Friday, April 17, 2009

April is Autism Awareness Month.

Ok, I am going to be whiny and self indulgent right now. I have been holding it in and it just needs to come out. I am sorry in advance.
I am tired of autism. I wish it would go away, I thought it was going away, but it's not. It lurks in the corners and pops out for a sucker punch when I least expect it. But again, it's my own dumb fault for not even seeing you there in the first place. Where the hell else would you be?
It's a lesson I need to learn over and over and over again. I think I am accepting of you, but I am not. I am pretending you are not there. That is not accepting.
It sucks. I hate this process. I hate what I am doing to myself. I hate that I feel this way.

Sometimes I feel like my son is an alien to me. I feel like I am a crappy mother because of that. He is struggling in school, but I can't get a clear picture of what is making it hard, where is the problem? I want to fix it, but I am not sure I can. Why is he so angry? Is it a reflection of my anger? Why am I so angry? We don't have it that bad at all. I know this to be true, yet I am still complaining.

I used to think he was flying under the radar. I used to think we were 'fooling people'. You know, who do we really need to fool anymore? Does it matter? Can't you just be who you are? These are the questions I am asking myself right now. Does it involve telling everyone you know that your child is 'on the spectrum'? Is it really anyone and every one's business? Does it make things any easier? Or more complicated because then your son becomes a subset of behaviors, generalizations and stereotypes. Instead of five year old boy. I just want him to be who he is, but with out all the difficulty. I cannot figure out h0w to extract all of that.

Yea, I sound crazy right now. It's report card time, and annual review. I am really torn about what to do. So, this crazy ranting right now, I just have to do it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Task Avoidance

I am so very tired of stressing about bubs and school. It sucks and if I start in with the worrying, it just spirals out of control and it robs me of any grace that I might have left. SO I am not going to write about that today.
My husband and I are very opposite in many ways. I think in the big deal kind of things we are very similar, but as far as what constitutes a 'fun day' we are polar opposites. We are trying to meet somewhere in the middle as far as that goes. I think the problem with me is that I really don't have any idea of what exactly is fun to me.
We were talking about our 'bucket lists' and we actually found something that we both wanted to do! I had mentioned that I would love to get an old airstream trailer and pimp it out cozy style. I thought it would be such a cool way to travel. Now it must be said that the word 'camping' makes me itch and I will probably never experience sleeping in a tent under the stars (not unless I am forced to at gunpoint), but the idea of traversing this great big country in a cool little aluminum pod complete with it's own bathroom, and stocked with snacks and books, and other comforts of home, kind of appeals to me.
My husband loves adventure and to travel and see and do new things. I feel bad for him that he is married to me because just thinking of any of those things makes me want a pharmaceutical. But again, I am trying. So he was very happy to hear that I wanted one of these cute little things. I was happy he was happy.
We talk about it and haven't quite yet bogged down our happy thoughts with logistics. We are making a big trip this summer so all of our funds right now are earmarked for that. We had planned to renovate our tiny minuscule tiny impractical, can you say 8"of counter space, kitchen next summer. It really needs to be done, I guess. But I was thinking about our little dream and how cool it would be to give bubs that experience. I was also wondering how much longer we would have him as a captive audience before he wouldn't ever want to travel cross country in a little pod with his mother and father. My husband was thinking the same thing. So we think we are going to scrap the kitchen plans for now and put our quarters in the jar with a picture of an airstream trailer on it.
It's nice to have dreams. It's nice to think about something fun.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sick day

Is it possible to worry yourself sick, literally? Because I think I have done it. Monday night I took bubs to the premiere germ pit of the century, the mickey d's play yard. I really have to stop going there, for more than one reason.
I have been stressing big time about the upcoming annual review meeting scheduled for April 27th. I am no closer to deciding bubs' placement than I was two weeks ago, only this time, I have a killer headache, body aches, a stuffy nose and a gravelly nasty cough. I remember one time in college, I do believe I came down with a raging case of chicken pox due to some major issues with procrastination and an upcoming winter break. It was new year's eve that I discovered the first spot, and let me tell you, it was an absolute mess by new years day. I had chicken pox in places you couldn't believe.
So yesterday,I dragged myself to the doctor thinking at the very least they would give me an x ray and some antibiotics, possibly a trip to the hospital for an oxygen treatment and an iv drip. No? I am a recovering hypochondriac as well. Imagine my complete utter shock when she told me it looked like a rhino virus and she told me to take some claritin d. Are you kidding me? That's up there with the normal thyroid test results I got two years ago.
It couldn't have happened at a worse time, although it's never a good time to get sick. Bubs is off from school this week. He is ok for the most part keeping himself busy, but it involves spending the day in his underwear (which are on backwards at the moment), watching videos that are suitable for three year olds (Barney Halloween anyone?) and eating massive quantities of carbohydrates, although I don't think popcorn for breakfast is so horrible. I feel bad, but sometimes the circus passes through your town without you seeing it, you know? I guess it's not the worst thing in the world if my son's day doesn't consist of a parade extravaganza of constant amusement.
My wonderful husband (and I am not being sarcastic this time!) stayed home from work yesterday so that I could go to the doctor and rest. He occupied bubs the entire day, and spent some much needed quality time with him. They even came home with flowers and a scratch off lottery ticket for me. I felt loved, that was nice.

In an effort not to let my blog fall by the wayside, I am making an effort to write as much as possible. Sorry for the rambling, it might be the remnants of last nights nyquil.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Uncovering some truths...

I think I have been resistant to writing lately because I didn't want to think about things. I think I indulged myself a wee bit too much in the rivers of denial. I tend to obsess about things, it's unhealthy, but I also think not thinking about things is not too great either. I have been making up for lost time, thinking overtime. Stressing overtime, eating too much, not exercising, not taking care of things- I am making a concerted effort to dig myself out of this hole.

We have bubs' annual in a few weeks. Some tough choices need to be made concerning his placement next year. He has made tremendous growth socially, which is just the best thing ever as far as I am concerned. Academically is a whole other ballgame. He is really inconsistent when it comes to being able to focus and attend. I hate to sound annoying but I am not impressed with his teachers when it comes to dealing with his behaviors. They seem to be putting an awful lot of the responsibility on my son. Granted it is inclusion, but he has a freakin i.e.p. I hesitate to go down this road, me being a teacher and all. It sounds all very 'blamey' and I don't want to be that way. I have begged for a functional behavioral assessment, but they have told me (they being the teacher, the psychologist and the ever illusive autism consultant) feel that he is so inconsistent in his behaviors that it's something internal not external. I have come to realize that this is what it's going to be like in district. I need to accept that a team of people are not going to closely watch every move my son makes and record it on a clipboard and then review it at a team meeting.

I have talked to so many people, gotten really great advice and guidance, but it doesn't change much. We have to figure out where bubs will do best next year. My crystal ball is broken, but the thing never worked all that well anyway.

We have two choices. One is to have him repeat kindergarten, with the inclusion class. The other is to send him to the first grade inclusion class. He is not really doing all that great academically. His teachers feel it's an immaturity issue and he hasn't had enough time to function as an independent learner. I agree with that, I do. But I am not sure what the hell they have been doing with him all along. I don't get enough info and while I understand, at the same time I am having a hard time wrapping my head around it. So retention might help. It also might not. Especially if the teachers aren't going to change anything about what they are doing. I always felt as a teacher that if a child wasn't learning, then I was doing something wrong. I am not getting that philosophy from these teachers.

The second choice, to send him up to first grade doesn't really jazz me all that much either. I don't know if bubs will be able to handle the increasing academic demands, especially with less than stellar support in place. I am worried he won't want to go to school and he'll feel bad about himself. Right now he seems to enjoy it. But I am sad that he won't be able to follow the friends he has made and I wonder what he will think of the fact that he stayed in kindergarten. He might not give a crap, it could be all me. I don't want to discuss it with him yet.

So there is my dilemma. I am really trying to go over the pros and cons of it. I keep hoping the answer will knock on my door and show it self to me. I have been letting this be the only thing I will allow myself to think about. I need to start thinking about other things. Like my health, my bills and maybe a little fun with the family.

You know, in the big picture, this is small potatoes. I know it. My son is happy, he can talk, he has friends, we have a great quality of life. The school stuff, it will be ok. I know it. It's this lack of control that really is getting me.

Friday, April 3, 2009

What I am reading

When I used to teach high school back in the day, there were always a few select kids who were manga fanatics. I never understood the appeal, although I didn't look down on it as an art form. I personally found it bizarre and highly stylized. It was often difficult to get said students to draw anything other than these cartoon drawings with gigantic eyes.

Flash forward a some fifteen years later, and I find myself actually reading something manga, and being very moved by it. Of course it's probably the subject matter, which is autism, which draws me to it.

With the Light by Keiko Tobe is a series of graphic novels about raising a child with autism. It is a first hand account as far as I know, and I find it to be really amazingly good. It's definitely a newfangled way of reading for me, you start at the 'end' of the book and read from right to left, but I seem to be managing. It's a really different way of delving into a subject.
I am reading volume two only because borders books didn't have any of the others. It's about a family in Japan, with two children. The older son has autism and they have a younger daughter as well. I am up to the part where he is in elementary school. I have to say, for a comic book type setup, it's spot on in it's depiction of what it's like. I find myself on the verge of tears while reading, thinking 'yes, that's it!'. I like that kind of feeling.
I have blogging on the brain, and I wanted to share.

I think I've overslept.

That's how it feels. You know that frantic feeling you get after you wake up late, and realize that no, it's not Saturday.
Where have I been? I guess it's been hard to organize the frantic ramblings going on inside my brain as of late. I kind of lost my blogging zip due in no small part to my love affair with facebook. Add that to the fact that I suddenly realized there is no such thing as anonymity in this world, even with a silly name, and I kind of lost my taste for spilling my guts. I am sorry blogger, I abandoned you, but I am back and this time I promise I'll be good. I might be a little more anonymous this time around, I hope someone still reads this. I need contact, praise, reinforcement. I am needy.

We are still here, things have been moving along, some days are blissful, some days are stressful. I always feel like one blissful day is payback for two stressful ones. But that is my twisted sense of order, one must worry in order to insure that things work out OK in the end.

So I will continue to ramble on about my obsessions, and vent to cyberspace. I missed blogging, I missed sorting it all out. My husband asked me last night whatever happened to my blog and it got me thinking about it. So, here I am. Again.