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.