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Friday, April 29, 2011

Scream Free??? No Way!

My girlfriend sent me a some audio CDs a while back from "ScreamFree Parenting."  I thanked her kindly and never listened to them.  I thought to myself,  This must be for normal kids.  There is no way I can parent these two Aspergers kids of mine with out screaming.  If I don't scream sometime I wouldn't be heard over their screaming.  At times I scream just to shock them...to make them think I'm just a little bit crazy -to catch them off guard so that they just never know what their crazy mama might do.

Today, the same friend sent me a link which I shared on my Facebook Fan Page (Like me here).  On the link to the Screamfree Tip of the Day,  the author,  Han Frankel basically tells us that our happiness doesn't have to depend on the mood or the actions of our children.  Just because they are screaming and ranting, we don't have to buy into it.  We can choose to be happy.  Really?? Who knew??

"If your child is throwing a tantrum or pitching a fit, guess what? That doesn’t have to make you upset. You can still choose to be happy. If your child is moping about and grumbling about her life, guess what? You don’t have to pull her out of her emotional ditch to feel good about yourself. You can still find joy. Even if your child is yelling at you how horrible you are, you do not have to take it personally. You can find peace.  This is a very freeing sentiment because it allows you to recognize a simple and powerful truth. No one can make you feel anything. When this truth can sink in, you will be in a much better position to really be with your child as they go through these difficult emotions. And they will see that you are stronger than the winds blowing around you. They will naturally gravitate towards you and your calm so that you will be able to provide comfort, consequences, or clarity when they need it most."
Hal Runkel, LMFT, Author of ScreamFree Parenting and ScreamFree Marriage 


Now I know we are all have our moments.  Lets face it, our kids are extremely challenging.  So many times I've said to myself,  Why do I have to feel every single emotion that they are feeling?  I mean it's freakin' exhausting.  Especially, when half the time Red (my 15 year old) goes through these tantrums with the sole purpose of getting a reaction from me.   Imagine if even half the time that our children are upset, we could choose to stay calm, and happy.  Do you think it might rub off on them?  We could just say, "I'm sorry you feel your life is so horrible, but I am choosing to be happy.  I'm going to focus on the positive things in my life. You should try it."

Red would probably scream, "Stop being happy mom!  You're pushing my buttons!!!"

I think I'll be pulling out those CD's now and listening to every last one of them.  You can order them click here:


By the way, you can go to the link to get your own Tip of the Day
You can also Like ScreemFree on Facebook.

Thank you for  all clicking for me yesterday! I have fallen down in the Top Mommy Ranks.  This is directly related to my self-esteem...so get clicking people!


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Thursday, April 28, 2011

In Stride

I made it through a few tough days since I came back home.  I think If I hadn't had the break, I would have had my own mental break down after dealing with Red's threats of hurting himself and Blue's anger over a situation with a friend at school.

Then hubby has an attitude with me and is obviously going through some kind of male "time of the month".  He's stressed because he not only had to walk in my shoes dealing with stressful situations with the kids, but in the middle of that he had to deal with the death of his great Aunt (who passed away last week at the age of 97).  He's also stressing over work issues...after all work is so much a part of who he is.

With that said, I can almost guarantee that when I go away for a few days and have fun...that does not include him, he will give me the funky attitude when I come home.  Even if on one side of his mouth, he's saying he's happy for me, on the other side of his mouth --he's a little pissed that I have some semblance of a life that does not include him.  If he reads this, he will vehemently disagree.  However, I have been married to the man for 17 years...I think I know him by now.  I know his patterns, his moods, and his various personalities.  Do not think for one moment that any of this will stop me from going away the very next time I get the chance!  I love going away with him...but I also love going away without him.  He travels for business and sometimes to see family, without me all the time.   I think that's one of the reasons our marriage has lasted this long. 

I visited my brother's church while I was away.  The Pastor reminded us to put Jesus in the drivers seat and go along for the ride.  I am riding along with him, doing what he tells me to do.  I am taking my life in stride  --not letting it all bog me down.   I am strengthened, fortified by my time away.  I am floating on a cloud above the mire, refusing to get dirty and overwhelmed by the reality of my life.  That's what a vacation can do for ya!

So for all of you moms and dads who feel too guilty to take time for yourself...get over it!  Take a girls weekend --go to the spa!  Go play a round of golf.  Go out for happy hour!  Go to a coffeehouse and take a book!  Get away! Take a break and come home fortified, ready to dig through the trenches and deal with the reality that is Aspergers and raising a family.  You deserve it and your family will be all the better for you getting what you need.

p.s.
I am obsessed with looking at my stats seeing who came by to read, who took the time to click the Top Mommy link, etc.  I have a reader in Bowling Green, Ohio who always votes for me.  I would love to know who you are and thank you personally!  For the rest of you readers...GET TO WORK!!! That is...if you like my blog! 
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

That Ain't Right!

If you've been reading while I was away...you know that I had a fabulous trip!  For 5 days I was able to forget who I am, what I do, and just be.  I am a woman -an adult who can laugh with her friends and family.  Free like a bird -I came and went taking full advantage of my independence.  I spa'd, danced, laughed, dined, cocktailed and chatted with old friends and siblings. It was great -until I got to the airport to come back home when I get one of those infamous phone calls.


Yes -that's right.  The shit hit the fan on my very last day.  My mom calls to ask me a question about medication.  She also fills me in on the days events. "We had the opportunity to walk in your shoes today. We now know what you go through."  


This time, my husband was there to field the phone call from school, "You need to come and pick up your son.  We can't put him on the bus because he is seeking attention by making suicidal threats." Aspergers dad -was in the middle of carpooling Blue and his friends when he gets the call.  He had to drop them off and go over to the high school to retrieve an angry, unhappy Aspergers teen.


After a conversation with the school Psych -Red apologized for making those statements.  He says he was just angry and didn't know what else to say to express his anger.  There is a wall full of positive statements written and posted all over the walls to remind him of all of the good things in his life.  The staff is  trying their best to be supportive.


By the time they get home...he goes back to the negative script, "Ms. so and so is just mean!  No one cares about me!  The work is just too hard!  The classes are too loud.  I hate the cafeteria.  Maybe I should go to the hospital.  I have no other choice."


The following morning I call his Psychiatrist's office to fill her in on the days events.  She wants to see him.  Instead of me falling back into bed because I am jet-lagged, I get myself together to take him to see her.  She almost hospitalized him based on his statements.  He talked his way out of it.  Assured her that he just needed to rest at home and wait for the tweak in his medication to kick in.  He promised that if he had any more serious bouts with anger he would be willing to go to the hospital.  She gave him a mental health day off from school and sent us on our way with a medication adjustment.


It just doesn't seem right that a kid should have so many different meds on board just to make it through the day at school.  At the same time, we can't have him exploding all over the place, making threats and creating havoc at school and at home making himself and everyone around him miserable. The whole situation is just screwed!


It's a really difficult decision to give your kid medication, but when he's full of anxiety, depression, anger and heavy moods you feel helpless.  I feel inclined to take the advice of the professionals who are close to the situation and have all of the facts to help them make an informed decision on how to proceed.  I just wish their was a better way -you know, like a miracle.        

If you have any thoughts or feelings about your child, Aspergers and medication...I would love to hear your feedback.                                                                                                              

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That Ain't Right!

If you've been reading while I was away...you know that I had a fabulous trip!  For 5 days I was able to forget who I am and what I do and just be.  I am a woman -an adult who can laugh with her friends and family.  Free like a bird -I came and went taking full advantage of my independence.  I spa'd, danced, laughed, dined, cocktailed and chatted with old friends and siblings. It was great -until I got to the airport to come back home. I get one of those infamous phone calls.


Yes -that's right.  The shit hit the fan on my very last day.  My mom called to ask me a question about medication.  She also filled me in on the days events. "We had the opportunity to walk in your shoes today. We (my mom and husband) now know what you go through."  This time, my husband was there to catch the phone call from school, "You need to come and pick up your son.  We can't put him on the bus because he is seeking attention by making suicidal threats." Aspergers dad -was in the middle of carpooling Blue and his friends when he gets the call.  He had to drop them off and go over to the high school to retrieve an angry unhappy Aspergers teen.


After a conversation with the school Psych -Red apologized for making those statements.  He says he is just angry and didn't know what else to say to express his anger.  There is a wall full of positive statements written and posted all over the walls to remind him of all of the good things in his life.  They are trying their best to be supportive.


By the time they get home...he goes back to the negative script, "Ms. so and so is just mean!  No one cares about me!  The work is just too hard!  The classes are too loud.  I hate the cafeteria.  Maybe I should go to the hospital.  I have no other choice."


The following morning I call his Psychiatrist's office to fill her in on the days events.  She wants to see him.  Instead of me falling back into bed because I am jet-lagged.  I get myself together to take him to see her.  She almost hospitalized him based on his statements.  He talked his way out of it.  Assured her that he just needed to rest at home and wait for the tweak in his medication to kick in.  He promised that if he had any more serious bouts with anger he would be willing to go to the hospital.  She gave him a mental health day off from school and sent us on our way with a medication adjustment.


It just doesn't seem right that a kid should have so many different meds on board just to make it through the day at school.  At the same time, we can't have him exploding all over the place, making threats and creating havoc at school and at home making himself and everyone around him miserable. The whole situation is just screwed!


It's a really difficult decision to give your kid medication, but when he's full of anxiety, depression, anger and heavy moods you feel helpless.  I feel inclined to take the advice of the professionals who are close to the situation and have all of the facts to help them make an informed decision on how to proceed.  I just wish their was a better way -you know, like a miracle.        

If you have any thoughts or feelings about your child, Aspergers and medication...I would love to hear your feedback.                                                                                                                

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Dear L.A.

I love you so!
I love that you hold so many memories, friends and family in your hands.
Thank you for showing me a glimpse of freedom on this long weekend.
Thank you for giving me a break from my reality of worries, Aspergers, teenage depression, anger and mommy duties.
Thank you for allowing me to see all of my brothers and sisters in one place, all together again.
Thank you for the added surprise of my brother Byron coming in from St. Louis.
Byron, Dad, Me and Ward Jr. (Kevin and Sheila MIA)

Karsen, Me, Ward, Friend, Mary, Byron, Kevin, Dad on Dad's 82nd! 
Thank you for giving me time with my 82 year-old father for his birthday.
For seeing him alert, alive, still flirting with women, for listening to the slew of curse words that come out of his mouth.
Dad -Flirting with the Laker Girls!
For the very strange "prayer" he said over our meal in which he says, "Whatever you do...love yourself first and grow up to be like me!" (By the way, God was nowhere in this prayer).
Thank you for taking me out dancing and for me seeing my old friends and my high-school prom date.  (Wow! that was exciting.  For a while there, I forgot who I was.)
Me, Prom Date, and middle school friend. Fun!!!!
 Jenny and Mary
 Rebecca

Sister Sandy

Thank you for the best massage ever from Ma Lee, this tiny Asian women (who darn near gave me a happy ending).
Thank you for the time, conversations and laughter that I shared with my girilfriend of 23 years.  Love you forever!

My Cutie-pie Nephew!
Thank you for allowing me to spend time getting to know my niece and especially, my nephew of 3 years.  (Wow! That boy can talk!)
Thank you for the hospitality of all who accommodated me in your lovely homes.
Thank you for all of my homies who drove miles to see me -if only for a short visit.
Thank you for the lovely weather you gave me during my visit, the sunny days and the cool nights.

It was Perfection!

I love you L.A.

I will be back soon.

Oh...L.A. you can keep your traffic!  It's the only thing that you have that truly sucks!

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spa Pura

Today I left my worries behind.  I am back home in sunny southern California visiting my family and friends -sans children.  I had the best massage of my entire life (thank you Ma Lee at Spa Pura) followed by lunch with one of my dear friends.  It was so nice and my phone didn't ring one time.  Here's to the good life! Cheers!


Me and my dear friend R-
Once upon a time back in our 20's, we were roommates / party girls...hitting all of the local L.A. nightclubs.  Now we are PTA, Girl-scout leading, carpool driving, school volunteering, putting-our- children-first,  moms.

For today...we were carefree! Thank you Ms. R- I love you today and always.

BTW...this restaurant La Grande Orange in Pasadena, CA -best Red Velvet cake and Key Lime pie EVER!!! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hell

From what I know about hell (if there is such a place) it is shear torture with no escape.  Well, that pretty much describes my house on a day like this...actually a few days like this.

We are tired of the evening rants and rages, so we talk to the Psychiatrist about them.  She suggests this freakin Daytrana patch, which is a form of Adderall to replace his Focalin.  The patch is supposed to be smoother, with no crashing at the end of the day.

When she mentions Adderall, I tell her we had a bad experience with it in the past.  She says that's because we didn't have Abilify on board at the time, that will help balance things out.  Well...that would be a big fat NO!  Didn't happen.  

First of all, because of sensory issues, Red couldn't stand the feeling of the patch.  Secondly, the damn thing kept creeping and curling and coming off.  Thirdly, he turned in to this manic, perseverating, angry aggressive, hot mess!  After  3 days,  I discontinued use of it.  Apparently it's still somehow in his system, because he still does not have his shit together. 

He is going around in circles from one complaint to the next, begging for one impossible thing after another.  He has gone from invading my personal space to putting his hands on my arms in order to attempt to control my movement.  He is having all of these incoherent, implausible arguments with himself, basically.  I don't have the time or energy to go into detail about all of them.  I'll just give one example.

He says, "Why can't you get a job so that I can have all of the stuff that I want?!!!  I mean if you had a job we could buy a new HDTV that's LED backlit so I can get a better picture on my movie."

Me: "It doesn't matter what kind of  TV you watch that movie on (Harry Potter latest).  The movie was shot to look dark and scary.  If you could get up and get yourself out the door for school on time, I could be off on a job right now.  If I didn't have to spend so much time taking you to therapies and appointments and running over to your school when YOU have an issue, it would be easier for me to maintain a job.  YOU are my job!" 

We are all just drained by him.  Last night as I lay in bed, I think...we just have to take turns leaving the house to escape the madness.  Then again, home is supposed to be a place of peace.  Something has got to give.

The good news is...I am leaving on vacation tomorrow! Yay!!!! I am off to Los Angeles to see my Dad who is turning 82 on Friday.  He is almost as crazy as my son, but he's 82, it's not going to change and at least I don't have to live with him. This man thinks that the word motherf*#ker is the best word in the English language.  I will also get to see all of my friends and brothers and sisters.  Los Angeles is where I grew up.  

Aspergers Dad -will be on Mommy duty for 5 days.  He actually will take off work in order to do so.  What do you mean?  You can't focus 100% on your high-pressure, demanding job and take care of these kids at the same time?  Don't feel too sorry for him.  He left me alone with them during Spring Break and does so quite often when he travels for business.  (I think his business trips are really pleasure.  He gets to sleep every night in a nice quiet hotel room and have fine dining and cocktails on the companies dime.  Business my arse!)  

Besides, my mom is here to help with the cooking, washing and to call 911 in case we need to haul someone off to the looney bin. 

Good news to come about Blue's ARD meeting.  Will post soon. 

Show me some love by clicking, commenting or both.  Didn't you know you have to work when you come here? 


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Sunday, April 17, 2011

My First Award!


Please left click to get full size image and then save normal way
I am so honored to receive this award from my dear friend at Life, Kids and Genealogy.  Apparently someone in the world is reading this and no less thinks I'm worthy of such an honor.  Though I'm not feeling all that honorable today, I graciously accept this award.  Apparently there are rules and work that come along with this (so you may be sorry if I nominated you). They are listed below:

These are the rules..
1. Winners grab the image above and put it in your blog.
2.Link back to the person who gave you it.
3.Tell 10 things about yourself
4.Award 15 recently discovered bloggers.
5.Contact the bloggers you have awarded to let them know they have won.
10 things about me. 


1. My first self-declared nickname was Go-Go Stage.  Apparently when I was 4 years-old, I aspired to be a go-go dancer. I have no idea why.


2. I check my blog stats, Facebook and Twitter way too many times per day.  I haven't finished a good book since I started this awful habit.  


3. Bailey's Irish Cream is my coffee cream of choice (ssh! Don't tell anyone!)  I try to limit it to weekends.  Keyword (TRY). 


4. I love my children but I can't wait for them to get out of my house! 


5. I like to paint, especially with oil -mostly abstract, although my art teacher is making me learn to draw (damn her). 


6. I love, love, love babies.  Their pure happiness just makes me feel good.


7. I steal my son's Ipod and rock out in the car and at the gym to Linkin Park and Green Day. This is totally age inappropriate, but it gets my ass moving.


8. When I was in preschool -I was punished for spanking the other children.  Apparently, I was the Mom. Funny, I seldom spanked my own.(I only occasionally knock them into next week. This is a right of passage for an African American mother.)   


9. In high school my English teacher called me Ms. Nightnengale -because I was always fluttering about trying to help others instead of doing my own work.  I have obviously passed this trait on to my youngest son.  He has the same problem at school -just can't mind his own business.


10. There is a local restaurant where all of the waitresses and bartenders know me by name, favorite cocktail, and appetizer. I go there way too often...ALONE! 
  
Here are my nominations for the award. I didn't follow the rules to the letter, cause that's just how I roll. Really, I fell last night while out walking my dog and my arms are sore.  I got tired of pointing and clicking to put the links together. I hope you will stop by and pay these folks a visit. 


Mama's Turn Now


Grace


Life on the Spectrum: The Connor Chronicles


Life in the House that Aspergers Built


The Adventures of JAMC


Life With Aspergers



Adventures in Aspergers


Spectrum my Mummy


Adopting Special Needs


Naked Reflections


Organic Green Doctor


Thank you so much for reading and supporting this blog.  According to my husband, you all mean more to me than he does. :-D


Show me some love! 


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Friday, April 15, 2011

Make it Funky!

Some days are just plain old funky -and this was one of them.  Moods were swinging like kids on the playground.  Everyone was angry about anything and everything.  The morning starts with Blue being angry because it was -well...morning and he has to go to school.  I picked out a pair of shorts what had a broken zipper.  I mean why would a mother do such a thing?  Incredulous.

I am downstairs preparing breakfast when a Red is listening to "Green Day".  He starts to sing...I hear heavy foot steps, a door bursting open and then, "Heeeyyy! What the heck are you doing?" Followed by, "Get-off-of me fatty!" I drop my spatula and run upstairs.  Red -big one is on top of Blue -little one. I break it up an send Blue back to his corner of the boxing ring. Just call me Ref!

Today we are trying a new form of ADHD medication for Red -the Daytrana patch.  I try sticking the damn thing on and it's not really sticking very well.  Mind you -I'm trying to hurry and get him out the door after the fight and residual name calling matches.  Also -the pharmacy had filled another of his prescriptions with the generic (sertraline) of Zoloft instead of the name brand.  In Red, this apparently makes a world of difference.

Within an hour of his arrival at school he calls to say the patch came off.  I have to high-tail it over there to apply another one.  By the time I arrive, he's completely on the opposite side of lucid.  He's going off about things that I haven't heard about in weeks.  I think he's making up the script of things to be angry about as he goes along.

"I don't want to be here! I hate it here."  Apparently he's been getting angry about seeing couples kissing and holding hands in the hallways.  He takes it as a personal affront.

With assistance from the nurse, I get the patch applied.  I get her to tell him it would probably stick better if he showered daily. (hint hint)  He doesn't want to go back to class.  He wants me to be his audience.  I walk him back to class and try to disappear as quickly as I can.  He is regressing, going back to old scripts making himself more angry with every utterance.  He is in another world.

I leave the campus wondering what the heck is going on?  Is it the new patch?  Is it the generic sertraline?  Is he just loosing his ever-loving mind? Will this nightmare ever end?  I fantasize about sending him to a lovely sanitarium where he can talk about his feelings and paint all day looking out over  green meadows.

I decide to prepare for what will surely be the night from hell.  I have to give myself a break.  I want to go to the art studio to paint -to forget.  Unfortunately, my art instructor is not available for an impromptu pop-in.  I go shopping instead.  I want to go find a good margarita.  I decide against it -I will need my strength and cognizance later.  My mood is low and funky.

I take Blue and his friends out for ice cream after school to avoid Red when he first gets home.  According to my mother, he bursts through the door and climbs the stairs 3 at a time.  He gets to the top screams bloody murder, and starts ranting incoherently.  By the time I arrive, she's given him his afternoon med.  He's eating a cupcake ...perfectly calm.  Weird!

When James Brown sang that song "Make it Funky." I don't think this is what he was talking about.

Check out the lyrics: http://artists.letssingit.com/james-brown-lyrics-make-it-funky-npk2f23

If you feel me...Let me know!

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chew Me Up and Spit Me Out

Chew Me Up -Part Un

There was a minor explosion after school today.  This time it is my living Angel who blows a gasket.  I told Blue in the morning that I will be picking him up a few minutes early after school.  We have to take his brother to an appointment.  In the literal mind of an Aspergers child you better say what you mean and mean what you say.  There is little room for error or miscalculation.

The day does not go as I planned.  Harry (our Maltese) has a groomers appointment and doesn't finish until late afternoon.  His groomer is closer to Red's school, so I decide to go ahead and pick him up first.  Instead of zig-zagging, waisting time and gas.  This put me about 10 minutes behind to pick up Blue.
Harry -freshly groomed
"What are you doing here so late?!!"  Mind you I am still there 5 minutes before school is out, but still a whole, whopping 10 minutes after I said I would be there.

"I'm so sorry that my day didn't go exactly as I planned."

I try to explain in great detail what happened. It doesn't matter.  He is livid!  He no longer wants to hang out with me while Red goes to his social skills appointment.  We usually go have a bite to eat, go for a walk and hang out somewhere down in Austin together -just the two of us.

We have to drop Harry off at home before we head out. By the time we get home Blue is in tears of frustration.  He explains that it's not just me being late,  it's how his day started with a misunderstanding with a teacher.  My being late is just the icing on the cake.

Once he cries it out...he is able to calm down and apologize for going ballistic.  He decides to go with me after-all.  A few hours without his brother, dinner @ Chipolte,  a trip to the Apple store and all is forgiven.

Spit Me Out -Part Deaux
As I am attempt to calm Blue, Red chimes in with, "I don't want to go to group today.  I'm not going to have enough time on my computer.  Can you extend the parental controls to 10 o'clock?"

If he asked that question once he asked it a hundred times on the way there.  The answer never changes.  I have to remain consistent.  He can survive one day without extended hours on the computer.  This group is for his benefit...not mine.  He wants to make friends -supposedly.  He needs the skills to do so.  This is a group with teenagers who are slowly becoming his friends.  I would rather stay home, finish my laundry and watch "Parenthood."  I am doing this for him and spending a nice penny for it to boot.

When we pick him up after the group he starts again.  He is relentless, talking loudly, repeating himself  over and over and over again.  I want to speed the car up and stop suddenly to make him hit his head on the freakin' dashboard.  I refrain.  I'm only a child abuser in my head.

"But I'm not going to have enough time on my computer.  Can you extend the parental controls for tonight?  Mom, why are you pushing my buttons?  In your head, you are mentally pushing my buttons!"

Well ain't that the pot calling the kettle?

He works himself into a frenzie.  When we get home he starts this fake meltdown where he's rolling on the floor, kicking like a toddler or an epileptic  I've seen him out of control before...this is not what it looks like.  I'm his mother.  I know him like a book.  This is controlled manipulation.

We are in my mother's room where he is sprawled across the floor,  all 200 pounds of him.  My mother is silently laughing at his bad acting job.  The other day she told him that if he kept screaming so loud, he just might pop a blood vessel and we'd have to rush him to the emergency room.  He believed her.  He hasn't screamed since then.

I leave the room so that he no longer has an audience.  Mom finally convinces him that he is wasting what little time he has and to go ahead and take his shower.

By the time both boys are asleep, I feel the need for something strong to calm my nerves.  It's 10 p.m. too late for a martini.   A glass of wine will have me up peeing all night.  I desperately need self-medication.

I've been on a quest to find the perfect cupcake in Austin.  Tonight, I have a red velvet from MadCakes.  A Mad-cupcake for a madwoman -how appropriate.  Don't you think?



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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Life in the Circus

7:25 a.m. -five minutes before it's time to get up for school, Blue hears singing coming through the walls of his bedroom.  He comes running, "Mom!  He's singing! He woke me up!  Why do I have to wake up to this?  He's ruining my morning!  Why does he have to live here!!???"

I try to explain that it's time to get up anyway.  I ask him to lay down and let Daddy rub his back for a minute so that he can calm down.

He's had it with his brother.  He went to bed, not exactly happy because in his opinion --his brother ruined my birthday the night before with his antics.  Now he wakes up to this irritation.

A couple of nights before that Red had a meltdown at bedtime that ruined Blue's nightly routine. When Red melts down it's hard to tell what is acting and what is real.  He screams like Chester from Linkin Park in a rock song.  He can make himself cry.  His words are full of drama.  He blames everyone else for his problems and turns the table on the issue at hand.

"Why are you guys being mean to me? Why do you only care about yourself?  Why are you making me suffer?  Why are you abusing me?  Why do you have to force me to do things? You're not being fair!  You're being selfish!  This is your fault!  This is Blue's fault!"

He balls his fist and hits doors, tables, pounds his bed, harasses the dog, he invades my personal space, follows me around closely.   I assure him that any physical damage will be paid for with his money.  If he doesn't have enough, we will sell something that belongs to him to pay for it.

He doesn't scare me in the least, because I mostly see it as drama  -a way of acting out his pain or frustration with himself.  I have what may very well be a delusional attitude that I will knock the shit out of him if he goes too far.  Mind you -I am 5 ft. nothing and he is 5ft 10" and weighs twice as much as I do.

Blue however, sees Red's behavior as a threat to our safety and security.  It isn't fair that he has to live with this.  Blue suffers from anxiety and these antics make him nervous.  He told his dad the other night, "I'm just afraid that one of these days, he's going to break something or hurt someone."

My husband says to me, "Blue is really nervous and anxious about his brother's behavior.  He says, Red needs to go.  He doesn't want him to live here anymore."

I respond, "He's also nervous and anxious about thunderstorms.  We can't make those go away.  We can't just give up on his brother."  Of course, that's not what my husband was asking but he and Blue are both right, he shouldn't have to grow up with this.

Fortunately for Blue, a very low dosage of medication keeps his tantrums under control.  Where his brother who is on several meds, at maximum dosage, is anything but under control.  He does manage to hold things together very well when he's at school.  Here at home is another story all together.  I swear I hate this whole trial and error psychiatric medication crap!

What is choice,  what is real, and what do we do about it?  I find myself pondering that all too often.  Blue thinks the answer is to send his brother away -give him to another family.  Give him to the circus!  The only problem with that is we live in the Circus.  Just call me the Ringmaster.  

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Aspergers and "The Social Network"

Today's Blog Gem

Red is starting to work on his video editing business again.  I will be writing about that adventure very soon.  In the meantime here is a previous post that I think is still very relevant:

I finally escaped to the movies with my girlfriend Friday afternoon.  It took some maneuvering, switching child transporting duties over to my husband, but I managed it. We saw the movie "Social Network".  Loved it! Very interesting subject matter, script and characters.

Afterward my girlfriend and I debated whether or not the main character had Aspergers.  I definitely think so. He was brilliant, but lacked facial expression, and social skills.  He had friends, but did not really know how to interact with them.  Had a girlfriend who he really liked, but because of his bluntness, and lack of social and communication skills, inability to be empathetic, he couldn't figure out how to keep her or his best friend.  He had tunnel vision, hyper-focusing abilities, a great deal of intelligence.  All he could see was his goal....what he wanted to do -which he hoped would finally lead him into social acceptance. 

So that guy, Mark Zuckerberg -he lives here in my house.  He's only 15 and he's black, he's not exactly a genious but he has that same hyper-focus on the things that he wants.  He doesn't have the social skills to maintain relationships with peers, although he desperately wants to.  He often self-sabotages himself with things he does and says.  Of course he's a lot less mature than the college kid we saw in the movie.  He is only 15 after all.

He has been hyper-focused lately on achieving the goal of buying a Blue-ray drive for his computer.  We finally cut the cord and are unwilling to buy him anything other than basic food, shelter, and clothing.  We can not please his insatiable appetite for all things electronic.  He has been forced to come up with creative ways to earn money.  He has a video editing business, he does chores, saves money from birthdays, Christmas, etc.  The latest thing is that he wants to sell things he already has but doesn't use.  The latest bright idea is to sell his television.  He says he doesn't really watch it and would rather watch "high-definition" movies on his computer with his new wide-screen monitor.  His older brother -who lives in his own apartment agreed to buy this tube television for $50.00.  Of course, we haven't seen him or the money since they made this agreement.

So we're having a garage sale yesterday -and Mr. Impatient-Tunnel-Vision wants to put the t.v. out there.  He is now willing to sell it for $30.00 to a stranger, rather than wait for his brother who really needs a television.  Wow! I was like that is total 'Mark Zuckerberg character in the movie!' Forget about those who love and care about you...let's get to the bottom line --what I want now! As God would have it -the t.v. didn't sell at the garage sale.  It will go to his brother today.

Hyper-focus can be a good thing.  I could make you extremely successful if it is put to good use -as Mr. Zuckerberg did with the invention and development of facebook, of which I am a major fan.  It is one of my guilty pleasures --can't stay off of the damn thing.  The question is, will that success bring you happiness? What I've seen so far -is that my son is never happy or satisfied for long.  He reaches his goal of getting what he wants eventually -but then it's just on to the next thing that he wants. The movie also depicted an unhappy person who was very successful in the world of business.

In my mind -true happiness comes from relationships with those who you love and who love you.  It comes from experiences, not things.  It comes from doing something for others who are less fortunate -or just plain old selfless giving.  I don't know if that is something that my son will ever experience.  And even if he does -will he ever be truly happy?  As long as he thinks happiness comes from getting things -I don't see how he can be.  I can try to teach selflessness but I don't know if I can break into his mind and heart.  At some point it has to come from within.  Does he even have the capacity to make that happen? 

Perhaps in the Aspergers mind -the idea of happiness is not the same as atypical people. Perhaps it is something I will never totally understand. However, I think it comes naturally to want your children to be happy.  It's difficult to face the possibility that I may not see that happen for my son.



  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

It has become a tradition in our home.  Every birthday...no matter who we are celebrating -is all about Red. I've said before when he was younger -he would throw a fit on his brother's birthday.  When he got a little older -he would sing, "Happy Birthday to Me".  Last year on my birthday, he sat silently on the couch as the rest of the family gathered around to sing to me.  This year was no different.

This year, our neighbors -friends we have known since we moved here 11 years ago, surprised me by stopping by the house to sing "Happy Birthday."  It was so sweet and thoughtful.  I used to take care of these children everyday after school when they were in kindergarten and 3rd Grade.  Now G- is a junior getting ready for the prom and driving, and D.J. is in the 8th grade!  This gesture really made my day.

As they got ready to leave, G -who has grown into a gorgeous young lady says, "Where's Red?  I want to say good-bye."

He was in the kitchen actually crying -real tears.  Did it make him so sad that they came over to pay tribute to me?  Wow!  I couldn't believe it.  He pulled himself together so that G- could give him a hug and say good-bye.  I deflected from myself to tell them that Red was planning on trying out for the talent show at school.  They were of course thrilled for him and said they would love to come and support him.  I hoped that my gesture would pull him out of his funk.

After they left, we sat down to have dinner.  He sat on the couch and started with the crying again.  I asked if he would join us at the table in prayer.  He said no of course.  I guilted him into it and he finally did.  I said a special prayer for him.

"Dear Lord -thank you for all of the blessings of this day.  For the cards, flowers, notes, phone calls and outpouring of love from all of my friends and family.  I like to give special thanks to the Moore family who reached out in a loving way by stopping by tonight.  For my friend Tona for taking me out to lunch today. And for all of the love that my immediate family has given me tonight.  I say a special prayer for Red.  That he will feel the love of everyone at this table who loves and supports him.  That he will be able to look at the positives in his life and feel good about himself."

Throughout dinner -Red attempted to dominate the conversation.  I tell him, "We are only going to talk about positive things during my birthday dinner." We had to continuously interject to keep the conversation positive.  By the end of dinner -he started to yell about the parental controls on his computer -that he wouldn't have enough time to work on his projects.  Although, he had spent the majority of his time during the evening complaining, and talking instead of using his computer time.

After he finally went upstairs, Blue says to me, "I can't believe he ruined your birthday."

To which I reply, "He didn't ruin my birthday.  He could only ruin my birthday if I gave him the power to do so.  I didn't give him that power.  I choose to look at all of the positives of this day.  No one can ruin your day unless you let them."

Happy Birthday to Me!

BTW...I have to give a special shout out to my husband who did EVERYTHING to make my birthday special.  He drove me to Houston to have lunch with my best friend, while he had a business meeting.  And on my special day -he bought me a Michael Jackson cupcake (black and white) among many other special gestures.  God Bless him -he's learning after 19 years together.  His contract has been renewed for another year!

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wishful Drinking

8 a.m. Saturday freakin' morning.  We (hubby and I) are trying to sleep in.  Knock-knock-knock.  We don't answer.  Red bursts through the door and stands over me.  "Good Morning Mom."  I play possum. "Good Morning mom," he says a little louder.  I play dead.

He goes over to the dogs crate.  "Haarrrry!  Good Morning Harry!" In his loud, squeaky, annoying voice.  He can't get to me...so he annoys the dog.  When the dog yelps...I awake from the dead.  Damnit! "Put the dog down."  I say as calmly as I can.

"I just want to say good morning.  I just want to kiss him," he says again in his squeaky, annoying voice.

"Please leave my room."

"Why do you try to force me? Why are you being mean?  All you think about is yourself mom.  Why do you have to be so selfish?"  This is his latest script.  I hear this at least 20 times per day.

"Why are you being inconsiderate of the fact that we are still sleeping?" There goes that Aspergian mind-blindness.

He sits there on the floor refusing to leave.  He starts talking to the dog again.  I ask him again nicely to leave the room.  He refuses.  He wants attention however he can get it.

The dog yelps and groans as if to say, "Leave me the f#*k alone!"  Unfortunately, he doesn't bite.

I stand on my feet and grab a belt.  "Leave my room NOW!" I say in my most authoritative voice.

"Why are you so mad?" he asks?  He gets up and leaves --finally.

I close my eyes and try to go back to sleep.  A few minutes later...here comes Blue.

"Good morning mom! What do you want for breakfast today?"

My eyes are closed!  Why are they talking to me? Why did I think once they became teenagers and could cook for themselves or poor their own bowl of freakin cereal  --I would be able to sleep in?  

Wishful thinking leads to wishful drinking.  All I want for breakfast is Baileys and coffee.


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Monday, April 4, 2011

Ms. Jackson

Asperger Mommy took a few days off this weekend. Asperger Daddy was so nice to Mommy...she wondered if he had  had a fever or something.  He took the boys out to a car show on Saturday while Mommy got to spend the day resting.  When he came home he was so exhausted he needed a nice long nap.

On Sunday Daddy took Blue to a birthday party while Mommy spent the day doing her hair and her nails so that she could be ready to go see Janet Jackson -live in concert!



Daddy, Mommy's childhood friend and her husband.  

Mommy her high-school friend, and Daddy
Waiting in line to get in to see Janet! 






Janet in her glory! We were in the 3rd Row Center!
Janet was absolutely fabulous!  More beautiful in person than she is on television or in the movies.  It was the best concert that Mommy has ever been to.  

She sang "Scream" the infamous song that she and Michael made together, while Michael danced behind her on a large screen.   She sang "Together Again" with a photo montage of Michael as her background.  This just about sent Mommy over the edge...

Janet Jackson - Song Lyric “Together Again”

There are times when I look above and beyond
There are times when I feel your love around me baby
I'll never forget my baby
I'll never forget you
There are times when I look above and beyond
There are times when I feel your love around me baby
I'll never forget my baby
When I feel that I don't belong
Draw my strength
From the words when you said
Hey it's about you baby
Look deeper inside you baby
I dream about us together again
When I want us together again baby
I know we'll be together again 'cause
Everywhere I go
Every smile I see
I know you are there
Smilin' back at me
Dancin' in moonlight
I know you are free
I can see your star
Shinin' down on me
(Together again ooh )
Good times we'll share again
(Together again ooh )
Makes me wanna dance

Lyric provided by http://www.musicpopstars.com
(Together again ooh)
Say it loud and proud
(Together again ohh)
All my loves for you
Always been a true angel to me
Now above
I can't wait for you to wrap your wings around me baby
Wrap them around me baby
Sometimes hear you whisperin'
No more pain
No worries will you ever see now baby
I'm so happy for my baby

Mommy thought she was back in her younger days.  She danced and danced and jumped up and down until her knees said to her, "Do you know how old you are?"  She screamed until she didn't have a voice anymore.   She cried tears of joy and happiness because she was so close to one of her favorite singers ever.  

Mommy fell madly in love with Daddy all over again, because he made this possible -for sparing no expense so that she could have this memorable experience.  She kissed him passionately when the concert ended...and they lived happily ever after. 

Until the next morning when she had to get up at 6:30 a.m. after staying out past midnight.   When her Asperger son awakened from his peaceful slumber he said to her, "So...you just had to go to that concert didn't you?  It's not fair.  Why are you so selfish?"  Back to reality! 

Too many cocktails, too much dancing.  Who knew there is still life after midnight?  Asperger Mommy spent the entire day trying to recuperate...but it was well worth it! 

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