Wednesday, December 10, 2014

OK, so let's get some things straight...........

Today's post is brought to you by my annoyance with ADHD and Aspergers. Also brought to you by my annoyance with people who think my son is just a "bad" or "rude" kid. The information in blue came from this website found here. So let's explore bullet point by bullet point shall we.

Most children with Asperger’s syndrome (AS), an autism spectrum disorder, receive an ADHD diagnosis -- or misdiagnosis -- before a pediatrician concludes that it’s AS. The symptoms of autism spectrum disorders and ADHD overlap. Most children on the autism spectrum have symptoms of ADHD -- difficulty settling down, social awkwardness, the ability to focus only on things that interest them, and impulsivity.

So yeah. He wasn't diagnosed until he was 8 years old. Why? Because ADHD and AS overlap a lot of the time. Also overlapping is OCD which Landon most definitely has. It took us well over a year to get him a diagnosis. See, my son, Landon, was advanced in almost everything. He walked at 9 months, he talked in sentences at 18 months. Heck his teeth even came in early and his soft spot closed early (and yes, I know the last two have nothing to do with the diagnosis, it was listed to show you he was early on just about every milestone).

Although Asperger's syndrome is on the autism spectrum, the symptoms are often milder than those of classic autism. More severe forms of autism are often diagnosed in the first two years of a child’s life, but Asperger's syndrome is usually diagnosed at a later age. A major reason for that is while children with AS may have moderate delays in the speech development, most AS children communicate by age three.

Landon never had any type of speech delay. If anything he was so crazy advanced. The kid would talk like an adult in preschool. The things he would say amazed us almost daily. One thing we did notice while he was in preschool was the fact he always talked so literal. Seriously. You really couldn't even joke with him and make analogies. He just didn't get it. Like, at all. Still doesn't alot of the time. And actually his speech was one of the factors that made it take so long to get him a definite diagnosis. He just has impeccable speech. 

Researchers don’t fully understand what causes Asperger's syndrome, although there seems to be a strong genetic component. 

The above quote is not proven but let me tell you what. I totally believe it. 100%. I am not going to go into all the details for my reasoning. Just know that my husband and I have talked in great detail about it and we are convinced Landon "got it" from family.

Children with Aspeger's syndrome, like all individuals on the spectrum, have difficulties in three areas: communication, social interaction, and restricted interests. A child with AS might have some or all of these symptoms; however, symptoms are often less severe than in a child with autism. The following is a breakdown of each type of impairment.

Please reread the above. "might have some or all of these symptoms" Just because my child does not fit into ALL symptoms does not mean he does not have AS and ADHD. "well he looks fine" "well he seems to have no trouble talking to people" Umm, NO. Wrong. Well, yes, he looks fine. Just like a little kid. Landon definitely has communication, social interaction and restricted interests. His anxiety is so bad. I could write a book on his anxiety and communication. These two go hand in hand. When he is feeling anxious he says and does stupid things, sometimes inappropriate things. Ok, so he does it alot. He talks a mile a minute especially about his "restricted interests". He also speaks his mind. This one is the hardest for me to understand and deal with. He says what I think are flat out mean things. He asked very rude and inappropriate questions. His brain is just literal. He honestly doesn't know any better. He doesn't know how to word things differently. He doesn't know that he is not suppose to talk about or ask certain things. 

Now, here's the thing. We don't just sit back and watch this happen. Landon has been in doctors care once a week for over a year and a half. He has a terrific counselor (I wish I could steal her and make her live with us!). We do talk to him practically every day about the things he says and does. We try to explain very simple and literal why he can't say and do certain things. 

Over the course of our research the only thing that really works is repetitive learning. So yeah, it might take us a few years to instill the simplest thing in him, but we will. 

  Failure to develop age-appropriate peer relationships (inability to understand the social give-and-take of friendships)
Most children with Asperger's syndrome want to make friends, but they don’t know how.
  Failure to seek out others to share enjoyment, interest, and achievements (such as sharing a good grade on a test)
  Lack of social and emotional reciprocity (not enjoying being with others just for the sake of being together)

This really goes along with the above blurb too. Landon seriously is clueless about the give-and-take of friendships. This is another area we work on constantly. Landon has friends but doesn't really see them or hang out with them other then school. This is so heartbreaking for me as a mother. To think that other kids don't want to play with my son. And it's heartbreaking on a whole other level because I understand why they don't. Landon is hard to take. Landon is loud and opinionated. And when he gets upset you better watch out. He doesn't understand the "rules" of friendship. I could write a whole blog post on just this subject. And sometimes it's my fault. I push him to play with kids at events or places. It almost always ends horribly. Even with his own family, cousins and such. He would much rather sit on his bed and play on his Kindle then play with other kids.

  Narrow interests that are abnormal in intensity and focus (a single TV show, the Titanic, or an unusual object such as a vacuum cleaner)
  Rigid adherence to nonfunctional routines and rituals (following a strict protocol when leaving the house to go to school)
  Stereotyped repetitive motor mannerisms (pacing)

The Kindle. His stuffed cat, Tron. His love of mustard. I have never witnessed someone love inanimate objects more than him. He has stayed up until the wee hours of the morning playing on his Kindle. It's very much an obsession. 

His cat, Tron. He has had this stinky, smelly, dirty stuffed animal for years. And he lost it once. You would of thought it was the end of the world. But here's the thing, to him, it most definitely is. it throws so many different aspects of his life off. His security, his sleep, his playtime...etc.. I went to the hell and back (a company's trash) to get his stupid little cat back. I don't have to agree with the cat. I don't have to like it. But if it makes him feel better then I will dig in some company trash for him. 

Routines and rituals. Oh em gee. That kid is worse then me. And I am so OCD. We literally have to explain our day in great detail to him. We explain where we are going, what time and why. And we usually have to start telling him hours before we leave and many times just so he doesn't forget. I even have to go as far as tell him how many items we are buying at the store. 

**side bar** Funny story. We went to a store that had one hour parking. When we got out of the car he asked what time it was. I told him and thought nothing of it. When we left the store and got by the car he asked what time it was again, I told him. It was just over an hour. That kid freaked out. He just kept repeating "but the sign said, the sign said only an hour!!!!" I laughed about it for awhile. Then I got to thinking that this really upset him. We did not follow the rules that were in place. It totally threw him off. **

Motor mannerims - yep he got them. One of the biggest things he does is put stuff in his mouth. Mostly clothes, Tron, blankets. Totally annoying. So many shirts with holes. So many stinky items because of spit on them. Right now this is our big thing we are working on.

Parents may be slow to pick up on Asperger's syndrome in their child. Its subtle combination of symptoms leaves parents wondering if anything is wrong or if the symptoms are part of their child’s personality. When a child goes to preschool, social difficulties become more evident. Typically, AS kids are unable to make friends, have a hard time reading other people or understanding humor.

We did notice Landon's symptoms in preschool. However, in 1st grade is when things got back. Like really bad. It took a phone call to the doctor bawling my eyes out (over an incident at school) to convince me to take him to the doctor. I don't remember much from that doctor visit exept his doctor told us that "if his behavior effects the family dynamics on a regular basis then there is a problem.  We will find the problem. It might not be today but we will find the problem and work towards getting him better". He also said that we are parents. We know our son. If we feel that something is not right then most likely we are right. 

If you suspect your child has Asperger's syndrome, consult with a developmental and behavioral pediatrician, a child psychiatrist, or a psychologist with expertise in the autism spectrum. The evaluation will likely involve observing your child and talking to you about his development, social interaction, and communication skills. Your child may undergo several tests to determine her level of intellect and academic abilities

Consult with numerous people if needed. If you think there is an issue, don't back down. There are great doctors and therapists out there that will believe you (even if your so called supportive family and friends don't). And this goes for ANY mental OR physical thing going on with your child. Don't give up. Don't let the medical community look down on you. Don't let family or friends discourage you. Don't. You need to advocate for your child. Be their voice. 

Most children benefit from early, specialized interventions that focus on behavior management and social-skills training: learning how to interpret gestures, eye contact, tone of voice, humor, and sarcasm, for example. Cognitive behavior therapy may help them manage obsessive behavior and anxiety. About half of children with Asperger's syndrome will be treated with medication.

I don't know what we would do without Landon's care team at Child Guidance. We have a great counselor and a terrific "medicine doctor" as Landon calls her. So yeah, he takes medicine daily. Oh well, our choice. Not yours. But if you would like I can take him off the medication and have him spend about 2 weeks with you. 

SO that's it. I think I explained a lot. I went over a lot. 

Last piece of advice...ok...so it's numerous pieces of advice. 
  • is he is misbehaving more than likely he is having a meltdown. Completely different from being "bad". Something probably happened that his brain could not process. If you tell me " to beat his ass", I might just have to beat yours. And yes, I am serious. Spanking my kid because he is having a meltdown because he didn't understand something is stupid. Just plain stupid. So you have been warned. You tell me to "beat his ass" and I will beat yours.
  • yes, he most definitely says and does stupid things. Please don't be nasty to him ( and you know who you are, yep, I'm talking to you). Even though he is 9 and he is old enough to understand, chances are, he doesn't. So back off. If he upset you, please come talk to his parents. We will handle it. I would prefer you don't attack him. Chances are he won't understand and he will just get angry. And angry Landon is not really fun.
  • My kid is a talker. If you can not handle the talking all you have to do is politely ask him to take a break from talking. Easy peasy. And no, it does not offend him
  • Last bullet point, promise. And this is a thank you. A HUGE thank you so the friends and family that have been there and encouraged us. The ones I poured my heart out to. The ones who stepped up even is they don't necessarily agree with everything.  Much love to you guys!
Thanks for sticking with the super long post. I hoped I have answered some questions. 




Monday, December 1, 2014

Cyber Monday Randomness

Since I'm not shopping this Monday (cause I spent all my money over the weekend) I decided to let you in on the randomness that is my life. It's part of Cyber Monday over at Scope-Tech. Trying to get some new life into this blog. So for your viewing pleasure here is some awesome randomness.

1. My favorite way to sleep in bed is diagonal. Yup. Sideways. Best sleep I ever got.

2. I don't shower late at night. And I don't shower when no one is home. Why? Umm, because that's when people ALWAYS die in the movies. ALWAYS. And it's not going to happen to me.

3. Every single contact is my phone has a first name and last name is correctly capitalized.

4. My two favorite shows of all time are Roseanne and Gilmore Girls. I have the complete series of both and constantly make my husband watch them over and over. I even got my daughter hooked on Gilmore Girls!!

5. I've had 50,000 jobs. Well, not really but it feels like it. I have had quite the selection of jobs which I will now list some for your viewing pleasure:
busser
dishwasher
short order cook (numerous places)
cook in nursing home
changed oil
sold insurance
worked for local utility company (worst job ever)
worked for local battered womens shelter (best job ever)
drug and alcohol testing
office manager (couple different places)
worked at a grocery store
worked for some guys from India (office work)
cleaned houses and offices
made pizzas
bread baker at a yummy place
I'm sure there are more but I can't remember all right now. Sad. Very sad.

6. I have to drink a cup of water in the morning before my coffee.

7. I am a planner. I have lists. I have calendars. Some people think it's awesome to make fun of me and mock me for that. My husband and I both work full time. We have kids in sports. I have one kid that goes to her dads on a regular basis. We like to do things. We have to budget our money correctly in order to pay bills and do things. Landon has appointments almost weekly. We have errands to run (groceries, gas, shopping, etc). So yeah, to keep my family organized I have daily to do lists. I typically start with a monthly calendar of all the big things. Then I break it down weekly then daily. Our life runs much smoother when we are all on the same page and all of us know what is the plan for the day. Landon especially needs it. I literally have to talk each day out with him. I have to be careful though. If I say something like "first we are going to Walmart then to the gas station" I have to do it in that order. That's just how his brain processes things.

8. I am a bargain hunter. I absolutely refuse to pay for price for just about anything. That includes food. I don't do much with coupons but I watch sales and shop at Aldi's. That how I do $75.00 budget a week for a family of 5 (breakfast, lunch, dinner and toiletries). We also eat out about 2 dinners a week. Not too shabby. All of our meals are definitely not gourmet meals. Sometimes they are not even all that healthy but it food in my babies bellies. And it's food they like and usually eat. I hate wasting money on meals that only 1 kid will eat. So for now I try to make food we can all eat and if that means having hot dogs and mac n cheese once a week then that's what we are going to do.

9. I usually sleep with one sock on and one sock off.

And the big number 10. I may be a little hard to handle. I am very outspoken. I rarely keep my emotions in. If I have something to say, I say it. Sometimes I fly off the handle. But I will tell you this, you stick around with me and I will show you move love, caring and compassion then you have ever seen.

Friday, November 7, 2014

2014 Football Season

This has busy a crazy busy few months! As you can probably tell things are winding down a bit. I actually wrote 3 blog posts in one day!! This is the last for today, promise.

Just have to share some highlights and pictures of the kids football / cheer season.

First let me tell you how insane the schedule was. I had to make a Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all the kids.

All the kids were on different teams this year. Ugh. 3 teams, 3 practice schedules and 3 games each Saturday.

Emma - A Team - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 530-7 pm and games on Saturday at 430 pm
Landon - C Team - Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 6-8 pm and games on Saturday at 1030 am AND noon
Chase - D Team - Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 6-730 pm and games on Saturday at 9 am

Things got really interesting during the end of the season with all the crazy Ohio weather and getting dark outside quicker. There were a ton of last minute changes. I literally had to write down the changes so I didn't take the wrong kid to the wrong time or date.

Honestly, I love it all. Every minute. All the crazy schedules. All the hot and cold weather. Ok, so I really didn't love the rainy weather but who does??  We had a fantastic season. I am going to admit something but only once and I will never repeat it. I am kind of sad that next year Emma won't be in Tallmadge Youth Football and the boys will actually be on the same team. That means no games or practices for Emma and the boys will be on one practice and game schedule. Boring. HAHAHA

Ok, so here are a few pictures!! Enjoy!


Landon


Landon


Matthew, Landon and Chase


Emma


Emma


Emma


Chase


Emma's squad


Matthew in the press box


Emma


Chase


Landon


Chase


Landon

3 Days in NYC

A few weeks ago the husband and I went to New York City for 3 days with NO KIDS! Can you believe it?? You heard it right. NO KIDS.

We are calling it our 10 year anniversary trip. Technically it's our almost 9 1/2 year anniversary trip, but whatever. Details.

We had such a great time. I only almost pushed him off the subway platform once. And hey, I think that says alot.

Before I tell you all we did and bombard you with pictures, here are something I have learned and noticed about NYC:

* NYC is a beautiful city. It was not dirty or smelly. People were almost always friendly. The unfriendly people were typically in the shops or restaurants that we visited. Kinda sad.
*There are not nearly enough public restrooms or trash cans. Nope. If you gotta go like now, good luck. Better wear Depends.
*There is seriously a Starbucks on every corner. Yum.
*The weekend was not nearly as busy as the week. Honestly on Sunday we talked about how there were more people in Vegas when we went. The Monday that all changed.
*I cannot for the life of me read a map. But I soon became the subway pro.
*Don't go explore Grand Central Station during rush hour then hop on your train to head back to the hotel. Seriously. Sardines. Tight. Gross.
*Using your phone to navigate does not work well. Neither of our phones could ever get an accurate location. Hence, reading a real map. Which to reiterate, I totally stink at.

Ok so here is the low down on all that we did! Mind you, we did walk 30-35 miles in 3 days and we honestly took the train a lot!

Times Square
Rockefeller Plaza (Top of the Rock)
FAO Schwartz
walk down 5th Avenue
Central Park
Horse drawn carriage ride in Central Park
Staten Island (drove by the Statue of Liberty)
Battery Park
Chinatown
Little Italy
Wall Street
Lots and lots of shops
911 Memorial
Lots and lots of food
Central Park Zoo
Opening Night for the NBA in Times Square

I am probably forgetting a ton. NYC has lots of things you kind of just walk by and snap a picture of. We did lots and lots of that.

Our favorite spot would have to be Little Italy. We spent a lot of time there and ate the most food there. Seriously. Homemade pastas. Homemade sauce. Homemade Italian desserts.















To Chase on his 8th birthday.......

 November 6, 2014

To my sweet son, Chase,

Your dad and I are two of the luckiest people I know. We were blessed with 3 terrific kids. You being the very last.

From day one you were quite the surprise for your dad and me. See, your brother, Landon, was about 9 weeks old when we found out that you were on the way. See. You were already doing your own thing even way back then.

Since the day you were born life has been just a little nuts. Having 3 kids make your hair turn gray very quickly.

Anywho.......you were a great baby! You reached all your milestones in your own time. Although you did have us worried when you were almost 6 months old and still not rolling over. Little did we know that you were just tricking us. You would roll in your crib at night but not in front of anyone. I should of known then that you were going to do what you wanted when you wanted.

Having you as our last baby was such a treat. You have always been sweet and snuggly. Always. Still are.

Your dad and I am so incredibly proud of the little man you are becoming. You have such a caring, compassionate heart. You are always there to take care of someone who needs it (well, except when it comes to Landon and Emma...LOL). I have even gotten notes and emails from your teachers that you help take care of kids who need it.

You always befriend everyone. Always. You see no difference in girls or boys, white or black, older or younger. That makes us proud beyond words.

You are such a goofball too. You know just how to make us all laugh. Just the other day while we were playing charades.....4 days later and I am still laughing over your "Sleeping Beauty" charade. I wish I would of video taped it.

I believe you are wise beyond your years. You know how to have fun and embrace the moment. That's something you are teaching me.

So sorry for blabbing on and on about you. You just make us so proud to call you our son.

We love you with all our hearts.

You will always be my Chasey.

Love,

Mom and Dad

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Life Isn't Fair

Yup, I am 34 years old and finally figured it out. It makes me want to chuckle. During my discovery I thought a lot about my children. It was then I had my epiphany. For real.

My 3 children do NOT need to be treated the same. No equal treatment for all!!!

Now hang on, let me explain. It's actually a very short explanation.

I have 3 kids. 3 different kids. 3 kids who are all individuals.

How in the world can I treat them all the same? They are all 3 completely different. They all 3 have different behaviors. They all respond to discipline differently. There is no way to parent each kid the same.

If Emma gets in trouble (which is funny because he hardly ever does), I can't punish her like I would Landon or Chase. If I sent her to her room, she would just read for hours. The smart thing to do would be take away her books and Kindle.

If Landon gets in trouble (which is like 50 times a day), taking away his books would be the opposite of a punishment. Same for Chase.

So basically, my kids are 3 different people, I need to treat them like 3 different people. What is great for one of them will not work for the others.

Simple.

yeah right!! It is so much easier said than done. But we are working on it. Daily.

And that, my friends, has been my big discovery. Change is in the works.

And now I leave you with the kids 2014 Football / Cheer pictures as a thank you for keeping with me.


Chase - 2nd Grade


Landon - 3rd Grade


Emma 7th Grade

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Untitled

I don't even have a title for this one.

So lately I have been having nightmares at all hours of the day about my dad dying. Within the past week the nightmares have also been about my grandfather.

I am not quite sure what this is all about. It's happening all time and it all sorts of places. My mind just kind of wanders. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable and incredibly sad. And it happens all the time. Maybe knowing that my grandma is going to pass soon has brought this on. I have no idea.

I relive details of the deaths. The days leading up to the deaths. The days after the deaths.

And I'll tell you this.....I don't like it. Not one bit.

With my dad I am just playing it out moment by moment. I see faces. I hear conversations. I smell the flowers they had at his funeral. I can see it as clear as yesterday.

With my grandpa I see different things. I see my family (extended). I hear us laughing. I hear us bonding. I hear more laughing. Honestly it was one of the best weekends I can ever remember. We made alot of great memories all hanging out together. Everyone is always so busy, it was nice to stop time and just be a family. We let all the bickering and pettiness go and just hung out, remembering my grandpa.
I remember exactly what I wore to the funeral and how stupid it looked. I wish I could change my outfit.

These memories have been haunting me. I use the term "haunt" because I don't want to keep reliving all this. I don't want to feel sad anymore. I feel like such a little kid typing that. "I want what I want and I want it now." I know I don't have control over this. I need to let it ride out. But first I need to know why this is happening.

My dad was not the greatest father. Well, he really wasn't a father at all. However, he is one part of two people who gave me life. I can honestly say that I do love him. I just wish I would of been able to know him better. A few years before he died, he confessed a lot of things to me. That talk really helped me deal with alot of emotions from the past. It helped me move on. It really helped cope after he died. That was the last time I saw him alive. I wish I could of known my "sober" dad.

My grandpa was hands down the best grandpa any child could ask for. I try and keep his memory alive by telling my kids stories. It usually backfires. My kids never met him, so they really don't know who I am talking about. They seem uninterested. It hurts my feelings. But guess what.....I am going to keep telling these stories. My kids WILL know who my grandpa was and all the greatness about him.

I am hoping by writing this post, these visions and smells and pain will subside. I love both of these men but I don't want to feel sad anymore.










The very last picture I will ever have of my dad and I.