Five Funny Things Kiddo said this week

My Kiddo says funny things a lot. I decided this week to write them down because i just don’t remember things otherwise. 

So here are the top five funnies of the week: 

1. Kiddo lays down on the bed next to his cat who is napping (as cats do).  Of course Kiddo is meant to be brushing his teeth. I hear him whisper to his cat Brobee (FYI- this name was bestowed on him by the cat haven where we adopted him) 

Kiddo: Brobee, you are like a beautiful black egg.

Me: an egg?!

Kiddo: ok maybe not an egg. Brobee, you are like a beautiful black rectangular prism.

Me: ok – lets go with that! 

2. Walking into Barnes and Noble together:

Me: I am feeling old today Kiddo. You have to walk slowly. I am tired. 

Kiddo: walk slowly?! what?!

Me: When people get older they have to walk slowly. Hey Kiddo- when I am super old will you take care of me and look after me?

Kiddo: Yes Mom- when you are 44 years old I will do this for you. I will take care of you. 

Me: perfect! 

3. Driving in the car with Hubby, Kiddo and me:

Kiddo: Dad, you are so strong, and you are so big, and you are so handsome, and you are so gorgeous! 

Dad: Hey, what about Mommy? 

Kiddo: Mom… Well she is just COMPLETELY NUTS! 

Dad and Kiddo crack up laughing. 

Me: you know I’m holding the two of you responsible for that. Just saying! 

4. Easter Sunday Church Kids Presentation to the Congregation. The kids are waiting to begin their song and there is a few weird crackles coming through the sound system. Everyone is quiet then from Kiddo in a loud voice:

‘What is that noise?!’ 

Nailed it Kiddo – it’s exactly what we were all thinking!

5. All four of us having morning cuddles in bed: me, dad, kiddo and baby sister:

Dad: we have a wonderful family. I love my family! 

Kiddo: we are a family. We are an autism family. (Cuddles for everyone).

Ps: a little update on my blog to book writing…I am in the thick of it now and it’s going well (insert hand clapping here!) I am looking for a couple of volunteer draft readers to give me feedback on the overall direction and vibe of what I have written so far. Please comment below if that’s you 🙂 otherwise comment anyway on your favorite funny line from Kiddo or something funny from a Kiddo you know and love xx

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Be Nice To The Autism

One of the current goals I am working on with my son is expanding his expressive language. It basically involves using a variety of different prompts to let him know he needs to give me more language.  It started with a verbal prompt, then just a gesture, we then faded the prompt to a facial expression that says ‘you need to expand on that sentence buddy!’ Yes, believe it or not, there is a face for that! Now it’s just ‘wait’ time. If I pause then he knows he needs to stretch out that sentence before I will respond.

It’s been going really well and it’s actually pretty adorable and thrilling to hear him expand on his thoughts out loud.

So the other day Kiddo and I went for a drive to run some errands and we were passing through some beautiful countryside, feeling happy and just enjoying the sunshine.  Kiddo was looking relaxed and staring out of the car window when he made this comment out of nowhere:

‘I’m nice.’

I immediately jumped in with an enthusiastic ‘Kiddo !! Your ARE nice!!!’

Kiddo then repeated himself very slowly: ‘Ummm.. I’m nice ….I’m nice … Ummm… ‘.  I knew immediately I had interrupted his train of thought. The wheels were still turning. He does this at times. Repeats something and I can tell he is still searching. Searching for the words, a way to construct the words into a sentence, and a way to match the thoughts in his head to the words that come out of his mouth. It’s labor intensive for him.

So I zipped my lip and waited.

Kiddo: ‘I’m nice to SOME people.’

A long pause from him then slowly… ‘But I am not nice to some other people.’ I waited again. I could just tell he wasn’t finished. Long pause from him again. He was looking out the window then he turned his head toward me and said ‘I need to be nice to the autism.’  My chest tightened up and I felt the tears sting my eyes.

Kiddo continued oblivious to me trying to keep it together next to him.

‘I need to be nice to my autism.’

Then he turned away and looked out the car window again… lost in his thoughts.   He was finished. The conversation was over.

I said quietly: ‘Yes buddy … I know… It’s so true …’

My boy has not talked too much about autism of late since we explained his diagnosis to him a few months ago. This talk in the car was an exception. It was just the tiniest of glimpses for me into my own child’s personal journey towards self acceptance. No mean feat given the many roadblocks he faces on a daily basis.

What a privilege it was that I got to be there, sitting beside him, the one to witness such a moment.

Be nice to the autism. My autism.

I hear you Kiddo. I hear you.

The A Word Talk.

I am trying something new today. I am writing this blog post on my iPad. Also I am sitting in my lounge room watching the final flakes of snow melt away as my life returns to normal after five days of snow silliness. For my little family of Aussie sand-gropers snow is a new thing too. I have to say the snow interruption to our regular routine was magical . A true winter wonderland in our new home town in the USA.
Then something else happened over our snow break. Hubby talked to our son about his autism diagnosis.
Just let me fill you in on the back story first. About 3 months ago my hubby and I were faced with the realization that it really was time to talk to Kiddo about autism. He is 6 years old. For a whole host of reasons we just knew it was time. I had also received some encouragement from a fellow autism mama who is a strong believer in self advocacy. Which I am too- but sometimes believing things in theory are easier than making them a reality.
I knew what to say in theory… but saying it out loud… to the little human I care about so profoundly was making me feel… wobbly.
So I did my research. Then I did some more reading. Then I read a few more books. Asked around. Talked to hubby some more. Got some more books out of the library. Lots of good ones. But they were not … perfect.
The main thing tripping me (and hubby) up about the books I looked at was that all of the ones I read addressed the ‘sensory defensiveness’ or aversions to touch, hugs, loud noises, smells etc that some (maybe even many) autistic people experience. My son does not. He LOVES hugs. Loud noises are not a big issue for him. He is all about the rough and tumble of play. I refer to him sometimes as my mover and shaker. There is a name for my Kiddo in this regard- he is a ‘sensory seeker.’ He loves being around people. He loves his peers. He loves excitement, he has no problem trying new things, and is a bit of a thrill seeker. Also my son does not have Aspergers – which some of the books I really liked referred to. I was afraid this might be confusing to him for a first introduction.
So – no surprises really that I couldn’t find the perfect book on autism just for him. The plan in my mind was to write my own story just for my Kiddo. It did not happen. The conversation was raised by Kiddo before I could weave my own Social Story magic!
Given all the thought and effort I put into the process it was a nice piece of irony that Hubby was the one who ended up having the first talk. This is the re-cap on their conversation…
Kiddo asked Daddy at bedtime why he had Mrs G (one of his aides/assistants in the classroom at school) helping him and the other boys and girls did not. Daddy told him it was because he had autism. He told Kiddo that because he had autism that meant he was really good at some things that other kids were not so good at – like riding his scooter at the skatepark. But having autism also meant that some things were harder for him, that he had to work hard to learn those things, so he had Mrs G to help him learn. Daddy said it would not be forever – just for a while – and then when Kiddo was older he wouldn’t need an aide anymore. Kiddo listened intently. Then he said: ‘But I don’t want to have autism. I just want to be like the other boys and girls. ‘

After three months of planning when and how to explain my son’s diagnosis to him- it was done and I wasn’t even there for it. But it happened. I was somewhat relieved, and I was choked up by my son’s response. I know there will be more conversations, but that was the first.
It made me think that over the years, in many ways, things have become easier, but then in other ways … not so much…. Anyone else feel that way?

This is Autism

I have been on blogging break recently.  I gave birth to my adorable Baby Girl four months ago.  Then three months ago I moved with the family from Australia (back) to the USA.  Yep! Trust me…. it has been an adjustment.  We are still adjusting. One day at a time.   

Monday-November 11th 2013:

2:58am—Kiddo wakes up and calls out for me to lie next to him.  This has been a pattern for the past week or so.  Sleep is an ongoing struggle for my five year old (almost 6) Kiddo. I get up and go and lie next to him.  My back has been hurting since I gave birth to Baby Girl.  Plus Kiddo’s bed does not have a pillow-top mattress.  Pricing pillow top add-ons is on my ‘list of things to do’.  This  will allow me to lie next to my son in his bed without being in pain.  I am also aware that Hubby is bone-crunchingly tired and I want to try to let him sleep.

3:30am—Kiddo is still awake.  I give him some melatonin (or as Kiddo calls it ‘sleeping medicine’) to try and help him drop back to sleep. Baby Girl wakes up ready to feed.  This ends up taking a while and Kiddo starts calling out for Daddy this time to come and lie next to him.  Which Daddy does. Kiddo has been so anxious lately with all the changes that managing this anxiety has become a priority for us.

4:00am—I finish feeding Baby Girl and then struggle to get back to sleep.  I am worried about Kiddo and school.  The staff at his new school have been great, but Kiddo is pretty stressed out and his behaviour at school communicates this.  We are doing all we can to support him.  He is trying so hard.

5:05am—Kiddo finally falls back to sleep.  Daddy returns to his bed and falls asleep. I go back to sleep.

5:58am—Baby Girl wakes up for the day. She is all smiles! I get up with her and start our morning routine. Coffee is my friend.  Drive-through coffee is awesome too.

starbucks

6:30am—I am on the couch with Baby Girl and the iPhone. I begin researching possible activities for Kiddo to do today.  I am thinking of a family outing into the city.  Always gotta have a plan in this house! A day with no plan is just not good for Kiddo. Or us. Period.  Then Kiddo wakes up and bursts into the lounge room with joy: ‘Hi Mum-It’s me! I am back!’ .  Gorgeous!

7:00am-Kiddo watches TV. When the show is finished he looks out the window, sees the sunshine and exclaims with total excitement: ‘What a day! I am happy today. I feel good.  Sunshine! What a day! No school today.’  I respond to his total enthusiasm with ‘That’s wonderful Kiddo. I am so glad you feel happy today. I feel worried when you are sad and upset.’ Kiddo: ‘I am sorry mummy. I will try again.’ Me: ‘That’s OK Kiddo.  I am proud of you. I know you are trying.’

the sun is shining

Some days lately he is not so happy. There have been many meltdowns.  This boy of mine really does try so hard to ‘manage’ and regulate himself, his emotions, his body and its need for movement and input. This ‘management’ of his body and emotions is not only internal but also external, including contending with noisy, busy, highly verbal environments, bright fluorescent lighting and the general chaos of life and all its demands.  It’s a full time challenge for him….and our family.

8:21—Kiddo sits down for breakfast and starts looking under his chair. Me: ‘What are you doing Kiddo?’ Kiddo: ‘I don’t have a seatbelt’. Me: That’s funny! You don’t need a seatbelt in the house, only in the car.’ I smile at our cute conversation.  These days there are so many cute conversations. I don’t take it for granted. Never ever.

I sit down with Baby Girl on my lap while Kiddo eats his cereal.  I show Kiddo my sore finger.  I seriously have no idea how I hurt it! I ask him what should I do to make my finger feel better. Kiddo: ‘Go and see a doctor.’ Me: ‘I think I might ice it and see if that helps take away the pain.’ Kiddo: ‘Give me a try..Give you a try...(I wait – I know he is searching for the correct word)…Give IT a try.’ (yep-he found the word he wanted.) Word retrieval. Another struggle for Kiddo. Now my finger is numbed with ice I am pain free.

9:08—Hubby is up now.  It’s Veterans Day in the USA and he is home from work. Kiddo says to us at the breakfast table: ‘I feel HAPPY!!’. Me: ‘Why are you happy?’ Kiddo: ‘Because I am happy.’ Me: ‘But why?’. Kiddo: ‘Happy for mum and dad!’ Me and Hubby: ‘Awwww! Thanks Kiddo!’ I see Kiddo looking at Baby Sister…I can see he is searching for his words again…he says slowly: ‘Glad. Glad for Baby Sister.’

baby sister

9:31–Kiddo bounds over to his new ‘Angry Birds’ card game and asks Dad to play with him.  He has just started to play card games and board games this year. He loves it. He loves numbers.  Anything math related-he is in! Bingo and CandyLand are another two favourites. I love playing these games with my son. I feed Kiddo his vitamins while he plays and hand Hubby his coffee.  I put Baby Girl to bed for her morning nap, pack a cold lunch for Kiddo, load Dad and Kiddo into the car for a trip to the Skate Park to ride their scooters, and I crawl into bed for a morning nap. By this time I am hurting. I need sleep.

12pm—Dad and Kiddo come home from the Skate Park.  Hubby is exhausted and crawls into bed for a nap.  I am up with Baby Girl and do some cleaning while Kiddo has downtime playing games on the Ipad.  They are not educational games. Purely downtime…for him and us.  

IMG_1116

1pm—the Ipad dies. It wasn’t plugged into the wall properly.  I help co-regulate Kiddo who is very upset.  I wake up Hubby and we start getting ready to head out again.  All four of us this time.

2pm-4pm—We drive downtown to explore the city.  Kiddo loves it.  We drive around and find a park to visit.  I wait in the car with Baby Girl who is sleeping now and Hubby plays a high energy game of ‘chasey’ and ‘sharks’ with Kiddo and the other kids at the park.  Hubby is so animated I can hear him from down the street!

IMG_1136

5pm—home. We are all tired now.  Kiddo is much less verbal/non-verbal later in the day.  Also he is not responding to anything verbal.  We switch to visual supports about now.  Also his movements are more unpredictable.  Everyone is feeling.. ratty… it’s a challenge to stay calm and its a race to the finishing line (bed time).  

We drop past the shops to grab dinner.  Kiddo plays games on Dad’s I-phone while we wait in the car.  A phone call comes through. Kiddo answers the call and says : ‘I don’t want you to call me. I am trying to do something.  I’ll call you later. Speak soon. Bye-Bye now.’   Too funny! I laugh out loud and congratulate Kiddo for doing an awesome job answering the phone.  He normally just hangs up on whoever calls him when he is playing his games on the Iphone.  He giggles at my laughter.  I cant wait to tell hubby the good news! This is progress is our house!

The ‘night-time routine’ begins: Bath—dinner—Lego—Angry Birds card game (it’s usually TV  but Kiddo is loving his new game so we switch it out)—melatonin—brush teeth—toilet—read book—bed.

7:30pm—Kiddo is upset and crying.  Hubby’s phone died while putting Kiddo to bed. Kiddo calms eventually and is asleep by 8pm. Baby Girl goes to bed at 8pm.

8:00pm–Hubby has a work meeting. I write this blog post.

11:00pm–Bed. Hubby and I talk about the possible 3am wakeup and make a plan for this.  Tomorrow is a school day so we know Kiddo will be feeling anxious.

11:30—Baby Girl wakes up. Time for a feed. Before I know it its midnight.  There are some common themes in our autism day-to-day. Sleep. Communication. Planning.

Please feel free to share the keywords/phrases that form a ‘theme’ in your household…