Sunday, January 18, 2009

Whole Lotta Nothin' Going On

This post hails from what is currently the squabbling children capital of the world. I wonder if the powers that be will call an emergency session of school on Monday just for me and my sanity.

Hubs and I went out to a belated anniversary dinner Saturday night. We went to a local brewery/restaurant we had been waiting to try. We went for the beer and hoped that the food would be good.

We had an onion ring appetizer. They were quite delicious. My husband had fish and chips for dinner. I ordered fish tacos. I knew better. I really did. If a place specializes in burger and steak, ordering fish tacos is not the wisest thing. It's not that they were horrid. It's just that they consisted of a huge hunk of fried fish, the exact kind that was in my husband's fish and chips, and a strange sweet sauce. They were okay but I wouldn't order them again.

That's okay. By the time I drank two beers with 8% alcohol content, I was feeling no pain.

We went to the movies and I had some fun with the previews. I know I've mentioned before that my sense of humor could aptly be described as teenage boy. Put some beers in me and it disintegrates to loud teenage boy. So naturally, when a movie preview came on for Sword of the Stranger I had to loudly laugh and proclaim to my husband, "They could call it one-night stand for short."

Also, there was an ad for the flu shot. Is big pharma everywhere now? After the ad, I commented again to my husband. "Paid for by Pfizer. Please allow us to pump mercury into you."

Disclaimer: I have no idea if Pfizer is the company that makes flu shots. I AM tired of hearing it shoved down my throat that I need one. No thank you. And I don't think less of anybody for getting one either. They are just not for me.

After my two comments, I shut up so I would not be bodily escorted from the theater. Obnoxious drunk, who me?

Since I was savvy enough to pee two times before the movie, I made it all the way through without a bathroom break, a mighty feat indeed.

There is not much else going on in life other than the usual. We made it though Christmas without going further into debt. Yay us!

Also, I think the gifts we gave out this year were more popular. I canned bean soup for my side of the family. I canned beef stew for my husband's side of the family.

My side loves my bean soup but I have the sneaking suspicion his side doesn't. When I ask a question like, "How did you like the bean soup last time I made it?", and my answer is, "Oh, I remember the bean soup," that is a discrete way to say it wasn't a huge hit. If we were Southern, I'm sure the stock answer would somehow involve the phrase, "Bless your heart."

In addition to beef stew and bean soup, I made canned apple pie filling, granola and homemade laundry detergent. I didn't receive any complaints so either my families are happy or their dogs are licking their chops. As long as somebody enjoyed it...

Very soon I will be turning 40. My body is already preparing for this momentous event by increasing the number of gray hairs on my poor head. What's up with that? Did my hair color come with an expiration date? I had planned to run a marathon by the time I was 40. That's not going to happen. But my friend Lael did it for me so all is well. Go Lael!

My son has been begging for a baby. Since my husband and I took care of that ever happening in a permanent way, my MIL purchased him one at the store. I know some people are squeamish about a boy playing with dolls but I hope it's the kind of thing that means he will be a nurturing father some day. He will need the skills if his children act anything like he and his sister are right now.

Sammy and his baby

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A Long Boring Autism Related Rant

I am going to preface this rant by saying it takes a lot to make me mad. I do not get offended easily. But a "friend" IRL offended me very much in December and I can't quit chewing on it. I am hoping if I get it out I can get on to thinking of more productive things.

All of you are probably aware my son has autism. While it is part of my life, it is not an all consuming part of my life. I have one kid with brown eyes, two kids with blue eyes and one of my blue-eyed children happens to have autism.

I never suspected autism at first. After all, I had seen the movie Rain Man. That was autism, right?

So we started out treating for speech delays and my son was also in occupational therapy but I wasn't sure why he needed to be there.

Then his speech therapist said he should be evaluated and I started to get a bit nervous. Then we got a diagnosis of PDD-NOS and I was relieved until I did research and realized that PDD-NOS is autism light. Later, and with further testing, we did get the autism diagnosis.

When I realized it was autism, I was devastated. What was I supposed to do now? Well the first thing I did was get on a very long waiting list for services. Yes, the services are thankfully free but you're in line behind five-hundred other parents.

I did internet research. I changed my son's diet with great results. We took some music classes that were followed by a speech explosion. After a year-long wait, we received ABA therapy. He went to a great pre-school courtesy of the school district when he turned three.

I went from sadness to anger and confusion to "what the hell do I do now" to acceptance.

I have come to the realization that my son is not broken. The therapies are not to "fix" him. The therapies are to help him cope in a world that can be very unforgiving.

There are many things for parents of children on the spectrum to try. There are different diets, therapies, vitamins and supplements. There are so many tests and scans that can be run.

But one thing I feel all the parents of autistic children have in common is we have been given a million-piece jigsaw puzzle. It has no edge pieces and we don't know what the finished picture is going to look like. So we do our best trying different things to solve that puzzle. And we are all in this together.

And really everyone's children have to learn to cope in the world. We do our best to teach them right from wrong, good manners and how to relate to others. My son just happens to need a bit of extra help.

He is funny and smart and wonderful and the only thing I would change is to make life easier for him.

I have a "friend" I met about a year ago. Her daughter had not been diagnosed yet. Her daughter had been hitting all her milestones and then she just regressed. My friend was getting the run around from the people doing the testing and it was obvious something was wrong with her daughter.

I faithfully listened to this friend vent about these things. I made suggestions and was a sounding board. I congratulated her when she got her diagnosis, got services and started bio-medical treatments.

I have seen her daughter change for the better after she did chelation. I have been supportive. No matter what service she got, she would pick it apart and wonder if it was the correct service for her. And still I listened and suggested she pick what she felt was the best choice.

I kept waiting for her to open her eyes to what she did have and to quit being mad at her perceptions of what she didn't have.

This went on until we were talking on the phone just before Christmas and she said in a nasty tone of voice, "Your son isn't even autistic. You should have just sent him to school and explained away his quirks as ADHD."

And then she got off the phone. I was left feeling like I had been hit by a truck. And I thought and thought and thought about this comment. I tried very hard not to be pissed off. But it didn't work.

My son is doing wonderfully and I am grateful for that.

But she wasn't here when I had a baby who constantly screamed in the car. Groceries had to be purchased and kids had to be picked up to school. And there was a baby screaming in the back the whole way.

She wasn't here when he would wake up from his nap and have forty-five minute tantrums that we couldn't console.

She wasn't here when he tried to run in the road while we were picking up my youngest daughter from school.

She wasn't here when I quit going to playgroups because of my son's bizarre behavior.

She's never been here when I put him in time out and he kicks his bedroom door so hard it is splintered.

I was verbally betrayed by somebody in my own community. I couldn't stop being mad and I finally sent her an e-mail today. She can apologize or not. I don't care.

We are all on this ride called parenthood together but I feel for now, she can get the hell off my bus. I hope she doesn't let the door hit her in the ass.