Monday, August 30, 2010

The Second Son

I have a child, a beautiful child. He has only just turned eleven and has been the funny, smart light of my life in the darkest hours. His compassion for his brother has been amazing, as has his tolerance. Until now.

This morning we are rushing to an emergency psych consultation for my second son. Not my first born Aspie, but my youngest... the one that was meant to be easier, happier, less troubled. We are having a tough time lately, my Mum is very sick, our business has suffered and teetered on the brink of closure due to the financial crisis, my oldest is hitting puberty, and I, myself, am experiencing the start of menopause. Whilst the family has been tested I can honestly say the love has not wavered. But maybe the attention has.

He is angry, seriously angry. Boiling over at the most minute things, hairbreath temper trigger. He is threatening to kill himself, and others. He tried to impale a ruler into his larynx a school, he makes threatening gestures to his friends, and at a birthday party this last weekend he told them all he was going to buy a gun and kill them all... and himself.

The really scary part is that he takes no ownership of this anger, these threats. It is always someone else's fault for not doing what he wants, for causing his reaction. We are at a loss, the school is concerned and powerless, friends shake their heads in disbelief.

I am pinning my hopes on this professional man and his history of helping my sons. If he cannot then I do not know where to turn, or what to do. I am scared. Really scared.

This was meant to be my easy child...

Getting to No

Although it may not be evident because of my a) $0 salary, b) lack of an office with bookshelves containing books that don’t all rhyme, and c) business cards that include the word “mommy,” I have an MBA. One of the things you learn in business school is the art of negotiation, and one of the books we b-school types read is called “Getting to Yes.” Tonight, my local mom’s group is hosting a speaker night called “Turning No Into Yes.”

Right now, I could give a crap about YES.

All day long, I say no. No playing in the dog dish. No climbing the bookshelves. No putting your hands in the fish tank. No turning on the faucet. No eating mud. No licking. (That last one is usually, but not always, directed at the dog.) Nope. Uh uh. Please stop. No thank you. No! My pleas fall on deaf ears.

I think my son understands no, but he simply doesn’t feel the need to listen to me. He has autism. And he’s three. And there is nothing about that combination that makes him want to behave. Even when Moe does listen, by say, getting down off the bookshelf/toy bin/filing cabinet, he doesn’t seem to understand that he shouldn’t do it again. So I sound like very negative broken record.

I don’t like to have to say no all the time. I’d love to do what the books say: be positive, redirect to a preferred activity. But Moe is very driven to do what he wants to do, and right now his number one preferred activity is climbing the furniture, followed closely by getting into trouble some other way. Even my neurotypical 16 month ol daughter, who is very verbal, likes to taunt me. She’ll go up to the dog dish, say (and sign!) “no!” and then proceed to throw the dog food onto the floor. Good times.

So getting to yes might be fine for some people. Right now, I just need my kids to get to no.

You can read more about Moe, his sister, and our obsessive compulsive dog, at my personal blog, Anybody Want A Peanut?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Seeing People Naked...

The first day of a new school year is always so exciting for me. I am thrilled to have the house back.  It's like, 'Oh my God -babysitting paid for by my tax dollars!' For 7 hours a day they are someone else's problem.  Doesn't that sound horrible? Sorry! It's true.  Although, not doesn't mean that I'm not going to get a phone call or an e-mail with some crisis or another.  Yesterday was no exception. 

My phone call didn't come until the end of the day when my eldest, who just started high school, didn't get on the bus to come home.  The special needs transportation left him and pretty much refused to come back.  He wasn't out there within 10 minutes of the bell ringing so they took off.  What exactly is "special" about this "special needs" transportation?  You have a boy who processes slowly.  It's his first day in a new school.  He's still feeling his way around and you leave him!  Because this school is out of our immediate area, this meant I suddenly had to pick him up.  Good thing I didn't have anything better to do.  I wasn't happy and neither was he.  He doesn't like the driver and his assistant anyway. (Which may account for why it took so long to get out there).  He says, "They act like they're drunk!" Which is code for -they're weird.  I must admit, I  have to agree with him.

By the time we get home he's pretty much in a rage about how much he hates the new school.  No one talked to him.  When he talked to someone they pretty much brushed him off.
"I have no friends! I felt sad and lonely at lunch! I didn't eat! The lines were too long! I HATE THAT SCHOOL! I'm not going back tomorrow!"

He went on venting for about an hour.  "I'm going to go curse people out on Facebook!" And you think that's going to help you make friends? Of course I use the logic -Rome wasn't built in a day.  "It takes time to make friends.  Give it some time. Make sure you're smiling.  Try not to look angry and sad." In other words...fake it.
After spending his entire school life (preschool-5th) my youngest started middle school. The words 'transition' and change are not favorites in the language of Asperger's.  So saying he was a little nervous is putting it mildly. Middle school is a big change for your average child.  Multiply it times 10 for an Aspergers kid.

"How was your day son?"
"It was horrible! I hate that school! Some kid said to me, 6th graders suck! And I hate that when we go to P.E. I'll have to change clothes and see people NAKED!"
"They won't actually be naked.  They will have on underwear, and they will be so busy changing, you guys won't have time to really look at each other!"
"I'm not doing it!"

I will of course work with the P.E. teachers and special education teacher to make some arrangement to help relieve his anxiety.   I sent e-mail to my older son's teacher asking her to get a peer to shadow him during lunch for a while, in hopes that he won't come home so angry and frustrated.

So is it so great having them back to school? Is it really such a relief, or just a whole new set of problems?

Seeing people naked -it's kind of funny coming from a kid who used to get naked as soon as he walked through the front door!  Once upon a time, we couldn't get him to keep clothes we can't get him to take them off and definitely not in public! 

Picture taken before school.  I had to get the dog to trick them into smiling!

Check ouT mY personal bloG :

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Give Us a Break

My daughter has been having some behavioral problems lately.

I am not sure what to make of them.

I definitely am not sure how to respond to them.

With all the books on parenting these days, I don't think there is a single one that tells you how to parent the seven-year-old son with autism who does not talk, but, yet, has a lot going on in that sneaky little head of his, while simultaneously parenting the aforementioned child's four-year-old sister who just started kindergarten, is growing up in a single-parent household, and has more emotions than she knows how to handle, despite having a vocabulary that rivals that of many adults.

Yep, I don't think I am going to find any help on the shelves of Barnes & Noble.

Not any time soon, anyway.

Hey, maybe I just found my job opportunity.

In the meantime ....

How do I respond to the four-year-old who throws herself on the floor at the mall because she does "not have the energy to try on shoes."

How do I parent the four-year-old who tells me, "WELL, I just need YOU to cooperate with ME," after I tell her that I would really appreciate her cooperation during the shoe-shopping-venture.

How do I respond to her when she tells me that she is "done with" me, simply because I tell her she cannot get a new toy at Wal-Mart?

Keep in mind that I don't have a lot of time to ponder these questions while on the scene, because my non-verbal seven-year-old is there, too, and I can't take my eyes off of him for a second.

Sometimes higher-level-parenting has to take a backseat to reality.

I have a child who requires so much. He is walking through life with the physical capabilities of a seven-year-old, but the linguistic capabilities of an infant.

He can twist open the lid to a child-resistant-jar in a second.

He can turn on all the faucets in a bathroom, stop up the sinks, and leave the scene.

He can rise in the morning without anyone hearing, open a box of Popsicles, and eat them all, while leaving a few scattered about so that I am left scrubbing neon purple spots with carpet cleaner in the hope that the stains might disappear.

And, speaking of disappearing ...

I live in fear of it.

He cannot disappear.

My heart couldn't take it.

And I don't want to deal with police involvement and the resulting investigation by child protective services.

And so....

My daughter does not receive the type of responses she deserves.

She is not on the receiving end of a well-thought-out-parenting-plan.

She is, instead, on the receiving end of the do-the-best-I-can-even-though-I-am-stressed-beyond-words-and-feel-so-guilty-about-it-mess-otherwise-known-as-my-current-parenting-plan.

She constantly hears the phrase "in a minute" and she constantly waits.

She doesn't get to go to gymnastics class -- even though I know she would love it -- because she already takes tap and ballet, and I only have the energy to take her brother to the local rec center ONE night a week.

Oh, my, doesn't that sound awful???

Yes, I admit it. To take my daughter to dance class doesn't merely involve getting her dressed and ready and delivered on time. It also means taking her brother along. And keeping him busy and entertained and happy while we wait ...

In public.

And, even though I have been dealing with autism for several years now .... even though my skin is a lot tougher than it once was ... even though I am able to look people in the eye and tell them that my son "has autism" when the occasion requires ....

There is only so much I can do before I feel like crawling home, closing the blinds, and locking the doors.

So, my daughter has some behavioral problems.

How could she not?

I do, too.

Give us a break, world.

All of us. My boy, my girl, and, me, too.

We are doing the best we can.

Check out my blog at

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Ooops.... I am still trying to get this multiple-blogging-thing figured out, and I posted something meant for my personal blog. Sorry, you guys! Leah (


OK, so he's in 8th grade, and we did a partial day placement, where he is taking algebra, science and lang. arts at the public school, then I do the rest at home.  I homeschooled last year, and this was meant to be a transition into high school, without pushing him over the asperger edge.  It'll still be a challenge changing his morning routine, but he's home by 10:30 each morning, and already done with his 3 major classes.  Still gets to see his homeschool friends, and is teaching a palaeontology class this fall to 9-14 year olds.

But here's the blessed new news!  He can do a partial placement in high school AND STILL GET A DIPLOMA, as long as it's in his IEP.  We won't have to pay Clonlara or such institution for a diploma.  Best of both worlds.  No lunch, free time, locker, bus (we're driving him), slip in for 3 classes, get picked up.  If he starts to lose it, he can use his "leave whenever I want to" pass.

Feeling good.  For now.
PS  Just got the new Susan Wise Bauer Ancient and Medieval World History books for high school!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


All of the archived comments came back.

Thought you would all want to know.

Carry on.

T. that chick who runs stuff around here.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Now you lot would be racing in here thinking, "Oh my, she's finally lived up to her name and totally lost it. She's giving up her Boy..."  Well, no actually. I could just have well titled this one Organs for Cash, or Lottery Win Needed. Or:

This week we finally had our appointment with the Paediatric Psychiatrist. Yep, the one we teed up three months back. He insisted I have an appointment too. Things he ran through would have taken me ten minutes to fill out on a form. Then Boy 1 is met and spoken too. Surface stuff, though he notices some of the mannerisms, stims and quirks.

We walk out. To pay $490 for the pleasure. Yep. $245 for me + $245 for Boy. Yes, we get a lot of it back via Medicare, but I still cannot help but resent the extra appointment. If there had been a valid purpose/reason, great. But I am not there for revenue raising mate, really not impressed. Makes me question the ethics of someone, and that makes me question if I want them to treat my child. Not feeling positive about this one, that's for sure.

Better run out back to water the tree. Think we are gonna need it.

also blogs over at Meaninless Meandering from a Madmother, and 3 other blogs. Loves her boys to infinity and beyond.