My blog is so that I can purge all of the random junk that floats through my head and also share some of the memories and moments of our daily life... good and bad. Life as a single, working Mom to a child with Asperger's (aka: Assburgers. Lol) and a sweet, yet energetic 3 year old boy can be a chaotic trainwreck...but it is also amusing and wonderful too.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Friday the 13th...Diagnosis day

Since April is Autism Awareness month, I have been reading so many interesting, enlightening, heartbreaking and even hilarious blog posts and articles about Autism/Asperger’s.  Most of them are written by mothers and fathers with children on the autistic spectrum. 
I did not feel like I could write a blog post about this topic since I am such a “newbie” to the whole world of parenting an autistic/Aspie child.  I’m just going to tell our story and how we got to where we are today.

My daughter was officially diagnosed on August 13th, 2010.  It was Friday the 13th and that entire day lived up to its superstitious reputation.  As my late friend Arwen used to say, that day was a “Craptastic Suckfest”.

But before I get to that appointment…let me back track a bit.

When Lilly was 2 ½ or 3 we started to really notice things about her that made her not blend in with other kids her age.  She was very quirky, impulsive, had peculiar habits and ways of doing things.  She has trouble fitting in with other children and got frustrated with them.  She was having behavior issues at home and at daycare.  I know every mother has that intuition thing with their children…and I don’t mean to brag but... I always joke that I have Ninja intuition.  I just knew something was up with my Lilly.  When she was 4, her daycare provider finally said something about how she was concerned about Lilly, so we decided to have her evaluated.  We took her to a pediatric Neurologist at the request of her primary pediatrician.  Her dad and I made a list of our concerns and also her strengths to discuss with the doctor.  This is the list we made three years ago.

Concerns about Lilly

  • Poor impulse control
  • Makes aggressive, angry faces
  • Refuses to share toys w/ other kids or siblings
  • Repetitive phrases/noises/actions
  • Poor social skills
  • Too intense for other kids/in their face
  • Other kids think she’s weird
  • Acts weird in group environment- doesn’t want to participate in group activities
  • Excessive talking-even after asked to stop
  • Has to do things her own way- refuses suggestions
  • Very “klutzy” constantly bumping into things, falling.
  • Very hyperactive
  • Sometimes aggressive towards smaller children.
  • Obsessed with tying knots
  • Very defiant/argumentative-  always correcting others
  • Wants others to say things “her” way
  • Does not respond well to discipline

Great Things about Lilly

  • Very expressive- uses large, articulate vocabulary-spoke at early age
  • Super smart
  • Very good at puzzles and colors extremely well and neatly for her age
  • Extreme interest in details about movies and animals—likes to recite what she knows (over and over!)
  • Can be very sweet and thoughtful with family.
  • Excellent memory.
  • Very sensitive.

The doctor quickly glanced at our list, ask her a few questions and after a short visit with him, he told us Lilly was just very bright, very sassy and needed to be enrolled in a formal preschool setting.  He said she was probably just bored.  We should also try a reward chart for her behavior. We took his advice…but he was super “old school” and I did not agree with him.

She learned a lot in preschool, but still had plenty of issues. Then she entered Kindergarten.  She had the best teacher we ever could have imagined and even though she had a lot of struggles with social and behavioral issues (meltdowns, rigidness, etc), she did wonderfully with her reading and writing.  We spoke with her teacher often and after a couple months in school, she agreed that something was going on with Lilly and she needed to be evaluated.

We were also having increasing issues between her and her younger brother.  She HATES him!  She was/is so mean to him.  It got so bad that we decided to seek counseling for her.  She was always crying, screaming, melting down about very minor things.  She would get out of control at times.  We just didn’t know how to handle or help her. We met with a psychologist weekly for counseling, a Psychiatrist monthly and she was given cognitive, adaptive behavior and even IQ tests over the course of a year. forward to Friday the 13th.

I went to the appointment alone (the Ex DH had other plans…perfect example of his priorities?! *sigh*).  I had known for at least a year or two that Lilly was most likely on the spectrum…but I wasn’t totally sure and I was hoping I was wrong (to be honest, I am never wrong…ever!  Don’t hate).   
At that appointment, her psychologist was presenting us me with the final outcome of their thorough evaluations.  It was a 13 page report detailing every aspect of my little girl.  The nitty gritty of the report said that she was much smarter than her actual age, but as far as emotional, coping, self care and social “skills” she rated about the same as her 2 year old brother (she was 6 years old at the time). 

They gave her 3 official diagnoses.

Unspecified mood disorder
and ADHD.

I knew all of these things…but to hear them, see them on paper and be told that my child was on the autistic spectrum was just excruciating to hear.  I went out to my car and sobbed like a baby.  My parents were out of town, Lilly’s dad was out of town, and the guy I was dating (who also had an autistic son) broke it off with me earlier that week. I had nobody to call and I felt so alone.

It has been 8 months since that day.  Her dad, teachers and myself are doing our best to be understanding, knowledgeable and to help her be happy and thrive.  I joined a local support group for parents of Asperger's/HFA children, read as much as I can about it and recently met a bunch of other great parents in similar situations on Twitter.

Lilly does not know she is an Aspie or what ADHD is.  She knows that she is unique, creative, smart, sassy, and views things in a different way than most people.  She knows that her parents, family, friends and her teachers love and adore her. 

I think that is all she needs to know right now. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekend in Review

This weekend was a pretty good one.  Nothing majorly horrible happened and a few really good things happened…so I’ll give it a 7.5 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Friday evening:
Dinner at my house is always a crazy time.  It is messy and loud and just not fun…at least not for me.  Lilly is not really capable of sitting still for very long...she usually stands next to her chair and walks away from the table at least 5 billion times during each meal.  Riley refuses to stay in his seat and always wants to sit on my lap. I told him I was going to strap him down if he didn’t stay put.  He called my bluff and the bungee cord came out.  Fun times.
During almost every dinner at my house someone usually spills their drink.  This time it was Lilly.  I usually get up, go into the kitchen and fetch paper towels and clean it up….but not this time.  I had already warned Lilly to sit in her seat and settle down.  Since she didn’t listen, was flailing around and knocked her cup over.  I told her SHE needed to clean it up.  Surprisingly, she went into the kitchen to get the paper towels without much of a fuss.  On the way back, she stepped in and slipped on the water that she spilled on the floor.  She was falling,  doing the splits and her head was quickly approaching the corner of the dinner table. Luckily she just slid under the table.  I was frustrated that after only 2 minutes into dinner and I had JUST told her to be careful she spilled her water.  But the whole fiasco of her sliding under the table was hilarious and I couldn’t help but laugh.    99% of the time, Lilly is NOT OK with anyone laughing at her and does NOT see humor in herself….but this time, she started laughing too.  She found it so funny that she tried to re-inact it..serveral hundred more times during dinner.  I’m just glad she didn’t crack her head open.  I had already started on my Mike’s Hard Lemonade and did not feel like driving her to the ER.. 

Saturday, I took the kids to the beach.  The weather was PERFECT and it was not crowded where we went. YAY!  Lilly was in a decent mood and was somewhat nice to her little brother.  The kids had such a great time collecting shells and playing on the shore.  I did manage to forget to apply sunblock to myself until it was too late.  I am rockin’ the most killer farmer tan/burn right now. 

Sunday we went to church.  We were only 25 minutes late…not too shabby!  We decided to go out for lunch afterwards. The kids mentioned that they missed their dad…so I called and invited him to lunch.  It went pretty good.  As good as lunch with your ex husband can go I suppose.  Lilly was in an unusually happy and cooperative mood so I suggested to the EX H that we should swing by the ear piercing place and see if she will go for it.  She’s wanted to get earrings for a couple years but is petrified of the process.  I had envisioned the whole ear piercing thing to be a HUGE dramatic meltdown.  She was all for the idea. I told the sales girl about Lilly and we arranged for both her and her coworker to both peirce an ear at the same time so it would be over with all at once.  I brought out my trusty Droid smart phone and let Lilly watch a movie.  She didn’t even flinch when they put the earrings in.   The EX and I were in total shock….we thought for sure she would at least cry…but she didn’t.  She was excited.  She said that she felt “exuberant”.  My baby girl is growing up! 

Sunday evening we had to make an quick trip to Target.  Lilly was her usual self....LOL.  I love her facial expressions

Oh, and my public service announcement.  Make sure your kids don’t have a bunch of tiny mussels along with their shells from the beach in their buckets when you head home….it REALLY starts to stink to high Heaven after a couple days.  *gag* 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fabulous, Funky, and Funny Friday

I thought I would share some of the things I read or came across this week that either inspired me, made me laugh hysterically, or enlightened me. Hope you enjoy them too.

Hoppy Easter by Kelly at Living Craftily Ever After

The girl is crafty like ice is cold. She is seriously gifted when it comes to anything cute and crafty. I have no idea where she finds the time to make all of these awesome things while also being a busy working Mom, blogger, hilarious friend and wife. She amazes and inspires me! Check out her adorable Easter projects…and everything else she creates!!

The Grand Whiffer by Mental Poo

Everyone loves a good fart story right? Well I sure do! I laughed so hard when I read this blog post that I had tears running down my face and I was wheezing when I laughed. Seriously hysterical stuff !!
Warning: if poop and farts don’t crack you up. DO NOT click on the link. Kthx!

My Dearest X by Autism SuperMom

This sweet and beautiful letter from a mother to her autistic son really touched my heart. Yes, I do have a heart…don’t act so surprised! She reminded me what seem so obvious but sometimes needs reminding…Love your child completely for who they are and how they are …no matter what.

When It's More Than Sibling Rivalry by Jen Troester

This guest post by Jen who normally blogs at Living Life, with a Side of Autism. really hit home for me. She has a 7 year old daughter on the Autistic Spectrum and a younger son…just like I do. She writes about the struggles of sibling rivalry in her home. I deal with this issue EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. This is the first time that I have felt like someone else understands what I go through when I say that Lilly hates her little brother and I am a constant referee. It is not your typical “annoying little brother scenario”.
Please take a minute to read her post on Squashed Moms blog. It is difficult but well worth it.

I hope you enjoyed these blogs as much as I did.
Enjoy your weekend peeps.
I’m taking the monsters to the beach tomorrow. Wish me luck.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thankful Thursdays

I suck at being a grateful person lately. How can I teach my kids to be grateful if I don’t practice it myself right?

I had a brilliant idea that will kill two birds with one stone. I needed something to write about today and I need to figure out ways to be thankful for all of my blessings. I suppose if I did this every Thursday…it might become a habit.

Today, I am thankful for caffeine.

I know that sounds stupid but without it…life would suck ass. I am a tired Mom. I get about 5 hours of sleep on a regular basis ..give or take. The best thing in the world is a nice cold, bubbly soda first thing in the morning to get me moving. I have tried to quit caffeine. I STRONGLY advise against this. It is not pretty. You may deal with a headache, fatigue, sleepiness, inability to focus and concentrate or possibly even flu-like symptoms, irritability, depression and anxiety after skipping as little as one cup of coffee or soda a day. NO THANK YOU!
I don’t drink coffee very often. I hate the “yuck mouth”, the smelly pee and the rapid need to poop shortly after having coffee. I poop just fine on my own thank you very much. Sorry, that was kinda TMI.
I love me some caffeine. I only have 2 or maybe 3 zero calorie sodas a day but I MUST have them. I get the lovely withdrawal symptoms pretty quickly and the headache lasts for about a day.

Ok, I guess I can be more serious about this.

I am also very grateful for my parents.
They are seriously awesome. My Mom is the sweetest person ever! I have not met anyone that does not adore my Mom. She is so thoughtful, humble, selfless, a great Mom, friend and Gramma to my kiddos…not to mentions absolutely hilarious. I wish I had more of her personality traits and fewer of her less desirable physical traits…like wimpy sore feet, crummy complexion and a bodacious booty. LOL!

My Dad is also a great person. He is very smart. He recently completed his PhD in theology at 65 years of age. He is always learning new things. He is also a very wise dude. He always has friends or folks at church calling or pulling him aside to ask his advice on all sorts of issues. He’s got gorgeous blue eyes and all the old bitties at church adore him. He is the resident “funeral guy” He seems to do a lot of the funeral services and has a special gift of making someone’s passing not seem so sad. He has a wonderful way with words.

My parents always have my back. I appreciate how they trust me and my decisions on things in my life. They offer advice when asked but don’t meddle or get all up in my business. They don’t cause drama or play guilt games. I have so many friends with crazy ass parents and I am truly blessed to not have to deal with that crap. One of the best things about my folks is their connection with Lilly, my Aspie kid. They pick her up after school twice a week and help her with homework (this is no easy task), take her out for dinner, play with her on her level and by all her weird quirky rules. When Lilly is having a MAJOR meltdown and I need a break, they have no problem coming to pick her up for a change of scenery or talking her down over the phone.

I love my parents!! The ironic thing is.. I have some weird phobia or something because I cannot tell them that I love them in person.
I think that needs to be my next personal goal.

What are you Thankful for today?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Backwards Day

Something weird is going on in the Universe. I'm not sure what it
is...but today was completely backwards.

This morning I overslept, nothing unusual so far. I had to actually
wake up both kids...weird! Today was the first day of Lilly's 2 week
Spring break so we weren't having to rush as much as usual. I did get
screamed at for not letting her have Lucky Charms for breakfast...but
I figured since I caught her sneaking Chips Ahoy cookies and fruit
snacks while I was getting her brother up and dressed, she didn't
really need any more junky sugary stuff. She protested, screamed and
told me how awful of a mother I am...pretty much her usual song and
dance. I ignored it.

Usually, Riley gets pissy about getting dressed and thinks it's
hilarious to run away from me and/or kick me while I try to get his
PJs off and clothes on. He also uses many stall tactics and a lot of
whining...but not today. He was sweet, cuddly and helpful.
They were both pretty cooperative in getting ready and out the door.

I dropped Lilly off at her daycare and drove Riley to his...with a
quick detour back by our house because I forgot to put shoes on him.
whoops. When we got to his daycare, he gave me the absolute saddest
look with his big brown puppy eyes. His chin started to quiver, tears
welled up in his eyes and he hugged me so tight and said, "please
don't go to work today. Stay with me Mommy." UGH...broke my heart!!
He is not usually like this.

Work is usually my peaceful, happy place. I love my job and I think I
do a pretty darn good job at it. It is rarely stressful or
overwhelming....but not today. Two out of our 3 person team were not
there. One called out sick (sick my ass! She better have been
bleeding out of her eyeballs or I'm gonna be pissed), and the other
gal had the day off. That left me to run 3 desks. Today was not your
usual day at the was INSANE. Everything the doctors
needed done was STAT and complicated. I will spare you all the boring
details that you could care less about and sum it up by saying...My
head was spinning was crazy and I was frazzled as hell. I
could not wait to get the Eff out of there! I didn't wanna cook and I
needed a drink so I went by the taco shop and liquor store on my way
home. Usually my kids make me want a drink...not my job.
(Thank youMike's hard Lemonade! xoxo)

My night at home (this is where it gets REALLY weird) was nice and
actually enjoyable. *gasp* My kids were sweet and somewhat civil to
each other. Riley was cooperative during his bath and even told me
while in the tub that he had to go potty. WOW huh? I was so damn
proud to sit his little wet nekkid body on the potty and not have him
pee in the tub. I don't know what came over him but I think this
potty training bullshit is actually starting to click with him. (Yes,
I know I just jinxed myself with that last statement).

After bath time we all snuggled up on the sofa. Again, they did not
fight. WEIRD. Nobody protested or yelled when I said it was time for
bed. They both requested to brush their own teeth and did a halfway
decent job. Usually, they whine, cry and fall to the floor saying how
tired they are and blah blah blah. I end up yelling and picking them
off the floor and brushing their teeth for them while I mutter
obscenities under my breath.
I was in such a state of shock and bliss that I told them how
extremely proud I was of them and how I really enjoyed my night with
them. They went to bed without a peep and were sweet sleepy angels.

The best part of my day... I didn't have to yell. Not even once!

Thank you Universe for my backwards day. As weird as it was..I loved it.

look...she is actually smiling on purpose!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It could be worse

As I was leaving work and walking to my car, I was slightly grumbling that it was cold, windy and due to rain. I hate rain. I live in San Diego for a reason…I love me some sunshine. I looked up at the sky. There were big dark ugly clouds….but there was also a bit of blue sky and sun shining through the pretty white fluffy clouds. It was beautiful.
I realized that things could always be worse. I could live in Japan where everything I know is washed away. I could live where it snows in the winter and I have to wear layers upon layers to keep from freezing my booty off.

It made me think about all the things in my life that “could be worse”. I suppose I was due for a lesson in gratitude today

Being a single Mom to two little kiddos is hard. A lot of the time, my house is a mess, I have more laundry than I know what to do with, dishes piled next to the sink, floors to vacuum. But thankfully, we have those dirty dishes because we can afford food. And my kids have nice clean clothes, shoes and entirely too many toys. Some people do not have those luxuries right now or ever

Some days I feel so guilty because I work full time and don’t seem to get enough quality time with my kids. But, I am fortunate enough to have a job. A job I love. Like most folks these days, I am griping about forking out $80 a week to fill up the gas tank in my car… but we have a car. One that (knock on wood) is reliable and gets us where we need to go.

My daughter was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, which is a high functioning form of autism. As crazy as she makes me sometimes and as hard as the meltdowns are on certain days… it could be worse…much worse. She is alive, healthy, beautiful and as smart as can be.

On days when the kids are arguing nonstop, won’t cooperate or listen AT ALL, are constantly screaming and I feel like I just can’t do it anymore …my sanity and patience are hanging by a teensy thread...I need to remember that I am not alone. My kids have a wonderful Dad that loves them and is very involved in their life. And unlike most divorced couples, we get along pretty darn good. I didn’t have to run away from an abusive marriage and start from scratch all by myself. I wonderful friends that make me laugh and support me without question. I have family that are here for me, love me and ALWAYS have my back. Plenty of people are completely alone…with nobody to lift them up when they need it.

I am truly blessed.

So bring on the rain, I can handle it.

Photobucket Photobucket

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Testes..testes...1 2 3.

Wow. My very own blog. It even has that new blog smell.
This is just a test post. Nothing exciting or fancy right now. I have myself a killer migraine and it's way past my bedtime.

Ta ta for now. Real posts coming soon...I hope.