wouldn't follow through with his IEP.  The stress was too much for him.  He is much happier at home.  I know he will have to face the challenges of school/peers/teachers again, but it's not going to be in the same school as his siblings.

I have to put these feelings into perspective.  I will feel blue tonight, so that I can then be happy.  Happy for the Girl as she enters 3rd grade.  Happy for Little Boy as he enters kindergarten.  I am happy for the Boy as we begin our journey together for his 4th grade year. 

It's kind of like a punch in the gut when your eyes are opened to 'real world' facts.  Things are going well for all of us.  We have a roof over our heads.  We have food to eat.  We have much love to share.  But it's also okay when the ugly thoughts & feelings pop up too.  When it's time for the Boy to reenter a school setting, we will make the best choice for him~~it just isn't going to be at the neighborhood school right up the street.  It isn't going to be the way that I imagined it to be.  If he is meant to be homeschooled longer than I am planning on, then so be it.

Please know that I am not complaining for the sake of being a Complainy McComplainerton.  It's just that when these feelings arise from deep down in my gut, I have to experience the anger & pain at those who did not meet my child's needs.  These are the times I want to isolate my kids & myself.  If we isolate, then we don't get hurt or let down.  Mind you, I will not do that~~we are surrounded with loving supports, & I never ever take that fact for granted.

It's just that this wasn't the way that it was suppose to go.....

Friday, May 2, 2014

Cutting The Apron Strings.....

This morning was the Annual Science Fair at the elementary school.  the Boy & I ran a few errands after dropping the Girl off, as the student scientists needed time to start their day & set up.  He was already in a bit of a silly mood, rocking around & needing me to say things twice.  No biggie.  He knew we were going to Taco Bell & the Nebraska Humane Society after the Science Fair, so no worries.

As we walked into the gymnasium for the Science Fair, we found the Girl.  the Boy asked if he could walk around.  Certainly, who wants to hang out with their younger sister when you could visit with your own friends & former classmates?

the Girl asked me to helped her get started once the judges came over.  I watched her forget a step in the process of making her homemade bouncy balls.  I tried to whisper in her ear so she could fix her error.  She hissed at me that I needed to stop.  Trial #1 did not result in a bouncy ball.  She was so frustrated, as she's been making these things for over 2 weeks at home.  Again, I offered suggestions & asked her if there was anything I could do to help.  Heaven have mercy!!  That child of mine clenched her teeth & told me to slowly walk away from the table & leave her alone, because it was my fault that things weren't going well.

I followed her directions.  I didn't want to.  I know that we raise our children to be among other things, independent & productive members of society.  I just didn't want her to fail.  I know that I do need to let her fail & learn to fix her mistakes.  It's a hard thing to do, because I want her to know that I will always be there for her.  I fear the day she has her first heartbreak. 

I didn't have much time for a pity party, because it was then that one of the second grade teachers came up to me & told me that there was a 'situation' with the Boy.  Apparently he had slapped another boy.  This teacher had him standing with his face to a wall in a loud gymnasium.  As I went to speak to the Boy, he bolted, all while shouting how it's not fair &how no one at this stupid school ever listens to him.  As I followed him around the long table set up in the center of the gym, I saw the 2nd grade teacher speaking to one of the kindergarten teachers.  I watched the 2nd grade teacher's mouth drop to the floor.  She then went up to the child whom the Boy had slapped. 

All of a sudden, the slapped child was sent to say something to the Boy then went to stand facing a wall.  The amazing kindergarten teacher said something to the Boy, & he went nicely walking out the door of the gym. 

Both teachers came up to me....
"Mrs. Sassy Pants, an error has been made".  Apparently the child who had been slapped, told the Boy, "you are a stupid trouble maker... why are you here, nobody likes you... my brother said you are retarded... you are a bitch."  That's when my Boy slapped him.  They apologized for assuming that the Boy had done something unprovoked. 

Would this have been different if the Boy were still enrolled there?? Was someone finally seeing that my child isn't a trouble maker??  The kindergarten teacher explained that she sent the Boy on a "job" to go & get something for her, & was it okay with me??  She didn't want me to think that she was overstepping her boundaries, but she felt that this would help.

Hot damn, I always knew she was an amazing teacher!!  Next year she will be retiring.  I can only hope that Little Boy gets her for a teacher in the fall. 

I then waked back over to where the Girl was set up to see how she was doing.  She greeted me with, "why did you leave me; I need you to be here for me."

Ay yi yi...... she still likes me after all.....

Friday, April 25, 2014

My Last Kindergarten Physical...

Starting today, the kids have a 4 day weekend.  Had I realized this when I set up Little Boy's kindergarten physical for today, clear back in January, I may have done things differently.  Or maybe not.  But I probably would have.

Our car is in the shop getting some body work done.  I may or may not have shared that in early March I was taking the Boy to his after school program, when a car in front of me just stopped.  I swerved into the lane to my right so I wouldn't rear end the guy & his passengers.  In doing so, I hit a guy on my right side--he was in my blind spot.  He had just drove the pick up off of the lot that very morning.  I felt so bad for him.

Anyway, our friend Dan is fixing the minivan & we are driving my sister in laws minivan & she is driving Mr. Sassy Pants monster van, since he drives a company van to & from work.  I thought we were going to die when we got in!!  I have never ever in my life been in a car that reeks so bad of cigarettes.  I am so grateful that we did not have to fork over a bunch of money for a rental, but I feel so dirty after being in this vehicle, it isn't even funny.  YUCK!!!  (And this is from someone who used to smoke in her vehicle all the time before children).


We made it to the doctor's office.  My last kindergarten physical for one of my children.  I'm no longer a newbie at this, so one would have thought that it would be a breeze.  It would have, if the Boy & the Girl hadn't scared the living daylights out of Little Boy by telling how horrible his shots were going to be.  Little Boy has always been so amazing when it comes to getting shots, but I still wanted to tell him myself.  Kids change the way things happen in our lives, that's for sure.

This was the longest kindergarten physical known to mankind.  We were there for  hours; the other kids' physical did not last this long.  Little Boy was getting impatient.  And hungry (he knew we were going to Dairy Queen for lunch when we were done, so he was chomping at the bit).

Then it was time for shots....

I had to hold my baby down on the exam table while he was screaming at the top of his lungs.  "Get  off of my body!!"  "Im's neber going to lub yews again!!"  (to the nurse): "Yews is fat & ugwly!!"  "I want my Daddy!"  "Wet me ouwta did place!!"

Then it was time for the finger prick....

"Yews is poking holwes all in's my body!!!"  Stop it, Im's going to run out of bawlood inside of me!!!"  And my favorite: "Gib me a knife so I kin cut off YEWS finger!!"

They finally finished up & we got out of there as fast as we were able to.  We met up with a friend for lunch, & Little Boy decided it would be funny to say words that are not appropriate for a 5yo boy to be saying.  Yes, I wanted to beat him within an inch of his life, but I too busy to go to jail right now, so I let him live.  He can be a very exhausting child.  True story.....

In the meantime, a friend of the Boy's was calling my phone to see if he could come over to play.  The phone calls started around 830am.  I told this 9yo that we had things going on & today would not work, but that we could plan something for another day.  My phone is currently on silent, as he has called 46 times so far today.  His Grandma watches him & his brother during the day when there is no school, & she is kind of a grouchy lady who would rather have her quiet time.  So yeah, I'm sure it would be nice if her grandson was over here, but it's not happening today.  I will have Danny come & play when the time is right for our family, not for Danny's Grandma.

We should have gone home after lunch, but we needed to look for some summer sandals for the Boy.  I should have said, "Let's go another time."  But I didn't.  We went to the mall.  We were going to get some sandals & get out.  Right....

We stopped into Old Navy first.  No sandals for the Boy were to be found, but I found some amazing deals for the Girl.  Spending $104.00 on 12 items made me very happy.  We moved on over to JC Penny's & found a bunch of clothes for Little Boy for the fall~~he is obsessed with hoodies, so we got $40.00 hoodies on sale for $4.97!!  This Momma was happy.  My kids were getting antsy.  the Girl was holding on to the bag from Old Navy.  the Boy was bouncing his bouncy ball from the gumball machine thingy while rolling around on the floor, & Little Boy was across the way in the bedding department announcing that, "Im's going to sawleep for a wittle while, Momma!!"

It got really fun when I told them we needed to go to the lingerie department so I could get some panties.   "OHMYGOSH, THIS IS THE PRIVATES DEPARTMENT~~I CAN'T BE IN HERE!!!"  My oldest has no filter.  (with clench teeth) I said, "You WILL sit down on the floor by these purple bras; you will keep your hands to yourself; you will stop complaining; and you will shush your mouth!"  the sat down by one of the racks of panties & kept asking why they were so "humongous."  I couldn't find Little Boy.  The sales lady fond him.  Trying on a lacy bra.  He came & sat down beside me.

I was happy when it was time to check out. for cheap.  We got up to leave & the bag from Old Navy was nowhere to be found!!!  the Girl was suppose to be holding it.  She said it was hurting her arm, so she gave it to the Boy.  the Boy said it was full of her stuff, so he put it down.  WHERE IN THE HELL WAS THE DANG BAG OF CLOTHES?!?!!!  No one knew where it was, but they knew it wasn't their fault.

They were instructed to sit down on the floor.  Again.  They were told if they moved a muscle, they weren't going to live to see tomorrow.  Please note: I did not yell; I merely threatened them with their lives.  The wonderful staff of JC Penney's went above & beyond to help us find the Old Navy bag.  They searched both lost & founds.  They searched every inch of the store we had been in.  They took our name & number & promised to call if t turned up.  I knew it wouldn't.  I told my kids that I would not be replacing the clothes.  I told them I hoped they were happy that some other kids were going to have free clothes for the summer.  Yep, I'm awesome that way---I did the guilt thing.  But I didn't yell.  (by the way, I fell bad for doing the guilt thing, but I did it & can't undo it.  Believe me, I learn lessons every day of my life).

The kids knew I was ticked off. I knew that I needed to give it up & go home.  On our way out, I thought we'd stop at Old Navy to let them know what happened 'just in case' someone fond the bag & had a heart & turned it in.

As we walked in, the Girl who had waited on us came running up to me with our bag!!!!  The look on my kids' faces was priceless.  I asked the salesgirl if she got the name of the person who turned it in.  She did not.  I am so grateful to whoever did turn it in.  I wish I could give them a giant hug~~there is still kindness & goodness in the world; we are so thankful!!

As we walked out of Old Navy, the Girl stopped in her tracks & lost it.  She was sobbing & saying something that I couldn't understand.  I knew this had impacted her.  We stopped.  BOTH BOYS came to comfort her.  Once we got her calmed down she explained, "I am so sorry; if you give me a responsibility, I will ask for help if I need it.  I will not blame things on the boys. I am so sorry that I didn't do my part.  You didn't yell at us & that scared me, Mom; you were so quiet."  "I wasn't quiet, what are you talking about?"  "You used that voice that you use when we are in super big trouble--it's scary to me."

We had a nice talk after that.  We hugged.  We smiled.  All of us are having some down time.  I will screw up & guilt them again.  It's my job, right??  We will all screw up, but we will love each other & that's all that matters....

It is also our last time having to take a child to a kindergarten physical (our last first)....

Friday, March 28, 2014

When You Least Expect It....

Today was a day of very little schoolwork.  the Boy & I ran errands, but I did not press the issue with schoolwork.  You see, today was his last visit with his psychologist.  If you remember, she is moving to another state & will no longer be the Boy's therapist.  He has refused to talk about it & I have respected his wishes.  He has been off all week, & I think this change is being processed internally. 

He asked to go to Taco Bell for lunch.  He said he wanted to see Mr. Cody.  Mr. Cody is the young man who seems to always be working whenever we stop into Taco Bell.  He addresses the Boy by name, greeting him enthusiastically whenever we walk in the door.  He listens to the Boy share a Pok√©mon story or whatever my child is sharing that day.  He looks the Boy in the eye & asks him questions.  He shows respect for my child; my child feels the respect & kindness that this young man shows him.  I need to remember to let Mr. Cody's manager know what an asset he is to the restaurant.

As we were eating lunch, I asked the Boy if he was excited to see Dr. L, & he told me to hush.  He said he was listening to the noisy man sitting at the tall table behind him.  As I zoned in on the table of men dressed in their business casual, one in particular was very loud.  He had a voice that reeked of 'I am better than you & everything I say is more important than anything you have to say'.  We even heard him interrupt one of the other men & say, "sum it up quickly, your stories take too long to tell."  I wanted to get up & teach him some manners, but he was making me drowsy as he shared tips on copiers, printer, & toner sales. 

It was finally time to leave, & I was ever so happy.  the Boy did a great job of using his filter; he had told me that "that man is really annoying." 

As the Boy was putting on his coat, I saw him rocking around as he does, & he was getting closer to the man who takes too long to tell stories.  Just as I was about to stop him, he tapped the man on the back as he was putting his arm in his coat.  I was proud of him for using his manners & saying excuse me.  The man said, "no problem."

Then Mr. I'm Better Than You opened his mouth.....

"What's wrong with him?  Is he retarded or something?


Before I could pounce & strangle this man with my bare hands, the man who takes too long to tell stories said, "he is just fine, he didn't do any harm; you are rude & need to shut up." 

Then Cody (who saw the whole thing while he was waiting to say goodbye to us) said (in his calm & gentle voice), "my young friend Sam has more class in his little finger than you have in your whole body; & we do not use that word in this establishment."

Two classy men; I hope that is how the Boy is to others when he is a grown up...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

If I Cover My Ears, Then I Won't Hear You....

We met her December 9, 2012.  For someone who didn't know us, she knew our family's struggle.  She listened.  She had me try things that I really didn't think would help, yet I did them anyway.  She watched me cry.  She observed my son when he was happy.  She observed him when he was being naughty.  I knew she was a match for us when we met her.

Even when she had to deliver THE news.  The testing results.  The diagnosis.  When she said Asperger's Syndrome on February 1, 2013, I cried.  She handed me tissues & said, "the Boy is still the same Boy you know & love.  The only thing that has changed is the fact that "it" has a name & now he can receive the services he needs to help him succeed."

She invited us to join Social Skills Group.  This Group met every Tuesday evening from 6:00-7:30pm.  The kids went with another psychologist & her interns to do group activities with the group of 10 children.  Parents met in a conference room to discuss how to help our children with the issues that they encounter.  We learned about different resources in our community. 

We were allowed to participate in another session that will be ending in a few weeks.  the Boy has made some friends who I hope he can get to know outside of Social Skills Group.  This time around, the group of parents weren't as talkative as the parents in the last group had been.  I wondered if they were new to this world of Autism Spectrum Disorder; maybe they were scared shitless.  Afraid if they opened their mouths to ask a question, they'd look foolish.  Or that the others of us would judge their parenting skills.  Or maybe they were afraid of crying.  I was that person in the beginning.  I took awhile to process the information.  I took the time to grieve for this new journey I was coming upon.  Slowly, I got louder & my skin got thicker.  Sure, I still get emotional at times, that is never going to change.  I am always going to be loud when advocating not just for the Boy, but for his siblings as well.  Ask me a question about our journey & I will talk your ear off.  Who am I kidding?!?  I am a talker & can talk about anything to just about anyone.  Like another Autism Momma told me (just today), "there are no strangers, just friends we haven't yet met."

Tonight she got us all to talk.  And she made me cry in front of a room of strangers friends I hadn't really met yet.

Some of the other children in this Social Skills Group are patients of hers as well.  She shared with us that she has 2 family members who are terminally ill.  These relatives live far away.  She is leaving her practice in a few weeks to be with her family.  My heart broke for her & her husband.  My heart broke for all of her patients whom she has a relationship with.  My heart broke at the thought of having to share this information with my son.  Heaven only knows how this adjustment will be.  If you know anything about people on the Autism Spectrum, it is that change doesn't usually go over well.  They love their routine.  They love consistency in their lives. 

Dr. L suggested I tell the Boy, then make an appointment to see her for a final session so that he can ask questions, vent, cry, misbehave or whatever else he needs to do. 

On the way home, I told him.  I explained that she loves her patients & none of them did anything to make her go away.  I explained that it is okay to be mad, sad, or whatever he may feel about the situation.  He covered his ears, closed his eyes, & shouted at me to never talk to him again.  No biggie, he is going to need time to process this, as am I. 

Things will be fine.  He will develop a relationship with his new psychologist.  We may have some setbacks, but I will say this: I am so glad that we pulled him out of public school to home school him.  This change could have resulted in some not so pretty meltdowns at school.  This is a life lesson for him.  He will get into a new routine with his new doctor. 

And he will know that I too, want to cover my ears & shout "LA LA LA LA LA!!! when I don't want to hear bad news.

Friday, January 31, 2014

What A Difference A Year Makes...

Friday, February 1, 2013
"I'm going to hand you the results of our testing, Mrs. Sassy Pants.  I think it's best if we jump to the diagnosis, so I don't keep you wondering the entire time I explain things."

**Take a deep breath; you know what's coming**

"He definitely is on the Autism Spectrum, specifically Asperger's Syndrome."

**I knew it--*it* has a name now.  Why are there tears coming down?  Oh my gosh, I can't make them stop.**

"Here's some tissues; take a minute & we can talk. How about I get your coffee for you?"

**What did I do wrong??  How did I not see the signs sooner?!  Where do we go from here??  Oh my gosh, she's still talking; I really need to focus.**

"Disruptive Behavior Disorder, Dispraxia, ABA Therapy, IEP at school, Behavior Plan, 299.80.  His brain is wired different.  You didn't do anything to cause this.  He is still the same Boy that you know & love; now we can continue to help him to become the best that he can be."

**Stop the tears; this isn't about you.  You need to be strong so that you can help him.  I love him so much!!  I know that this is somehow my fault, I just know it.**

Friday, January 31, 2014
Tomorrow will be the 1 year anniversary of the word Asperger's Syndrome coming into our lives.  Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Autism.  ASD.  The Spectrum.  These are words that we use interchangeably in our house. 

There is nothing 'wrong' with the Boy, his brain is wired differently.  He gets overwhelmed easily.  When he gets like this, he gets frustrated, angry, full of tears, & has been known to spit, hit, kick, & throw things.  We are working with his school & his psychologist to help him learn to be flexible & to use his coping skills so that he can recognize a meltdown coming on.  We want him to use these coping skills to help calm himself.

Wait a minute, the school didn't help him.....
Let me reword that.  His Principal, Resource Teachers, & the Autism Specialists did so much to help him.  They communicated with his psychologist so that everything could be a consistent as possible for this child.  They are wonderful people.  I'm guessing that when the Principal was a teacher, he was amazing; he cares so much.  The classroom teacher?  Not so much.  She told the Principal to tell me that she doesn't need anyone telling her how to do her job.  When the Boy started to get overwhelmed, she would immediately call for the Pricipal to take care of things , rather than follow the behavior plan.  I could go on & on, but I won't.  I'm not in the mood to be upset. 

I knew it was time to take him out of there & teach him these skills myself.  Yep, we just ended our first week of homeschool, & I am confident it was the right thing to do.  Don't get me wrong, I know that we are going to have days where I am going to second guess myself & he is going to hate my guts.  Still, just this week it has been such a blessing to know that the school wasn't going to call me to come & pick him up because they wouldn't follow through with the child's IEP.  I didn't have to worry about him being suspended because he kicked a teacher.  It was such a relief.

And then there's the other siblings....
In September, the kids' older sister who lives in Washington came to stay with us so that she could receive medical treatment for what we thought was a very bleak situation.  Without going into details, she was basically starving to death because of an auto-immune disease.  She could not hold food down, & was in the hospital & had many visits to the ER while here.  With a stroke of God's Grace, she was able to go home 8 days ago.  She is keeping food down, & her disease seems to be in remission.  We are so thankful that things are on the upswing & she can be with her husband & children.

Last week, things came to a head with the Girl.  We've had episodes of what is more than sassiness~this blog was named after her & her ability to keep her brothers (& parents) in line.  When I stepped back & looked at things, I saw a little girl who is very strong, but is just a little girl.  She has seen everyone else getting so much attention.  She has had moments of foot stomping, eye rolling, back talking, & fib telling.  When I spoke to her teacher, even Mrs. S agreed that the Girl is in need of some special time & attention. 

I felt horrible!!  Had I failed her too?!?!
No.  I had not failed anyone.  I recognized that there was a problem & decided to own it.  It was time to make date time with each of my children.  Alone time where they know that they have my undivided attention.  Yes, we can do this.  It's going to be okay.

So, what's on the agenda??
the Boy will have Social Skills Group with his psychologist on Tuesday nights (he loves being with the other children).  He is also going to attend Munroe Meyer Institute's After School Spring Program on Monday & Wednesday afternoons from 3:00-5:30.  He will get to swim, cook, play games, & other kid stuff.  The Girl is in Girl SCouts & will start selling cookies in a week, & will start playing volleyball at the YMCA this spring.  Little Boy???  Well, we are working on his speech & getting him ready for kindergarten in the fall.  He wants to start swim lessons again, so next session, he can strengthen his fish skills.

Life has gone on.....
Our world didn't end, it has just been the beginning of a new journey for all of us.  Mr. Sassy Pants doesn't say much regarding Autism; he takes my lead & listens.  BUT....when I am at my wits end after the Boy has had an epic meltdown, or I'm ready to poke some holes in a box so I can ship Little Boy to Illinois (my friend Allison says she's always wanted a boy), Mr. Sassy Pants knows when to swoop in & divert the attention to something else lighthearted.  He really is a gem, even though there are times I'd like to shake some sense into his head. :) 

My friends have been the best support system....
I have been so blessed to be surrounded by friends who have been there for me when I've need a shoulder to lean on.  I have the best Mom to be able to vent to & lean on.  And those brothers & sisters I've never met....
THEY live it.  They get it.  These people who I am in a private Facebook group with, have been my salvation.  I can be me; I can be ready to choke the living daylights out of a teacher, husband, & child, & they listen & don't judge.  Would they like me if they knew me in person??  Maybe, maybe not.  But I'm thinking yes.  We have this common bond.  We are part of a club that we didn't ask to be in, but we rejoice in having each other.

And maybe someday we will meet face to face....

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dinosaur Eggs For Everyone...

As many of you know, yesterday was the first day of homeschool for the Boy & I.  I promise I will have a new blog post to share with you on Thursday or Friday (it's symbolic that I do it them; I will explain later).

Anyway, today's science project was to make dinosaur eggs.  Now this project is simple enough for a preschool child, so why would I choose to do it with my 3rd grade son??  Well, I wanted something that would awaken his sensory side (he has tactile issues with certain fabrics/textures; heck he wouldn't wear blue jeans for 1 1/2 years because the feel of the denim bothered him so much).

Our project involved finishing a discussion of dinosaurs that had been started at school, then to make dinosaur eggs.  I wanted to make three different kinds of homemade playdough with mini dinosaur figures inside of each 'egg'. 
Once the eggs are completely dry (this may take a few days), the Boy is going to don some safety goggles & a hammer, go out to the back deck, then he will "extinct" the dinosaurs.  Yes, we read about the probable real causes for the dinosaurs to become extinct, but this is more fun, don't you think??

I had a few requests for my recipes for the homemade dough, so I thought I would share with you.

The first recipe is a classic homemade recipe that I've used for years.  I used this one way back when I was a preschool teacher at a Montessori preschool when big hair, leg warmers, & jelly shoes were popular.

-2 cups all purpose flour

-1/2 cup salt
-2 tablespoons cream of tartar
-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
-1 big squirt of dish soap
-2-4 tablespoons glitter (optional)
-1/2 cup sand (optional)
-1/4 cup of coffee grounds (optional-I used the latter 2 because of the Boy's sensory issues)
-2 cups boiling water

*Mix all ingredients EXCEPT for the water in a bowl.
*Slowly add the boiling water & mix until it makes a sticky dough.
* continue to knead-the dough should become less sticky, but you can add more flour if you wish.
Two Ingredient Play Dough

1 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup hair conditioner (use the Suave, not the Redken)
Food coloring (optional)

Basically, you have 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part conditioner for this one.  Add both ingredients to a bowl & mix; if it stays super sticky, just add a touch of cornstarch until it is the consistency you like.  For ours, I added some coffee grounds & did not add food coloring.

This 'dough', isn't so much as dough as it is a really cool looking/feeling rough modeling compound. 

-1 cup sand
-1/2 cup cornstarch
-1/2 cup alum (found in the baking aisle)
-1/2 cup water

*Mix all ingredients together in a sauce pan.
*Cook over medium heat, continuously stirring until thick.
* Once cool enough to touch, add dinosaur figures & shape the 'dough' around it until it looks like an egg.

All of the dinosaur eggs are drying & the Boy is so excited to break them open.  the Girl & Little Boy have been begging him to let them break a few eggs. 

the Boy said he'd let them do it.  For a dollar each.....