30 11, 2011

Lighting It Up At The Fry House

By |November 30th, 2011|Autism, Blended Family, Life, Parenting|0 Comments|

Last year for Thanksgiving we loaded all 4 kiddos in the van and started the 14 hour drive to Washington State to spend the holiday at the White House (my White House is of course with my parents, siblings and their families). It was so awesome to be “home” for the holiday but we hit terrible weather going and coming home which was scary at times and also caused us to have to spend the night each way in a hotel room with all 6 of us…ugh…not super fun. So, this year we decided to hunker down at home for Thanksgiving and keep it low key.

The girls were at their mom’s house this year and Chris’ parents are in Finland so we gathered up all the rest of the family members that were in town and had them over. This was two of Chris’ sisters with their husbands and babies. They had plans early in the day so it left us with the day to hang out and get dinner ready until 4pm.

Chris decided it was a good time to put the Christmas Lights up on the house.  Noah decided it was a good time to help put the lights up. Bridger decided it was a good time to grab and chew on the lights! The process was a little slow with all the participation but it went well and after Daddy gave both boys turns climbing the ladder we were all happy with the end result. (I need to give a huge shout out to my husband here because he knows it’s so important to me to get the lights up, so he makes it a priority year after year, just like my Dad did…I love you Babe!)

After the lights, my sweet neighbor who was home from college came and got the boys and took them over to play while Chris and I got the turkey in the oven, the house cleaned and took showers. (Thanks Lauren and the rest of the Harpers! You guys are AWESOME!)

A few minutes before turkey time we got a call from my sis in law who told us they were going to be late after hitting a deer in their new car just down the street! Nooooo!!! I guess you always have to have one holiday disaster. I’m just happy that no one was hurt. That’s the first good news. The second good news is that the turkey, stuffing and even the gravy turned out okay. Not as good as my mom’s but at least the food wasn’t a holiday disaster! Lol.

All in all it was a nice day…Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

“For health and strength and daily bread we praise thy name oh Lord.”–Traditional

27 11, 2011

Weekend Warriors

By |November 27th, 2011|Autism, Life, Parenting|0 Comments|

I can hardly believe it’s been a little over 10 years since the most important thing I had to do on Saturday afternoon was to run to the corner store for a Diet Coke and York Peppermint Patties and spend the rest of the day on a “floaty” at the pool in the sun…those were the days…

Unless you have an autistic child or have spent a lot of time with an autistic child, you probably can’t understand the extreme amount of energy they have and need for you to have to take care of them adequately.

Bridger is constantly on the move.  He rarely ever sits for more than 1-2 minutes at a time, like right now he’s next to me hitting the computer screen. He touches everything. He grabs things off counters, pulls things off walls, takes dirty dishes out of the sink or splashes the water, runs around endlessly. On the really bad days he strips off his pants, diaper and all. If we’re lucky there’s no poop in it! He doesn’t know how to “play”. Things that come to typically developing kids naturally have to be learned by Bridger and that skill is taking him awhile. A lot of autistic kids are the opposite of him and spend long amounts of time fixated on something but we have yet to find something that really interests Bridger. I WISH that he would get obsessed with something so that he could entertain himself for more than a minute at a time. I’M EXHAUSTED!

My husband and I used to look forward to the weekend. Not now. Pretty much the weekend means no schedule, no structure and policing our stinker, I mean our sweet Bridger, all weekend long. We’ve actually gotten a little better at it. We take turns. I’ll get something done while Chris watches the boys then when he’s at his wits end, I’ll swoop in for my turn while he does his thing for a while.  My awesome husband has been getting up at 6:30-7 with the boys while he lets me sleep an extra hour. I never DREAMED that I would call sleeping until 8am Saturday sleeping in. Ugh!

Summer is easier because Bridger loves to go outside. He will wander around playing in the dirt for longer periods of time. Of course, we had that nosedive down the stairs this summer but since we fenced the area it’s been better again. We still have to have eyes on him about every two minutes or so, kind of makes it impossible to get anything done. Winter makes things harder. He’s more bored and we’re less patient. Give him a nap you say??? Well, there’s that sleeping issue with autism so no matter how tired he gets he doesn’t nap. We used to give him quiet time in his room but we fear that in spite of our HUGE efforts to Bridger-proof his room, he might find something to ruin or worse yet hurt himself on. I seriously worry that someday he might hit the window hard enough to break it. Good heavens! Please tell me that bars on the window isn’t our next intervention.

Taking the kids to do activities is another obvious solution but trying to go out in public is even more exhausting than staying home. We try and break up the day with rides in the car or walks around the block in the wagon. It’s hard to describe our life. I’m not complaining, I’m just telling it like it is. This is so that if you see me walking by looking like a worn out Zombie you’ll know why and also so you understand why you’ll never hear me say “Thank God it’s Friday!”

“I Like To Move It Move It! I Like To Move It Move It! I Like To Move It Move It! Ya Like To (MOVE IT!)” –Madagascar Soundtrack

22 11, 2011

Magically Delicious

By |November 22nd, 2011|Autism, Life, Parenting|0 Comments|

I never thought I’d be the mom picking the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms but here I am…ha! Bridger LOVES Lucky Charms but only the crunchy little marshmallow stars, hearts and various other little colorful yummy treats. He has this new trick where he goes to the cupboard and grabs food out of it. Sometimes to eat it, sometimes to play with it or sometimes to simply just throw it on the floor for me to clean up. When he brings out the box of Lucky Charms these are my options: I can ignore him and let him have it which will result in cereal spilled all over the floor for me to clean up, I can pour some in a bowl with some milk and try to help him eat it which will result in him gagging and pushing it away, I can pour some in a bowl dry which will result in him eating the marshmallows and dumping the rest on the floor, I can put them back in the cupboard and block it with a chair which will result in him moving the chair and getting it back out for me to put back in again over and over, or I can pick out the marshmallows and give him only those which will result in him eating every last one and being happy and satisfied. If you think I have tried all of these options, some more than once, YOU ARE CORRECT!!! Lol. Noah likes to get in on this action also. So here I am. The mom picking the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms for my kiddos to enjoy…yum…

12 11, 2011

Hi Ho, Hi Ho it’s off to the dentist we go!!!

By |November 12th, 2011|Autism, Blended Family, Life, Parenting|0 Comments|

At Noah’s 3 year old well baby check his pediatrician said we need to get him back to the dentist. Ugh! We took him for the first time when he was about 18 months old. We also took Bridger at that time when he was 2. It was a nightmare!

We picked a dentist out of the phonebook. Just kidding, we don’t use a phonebook these days but I think I found the office online. It looked good and when I called, the girl that answered the phone was delightful! So we went with it.

When we actually went to the dentist they really didn’t seem prepared at all to deal with my 2 year old autistic son or my 18 month old baby that was hysterical. They deal with kids all day long so you’d think they’d have some strategies. As a matter of fact I asked and made sure they would be comfortable with our circumstances before we went. Anyways, I’m getting way off the subject…

So we got a referral from our pediatrician which happened to be the same dentist that Celeste and Sydney went to when they were little (although their mom took them so Chris or I didn’t actually know the dentist). We’ve also had other friends that took their kiddos to this guy for years. I was surprised when I called and was able to make appointments just a couple weeks out. I scheduled the boys for separate times because I’m smart like that=) Noah first so that I could scope the place out and figure out the best way to handle the visit with Bridger.

Yesterday Noah and I headed off to the dentist. The night before I talked endlessly about how great it is to go to the dentist. I told Noah that Mommy loves the dentist and that Daddy loves the dentist and that Sydney loves the dentist and Celeste loves the dentist too. Everyone played along and I was feeling good about how the preparations were going. The morning of the appointment he even let me HELP him brush his teeth without saying “No momma I do it!”

We got to the office and the whole visit went smooth as butter!!! There were super fun toys in the waiting room. They called us back and Noah hesitantly got in the “green” chair. He looked like he was going to burst out into a tantrum at any time but I guess it was just a nervous face because he followed every instruction they gave him without crying. He did awesome!

One little snafu. The hygienist said “are you by chance pregnant?” WHAT THE….?!?!?!?! I was mortified until I asked her if I looked pregnant and she explained that they have to ask everyone because of the risks of the xray machine. Phew…I was a little relieved although I will be hitting the treadmill a little harder now.

In between the hygienist and the actual dentist, me and Noah played Ms. Pac Man together on a real live video game in the waiting room. Yes! Then we went in and had his teeth counted. Once again he was a gem! A little more comfortable too. At the end of the appointment Noah left with a Buzz Lightyear Toothbrush and a goody bag of floss and toothpaste. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY a sword made out of a balloon! Score! He was thrilled with his loot. When we got in the van he said “I love the dentist momma. Can I go back again?” Success.

Stay tuned for the details of Bridger’s appointment. Noah is very excited for him to go and get a sword. I on the other hand recognize how difficult it will be for me to get Bridger to sit in the chair let alone open his mouth on command. Ha. I doubt I’ll be talking about smooth butter afterwards but I’m keeping my fingers crossed and taking Chris for back up!

“Don’t be scared, I’ve done this before, Show me your teeth. Show me your teeth. Show me your teeth.”—Lady Gaga

12 11, 2011

Sleeping with Autism

By |November 12th, 2011|Autism, Life, Parenting|1 Comment|

One of the characteristics of autism is difficulty sleeping. My little Bridger has struggled with getting a good nights rest since he was born. As a result of that, I have also struggled with getting a good nights rest since he was born. Lol.

From about the age of 2 until he was about 4 Bridger would take hours to get to sleep. We would put him in his crib and he would run around on the mattress jabbering, laughing and yelling literally for hours before passing out. Then oftentimes he would wake up again around 2 and play for a couple more hours. In the early years I would try desperately the whole time to calm him and get him to go to sleep. I would try different strategies like bringing him in our bed, laying with him, listening to music, rocking, singing, something to drink, something to eat, etc, etc, etc. Many nights I was up at 4 in the morning googling “how to help your autistic child sleep”. When he was almost 4 we still had him in a crib because of this very reason! We weren’t sure how else to “contain” him during all these wide awake hours. We were at the pediatrician one day and I asked him how long I could keep him in the crib. He said that once he started climbing out of his crib it’s a safety issue so we should put him in a toddler bed at that time. I felt great because he wasn’t climbing out so we could continue with the crib and feel good about it.

I guess Bridger must have heard my conversation with the doc because that VERY SAME NIGHT he climbed out of his crib!!! I couldn’t believe it! So, the next day he graduated to his toddler bed. We emptied his room, and put his dresser in the closet so he couldn’t tip it over on himself. We left minimal toys in there so he didn’t have anything to play with but also so that he wouldn’t hurt himself with anything or choke on anything (if you know Bridger he puts EVERYTHING in his mouth). We placed a safety gate across his door for a little extra security. Eventually we learned that we needed a “lock” on the closet door. We updated his room as we went trying to make it safe and Bridger proof!

A few months ago when we started Bridger at an ABA Preschool his scheduled changed drastically. He went from getting up at 8:30am for his in-home program to getting up at 6:30am to carpool with his Dad and sisters. He finally started falling into bed exhausted. It was crazy at first to see him lying in bed and never getting up to run laps around the room. I’d tuck him into bed and put a toy in a certain place to see if it was moved when I checked on him so I would be sure to know if he fell right asleep or got out of bed. He even started sleeping through the night. It was amazing. Finally! A good night’s sleep.for.us.all!!!

Unfortunately, recently it’s been taking a while for him to fall asleep again. We do the bedtime routine that’s been the same for years. Tubby Time! Read a book! Prayers! Then it’s time to tuck him in. He lies down and pops back up running, looking out the window, playing. We have to put a plastic safety lock on the inside of his door and still leave the gate up. He can now get the safety lock off and sometimes even get the gate down. Now there you have a mix of emotions! YAY for smart Bridger being able to maneuver the doorknob, get the lock off, open the door and figure out how to get the gate down! On the other hand, NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Honestly, the sleeping is a lot better. I feel so happy for him that he’s getting rest. There’s nothing worse than the rare nights now when he’s awake during the middle of the night and I know that I will have to get him up early in the morning anyway to go to school…sigh…it makes me feel terrible. I hope it just gets better and better so that we can all get adequate rest…

“Lullaby and goodnight, with roses bedight. With lilies o’er spread is baby’s wee bed. Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed. Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed” –Brahms Lullaby