Not an Autism Blog, definitely an Autism Family

I was reading back through my own blog, weird right and I was realizing how much of this blog revolved around Autism for a time and how little I talk about it now. I’m not fighting for services, I’m not fighting behaviors, very often I can pretend we are normal while in public. I feel that while it is never gone, it is not at the forefront of our lives. Now I may be wrong and someone looking in at us would see different, but I feel that we are in a place, that does not demand a t-shirt or bumper sticker.

The kids have a great ABA company, with amazing tutors. No matter who they send here, we have great people in our house. We have graduated out of all other therapies which is such a blessing. For a time we would be gone Monday through Friday with speech, occupational therapy, play therapy and then 20 hours of ABA in the home.

When I recount how far I’ve come I’m hesitant to speak out our achievements. It is not so far from my mind those children who take smaller steps and those who may never take any. I keep in touch with the Autism community through blogs following high and low functioning children and adults, because I don’t want to lose site of the spectrum. On the other hand I wanna pretend to be normal, just like I enjoy pretending to be civilians occasionally. Nothing thrills me more than not having to say my daughter has Asperger’s she will need special treatment. I know that’s not wrong, and yet it feels a bit like survivor’s guilt.

I got out, my child learned to talk, my daughter learned to stop touching, my son learned to stop screaming, running, hitting (well almost). I knew children and families in the waiting rooms of all those clinics. I knew when I said this is our last appointment I was saying my child got better. I knew they would still be there week after week and part of me felt guilty. I think that is what has distanced me from my early activism, and also from the community. Nothing that was said to me, but this little bit of guilt I feel when I think…they have gotten so much better. What do you do with that?

A New Schedule

We are trying something new here in the Holland house. My kids watch WAY too much TV. I know are you shocked? School work doesn’t take all day and they watch TV the rest of the time, I know bad Mommy. I won’t be taking home any medals in the Mommy Wars…oh well.

The other day one of the kids had a full blown fist fight with another kid over what they were going to watch on TV. Now you may be shocked again, but with three boys fighting, yes with their fists, happens pretty often. Then one of them had the audacity to back talk me when I requested a tv power change, ie give the controller to your sister. Back talk? Oh yeah they have seriously got their priorities messed up! So I spent Sunday developing a plan, a new schedule, a paradigm shift for my little couch potatoes.

I made up a new schedule, one that does not allow screen time in any form from 9-5. From 5 to 8:30pm they are scheduled into blocks of controller control ­čśë opposite their bath time. I haves also put the older two in charge of overseeing the younger two during their bath time…this was essential in that their bath times overlap dinner prep.

I announced this new change Sunday night. No one grumbled, weird maybe they didn’t hear me, or understand? Monday morning roles around and my oldest arises and makes breakfast all according to schedule, they clean their rooms on time and then set down to read, play games and enjoy the warm morning. The day went fine, we had a small scuffle in the afternoon when cries of “We’re bored!” were immediately met with extra chores and suddenly the boredom vanished.

The only real complaints to be heard as we enter day two are understandably from my Ephraim. His whole world is ordered by the amount of video games and screen time he gets. I’m not too worried though, he is taking an interest in Robby’s D&D study and playing imaginative games with Josh. I think he can handle this.

What to write…

Let’s see it’s a new year.

Bobby will be starting in a new section which will mean humane hours and a chance to really do his job.

Robby is starting 6th grade, he and Talitha have started home bar/bat mitzvah training.

Talitha is working through 4th grade. She has been doing very well over all, becoming quite the caring, young lady.

Ephraim is flying through 3rd grade as though everyone skips 2nd. I believe he took a day to learn long division?

Josh is doing well in Kinder, though he was a little disappointed that he has not yet learned to read.

Sarah is a little spitfire! We don’t do preschool, more of a relaxed interest led learning right now. She is eager to learn numbers and doesn’t like to have to wait for her turn to do “school.”

What am I up to? Well that anxiety that set in on vacation seemed to get worse and worse as the months wore on. I am just now feeling like I could get back to normal. This was an exceptionally long stretch, haven’t had it this bad since 2007. With the kids being older this time, they unfortunately had to see it, but also rose to the occasion to help me out, when I had to take to bed for the day. They are good kids .

I have picked up crocheting again, and I’m loving it. I haven’t written to often this last year and I can’t say I will write more this year. I’m reading a lot more, lots of things too. Amish Romances, of course, a few titles to keep me ahead of the kids on Hebrew and bar/bat mitzvah training. I picked up a new title that I haven’t started yet, Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, recommended by a friend.

When the laundry room can wait

Laundry equipment within a room

So yesterday was rough. Ephraim seemed to wake on the wrong side of the bed and took it out on everyone. Even his favorite baby sister got pushed down yesterday, whew! It was exhausting and by the end of the day I had a roaring migraine, make that day three!

On days like this I usually lower my expectations, I throw out the to-do list, I may even cancel school. I add in “fun” activities like art and play-doh, and an extra half hour of yo gabba gabba for the babies. I “circle the wagons” and try to keep on track as much as possible. I aim for the big stuff, food on the table and diapers changed. I throw out the little stuff like organizing the laundry room or working on my blog so it will go out on time.

At the end of the day I struggle with feeling like I didn’t get anything accomplished, but when I see those angels asleep on their pillows, so peaceful, so quiet. *snicker* I have a glimmer of recognition that I did a huge job today, I lead by example. I showed my children that even when things don’t go our way, when stuff just seems upside down, we can keep our cool. It doesn’t always end like this, I won’t pretend I don’t often just fall into bed without even glancing at the kids, that some time I fall asleep praying for forgiveness and strength to get through another day. But even that is a victory.