Saturday, January 30, 2016

To Say Thanks

Almost two years ago we moved AGAIN.  We have made many moves since Greg and I have been married.  This move was done to get our kiddos, B specifically, a better school situation.  Every time we have moved it has taken us a while to get acquainted with people and the new town, don't even get me started on new grocery stores.  But Moore was different.

Our first outing in Moore was to the park to see a concert.  It was okay, but what made it awesome were some of the people we met.  They invited us to church.  We went.  And that turned out awesome too.

CrossTimbers UMC has been an amazing place for the past two years for us.  We have grown to love this community so much.  As a church.  As a place of support.  As a family.  And tomorrow we go to the service there for a final time.

We have learned how awesome it can feel to be a part of a church family and how awesome it can feel to be involved with them.  It has truly been a place where all the people wanted to grow in God's kingdom regardless of where you came from.  People didn't bat an eye when B started pacing/ dancing around the aisles because it is how he wanted to worship God, and that is beautiful.  Everyone has always been welcome.  It has always felt very much like a place we were MEANT to be.

I am so very sad that it is all coming to an end, but so happy to have been a small part of it.

And to all of the people who have been a HUGE part of our lives


Monday, January 18, 2016

Our Little Basketball Superstar

I wasn't able to go and see B play his game today because little sister #2 was sick.  But I did get to see the ear to ear smile when he came in the door.  You could feel the joy he felt.  And all because of a little kindness.  I have long been a fan of all of the circles we are falling into since moving to Moore, OK.  But the Earlywine YMCA had always been my most unsure.  It's a busy place.  Easy to get lost in the crowd when you aren't from here and don't go to workout often.

But we signed our kids up.  Tator played soccer in the fall and loved... the other kids.  She is not our athlete.  She and one of her friends even played ring-around-the-rosie during one game.  But she had fun and the other parents we met were amazing.  So we signed up again.  We signed B up for basketball.  He couldn't dribble, and could barely get the ball up to the net, but we had time to work on it.

When we get to the first practices he can dribble and make a goal every once in a while, but to say that he was playing basketball was a bit of a stretch.  In B's world he is playing basketball.  And those other eight 7-9 year olds are his teammates.  He knows their names and a few have tried to interact with him, which always amazes me when a kid that age just gets things.

Then the first game... Only four other players show up.  B was out there the entire game and even inbound passed once.  We had spoken with the ref before the game.  We don't want special treatment obviously, but also don't want him wondering why one kid is randomly walking on the 3 point line while everyone else is on the other half of the court.

As the, accidental, coach of the team I have felt bad when B isn't getting the playing time that the other players are getting.  We mean to put him in and then the time is gone.  But today, when I didn't get to go, Greg got him in with a bit of time to spare.  And the ref walked up to Greg and asked if he wanted him to try to get B a shot.  Absolutely.  So once up and down the court and a "foul" gets called.  "Number 59 you're shooting".

He got two shots.  Missed one got the second, and the crowd cheered him on.  Before this he got so excited when they cheered for whoever that it made the whole thing worth it to us.  But now they were cheering for him.  After the buzzer to end the game a bunch of people came up to B to tell him how awesome he did.  A little piece of their day meant a whole lot to our son, and words will never express what it meant to me.  

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Birthdays and Holidays Galore

As B wrote down the little reminder of the upcoming months I am struck with what all of these things used to mean and what they mean now.

Birthdays were always something I dreamed of celebrating for my kids.  Having friends over and going to parties is a staple in every childhood, so when parties are an overwhelming mess for your family you do what you can.  We have some of the most unstructured parties ever.  And they are quite successful.  "Child-led" parties may be a good description for them.  No games, no pinata, just fun and cake.  Unfortunately, this year's party ended with B telling everyone it was time to go.  His dogs were at the neighbors' for a visit and he wanted them back home.  But it was so fun.

Then going to peoples' parties is always a new adventure.  I am so grateful that we get invited to parties, and all of the kids are figuring out the social "acceptabilities" of birthday parties.  Tator is the "cake destroyer".  She got to hers this year and has ruined 3 at other people's parties.  (ruined may be strong, but took fork or finger to the frosting).  Lu is learning the ends and outs of "it's not for you", she is still very much the center of her world.  And B is learning it all over and over.  Plus the whole boundaries thing, not going into every room of other people's homes, and just because you CAN climb it doesn't mean you should.

But then the challenge of the holidays is one we never thought of before.  Trick-or-treating is something I always looked forward to with my kids.  First door B ever knocked he immediately went into the house.  That's what you do knock and go in, so why on that one night a year are we not going in?  We just aren't kiddo.  And the whole concept of putting candy in a bag was scary enough.  He was newly turned 4 years old and they gave him candy and we wanted to throw it away??? We even bought a cute little Toy Story treat bag, and he stood in the road and cried that we were getting rid of the candy.  It was quite funny to watch him try to carry it all though.  There's all sorts of things that don't make sense about that night.

Thanksgiving is not too bad.  We don't have local family, so it's just another dinner for us.  He never gets why we make such a big fuss about it.  But he does love turkey.

And Christmas........One day everyone that has kids dreams of.  From how to make it perfect; the perfect tree, gifts, day at church, family experience.  From wake up to bedtime.  Santa to The Nutcracker.  And for us it took a whole new turn.

Santa was a hard concept to "get" at first, but now he is sold.  Little elves and reindeer and all the magic.  I am always afraid someone will ruin it and break the news about Santa, but since we can see Santa at the mall he is real.  Opening presents was not a fun thing until this past year.  We have had full on Christmas meltdowns. It's overstimulating for me so I can't imagine what he is experiencing.  We learned to adjust our expectations, just like every other twist and turn and learned to take breaks and go for walks, when the weather permits, or somehow stick to our routine of every other day.  And had to accept that sometimes opening presents can last a week or so.  Not saying they get that many gifts, it just takes a little more than ripping paper for these kids.

It truly is a learning game and a game of give and take.  We may not get the postcard perfect holidays and birthdays, but they are perfect for us.  It may not look like everyone else's day, but that's okay.  It is ours.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What Comes Next...

When we were looking for a place to move something just stuck out about Moore.  More than the tornadoes!!!  Within the first few days that we moved here we met another couple that just moved here.  I never really knew what to expect when making friend, but he was a pastor and that was almost enough to shut it down for us.  I won't go in to details as to why, it just is what it is.  But we persisted in getting to know them, and even started going to their church.  It was definitely God pushing us to do all of this.  Showing us this town had a spot for us to fit into and that we would both benefit.

It's a small church, which is probably what got us in the door in the first place.  We have ran away from many places with stares of disgust and unneeded comments, so to make friends fast in a new place I decided to dive right in.  The girls went straight to nursery and B went to the sermon with me.  Some people would probably have preferred a quieter attendee than him, but again I am sure we both benefited.  He needed to sit and learn about all the things church is about and I needed patience.  But we aren't the only ones who won something.  Those around us got to see autism.  And hopefully they benefited as well.

They became like family and got to see some of our autism lows, and lots of our highs.  And I know we all benefited from this.

Over time, we have been there almost a year and a half, they have definitely all become aware of autism.  Whether they wanted to or not (I feel like the winking emoticon needs to go here).  So what comes next?

Now the church wants to find a way for others to benefit.  They decided to partner with a new school in our area and host ABA playgroups for kids on the spectrum.  They have decided that parents of kids with special needs are important and have organized a parents' night out for these parents to get a break AND for the siblings to get some one on one time with an adult while this happens.  This.... This is what happens after awareness.  It's called acceptance.  And it feels miraculous.  To find somewhere in the world that you fit into no matter what is something amazing, but when the people also accept and embrace your child no matter what... there just aren't words.

This is the true definition of church.  And it is what I want in my family.  And all of these people who have opened their minds and hearts for us will forever have a special place in our family, and in my heart.  And I know we will all benefit greatly from this experience.  

Monday, September 7, 2015

Obsessive Obsessions

Stimming is a word in our daily vocabulary that isn't in most people's.  It isn't a bad thing, except sometimes it can drive you crazy, it's just something that happens.

Beyond stimming driving mommy bonkers is the obsessions.  Some may think it sounds AMAZING to have a kid who loves to do laundry, and in some ways it can be.  But it isn't just doing laundry.  It's doing laundry and redoing laundry.  And then redoing it again.  It's pouring a whole container of fabric softener in to see what happens.  It's running back and forth to the laundry room to make sure the cycles are performing at capacity.  It's stimming verbally(loudly) about what's going on and what's happening next.

Now his new obsession, no the laundry hasn't gone anywhere he's just added to the mix, is drains.  What can he flush down the toilet next?  Wash down the sink? Vacuum?  Things disappear.  Where do they go?  And I get advice to just watch him closer.  Well I need an extra set of eyes, maybe a whole person, devoted to just following him around.  Two toilets, three sinks, two vacuum cleaners, and don't forget the garbage disposal that adds thew extra excitement.  Mommy is tired and needs a friend who is a plumber.

Just thanking God that we don't have floor vents and praying this obsession passes soon.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

First Grade Mommy Blues

Walked Mr B into his first grade class today.  He walked to find his seat.  He didn't cry, get upset, or flip out that mommy wasn't staying.  He just went.  It's what he was supposed to do.  It's what I was supposed to hope he would do.  But dang it...

He has a paraprofessional this year, we are very excited about this.  He is pretty spot on when it comes to doing his work and following directions, but he has a mischievous side and very little fear or concept of real danger.  We are hoping he doesn't need her much and the teacher even introduced her as a class aide.  And we don't want him dependent on someone else.  But so so so so glad to have an extra set of eyes on him, and the help if or when he needs it.

He is in good hands.  Everyone on campus knows B.  They all were mentioning how excited they were to see his little fedora again.  I had to break hearts and say that ship has sailed.  It broke mine too when he stopped wearing them, about two months ago.  That's how things always go with him though.  He does things just long enough for mommy to get used to it and then BAM over it.

I imagine that's what life will be like for us though.  Get used to one way of doing things and then have to learn a whole new way.  And that's okay.  Change is good.

But my baby is in first grade.  And today is a perfect day to be blue.  I will figure out how to not miss him for full days later.  Can't wait to pick him up!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Best of Intentions.....

With the good messages of people needing help, guidance, and advice I have received messages I wish never got sent.  People don't mean to be offensive, and if they do that is what the block button is for, but sometimes things hurt.  

I am talking about the people who want to know how to fix, or prevent, their kid from getting autism.  Yes.... this exists, and more than you would believe.

"I don't want to take medicine while pregnant because I am afraid my kid will get autism." "We don't watch television because I am afraid my kid will get autism" "we don't vaccinate because I'm afraid my kid will get autism" ( I won't start a vaccine debate, and most of the people I know that don't do not have autism on the list of reasons why they don't).

Even people blaming themselves for a diagnosis can hurt.

"It's my fault because I had an epidural"  "It's my fault because I ate sushi while pregnant" "it's my fault because we eat gluten"

And the list could go on forever, and is just as ridiculous as it all sounds. 

A new study is released every 5 seconds(my study that never took place resulted this fact) that claims to know what causes autism, and so who could blame people for the worry.  And they read it on the internet so it must be true.

But it hurts.  And why does it hurt?  Because for people to be afraid of it there must be something wrong with it.  Something wrong with our kids who have the diagnosis.  And as a mom, he is perfect. 

One I recently started getting from a lot of well meaning people is if I worry about his future.  What mom doesn't?  Your kid does not have to be on the spectrum to elicit mom worry genes.  It's what we do best.  We do, unfortunately, have a little added worry.  And if these people are messaging me for answers I have none.  The same with his little sisters I don't know what they will grow into.  

I hope he can become a productive member of society.  I hope he can learn to drive a car and pass the driving exam.  I hope he will continue to excel at scholastic activities and graduate high school and college, if he should chose to go.  I hope that he makes deep, long-lasting friendships.  I don't only hope these things, but expect them.  I hold him just as high, maybe even a little higher, to standards of things I know he is capable of doing.  We may need to take extra time to achieve these goals, we may need extra help, but he will do these things.

And to the people so bent up on preventing autism, or curing it, there are worse things.  It is not a death sentence, it is not a limit on possibilities, it is not what defines you or your child, it is not a burden for the parents.

Part of autism awareness is helping shape the world to accept our quirky kids, not change them to fit in better.  Looking at the world differently doesn't make them wrong or less of a part of our world.  And in this family we celebrate differences.  Normal is just a dryer setting anyways.