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My Newest Edition to Fort Alex!


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Yay Straws!!


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A Windex Kind of Day


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4:30am – I can hear Alex downstairs, but it’s quiet. I thought maybe he just came up from his room to lay on the heater vent like he often does to go back to sleep. So I went back to sleep. But about 1/2 hour later, I woke straight up in my bed with that feeling. Parents of special needs kids know that feeling. Hell, parents of every kid know that feeling.

Something. Is. Wrong.

I yell for Alex and he comes running upstairs to my bed. He is naked. And completely covered in something BROWN and smearing it on my freshly washed comforter (from last week’s puke incident). I flash back to years 1 to around 7 when Alex used to take extreme pleasure in digging in his diaper and smearing it all over himself and his entire room. Do you know how hard it is to get dried up poop off of walls? FYI – Windows – not as hard – you just take a knife and scrape it off.

Anyway, I went into complete panic mode. Alex has only dabbled in poop smearing a few times since he was 7 years old, so I was not looking forward to going into his room and having to deal with Poopapalooza 2012.  It was EVERYWHERE. Brown stuff smeared all over the sink, the counters, backsplash, the entire kitchen floor, the fridge (inside and out), the hallway, the front door, the toilet in the guest bathroom, the carpet on the stairs to Alex’s room and on the walls heading down the stairs. I seriously was having post traumatic poop syndrome!!! What was this if it wasn’t poop?? Do I dare smell it? So I take a whiff and then a taste. Yep. It’s chocolate. But from WHERE??? I’m pretty sure I have eaten all the chocolate in the house… where could it be from???? Is the child pooping chocolate?

Knowing that my dear son tends to clean up after his late night snack raids, I investigated in the garbage can. Sure enough, I find an Atkins Chocolate Breakfast shake from 2010 that was  hidden in the back of the fridge. I don’t even know how the kid found it. But he obviously wanted it! My only guess of how it got all over everything is that he couldn’t get it open and must have tried to beat it open! Maybe he got a hole in it and then shook it excessively until it was like a fantasy chocolate fountain that he could swim in. He must have been in heaven!

Heaven quickly ended when I saw this and began yelling. I also found a pair of jeans that he must have used to try and wipe up the mess in the garbage can and a blanket filled with chocolate that he also used to try and wipe up his mess. As I was yelling, I was kind of laughing and kind of crying. My brain didn’t really know what to do with what I was seeing. I have to admit that I laughed when I saw two hand prints on the front door. It looked like a murder scene by chocolate.

I started cleaning and about 1/2 hour in, I really did start crying. Like uncontrollably, ugly crying. I have those moments about once a month (and yes, it may have something to do with the time of month, but WHATEVER!!) I cry because I’m so damn tired and I feel so guilty.  So tired of taking care of a 2 year old in a 9 year old body. So guilty that I feel that way. Tired of knowing that he gets into the stuff he should know not to do, but does, because he doesn’t know he shouldn’t. It just makes me so tired.  I feel guilt because I didn’t get up the first time I heard him get up. I feel guilty that I’m so totally annoyed by this whole situation and that I am yelling what is sure to be his first sentence if and when he ever talks, “OMG ALEX, SERIOUSLY????!!!!!” I feel guilty for thinking, is this going to go on forever??? When I find a hiding place for something he gets into, he finds the next thing. When I find a lock, he finds the next unlocked thing. When I finally get him to understand about something, he moves on to the next thing he’s not supposed to get in to. I know this is a sensory thing. I know that he NEEDS to do these things – pouring, smearing, stuffing his mouth…. but I can’t help how I feel.

I cleaned  and cried for another 45 minutes and finally gave up to get all of us ready for school and work. I didn’t give up, however, feeling sorry for myself and really let it ruin my entire day. I yelled at my mom when she offered to help me. I wasn’t myself at work. I felt so unbelievably bad for how I reacted. As my day went on, a couple good friends made me feel better and told me to just go ahead and feel bad – that we all have our moments. My mom and dad went over to my house and finished what was left to clean up for me. It made me feel even worse and full of  more guilt because they helped me after I asked them not to.

Finally realizing this pity party has to end, here’s the conclusion I have come to:  I can’t be Miss Cheery all the time. I can’t beat myself up because I have natural reactions that anyone in my situation would have after weekly incidents like this.   I have to learn to accept help without feeling like a total failure. It really is true – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – you just have to be strong enough to get through it again and again and again and realize there will be times where you pick yourself up off the chocolate ground, get out the Windex and keep going and other days where you just want to eat the chocolate and cry.

I can only hope the next time is a Windex kind of day 🙂

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Sleepovers and Dentist Visits


I’m pretty sure Alex knows I started a blog about him and his sister and decided to make sure I had plenty to write about this week!  Some of the  “content” he provided was puking on me at 2:30am, dumping out a bottle of bleach all over the laundry room floor (as I was washing the bedding he puked on), leaving skid marks from his dirty butt on my couch because he decided he didn’t want to wear pants after the bathroom and several found wrappers in the garbage of fruit snacks eaten last night at around 3am. Here’s what I love about that last sentence – HE CLEANS UP AFTER HIMSELF SOMETIMES!! Even though he’s kindof being a sneak by eating at 3am, how great is it that the little guy has learned to throw away the evidence!!  Funny how only a mom of a special needs kid could be so unbelievably proud of something like this 🙂

Katie had her birthday sleepover last weekend and it went SO great! The nicest little girls came over. There was no drama, no weirdness with Alex there (the girls all love him) and no yelling for them to keep it down! I feel like karma kissed me that night!! I’m just happy that Katie enjoyed herself and got to celebrate with girls that truely care about her. After the last few weeks and some of the crappiness going on at school, she needed it!

Today, Alex and I took a trip to a new dentist. Taking a kiddo with special needs anywhere can have it’s challenges, but the dentist is a whole other story! I don’t even like going to the dentist – I can’t imagine what it’s like for a sensory-seeking, hyperactive child with autism who doesn’t speak and doesn’t necessarily understand the explanations we so patiently trying to provide about why some crazy lady is coming at his mouth with a sharp tool!

Well, this dentist office was different from the very start. We walked in and the place was huge with sparkly doors and windows, a huge fish tank, soft lighting, big comfy couches and large ottomans for kids to play on. There was a great big kids area with toys and sensory toys as well as a mini theater that was playing Alex’s favorite movie, The Little Mermaid. Alex couldn’t have been happier!! He absolutely loved this place. The receptionist was a sweet older man who was so welcoming and the ladies behind the desk were warm and smiley. They made us feel so at home.  Compared to another dentist office, where Alex yelled one time and we were asked to keep it down, this place felt like heaven!! After a great visit in the office we went back to have the dentist take a look at his mouth and he tolerated it better than he ever has before. He flipped out when she wanted to actually get in there and use the poker thing and wasn’t having it. Luckily, from what she saw, she was able to count his teeth and see that there was nothing to be concerned about. However, she told me that should something need to ever be done, he would have to be put to sleep in the hospital to accomplish anything. All I could think of was, “Like a DOG???”  Sad, but unfortunately, I understand it’s for the safety of everyone concerned. All I know is we’re going to keep up with the brushing (more flossing) as much as we possibly can to avoid this situation FOREVER!!!  So thankful to have found this dentist office that loves kiddos like mine and made us feel so safe 🙂

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Attempted Murder and Other Valentines


I love Valentine’s Day with my kids! They get all hopped up on sugar during the  day and we exchange cute Valentine’s  gifts and homemade cards.  Katie was extra sweet to me and shared some chocolate with me and told me how cute I looked in the scarf I wore to work.  I even got some extra Valentines from dear kiddos:

5:30am – Wake up call by Alex on the Drums (it’s my own damn fault. I’m the one that brought them into the house) It gave me the energy to start my day early! I ended up having a very good hair day thanks to him 😉

6:30pm – Hot date with my kiddos over Portillo’s hot dogs. Hysterics by my son because I asked him to finish his dinner. He had a full-on meltdown because I pushed his hot dog back towards him after he tried to give it to me. It was full of body contortions, crocodile tears, banging on the walls and ear-piercing screaming. And then…. without explanation….he started laughing. Uncontrollably. Through his tears. While eating french fries. Katie and I couldn’t help but crack up too. I’ll never understand this range of emotions, but when it ends in laughter, I stop questioning all together and smile.

8:00pm – Bath time. Alex loves nothing more than anything to do with water. (Well, except food, of course) So I got him in there and went about cleaning things up on the counter and in my room. It got strangely silent – which always means he’s up to something. I turn around and I see it. The boy has got an almost empty bottle of baby oil, raised above his shiny (from the oil) naked body. He’s squeezing the daylights out of it – emptying the entire bottle into the tub.  Now I don’t know if this has ever happened to anyone else, but it has to me. Several times. Only this time, I caught the little bugger. Baby oil is clear and impossible to see. I’ve gotten into the shower AT LEAST 3 other times where I DIDN’T know he had done this and almost bit the big one. I swear the child is trying to kill me. This time, though – the jokes on him. Murder plot foiled!  I let him slide around and have fun in it before I dried him off and kissed the softest child in the world goodnight.

8:30pm – Katie and I snuggled on the couch and watched an American Idol on the DVR.

I can’t think of a better Valentine’s Day ever 🙂 

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The Week in Review


Last Friday brought a big score – we found a brand new therapy location opening up in March and were able to secure a spot!! This comes after being on wait lists ever since we moved back in June. I’m so excited to get Alex back into therapy on a full time basis outside of school. Our therapists have always been such a big part of our life – it’s really felt like something has been missing ever since we moved. We’re starting with one session and will hopefully be able to build to two when they hire on an occupational therapist. Can’t wait!! Much love to my mom who will be taking Alex to therapy every week since they are only open till 6pm.

The full moon brought us the typical non-typical behaviors…. actually, I take that back. It wasn’t as bad this month as it normally is. It usually consists of some pretty tiring all-nighters a few days in a row. This time around, it was really only one sleepless night and the weirdest thing that happened was that my darling dearest decided to eat my contacts – AGAIN!!  Do you know how FRUSTRATING THAT IS?????  For one, I am blind as a bat. When I get into the bathroom to put in my contacts, and find they are not there, I can hardly find my way back to the bedside table to put on my glasses in order to see my son LAUGHING hysterically that he ate my contacts. Then, the  swearing begins. On my part – not his. He doesn’t talk. Yes, I know, I’m terrible. But he ATE MY CONTACTS!!!!  And we didn’t really sleep the night before. And I’m tired. And HE ATE MY CONTACTS!!  Thankfully, I have a few more pairs. I”ve got to remember to hide these better!!  Life goes on…

After connecting with several pages on Facebook and reading some very inspiring blogs from other families on the spectrum, I decided to create a facebook page to promote mine. This is SCARY!!  I have no idea what I’m doing. I hope I figure it out! And I hope I don’t embarrass myself!! I would LOVE it if someone else could find a smile or a virtual shoulder to cry and laugh on when they read my blog. We all have so much to share with each other and I get so much out of reading other’s viewpoints, I just hope I can add to what’s already awesome out there.

So, if this page works, and I can start promoting my blog, and you’re reading this – let me know what you think so far. I’m about 2 weeks in and learning something new every day. I would love your feedback and suggestions and ideas for what you would like to hear about. Have a great weekend, everyone!!

 

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If the Shoe Fits :)


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It Will Get Better


My daughter has been struggling a bit lately. Annoyed with her brother and jealous of the attention he gets. I can see why. He’s adorable and makes people fall in love with him. He makes a sign for food and his aides and her friends think it’s the greatest thing ever. And they want to tell me about every last great stride he makes. I love it and so appreciate how much he is loved at his afterschool program! But what about Katie? She’s adorable too! And smart and kind and talkative and sensitive and one of the funniest people I know. She sits patiently through the report of how cute he was each day. But when we get in the car it’s a different story. She tells me how kids are mean to her sometimes and leave her out or talk about her or her brother. She lashes out at her brother for yelling while she is trying to talk. It sometimes ends in tears. It breaks my heart. Sometimes it makes me cry too.

So what do I do? I listen. I let her vent. I probably spoil her a bit to try to make up for this situation she’s stuck in. I remind her how smart and patient and funny she is. I remind her to see the positive through the negative. I tease her to make her laugh. I remind her she has responsibility to stand up for her brother and thank her for how mature she is. I tell her to be herself because she is awesome and not to change for anyone. I ask her if she wants me to beat up the mean kids for her 🙂 I tell her it will get better. It. Will. Get. Better.

We decided to institute a “fill your bucket” type exercise. In talking through her feelings (and mine) we decided we both need some kind words and reminders to pick us up when feeling down. So we both have a stack of post its and leave each other notes throughout the week. They are usually something like “YOU are awesome Katie” or a simple “I love you”. This kid never ceases to amaze me. She gets it. She knows she needs a sense of humor to get through this life and I love it. Here is one she left me this week. It still makes me laugh.

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Keep in mind we are from Illinois… She loves this accent and talks like this often to make me laugh.

It’s not easy having a brother who is so different. It’s not easy being 8 and dealing with snotty little girls at school. But if she can keep this sense of humor and keep being open with her feelings with me, I think it really will get better. I hope so!!

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