Saturday, July 28, 2007

Lightning Strikes twice

We went back to the pool last night, and not only did Nic want to go, he went right in. And he did it without the encouragement of his friends (since it was just us this time around). Not to say we didn't have our own adventures, but at least it looks like we can at least go back.

We had a good time. Now it's off to the autism conference and time for me to relax (ha!). I'll try to post from the conference.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Survived another trip to the city

But barely, Nic was nearly picked off by a speeding van on our way to the train station. Holy cow. But he wouldn't hear of our not going, so we hopped the train and on we went.

It just blows my mind how my kids are safer in a way in the city than suburbia.

It was fine, though. More elevators and a good walk. The kids are falling asleep in the other room, so I'd better get them upstairs and ready for bed.

Life is good.

Tennis, anyone?

A local college is running a free tennis clinic for the disabled in our area. Once a pretty competitive player myself, I thought this may be a good way to get my boys interested.
I have no pics (since I was working with both of them, hand over hand, on their respective swings--tricky, since G is a southpaw), but I THINK, I HOPE I may have opened a new door to them. We'll miss next week's clinic, but we should be able to make the remaining four. And I think they will actually want to come back.

And this may be a good OT exercies for both boys, working on upper body strength and eye to hand coordination. I had a vicarious thrill holding the racquet, connecting with the ball, and making the ball land in a fair area of the court with both boys. I can still play. I'd love to be able to play this sport I love with them both.....

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

what a week....

We have a hit a variety of highs and lows I have yet to record, but I'm still processing everything. A trip to a new playground yielded much success and enthusiasm--we found a larger castle playground that is better contained, has easy access to bathrooms and is well shaded.

And, far enough afield from home so that we don't have to deal with people who know us.

Sounds good? Well, it was until I made the mistake of meeting friends there yesterday. Apparently, Nic feels he needs to make me pay for any social interaction I have on these outings, because among other infractions he

-Told another kid to get the F8ck out of his way (yes, my kid, who knows but never uses this word)
-Spat water from the top of the slide onto another kid's head

I'm kind of thinking that the kids there (the same kids who kept telling on him) were also egging him on. Which sucks. Am I going to stop going there? No way. I'm sure we'll meet those kids again, and I'm sure they will deal.

Oh, and then there was the church experience (eye roll). Last Sunday, Nic was lying on the floor under the pew. We sit in the back and I thought "he's not bothering anyone." And then he somehow wedged his leg from knee to foot at a 90 degree angle from the floor. And he started wailing.

Me and five other adults managed to calm him down and pry him out after about 10 minutes. I guess we should have left, but I didn't want to 'reward' Nic for his misbehavior.

We'll continue to go to church. He has to learn. But he makes it hard. And the looks. Again, I guess I should have left with my head down in shame, but I stayed til the end. Well, this is my life. Cloistering my kids isn't the solution, so everybody else better get used to them....

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Totally don't get the object tossing

It's been an eventful week on the ponderosa. We met my mom for dinner last night (that went okay, I have mom issues, but it's important for the boys to see her, so we do it). Afterward we discovered a new playground in Elkins Park, a mini castle that we've passed a few times and Nic has wanted to try out.

(Should I leave out the part where I negotiate we go there after Toys R Us because Nic wants to see if there's an elevator? Nah.)

So, the simple beauty of going to a playground off our beaten track is that we don't run into anyone we know. And believe it or not, Nic actually makes some friends to run around with. They show him how to negotiate some of the trickier climbing.

Then Nic goes into the sandbox. Gabriel does some sprints.

Eventually Gabriel climbs into the castle. Nic resumes chasing the girls. It becomes apparent that the game is changing, that they are 'getting' he is different. I hear one girl call him 'sandbox boy.' Then he finds a hairbrush and starts tossing it into the air. At that point it's time to pack up the pineapple, the luau is over.

One thing I don't get about Nic is the object tossing. The heavier and more damage it can do coming down the better. He fell asleep buck naked on his bed after his bath last night, so I guess it was a good day.

And he is creative. He wanted to make a cement mixer at the playground, and kudos to him, he figured out a way to do it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Burnt Out on Blown Away

Nic continues to astound me. I accepted (reluctantly) an invitation to my friend's pool today, knowing that it could end in disaster, that Nic could very possibly wreck everyone's good time by refusing to get out of his socks and sneaks and get into the pool. This is the kid that blew off Splash Week at the Y in the waiting area playing with the ball maze instead of learning basic water safety (like little brother).

In a fit of 'you ain't seen NUTHIN' yet,' Nic not only willingly changed into his trunks and shucked his footgear, he was in the pool having the time of his life nearly the entire time we were there. If it doesn't sound like a big deal, then I am clearly not doing my job as a writer. This kids categorically refuses to go into any pool at any time.

Well, some fudge factors may account for this strange turnaround. It was a great layout; there was plenty of family-friendly (read: not too frightening relatively shallow) water and things to do. Plenty of kids to play with. And never underestimate the power of peer pressure--that my friend's boys 6 and 4 (and NT) were in the pool having a great time and that little brother was having his own blast made for compelling evidence that Nic needed to join in.

Attaching another triumphant picture from a triumphant couple of days.....

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Great stuff and OMG I need a script.....

Great stuff first. Nic went into the ocean for the first time since 2001 yesterday. It was a struggle to get him to take his shoes off, but bit by bit, his aunt, uncle and I (with the help of his cousins and little brother) got his to shuck his shoes and socks, then his shirt. Then he took me by the hand and said "Come on mom, let's go in the ocean."

My heart just soared. I have always loved the ocean and swimming in general, and it breaks my heart that I haven't been able to get Nic interested. So yesterday was, I hope, the first in a long journey to getting him lessons and swimming. It's only a first step, but I'll take it.

But the downside of this was that coming out of my brother's driveway I hit a parked pick up truck (I should preface this with my brother lives on a hellaciously narrow street and people insist on parking on it when they have perfectly usable driveways, but anyway....).

I have plenty of experience with totalling cars (I have totalled two in my driving career). Fender benders? None. I had NO script. I panicked. "What do I DO??" I asked my brother, who still marvels at my ineptitude in some situations. He advised me to calm down.

I sat in my van to get my info -- actually, I needed to collect myself to deal with the woman who ran out screaming from her house. I thought I'd die. I pulled myself together and went across to confront my destiny. My brother was back, looking at the damage. Fortunately, just a dent to their bumper, a skin to mine. But still. Dents cost.

So we exchanged info. I'll try to keep insurance out of it. If we can't, we can't and we'll deal.

But she was a lot nicer when she saw what a wreck I was, and I guess it helped that I mentioned I had two autistic kids, one who kept me distracted enough to hit the damn thing to start with (as a coda, do you think they moved the car to allow me to back out? Of course not. And their driveway remained empty...whatever).

So the upside? Hey, I could have racked up the van on the way home and I didn't. It was an inconvenience, fortunately nothing more.

Now I'll know what to do next time I hit a parked car.

But there were good things. DH is away at a meeting. I had to take the boys to church and I had lector duties. Never did it before. Guess what, the boys were fine, and I had plenty of help around me to help manage them. I never would have guessed that the help was available, but I never asked before.

And my fellow lector has a son on the spectrum. I made a new connection without realizing that it would happen, making this step.

Overall, it's been a great weekend, and Nic has been blowing me away with some of these things that he has never done before...until now. Gives me a lot of hope.

All I have to do now is figure out how to put that fender in my budget for this month....

Here's Nic.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Trains vs Elevators?

One of the fascinating things about having two children on the spectrum is how different they are. It was obvious that Nic had something going on almost from the moment the nurse placed him in my arms after he was born. Gabriel, on the other hand, looked 'normal,' but it was only because of constant vigilance on my part that he was diagnosed on the spectrum 10 days before his third birthday--and the clinical psych who handed me the diagnosis agreed that you really had to 'look for it' to understand what you were seeing.

They act like fairly typical brothers. They like each other, for the most part; they fight; they tease each other, and despite the nearly four years that separate them, they play pretty well together.

But they certainly have their own interests. Nic likes elevators. Um, correction. Nic is obsessed with elevators. I suspect he is a little afraid of them and has mild clautrophobia, and this is his way of dealing with that anxiety. Gabriel likes elevators well enough and will tolerate the countless rides Nic insists on, but doggone it, his thing is trains. He loves him his trains.

We have the prerequisite train table and accoutrements. Nic got a lot of mileage out of them and will still like to set up a track now and then. Gabriel, however, 'settles' for it. He's gunning for the 'real' model railroads, and he LOVES riding the train into the city. And Nic likes that well enough, because the train will lead him to elevators to ride.

Sometimes I feel like I am living in my own coral reef watching the symbiosis between my clownfish and my anemone. And if you've ever had the pleasure of witnessing it first hand, it's a wonderful sight, indeed.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Welcome to ASHarmony Blogspace!

We've been getting some great feedback and questions about our new Website (I need to figure out how to get it on my networking bar). To answer some key questions, I'm actually going to devote some of my blogspace to it.

Number one: there is nothing to join in the monetary sense...we're free, providing a service that's needed.

Number two: One of the biggest problems we see in the autism community is its balkanization--parents, providers, and educators are all in their own little groups, complaining about the other groups, and while support is happening, not much else is. We're looking to break those invisible walls and get everybody talking together to further the development of our kids....and our own understanding about what it is to be an autistic living in an NT world.

That's our story, and we're sticking to it.