Tag Archives: autism

Things that make you go……………..

Master of the Mind

You know the saying……………..Things that make you go, HMMMMM.  So do I…………..in a real up close and personal way.  

One thing that made me go, HMMMMM.  The above photo.  Just look at him, cool as a cucumber, chillin like a villain, hangin like a tie………well…………..you get the idea.  Just moments ago, I caught Johnny in the act of doing virtually nothing.  It is like he has a switch and he just turned it off.  Because believe me, this is not a accurate  depiction of the Johnny we all know and love.  Weeellll, maybe it is, because I should have learned by now, the only laws of nature that Johnny follows are……………..Johnny’s.

Johnny starts his routine at the crack of dawn.  This routine generally involves starting the day with a heaping bowl of cereal and a random string of consciousness that defies all laws of caffeine consumption.  That is, good luck on keeping up.

For example, this morning………………..I was trying to get (with all boys in tow) to my glamorous substitute teaching job.  Johnny was not quite on board with all things real this morning.  Finally, frustrated I plead………….Johnny, reality please, reality.  To which he replies…………”Sooo, Mom, do you think all that exposure to Toxic Waste has finally made me crazy.  My response…………(nothing).  To which he replies…………”seriously, it could happen.”

Enough of that…………..I move past the Toxic Waste argument and focus on the ensemble he has selected for school.  Now, THAT was an eye opener……….Black shorts, white fruit of the loom t-shirt and white socks pulled up to his calves.  When I strongly recommended (okay, insisted he change) I learned something new about his school.  Apparently, (according to Johnny) there do not happen to be any “fashion critics” at his school.”

Because I had to get to school, I resisted the urge to repeatedly bang my head on my kitchen counter.

Fast forward to our evening…………………..Family night at the Book Fair.  I’m a sucker for books and The Brothers know it.  But I do have my limits.  For instance, I have to consider how many times in a 5 minute period I want to hear Johnny repeat the book word for word.  Imagine my hesitancy when he picked up Mysteries of the Strange and Unexplained.  Upon looking at one page he proudly proclaimed, “See, I knew aliens were real.”  Ooops, Big Mistake, book is going back, thought I.”  Always fast on his feet, he back peddles.  “No, No, I mean everyone knows Aliens are just real people born with a defect,  who like to go around playing practical jokes on people.  Guess all those UFO chasers……….the jokes on you.

Johnny peruses the book further.  OOoohhhh, the luck, A YETTI!!!  “Just wait till I scare Little Brother with this.  THAT’S IT, NO WAY, GIVE ME THE BOOK!!

No, Mommy, no.  I will just tell Little Brother that it isn’t a YETTI.  I will tell him that it is a Big White Gorilla, that got stuck in THE ARTIC!!

Soooo………….I’d like to confess to you, Dear Reader, I have officially, unofficially, officially lost my mind and I purchased this literary gem.  

I sat in my room listening to the read aloud of this literary masterpiece and considered my buyers remorse.  Taking the high road I decided to go with out of earshot, off my nerves.  In comes Johnny’s requested presence.  With all the Mommy niceness I can muster I kindly ask him to close my door.  His reply………………………………YETTI!

Things that make you go…………………………….DRINK PLEASE.

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Tis the Season

Goblins and witches and scares, oh my!

I don’t want no STINKIN candy!

Halloween…………that time of year at our house when Johnny likes to online shop.  See, he LOVES picking out just the right costume, usually of the SuperHero variety; however, he is scared to DEATH of the costume stores and any store that eerily displays its ghoulish spirit.  Just ask the CVS shoppers last week.  Yes, he was the boy running around, hand over ears, yelling, “scary guys, scary guys.”  Too bad for that innocent alternative looking guy with orange hair and lots of piercings.  Honestly, Johnny was not referring to you.

He also loves trick or treating, but HATES candy.  You got it, people in this house are being pretty accommodating to Ol’ Johnny this time of year.  This year I think I will make it interesting and auction off his candy to the highest bidder.  Hmmmm, what currency should I accept.  Naaahhhh, even I’m not that mean.  Word on the street (at my house) is that as Mommy’s go, I am pretty darn mean but even I can throw a dog a bone.  Possibly, a small hint to Johnny, and let the games begin.  Imagine the lego collection he would amass.

Halloween has never been a holiday that I got too excited about.  Oh sure, back in the day (Go Big E) I had some fun with it.  I mean when else in your life would you dress up in a box and hit every dive bar in sight.  Talk about risk, if that bartender over-serves you, looking ridiculous in a box isn’t your only problem.  Chances are lying inebriated on the ground in said box costume is not going to be a good look.  Thank goodness for college before social media.

As for my favorite costume…………..don’t really have one.  Bravest………….possibly the Christmas package get-up.  Yeah, green tights on large thighs and short box…………..full of courage or lack of pride……….hhmmmm, you be the judge.   Oh, let’s not forget the permed hair.  Now………..cast your vote!

As for you, Dear Reader, I hope your Halloween is ghoulish and your treats plentiful.  If not……………….contact Johnny……………..I’m sure he will be taking applications for his candy for legos program.  Apply soon, the good stuff goes fast.  I mean, I paid my dues, I get first dibs.

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Mirror, mirror…..

Ten Years Ago….

Ten years ago, my life was soooo simple.  Looking back, that is………in reality it was always something.  Ten years ago I had three baby boys, ages 3, 1 and newborn.

I was breathing a sigh of relief that The Captain had returned from Iraq safe, sound and just in time for the Little Brother’s birth.  I recall my biggest worries being potty training and sleeping through the night.  Now, don’t get me wrong, these are huge deals when you are a sleep deprived Mommy trying to convince someone that going on the potty for a few M&M’s is the deal of a lifetime.  Said child was not and has never been that gullible.  Also, sleep has never been that popular with any of The Brothers.

More experienced, perhaps wiser Mom’s would tell me this time will be over before you know it.  Another favorite, “just wait, this is the easy part.”

Today I am pondering how this statement, suddenly, became my truth.  More specifically, how this truth has affected my whole person, both inside and out.  With three baby boys, the effect on my  appearance seemed more cosmetic.  My insides matched my outsides, shall we say.  Inside I was frazzled, thinking, what the heck am I doing, I may never sleep again, and will my rear end forever touch the back of my knees when I walk?

Physically,  you could see, I was frazzled and I was sleep deprived.  This was obvious from my deer in the headlights look, accompanied by the most striking ebony circles and cloud like puffs that surrounded my eyes.  Never did I believe that these would be the good ol days.

Fast forward ten years and my face has, a much different look.  Yes, I still have a bit of that deer in headlights look but for other reasons.  Three years ago, it was from wondering how I was going to care for two children with special needs.  I was just really wrapping my head around autism (well at least trying to) when we discovered our new baby would have an extra chromosome.  Autism and Down Syndrome, what were we going to do?

Three years later and we are still wondering what we are going to do.  Again, it is different.  That scary time, three years and a half years ago, now seems like the good ol days.  Scary time that still had hope.

Where are we now?  Well, now that look of bewilderment is still from wondering what we are going to do.  Now our Sweet Baby Girl, whose unknown beauty and joy,  caused us anxiety and fear is gone and in the truest sense of the words,  we wonder, what are we going to do?

Instead of the puffiness of sleep deprivation from ten years ago,  the softness is gone.  Where I once was round and puffy and naive to death, loss and grief, I now have lines and the sharper features that come with the loss of such innocence.  Such grief leaves your whole being in a proverbial Deer in the Headlight state as you wonder what became of  your softness, hope and innocence…………….once upon a time.

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Honestly

Did you see that??

Day 4 – NaBloPoMo  – Still having fun………..Honest, I am!

The Big Brother has been playing baseball since he was a  ditch digging daisy picker in t-ball.  Many of those early games were a bit painful to watch.  God blessed the Big Brother with a huge hearta relatively intelligent mind, and a very squirrely disposition.  The aforementioned disposition did not always bode well in the game of baseball.  Many an inning were spent in right field, which seems to be the land of the short attention span.

I am proud to report, I was there for it all.  Every short throw, missed fly and the always painful caught ball that doesn’t seem to be able to stay in the glove.  Didn’t miss a game, let alone an inning, not even a play…….until…………one season, one game…………sitting in the stands, proudly witnessing the massive improvement in his games skills.  He was playing machine pitch, his team was in the outfield and he was at pitcher position.  I don’t remember the score but do remember the team was protecting their undefeated season.  Vividly, I recall having a knotted stomach, hoping my boys stays alert out there.  Up walks the batter……………….and POOOWWWWW, he whacks that ball in mid-air, right down the middle…………..and then…………

Johnny drops this Thomas the Train under the bleachers.  Any parent of a child with autism, anywhere on the spectrum knows what can happen if such an event occurs.  Trust me it would not be enjoyable for anyone, so……………………I bend down to see where my nemesis, Thomas is, and the I hear the crowd go wild.  Another team Mom, “did you see that?  Did you see what your son did??……………………NO!!!!!!  

I look up to see The Big Brother valiantly displaying his glove with said wacked ball tucked safely inside.  He yells, Mommy, Mommy, DID YOU SEE THAT?  DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID??……………..and I say…………………………..YES, YES I DID!!!!

This, Dear Reader, is the absolute, hands down, BEST LIE, I ever told.

What am I pondering today?  “Am I good at telling lies?”  No, I am not.  I hate it.  My Dad used to tell me he could, “read my face.”  Guess I would get that “Oh S*i*” look about me.  I also remember the feeling of my insides being literally, in a knot.  However, in the matters of my Boy’s heart and feelings, yes I have told some good ones.  Most Mom’s have.  If you have been as fortunate as I to receive breakfast in bed, complete with rubber eggs, cold pancakes with a bottle of syrup, warm orange juice and coffee with a 1/2 cup of sugar you know the lies I tell.

At their young age I have had to tell them more cold, hard truths than anyone would want to hear.   Imagine being called from school to hear your Baby Sister has died.  What you wouldn’t do to shelter them from this pain.  No one likes the cold, hard truth that our Precious Babies and Children can be called home before they have had a chance to live.  Right or wrong, I don’t know………..but if there is an innocent lie that is going to shelter them or protect them than, yes, I might be less than honest………………HONESTLY.

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In Rear View – On that note

A dear friend and neighbor of mine from our California days once told me, “You answer the phone like the house is on fire and you walk around like  you are waiting on the other shoe to drop.”  My response, “Have you met me????…………it usually does!”  The shoe drops that is………amazingly, I ‘ve escaped fire.

 I don’t like to point fingers buuuuuuttttttttt….. Johnny  taught me after his first solo mall escalator ride at the age of TWO to always remain on HIGH ALERT.   Recently, I guess I must have  let my guard down.  How I know??  It has not happened in several years but HE did it, HE escaped.  This use to be a pretty regular occurence.  Aforementioned neighbor once called to ask me what Johnny was doing.  I said, “upstairs, watching t.v.”  “WRRROONNNGGGG!!! “, she said, he somehow got in my house and I found him in my guest room watching T.V.  Don’t Judge, he’s pulled this magic act on some of the most seasoned Grandma’s around.  And no……..senility had nothing to do with it.

Johnny is in a new school this year and there is NO bus available for him.  Not a bad thing.  Turns out he likes me walking him to school.  What else did I learn????  That Johnny does not like to be kept waiting…….HOW did I learn this…………when I drove to pick him up from school and passed a boy who looked amazingly like him…………….WHAT?????……….IT WAS HIM!!!  Soooo………..we returned to school………and they learned a lesson…………..DO NOT leave Johnny to his own devices……….AND his Mommy really only has a certain amount of  patience.  Losing track of my Johnny EXCEEDS my limit.  I think they took notes.

Some NOTES I took recently…………..When Johnny tells you that he thinks the toilet is overflowing………..DO NOT get distracted when everyone leaves for school………….THEY eventually come home from school AND THEY eventually FLUSH  the toilet.  Sooooo….turns out he The Captain is right, Bad News does not get better over time.  Dear Readers, make a NOTE of this.

While I am on the subject of **it flowing………….it never ceases to amaze me that THE BROTHERS can find anything to entertain themselves that has to do with bodily functions.  I felt so smug today when I saw the Little Brother playing a logic game on the computer.  What a seeker of knowledge, thought I.  Proudly, I ask………….”Little Brother, what is the goal of the puzzle?”  (I OF ALL people should know not to ask a question you don’t already know the answer to…kind of like in court)  Little Brother (equally proud) responds…………”to connect all the pipes to the toilet so the poop will go in it……..I ASKED.  Prime example why ignorance is bliss…………..NOTED.

The Big Brother, should have been taking notes the past 13 years……………cause it might help him answer some of his own questions……………like when we come home from school and the plumber leaves the dishwasher pulled out with water flowing onto the kitchen floor and fails to return the kitchen to working order……..YES, Big Brother, that might possibly mean there will be no mashed potatoes for dinner.

Oh yeah and a note I hope he took and filed away for his future………….DO NOT repeatedly ring the doorbell for your mother to hurry up to take you to baseball…………..it only makes her lock the door and move slower.   And note this…………………. I don’t care that you are bigger than me, I still am THE WINNER!!!!!  Winner, winner, chicken dinner!  But……….I love you like crazy so YOU got that going for you.

Johnny……….this note is for you………..when above mentioned plumbing catastrophes are happening and maybe just maybe Mommy is doing a little bit of yelling…………it does not calm Mommy down to tell her she might be a little tense and recommend a massage.  Proper time and place, Johnny…….proper time and place.

The past couple of weeks have been like one of those really bad tests in school……………..you know,  when you swear that the teacher made it up only to hear……………….you should’ve taken better notes…………….Never said I was a quick study……NOTED!!

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In Rear View – All Secure??!!

As I sat down to write my “Rear View” and I am drawing a blank.  If I was saavvy enough, (or not so lazy), I would wire The Brothers up with microphones and call it, “Life with Johnny – Live.”  That way you wouldn’t have to miss a moment.  Also, you might start to feel my fatigue and start bringing me meals.  Now that’s what I’m talkin about.   Or you would figure out I am a card short of a full house and someone might bring me a comfy special jacket to wear.  Naaahhhh, and miss all my life has to offer, NEVER,  okay…………….wellll, maybe.

The highlight of the week was Daddy’s (The Captain) promotion.  After 20 plus years of service in the Navy, he pinned on Captain.  It was a proud and touching moment for all of us.  Weellll, except Johnny……………. who was disappointed when he learned Daddy was “only a Captain” and “NOT an Admiral.”  We will tell Daddy to work harder, Johnny.  Here is Johnny after learning “the news.”

What??  He's not an Admiral!

Trying to contain his excitement!

The ceremony was in a really, really cool building that required “special” permission to enter.  Memo to Johnny…………… security is not amused when you play tug of war with your I.D. card.  MOST people just hand it over.  Johnny is NOT most people.  He, is, AFTER ALL, Johnny for a reason.

Another distraction, the building had a bowling alley.  Before I knew what was happening (a familiar theme) Johnny and The Little Brother were in search of an 8 pound ball and bumper guards.  No fun to be at a Daddy’s ceremony (in a really cool place)  if there is bowling just an elevator ride away.  Thank goodness there were cookies or they might have grabbed a cab…………..or a limo.

Since being trapped at a ceremony wasn’t enough fun for him, we followed up with a full day at Big Brother’s baseball game.  Big Brother playing baseball is the gift that just keeps giving…………..Johnny a fit.  And since last weeks game involved 2 extra hours in the parking lot after the game due to a flat tire, he was not full of warm fuzzies to return to the scene of the crime.  Insult to injury…………………..NO snack bar.  NACHOS are generally the only reason he makes it through.  Now Mommy had to pack a cooler AND a big brown grocery sack like we couldn’t be away from our pantry for more than an hour.  Good thing I got numb to being stared at a LONG TIME AGO!!

Here is Johnny enjoying yet another one of his Brother’s baseball games……………………GO TEAM!.  Weeelllllll, that is what he is thinking……………….I’m positive………………….you be the Judge……..

Go Team!!!

Johnny does like to use his time at these events to ponder lifes questions.  And they are better answered bellowed at your brother in the dug out like this………………………….

“HEY, BIG BROTHER, DOES YOUR SCOUT TROOP TAKE A TRANQUILIZER GUN CAMPING FOR WHEN YOU ARE ATTACKED BY BEARS???”

Don’t think he did the batter any favors.

Along for all the fun this weekend was The Grandma and Grandpa.  Johnny was excited to have them and didn’t want them to leave.  Or as he said, “Grandma, why don’t you stick around till Halloween so Grandpa can dress up like Jabba the Hut?”  Touching………………….huh?

Johnny and I drove Grandma and Grandpa to the airport today.  Johnny asked, “HEY! why don’t we go on a plane anymore?!”

Me – Weeeelllll, because it costs A LOT of money!

Grandma – Johnny, you just tell me when you want to come and we will put you on a plane.

Johnny – Said nothing, but EYES got really, really big.

I don’t know if those eyes were in disbelief that he might have scored an airplane trip……………………… OR he was already thinking all the fun he was going to have with securityIf this happens……………..stay tuned to your National News.

Cause that’s how Johnny “rolls”. ……………..regardless of the view point.………..or security.

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In Rear View – It’s Possible

Another week down.  My plan is to give a condensed glimpse of my “Rear View” each week.  I assumed this would be a very doable plan……………and, well, you know what they say when you assume.

The problem does not lie in not having anything to write about (I wish).  O’Contrare…………….as  adventures in autism and the  general chaotic go…………let’s just say……….NO shortage here.  The problem lies in relying on my own feeble mind that is trying to organize my brain to hold on to so much, that thoughts and ideas fall out as soon as they make it in.  Thus, Mama is generally running on negative brainpower…………….or truth be told, I feed off of the frenetic energy that is a one dependable constant.  So, Mama fueled by Chaos + (-) brainpower = weeeelllll, Sciences and math were never really my thing so for our purposes let’s just say……………Mama is gone and “lost” her mind.

Weellll, I’ll just let you read and you be the judge.

Johnny's First Day

Brotherly Motto – Never let your Guard Down!

A big highlight………Johnny started at a new school this week.  I spent a great deal of energy worrying about him in a new school and not knowing anyone.  Wondering if he will make friends?  Will there be the classmate with the mothering instinct to take him under her wing (that is usually the case)

Johnny’s report thus far is that the kids are nice.  His exact description……

Me – Johnny, are the kids in your class nice?

Johnny – (zero enthusiasm) Yeah.

Me – Who do you sit by?

Johnny – I don’t know his name.  But I asked him to be quiet and stop annoying me.

Guess I should have spent more time on his people skills……….

On his teachers……………..

Me – How is your teacher?

Johnny – Nice.

(See where this is going)

Me – Have you talked to her?

Johnny – Yeah.  She tried to talk to me while I was eating lunch.  I told her I just wanted to eat.

Guess Johnny isn’t as worried about the friend thing as I am.

One thing Johnny is pretty excited about this week is a new Lego toy.  He  has put in his mind (cause things never fall out of his brain)  that if he is good at school he will earn a new toy.  His idea NOT mine.  He shared this idea with his teacher….

Johnny – I told my teacher I could maybe get a toy if I am good at school.

Me – Oh yeah, what did she say?

Johnny – She said it’s possible.  Soooo, what do you think?

Me -(Thinking, NO)  I don’t know Johnny.  It’s POSSIBLE.

And with these words I am in LOVE with his new teacher.  I never have to say NO to him again.  It’s Possible, is like the new Definite Maybe.  Could mean yes, could mean no…………and right now, Johnny is a little confused what I mean by this.  He thinks it has a positive tone to it, though.  So it has not deterred him from his never ending quest for a lego set.  Whenever he asks me for something, he replies, it’s possible, right, Mommy?  I suppose, Johnny, it’s possible.  See what I mean?

Crazy making chaos, it’s like the gift that keeps giving.

To do his part to keep the crazy train going, The Big Brother announced his Science Fair project.  Let’s just say it involves purchasing those pesky insects most pay money to get rid of.  But he did more than that to contribute to the train ride.

See, Big Brother suffers from a common condition of submitting a form to be completed and signed by Mom as we are walking out the door.  This time I said NO!!!  Stop the INSANITY!  And it was the band form.  And it was Band Day!  As we walk out the door I see his instrument lying in the living room.

Me – Get your Trombone!

Big Brother – I can’t.

Me – What do you mean, You Can’t?

Big Brother – Well, you didn’t fill out the form, so technically I’m not in band.

And Yes, I heard the familiar White Noise in my head.  He should consider himself lucky that I did not take his trombone and turn it into a nice, shiny necklace, technically.  Hey, it’s still possible.

The Little Brother is doing his part on the train ride.  He already stayed home from school, sick…….intestinal distress.  Always one to believe in his own popularity, he said, “Mommy, aren’t you glad I stayed home?  That way you don’t have to be alone?”  Uuuhhhh, I’ll get back to you on that………….just as soon as I clean up the overflowing toilet.  Nothing says quality time like intestinal distress and plumbing problems.

I was only going to give the Monday through Friday highlights, BUT as LUCK would have it, the weekend did not disappoint…….

Now Saturday, how do I even describe.  I can’t.  Soooo, I will just dive in.

Saturday morning The Captain took Big Brother to a car wash fundraiser and baseball game.  Mommy took Little Brother around the neighborhood selling popcorn for scouts.  Johnny stayed home and made more lists of Legos I could possibly by him.

Saturday afternoon we met up at Big Brother’s baseball game.  After game, head to parking lot.  At last, Mommy is going to the mall for some alone time.  Get to the parking lot, The Captain’s car has a flat tire.  He sends me on my way and sets to changing the tire.  I just darkened the door of the mall and phone rings.  Must go rescue boys, the spare is no good.  Back I go, guess what?  No shopping.  Take boys home.  Walk in door.  Boom, big STORM.  Boom again, NO POWER!  YEAH!

My sweet boys take a cross into the basement.  The Little Brother says he’s going to pray for everyone’s safety in the storm.  He was very nervous about the storm.  Johnny was found praying to…….for electricity.  Johnny was more concerned what he was going to do with no TV.  And like I said, Johnny NEVER FORGETS.  His thoughts are in his brain like a steal trap……….

Johnny – WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH NO POWER!!!  I’M BORED!!!!!!!  THIS IS AWFUL!!!!!!! (and NO, I’m not exagerating.)

Gets Better…

Johnny – See, IF YOU HAD BOUGHT ME THOSE LEGO TOYS I TOLD YOU ABOUT AFTER SCHOOL WE WOULDN’T HAVE THIS PROBLEM, I WOULD NOT BE BORED.  I WOULD HAVE NEW LEGOS!!!

So much for outsmarting Johnny.  I should know better.  It isn’t my first day on this job!

Guess the remaining question………….WILL I lose my mind?? 

Hey.  It’s possible……

Looking Back

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I’m Fine…….and you?

Fifth Grade

Ready to Rule the School.

Autism.  I have not written much about this side of Johnny.   Although not readily apparent to those who meet him, it is there.  I do not like to think of Autism as who he is but it is part of him, it is one thing that makes him so unique and not merely a statistic.  A friend once said his diagnosis should be quirky.  Johnny is his OWN man.  He has his own drummer, for sure.  If you have had the pleasure of meeting him, you know what I mean.

Due in large part to early intervention and absolutely wonderful, compassionate, caring teachers, WITH an incredible sense of humor, Johnny  is very high functioning.  People that just meet us have stated, “he seems fine to me, how Autistic is he?”  To which I like to answer, “Just enough.”  Just enough to keep life interesting and everyone on their toes.  But I also want to add…………… if you only knew.  If you only knew how far he has come.  You are able to ask that question because of the long path we have walked.

Johnny started school this week.  A new year in a new school.  He is in Fifth grade now and I have to take a moment to count how many schools he has attended.  Johnny started school (pretty much full time) when he was three.  His first school bus ride was in diapers.  He was fine but I think I cried like a baby in diapers.  It just did not seem right to put this Little Guy, in diapers, on a bus.  He  rode the “special” bus.  Anyone who has put their child on this bus knows the fear and heartache.  It was not an easy decision.  But as decisions go, it has ultimately been one of the best decisions we ever made.

I just took my moment and calculated………. EIGHT………… he has now attend EIGHT schools.   A funny thing with Autism and other Spectrum Disorders is that routine and schedules are generally a “really big deal” for these kiddos.  Knowing what to expect can keep his anxiety at a low ceiling instead of a through the roof  level, which can be heart breaking to watch.  However, not all schools are equipped with Autism programs, which has made it necessary for Johnny to attend a new school each year for a few years.  This was mostly the case when he was of the pre-school age.  Add to that we are a Military Family and the numbers go up.

Sending him off this year to Fifth Grade in a new school was nerve-wracking………… for Mommy…………. he seemed fine.  His biggest concern………………when was lunch?………….and did I remember his lunch money?  Why was I nervous?  Weeellllll, let me count the ways.  Like I said, this is school Number Eight.  

Fifth grade triggered something in me.   As I was walking him to school it struck me, WOW!!! FIFTH GRADE, IN THE “REGULAR” CLASSROOM!  I remember when I didn’t think this would ever be his reality.  I couldn’t imagine him functioning in the “regular” classroom.

We have come a LONG, LONG WAY  from the pre-school days of pacing and running circles around while constantly humming to soothe himself.   Lunch time used to mean sitting in a semi-circle with a teacher at a table to eat and learn to tolerate new foods.  Going to any assembly required headphones to block out all of the noise and extra stimulation, if we could get him there at all.  On good days he would go into the “regular” classroom with an aide.  The preferred activity at recess was sitting alone in the sandbox.  Notes home read like this……….”Johnny is wearing a pair of “borrowed” socks.  His got wet because we found him standing in the toilet.  Please talk to him about this.”  NOT even making that up.  There are many similar notes.  I kept the “communication” notebooks from every class.  Actually, they are somewhat amusing.  I remember then we had to laugh or we definitely would have cried.  Proud to announce, that is the LAST time he stood in the toilet at school.  He’s moved on to other behaviors, like making sure the teacher sticks to her schedule, literally.

As the parent of a child with Autism (no matter where on the spectrum) you constantly worry about their future and ability to be independent.  I spent A LOT of time on this worry.  One of his first Pre-school teachers said it best, “Johnny is going to be fine.  He might not be a salesman, he might be the guy content to work quietly by himself but HE is going to be JUST FINE.”  It was Mommy that needed the work………..I think.

In those pre-school and early elementary years so much seemed so overwhelming.  And I’m not talking about for Johnny!  Learning to manage all these behaviors, emotions and needs was all-encompassing.  Like for all children.  We had several years where it seemed that we would have a perpetual toddler.   Part of me wanted to think, who cares, let him wear headphones and sit alone in the sandbox, he’s content.  Who cares if he plays with Thomas the Train in high school.  He’s happy.   But……………..we knew for his success and independence in life he (and we) were going to have to experience a lot of uncomfortable moments (again, like everyone).  AND we most certainly have.  There were a lot of tears of frustration in those days (Johnny and Mommy).  It was not if Mama ain’t happy, it was if Johnny ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.  Actually, it is still a little like that.

Fast forward to Fifth Grade…………….No bus………..we walked to school, WITH no complaining, thank you very much.   Johnny  isn’t big on physical exertion.  He took notebooks in his backpack, NOT diapers.  No lectures were given on playing in the toilet, just reminders about turning in our lunch money and medical forms.  He was walking into the “regular” classroom with some assistance from an aid.  His back pack was plain black, NOT Thomas the Train (which I kind of miss).  HE was telling ME his plan for doing his homework right after school.  I wasn’t having to show him a picture schedule of what he was going to do.  Instead of a bus aide walking him to the school door or Mommy holding his hand, he walked solo on the path………. turned around, “Bye Mom, see ya.”  And I heard that Pre-School teacher’s voice in my head, he’s fine, he is going to be JUST Fine.

As for me…………… weeellll, Mommy is getting better EVERY YEAR!

I’m OK, Mommy, and You?

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Bat Swim Season

Well…………….It is that time of year, readers.  A time all swim bathers and swimmers should beware…………because they were warned last year……………………….it is SUM-SUM-SUMMER TIME AND POOL SEASON.  That’s right, readers, check the fit of your swim wear because Johnny’s filter from brain to mouth has still not been clogged and his unsolicited opinion  still flows like Margarita’s on Cinco De Mayo!

Even more fun………………we are moving into a new (to us) neighborhood, which means………………NEW POOL……………..even MORE FUN…………a brand new crop of swimmers to leave IN SHOCK at the critique received by the FASHION ICON  himself…………………..

 

Here he is……………………the NEWEST Member of the DAVENTRY DOLPHIN SWIMTEAM…………………………the FUN has only just begun!!  Perhaps Johnny should suggest the above as the TEAM SUIT??!!  Mike Phelps………………….EAT YOUR HEART OUT.  I MEAN, check out that GAME FACE!!  Stay out of his lane swimmers………..stay out of his lane.

 

 

 

 

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Reading, Writing………and History!

So……Johnny has been studying Colonial times and the Revolutionary War.  His mind is a steel trap when it comes to this.  Anything involving weapons, fighting, he’s in.  He also has his own tools to remember………fancy they are not…………….effecitve……… why yes.  For example, why didn’t America want to be ruled by the British King?  According to Johnny…………”Cause he was a BIG JERK!”  Now, I ask you, whatHISTORY SCHOLARis going to argue with Johnny about that.

Last week, Johnny got his test back on the Revolutionary War.      A PLUS………………That boy knew his stuff.

Flash forward TWO DAYS………………..bummer news……………he had to read an article on George Washington and answer about 5 questions.  Grade = Correct, have signed by your parents and return for a……….can hardly type it…………..C.  Well………in all fairness, I think Mommy was the only one bummed.  (It’s good to be Johnny, good tephlon coating on that boy).

Me:  Johnny, What happened here?

Johnny:  I don’t know, I think her teacher messed up and forgot the right answers.  (Students everywhere should pay him homage for this response)  Pointing to an incorrect answer, “George Washington DID help in the French and Indian War.”

Me:  Yes, BUT, the question was What TWO WARS did he fight in?

Johnny:  I GOT IT RIGHT, IT WAS THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR!!!!

Me:  Johhny, THAT was ONE War!

Johnny:  (Getting really annoyed) NOOO!  IT WAS TWO, THE TEACHER WAS…………………WRONG!!!!!!!

Me (very calm):  It was TWO.

Johnny:  Yeah!  Well………Then they should have called it the FRENCH, SLASH, INDIAN WAR! (French/Indian).

Aaaahhhhhhh……….Perhaps my new title………….”History According to John.”

Coming soon……………..Johnny was just assigned a research paper.  Looooorrrddd and Tutor Help Me!  He chose Robert E. Lee.  Sooooo………..stand by People…………….The South MIGHT rise again……………Well………..That is, if Johnny has anything to say about it….

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