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.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The People Who Came Before Us

I get messages all the time about people who know people who have had a kid diagnosed with autism, or people concerned their kid isn't developing in some way that they should be.  I reached out when we first thought things were coming to a diagnosis, and the people who reached back, we call them first responders. It is my pleasure to be that to other people.  So please keep the messages coming.

I am very open about our travels on this journey to do exactly that, help new parents that are faced with this stuff.  I don't want to make B a sideshow, far from it.  I love being the example to people of where we were and where we are now.

That being said we are all afraid as parents and social media has made it even more frightening since we can now keep up with all the baby Einsteins and Rembrandts of the preschool yard.  Worrying your kid won't get in to Harvard is one thing, but when you start to notice little things and see all the autism this and autism that flashing around it's easy for that to jump into your thoughts.  It is totally acceptable to contact a parent who is open about their diagnosis and, most likely, willing to help.  Mostly we are going to offer you some sort of pep talk about how you are doing the right thing and recommend talking to your pediatrician about your concerns.  We can handle your emotional guidance and share our stories, but the expert on your child is you!!

If you are worried and your doc shrugs you off then keep pushing.  Mommy gut is one of the strongest compasses I have.  It has led me down the right path WAY more times than the wrong, and heaven help a doctor who is going against momma bear instinct.

All the studies push for early interventions.  The earlier the signs of autism are noticed the earlier you can start therapies and the higher success rate they have.  I say this one because there are parents who take doctor advice and shrug it off.  If they want to test Johnny for autism let them, what does it hurt?  It can only help him/her.

And the whole point of this nonsense is if you are feeling lonely you aren't.  There may not be a neighbor or close friend who gets you, but there is a group of people somewhere who does.  Whether they just understand that it sucks sometimes or their little crazy kiddo does laundry incessantly like your little crazy kiddo.  Whether they get the isolation autism can brings or they understand how nonverbal does not mean quiet.  Someone gets it.  There are so many people who have already traveled this path, and they are paving the way. This is going to be me someday, and then it will be the people who have kids diagnosed in the future.  We are a family.  One big crazy protective family.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I'm Back... ish

Family visits, strep, weird random virus, middle child UTI, and meningitis have kept us busy this summer.  We snuck in play dates when we could and had a lot of fun.

B had his eval for speech therapy and was recommended for twice a week therapy.  We are still waiting on ABA and OT evals.  That seems to be the game.  Hurry up and wait.  Everyone pushes early intervention and then it feels so easy to get lost on wait lists.

He has made leaps and bounds this summer even without therapy.  It has been astounding to sit on the sidelines and watch things happen.  And I am excitedly nervous for school to start back up.  I want everyone to see what he has done.  I want to show him off.  I want people who know who he was just a few months ago to see who he is becoming.  And, quite selfishly, I want validation.  I want someone to tell me I am not just imagining things.  That he really has started coming out of his "shell" a bit more.  Moms are allowed to be selfish!

I am also nervous, as with every beginning of the school year, if we have done enough.  I know it's too late to go back in time and find more programs to stuff him into.  It isn't a thing we can do, and I'm not sure our summer could have handled much more.  But the mom guilt is always there.

On top of the guilt is the worry, and every mom has it too not just reserved for autism moms, of how the kids will treat him, and how he will do with his new surroundings.  Will he be picked on?  Will he make friends?  Will he learn at the pace he needs to?  Will his new teacher be as kick ass as the old one?  Will she know what autism is and what it means to us and that he is not a person to be pitied but to be challenged as she would challenge every other child in the class?  Please God let her be up for the challenge.  Give her patience and understanding.  She is a first grade teacher after all so she should be full of these things.

And I hope so bad again that the decision to pick up and move here for the schools was the right one.  I really can't say enough good things about last year, and I am praying for a repeat.

Only time will tell.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

That One Time in Oklahoma...

Just enough people.  You can say whatever cliche thing you want "Hate the sin, not the sinner" "We all sin differently" "we all put our pants on one leg at a time".

But why?  What are we solving.  The supreme court made a decision to give human rights to humans.  Not to hamsters.  Not to zebras.  Human beings.  These people are no different than you or I.  They love.  Just because I, a woman, love my husband, a man, means nothing.  I am no better than anyone.

There was that one bible passage that said that one thing about that thing and it got twisted and turned into what made people want it to and they used that to deny rights to people.  PEOPLE.

We are on this earth with the people we are on this earth with.  I like God.  I'm all for him and all he has and continues to do for us.  But I am not going to use his love for me and mine to promote hate of others.  Show me where God said "cast the first stone...." Oh wait...

So while my news feed blows up with whining and complaining that SCOTUS did what it should have done years ago, let blacks vote... oh wait.... women vote... .not this time.... blacks and whites can marry..... nope did that already.  Everyone has the right to marry whoever they chose.. BINGO, I am going to head off into a land where bigger matters take the lead.  This place doesn't exist.  But poverty, starving kids all over the world, and I am still trying to get my kid into therapy he needs to succeed in life.

Who he decides to marry will be another blog for another decade.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My Crazy Little Road Map

As with most things in life when you plan and hope and dream and wish for things to go one direction, they inevitably go the opposite direction.  Whether you want your little girl to have long hair and she chops the curls off or you want to be a successful career person and end up a stay at home mom.  And no matter how many times these directional changes occur we, as humans, don't like it.

There really are only a few ways to deal with these surprises in life.  We can sit down and stick our fingers in our ears and go "lalalalala" and refuse to accept it.  We can fight it to the point that we look foolish and tire ourselves out.  Or we can let the wind blow us along with it all.  You can even have a little pity party first, because we are still human and that happens too.  And doing all three are definitely an option as well.

One of the hardest things that I have one of these back and forth relationships with is B's autism.  I never thought it would be a thing I would love, but I do.  We definitely began the journey with our fingers in our ears sort of saying, "well yeah he has autism, but we will FIX it."  The next step was us fighting it.  Trying everything in our power to make him catch up.  We could not be patient and let things transform as they would, we needed him to be "better" now.  It was what was best for us.  But time and time again I go back to the third option.

I definitely sit and have a pity party.  Sometimes alone, sometimes in public, and sometimes with good friends to remind me why we do these things.  And then I remember we aren't trying to change that quirky little man.  Sure I want these things that all parents want for their kids, but I need reminders that our path isn't like everyone else's.  No matter what I try to do to make it so it isn't going to change.   So I come to the wind.

This isn't to say we aren't still working in therapies and trying to give him what he needs to be successful.  We still do these things.  But when we try to do things, most recently VBS at church, I have to step outside of that invisible box and figure out how to help him gain from the experience.  I also have to mourn a bit, and accept that this is okay too.

Not mourn that my child is the way he is.  Albeit exhausting, I like him ALL the time.  The other two are just as, if not more, exhausting as him.  But in my mind is the times I had as a kid at VBS and all the memories I made.  Memories that I had hoped my kids would make.   And memories that he won't make.  But not because he is miserable, or that his memories are going to be less than mine and those I wanted for him.  But different memories.  And different is okay.  And different is good.  And different can make me happy too.

Because in the end when you have kids you get off of your road and onto theirs.  I may have two straight roads and one that twists and winds and climbs hills and mountains(let's be honest neither girls' road is THAT straight anyways) but how boring is a straight road anyways.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Don't Call Me a Single Mom

My husband is an oilfield man, so he is gone a lot.  I get a lot of the "you have your hands full" comments, and it is true they keep me busy.  I don't work outside of the house.  Having three kids, one with autism, is a full time job.  Not that I couldn't work, I did it with two kids so am sure I could with three, and not that I think women shouldn't work outside of the house, if it makes you happy then do that, I just belong here right now.  In a year or two I may belong somewhere else.

With hubby being gone so often I often hear "single momming it" as a description for what I, and many oilfield families, do on a daily basis.  And to that I say what an insult to single moms.

I don't have a person every night that I get to see and hold and tell me things will go better tomorrow, but I do have that person a phone call or text away.  I don't have to feel the guilt of working too much while trying to balance spending time with my kids, and the potential of a personal life, and throw in school to better our lives.  I don't have to wonder if I will find a person who will love me and my kids and make the decision to be there for them no matter what, DNA be dammed.  I don't have to explain why daddy and mommy aren't together any longer, but they still love their kiddos very much.

I know many of these amazing women.  They sacrifice so many things to give their all to their kids.  They feel a lot of guilt and show a lot of love.  I admire them. But I am not one of them.  Calling me one negates their sacrifice and life they live.

Lots of respect for all of you, and if you ever need anything the offer is always open.  

Saturday, June 20, 2015


One of the hardest parts of Greg's job is when the kids ask where daddy is.  I don't love him being gone, but at least I understand the concept of needing to pay bills and buy food and what not.  But the older the girls get they continue to ask " where's daddy?"  

Generally they answer each other as well.  "dad's at work."  And I am pretty sure they think he works in various hotels since when we do get the chance to visit him it is always in a hotel.  B knows the schedule of when daddy comes and goes better than either of us do.  If we need to know when Greg gets home we can count out the days or ask B.  They wonder what daddy is doing often.  And it is hard to watch them wonder.  

But one thing I know they will never wonder about is his love for them.  He spends most waking moments at home in full on physical play with one or all three.  They all love to wrestle him, have him throw them into the air, they are starting to take up some hobbies like soccer and piano, and definitely can't leave out the dance parties.  

He has their backs, and always will.  It didn't scare him to get B a baby doll or a play kitchen and a broom set.  It definitely makes him nervous that the girls are girls, but he still TRIES to make an acceptable ponytail.  He doesn't always know the answer to some of the things they ask or some of the problems they face, but he has never run away from finding out.  

They can be tiring, and he will even tell you he rests more away from home than when he is  home, but he never tells them he's too tired for a walk or a trip to the park.  

He's a good dad.  I am so glad that my kids have the example of what a loving father and husband should be.  

Definitely a son's first hero and a daughter's first love.

Happy Father's Day

Monday, June 15, 2015

What it Means for Other People

We postponed getting a diagnosis for B because he was already getting therapy.  We were on our first of many wait lists to be seen for that purpose.  Labeling him didn't change who he was to us.  He was our quirky, crazy little boy.  He had differences, but we all do.  Getting the diagnosis didn't change him, not much will.  We aren't trying to cure him.  We aren't trying to make him fit into society, although sometimes it would be nice.  It was just something we had to do.  Another step in the process.

One of the main reasons we postponed diagnosis is because we didn't want people to judge him based on that word.  Autism.  It means so many different things to everyone.  And generally, when people find out he has the diagnosis, I get "oh my cousins' friend's sisters' kid has that" or something of the sorts.  Which is great.  I want EVERYONE to know what autism is.   But I also want everyone to know that autism isn't what defines B. 

 I don't like the word "autistic".  You won't offend me if you say it, unless you use it in a derogatory way, but I don't like it.  He has autism.  He also has 6 year old, and avid reader, and math enthusiasm.  He also has love of dogs and the outdoors.  These things are all a part of him.  And autism is one of these things.

Most of the time when people approach me in public it's a good thing.  To compliment the kids on acting well, which is a rarity, or to offer a word of wisdom/advice.  Well meaning mostly.  But there are a few who just don't get it.  And the funnier thing is they often don't get it when he isn't having anything to do with autism, he's just being a kid.  Oh how their world would change if they saw the autism.

Some people are scared.  They don't want to offend me, you can't short of just being a huge jackass and in that case I don't want to be friends anyways.  They don't know how to talk to him, or if they should.  And this feeling isn't reserved for strangers.  Family and friends, often well meaning, don't know what to do or think.  A lot of people ask me things they should be directing to him.  We spent lots of money getting that child to talk so ask him all the questions we can.  

Some people feel sad for him and his future.  I have had people tell me this.  And to them I say... we are too.  But not in the sense that they think.  I worry about all of my kids equally.  The future is scary for them all.  I don't think about his limitations.  Right now we are worried with what he can do and building on that.  And, in my opinion, his future is very bright.

And then there are those that treat him like they would any of my kids.  And I like these people.  I don't know that this is the right approach for everyone, but it has worked so far for us.  And until it stops working, or we find some better way, this will be the way I hope everyone can come to.

He's a pretty awesome kid.  And, if you're lucky, you just may get to see that.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Not So Terrible Twos

"My turn" is a phrase we hear often around here.  For EVERYTHING.  We never had this phase with the older kids, so it is a whole new dish of perspective for us.

We are very blessed that our 2 year old speaks so well for her age group.  She has for a while and it is nice to not have to pay for another kid to go to speech therapy.  But with vocals come independence and they can want to do things long before they can physically do them.  This brings on fun 20 minute sessions in the least convenient places of waiting while they prove it to themselves because listening to mom and dad is not only not an option, but it isn't our turn!

"My turn"....

to put on my clothes... which takes longer, but she can do.
to put on my shoes.... almost always on the wrong feet first, but still happy this is a skill.
to close the door..... even if it means not letting the dogs out first.
to get in the car... even if it takes longer for her to do alone.
to buckle the clips in my car seat... which she can only do the top clip.
to hit the button.... that closes the van door, but after she is strapped into the car sear.
to unbuckle the buckles in the car seat... which she can undo neither of.
to climb down out of the van... which is actually fine.
to go to the bathroom... even if you have to go and she really doesn't need to.
to cut her food.... even if mommy won't let her use a knife (guess I need to get over that one).
to wash her hands... even though she gets water everywhere.
to unload the dishwasher.... even if it freaks me out and slows the process.

And the list could go on for days.  And if you try and help her or just don't let her it ensues the most amazing screeches and screams.  Generally I allow her to figure things out on her own.  It will be better in the long run and what does it hurt really, but also to avoid the noises.

She does more things our other two never did.  Bites, scratches, and pinches.  I don't know how to fix these things, or where they came from since she hasn't spent time in daycare, but the main victim is her older sis, so we at least get to work on it at home.

She pouts.  A lot.  About anything.  And it is slightly funny.  Little lip goes out, she looks down, and stands there motionless for a bit.

And to all my mommy friends with these wonderful amazing 2 year old terrors I must break some news to you.  Cherish every moment of this horrificness because 3 is so much worse.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

What It's Like... For Us

A lot of posts that have helped me have been about how people have answered when asked "what is it like to raise a kid with autism?"  No one has ever asked me.

For the most part it seems like it would be hard to answer,  He was our first kid, and so all we have ever known is life with autism.  We had our ideas of how raising a little boy would go.  Dreams of him growing up to play sports and excelling academically.  Being a popular kid in school because of his dashing good looks.  We have had to give up some dreams and ideas we had.  We have found new ones.  At first it is a mourning process.  "Why me? Why him?" gets asked a lot.  And then when you come around the corner to acceptance, you bury your head in the "what can I do for my kiddo" sand.

We traded soccer fields for occupational therapy, and little league for speech therapy.  We traded birthday parties and super popularity with his friends for "please oh please acknowledge that that kid is talking to you!"  And through all of the trades we made to go from "normal" to "our normal" we learned.  A lot!

Patience was definitely a big lesson.  Kids with autism can take longer to catch on to some things.  It won't help anyone to get upset and join into their frustrations.  Things we definitely can take for granted from fine motor skills to talking to potty training.  It is so hard to see all of your friends' kids hit milestones and go down the path that we wish our kid would.  But patience to wait for it all and the hard work that gets put into any of it makes the reward huge.

Determination may be something you are born with or something you find, but this is a situation you will figure out if you have it.  I dare anyone to tell us B won't do something.  We will make that our goal.  I expect no less from him than I do from his sisters, or most of his peers.  He is capable.  Maybe not at every waking moment.  If he is having a hard day at the park or store he is allowed some slack, but we won't give up on going to the park or the store.

And while you have probably seen lots of posts about the "blessings" of autism it sucks too.  For every goal reached is one more, or 20 more, we are working towards.  For every success opens a new door to more goals.  Which is great because people should always want to grow themselves, but it is exhausting.  So so so exhausting.  It takes it out of you from all sides and there is definitely shame, mom guilt, from admitting this.  The truth is there is nothing wrong with these feelings.  I still love that kid, and the other two who can be equally exhausting.  I am still so happy to be a mommy and to be able to stay at home with them.  I may not be the most fun person to hang out with now, I only know kids' shows and movies, and my music list is whatever will make my 2 year old "shake her booty", but I wouldn't trade it.

You make sacrifices.  The whole family.  The girls may not get to do all of the classes and things they want because we are spending money on all of the therapies for him.  Not to mention the time to drive to the therapies and the appointments themselves.  Mom and dad make sacrifices to make sure the schools are doing everything they can and should to help him succeed.  The dog makes a sacrifice to become a wrestling partner, and who are we kidding that dog is the happiest dog on earth for it.  And he definitely makes sacrifices too.

This is who he is.  We don't want to turn him into "normal".  He will definitely make sacrifices so he can be in regular education classes.  He will have to learn how to fit, at least somewhat, into society's idea of how we should be.  He has to keep up in school work while learning to be social.  He will have to learn that some people aren't there to help you, hopefully not the hard way.  He will make so many sacrifices.  I just hope not too many.  And I pray he is always happy about the things he gives up.

I am wholly exhausted at the end of the day, and when I wake up tomorrow I will do it all again. What little sacrifices I have to make to make sure he has everything he needs to be successful in life I will always make.

The Woman at the Library

Dear Fellow Mom,

I may have not been nice when I told you not to scold my kid.  You probably thought I was insane.  You definitely think he is a spoiled brat and trying to hog the train table your kid wants to play on.  Your kid probably thinks that too.  

It's not that I want my son to take away your son's train.  The sight of them playing side by side is so beautiful to me. 

 You see, the last time we came to the library we had to leave VERY quickly when another kid tried playing on the train table with my son.  My son has autism.  Playing with others is a work in progress among many other social things he is learning.  The last time we came he didn't want the others to play because they would mess up what ever game he was playing.  He couldn't tell them this, so instead lay down on the floor kicking and screaming.  We had to drag him out with his sisters unhappy to be leaving the library early.  This time, however, he played next to so many kids before your son came to play.  They were playing so wonderfully until my kiddo grabbed the train from yours.  And that is wrong.  And he does need to learn it is so.  But I also want to reinforce the good.  He didn't lie down and become inconsolable because another child sat next to him.  He didn't do anything that caused us to have to leave the library.  He, as a lot of 6 year olds do, took a toy away from another kid.  

We have come so far from where he was.  We can do so many more things that most parents take for granted.  And yet all you see is my kid taking the train.

I do apologize for him taking the train.  And one day I know he will apologize to your kid as well.  Because progress with this kid has been amazing, and he never gives up trying to make friends.

But just for next time, let me scold my kid.