Thursday, October 28, 2010

You Think You Know...

You think you know until you find out you that you don't.  I reminded him last night to take a shower at 7 p.m. When he crawled into bed at 9:30...he had not taken it.  "I'm just so tired he said."  Fine.  I'm not about to argue about this. He promised to take it in the morning.

7 a.m. I wake him up.

7:30 -he comes downstairs unshowered.  He falls on the floor. "Something's wrong with me.  I'm just so tired." Mind you...every other day this week he has gotten up at 6:45 a.m -on his own.  He got on his computer.  Suddenly today -he's too tired (a load of bull).

7:35 -he goes upstairs to shower.

8:00 -I go upstairs...he's still in the shower.  Who knows what he was doing for the past 25 minutes.  He says he just got in.

8:05 -I take Blue to middle school

8:15 -I return he is sitting on the floor in the bathroom, clipping his nails.
I'm pissed! I try to keep my cool.  I remind him of what he needs to do to get the rewards that he wants.

8:25 -he comes down to eat breakfast.  He complains that there are only 3 waffles instead of 4 -loudly!
On his way up the stairs to brush his teeth -he says, "I'm not going to school." I remind him that he is going.  It's the law.  If I need to -I will call the campus and have the campus officer come and get him.  My voice remains calm. He screams, "NOOO!"

8:50  -we finally leave for school. I don't say one word in the car.  He says, "Mom -I want the blu-ray player," over and over again.  I remain silent.
9:00 a..m. We arrive at school.  The tardy bell rang at 8:45 a.m.  I promptly get out of the car to go to the attendance office and to remove the audience for the rant that usually takes place at this point.  He's a bit shocked that I got out of the car. He has no choice but to follow me.  He signs in at the attendance office.  I watch.  I call upstairs to his tracking teacher to let her know that he is in the building.  I inform her of the reason that he is late.  He follows me as I walk towards the door.  "Don't leave," he says.

"Good-bye son.  Have a good day. You will be riding the bus home," I say as I head out the door.

He stands there looking at me, dumbfounded as I get in the car.

I drive home wondering asking myself...what am I doing wrong? Why does he behave this way for me? Is he responding to the therapy session yesterday?  We talked so calmly about what he needs to do to get the things that he wants.  He needs to cooperate, take care of his business, talk to us respectfully.  He said that he would.  Then he gets up and does the total opposite.  Should I give him the new medication? Am I crazy not to?  Something about it doesn't feel right.  I'm exhausted and the day has just begun.

The blu-ray player should arrive today.  He has just sealed his fate.  It will not be installed.  He won't see it until we see some changes.

I drive back home.  I pull into the driveway and sit.  I turn off the car and sit allowing the sun to massage my body through the car window.  I have so much to do.  I have so many dreams. I have not met my goals this week or completed my to do list.

Will I ever be more than just his mom?  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Magic Answer

I go to the high school today to pick my son up for an appointment.  He happened to be in the middle of an "awesome" social skills session with the school psychologist.   She came and spoke to me to tell me how great he is doing at school.  His teachers think he's doing great.  He's passing all of his classes.  They aren't seeing any of the negative behaviors that we saw last year in middle school.  Wow!

So I'm happy that he's doing so well there.  I just wonder why I'm seeing such a stark contrast here at home. I mean as soon as he sees me...he totally changes his demeanor and starts huffing and puffing, positioning himself to be angry and sad all for my benefit.  His facial expression literally changed right before my eyes as we walked out of the school doors towards the car for his doctor's appointment.

"Why do you change like that as soon as you see me?" I ask.
"That's because you're mean to me!"
What do you mean I'm mean to you?  I just saw you and said hello and you totally changed into H.R. Puffinstuff.  (Am I dating myself here?)  
"You're right Mom.  I'm sorry.  It's just that you guys won't give me the things that I want...especially Dad."

We make it to the doctor and I give her the rundown on the past few weeks -the atrocious behavior at home verses how "awesome" he is doing at school.  What does she do?  She tells him that he is being mentally abusive and disrespectful to us and that he needs to get a job to get all of the things that he wants! She also told him if he doesn't get his sh*# together (I'm embellishing here) she has the option to recommend that he be taken out of our home because he is basically being mentally abusive to us.  Basically...she scared the sh*# out of him.  Do I agree with this tactic? No...not really.  Does he need a reality check? Yes...definitely.  Did she really mean what she said? I don't know.  She told him that she is giving him a chance to treat his parents better.  Does he have the capacity to do this? I don't know.

This doctor is African.  Other cultures do not put up with a lot of the crap that we "Americans" do.  She is a mental health professional, a Psychiatrist.  Does she really understand how to approach Aspergers specifically?, she didn't sound like any book I've ever read or any therapist I've ever been to.

At the same time, I am dealing with a teenager.  The typical teenager gives his parents hell on a stick! My atypical teenager was "Mr. Personality" at school and for the rest of the world, and was pretty crappy to us most of the time.  He would disagree if he reads this...but it's true.  I lived it. I suppose a part of this behavior is a right of passage.  It's just intensified times to the tenth power with a teen with Aspergers. 

She also recommended yet another medication...Intuniv, which is primarily used for ADHD for impulsive behaviors.  I believe it is a non-stimulant.  Ugh!!  Another freaking medication.  I just don't know if I'm up for it. After giving it some thought on the way home, I remembered that I forgot to tell her that he's been sleeping a lot.  Will this medication make him more sleepy?

Suddenly I had an 'ah hah' moment...he's doing great at school, one because "we" (his parents) aren't there.  Since when do parents deserve any respect?  Also, his day is structured with plenty of things to do.  He is  working really hard to appear typical to his peers.  He doesn't have to do that here. He can  relax and be his grouchy self.  There is no one to impress here!

Lately, he has lost interest in the roller coaster design game (Roller Coaster Tycoon 3) that he used to play for hours.  HE's Bored! Boredom drives him to looking on the internet for expensive things to that he thinks will give him something to do.  It also leads him to annoy his brother and the dog, and anyone else in earshot.

What he really more inexpensive things to do.  We need to keep him busy...or at least busier.  Will that help some of the acting out?  I think it will.  The trick will be finding things that he is willing to do without a fight.  (Good luck there!) These things also have to not involve me --at least not all the time.

The other day I thought about donating him to a church.  Can't I just drop him off and they could keep him all day on Sunday?  They can return him just in time for bed.

So sitting here writing this...I am talking myself out of trying this new medication.  Instead I should try some more creative ways of keeping this boy out of my hair...which is turning more gray by the day.

Why isn't there a magic answer?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Peace on Earth

First of all let me first say that I have finally been given a mother's right of passage.  Friday morning while sitting in the school parking lot with Red, my 15 year-old son I was told, "You are the worst mother on earth!"  All I could do was laugh.  As a result, he did not have the pleasure of telling me off from the comfort of the front seat of my car on the way home from school.  He road the bus!  He didn't have the pleasure of my company until nearly bedtime that night.  I ran away to a Zumbathon where I literally danced my ass off along with a truck load of stress. I then soothed my aching joints with a Chambord-rita and an appetizer at my favorite hang-out after the gym. 

I now have proof positive evidence that this child of mine will NEVER...ever , be satisfied.  He did it, he saved enough money for his blu-ray drive for the computer.  We ordered it for him. You would think that would shut him up for a while -not so.  We ordered it Friday.  We then got nine thousand questions about where we ordered from, which one we ordered, when will it arrive, why didn't we choose overnight shipping.  We finally had him read the printout to answer all of his questions so that he would have something concrete to refer back to for the future redundant questions.

Since he thinks that's in the bag...the disrespectful, loud, annoying behaviors ensued. On Saturday, he decided to clean and organize his room.  He is envious of his brother whose room is spotless and organized.  One would think this is a good thing.  He's cleaning and organizing right?  He decided that he doesn't want ANY books in his room.  He hates reading...why does he need books?  The chair that his friends sit in when they come over has a small tear in it....he must dispose of it.  Fine...but I will not be replacing it.  He sold his television to his older brother.  It wasn't a flat screen.  Who needs it? I guess his friends will sit on the floor when they visit and they will watch movies on his computer.  He got rid of expensive car models we bought him a few years ago.  They are now disposable.  Wow! Had to have them -he has no use for these collectibles.

Somehow, by the end of the day...he needed a new desk, and a shelf for his monitor and keyboard.  He also decided he needs a new game controller for his computer.  The one he has, "doesn't work right."  Can't we just get him a new one.  "Why is dad's computer the fastest in this house?  Why can't I have some headphones like the ones Dad has?"

By the time Monday arrived we were at, "I just need a new computer.  Can you get me a new computer for Christmas? Why can't you just get me a new...faster computer?  It's not fair! Other kids have computers that support all of these new games.  My computer is crap!"  Un-freakin-believable! He has the second fastest computer in the house.

We are trying to teach the value of money by making him save for the things that he wants.  That does not however stop him from continuing to ask for more...over and over and over again.  He has now behaved his way out of having this blu-ray player installed by his father whenever it arrives.  He has screamed and yelled and cursed at all of us including his 71 year-old grandmother.  He made our Sunday afternoon a living hell!

Dad now insists that he wants a solid week of positive behavior before he will reward him with anything, including installing the player that he has been saving for and wanting for months. This will most likely be a recipe for next weekend being less than peaceful.  I guess it doesn't really matter if he gets it or not.  He will not be happy for long one way or another.

I think I hear my girlfriend in Houston calling me.  I just may have to go...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Simple Pleasures

The Austin Walks for Autism Speaks was this Saturday.  Blue and I participated together. In fact, he gave his very own cash donation, without my prompting.  "I just want to help," he said.   He also bought us breakfast that morning -just donuts and milk, but hey, what a wonderful gesture.  His brother won't even share a french fry with me, after I bought them

Blue's teacher from last year invited us to join her team for the Autism walk.  She misses him. I know that he misses her as was evident by the bashful smile on his face when he saw her and several other staff members from his elementary school.  He greeted them all with authentic hugs, not the 'please don't get to close to me' kind-of-hugs that he usually gives.  I miss them too.  They know him.  They have known us for so many years.  Knowing is half the battle in educating a child with autism.  They didn't have to read his social cues.  They just read his heart and knew how special he is.  I always knew they had his best interest at heart. 

Later Saturday afternoon, we met our friends at a neighborhood festival.  Blue gets along so well with all of my girlfriend's daughters.  He played games, won prizes and gladly shared them with Skye.  He treats her like a sister -only better.  She's a girl -but a tough cookie.  It was so fun to watch the two of them having it out in the giant inflatable boxing ring.  It's a joy to watch the two of them play together.  I am secretly trying to adopt all of my friend's daughters, since I will never have a girl.  Hopefully, I'll have lots of nieces when my sons grow up and forget all about me.

Good days like this are rare -so I must take notice when they happen.  There are many times when I see families out together having simple fun.  I am envious, although I know I shouldn't be.  I wish that we could go out as an entire family, smile, laugh and have a good time with no issues.  It is what it is.  I'll take what I can get.

This was book "Aspergers What Does It Mean to Me" was an excellent resource when my son started asking questions about why he was different.  It really helped him understand Aspergers and made him feel good about himself.   I think we may make it bedtime reading again for a while...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

On a Positive Note...

This weekend my best friend came in town to see me. She brought my god-child Ms. Bella who is now walking all over the place. They stayed downtown @ The Four Seasons and invited me to spend the night with them. I went down Friday afternoon after getting everyone all settled down here at home. Why is it that I have to make sure everyone is fed -and the refrigerator is fully supplied before I leave home? Wait a minute...I'm not supposed to be complaining in this post.

Friday night we had a light dinner on the patio with our baby girl. The babysitter came and off we went for an evening of cocktails and fine dining @ Eddie V's a posh seafood restaurant and bar in downtown Austin. There was a local jazz band of blind musicians who rocked the house with soulful tunes. We had a few martinis, delectable appetizers, and the most scrumptious creme brulee' that I have ever tasted in my life!

Babies don't care what time you went to bed or how many drinks you had. So we were up at 8 a.m. for breakfast -again on the patio. The day was beautiful, bright and sunny. After we ate, I lounged on a hammock over looking Town Lake while Bella and her mommy went for a walk. There was a yoga class on the lawn that I was too lazy to participate in. When Bella was all tired out -we went up stairs to put her down for a nap and we joined her in slumber for a couple of hours. Yes -we were sleeping off the martinis.

When she awakened we showered and took off for lunch al fresco at an Italian restaurant at a local outdoor shopping area. We walked and played at the playground. My son Blue joined us for an afternoon of play with his god-sister. As her mommy shopped -we went off and had our alone time with my little sunshine doll. We had ice cream, where she flirted with a group of young men. Then we followed her as she explored a little field of trees and plants. She found treasure in the acorns that she grasped tightly like they were golden nuggets.

It was this little get-away and time with two people that a love immensely that gave me the fortitude and strength to deal with what would be coming this week. Meltdowns, a run-away child, a sick husband, numerous doctors appointments, phone calls and e-mails to the schools. You know -my normal.

I send love and gratitude to the person who made me make myself a priority.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Nurse Ratched

Well the first try on the medication with Blue didn't go so well -big surprise. I hate Psychiatry and the whole trial and error bull that goes along with it...especially when it comes to my child! But when your child is unraveling before your eyes, feeling helpless and suicidal -you're willing to pull out every possible tool from the toolbox to try and fix it. You just have to be agile, play very close attention and stay in very close contact with the doctor.

This past weekend was just a barrel of fun. I watched him go from a pretty fun-loving kid into his angry,"Blue" alter ego in a matter of moments. It was a beautiful, sunny, quiet Sunday morning.We had a lovely, leisurely, family Sunday brunch planned at a local seafood restaurant. My mouth was watering in anticipation of a long casual meal that would be followed by a lack of Sunday dinner cooking. (NOT!) Instead we had to corral our little boy back home. He decided to run away because his life is so horrible.

"This is all your fault! You're not making it any better! Why is this happening to me? Why does God hate me?" This started over a weather report of rain that was over 300 miles away and had a zero percent chance of coming to our area. I don't know if he heard that part, and he certainly didn't believe me when I said it.

Nothing was right for the rest of the day. I think he finally sat down and watched a movie with his Dad later that evening. However, the rest of us all remained the enemy until bedtime. We were on lock down -no family fun to be had.

Monday morning was met first with a 'parents appointment' with the boy's therapist. A 45 minute session that one of the parents showed up 30 minutes late for. No -I was not that parent. It was the one who needed the appointment the most who showed up late. How did I get two difficult children off to school, drive all the way downtown to meet a friend for breakfast and return her cell phone that her baby girl had slipped into my purse a few days earlier, and still make it to the appointment on time?

"Well -I do have a job you know."
Yes -so do I. Unfortunately, it's not of the paying kind.It does however have a fair share of grunt work!
"But you put this appointment on your calendar a week ago," I reply.
"That doesn't stop the phone from ringing," he says calmly.
"But it should have stopped you from picking it up," I say trying not to sound as highly pissed as I am.
"Well -what did he say (meaning the therapist) that was new?" Wow!
In other words -did I really miss anything important?

After that appointment, I took a little "me time"to decompress at TJ Maxx -the best therapy of all. I found a bottle of "DKNY Be Delicious" because I am -delicious, therefore I deserve this. I walked around for an hour before I could decide if I should spend $30.00 on the $50.00 bottle that I've been wanting since like 2 years ago when I ran out of it. Yes -it did make it home to my vanity.

At 1 p.m. I high tail it over to the middle school to pick up "Blue" for his appointment with the Pediatric Psychiatrist. On our way to the appointment, he told me about a video he watched about children in Africa at school. A light bulb went on for him. He assessed, "Those kids don't have hardly anything, but they are still happy. Americans are really spoiled! We have everything and yet people still complain -like my brother, he's never happy with what he gets. I want to figure out a way to make things more equal for everyone. I have to find a way to change the world.” This alone –made my day. Watch out Barack Obama!

Once we arrived at our appointment, Blue very eloquently told the doctor exactly what has been going on for the past two weeks since we saw them last.

"I thought I was doing better, and then I realized it wasn't the medicine that was making me better. It was just me. Somehow when I got home after school, I didn't feel better anymore. By Friday, I really felt worse. I started drawing on my body where I wanted to cut myself." Heartbreak. Of course, that was the end of that trial with Zoloft. We were given a new medication to try. I am not thrilled about this prospect, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

After we left the doctor, the day was so beautiful. The sky dazzled a hypnotic blue. There were zero clouds, and it was a sweet 75 degrees. We just didn’t want to go home and be between four walls when we could be out absorbing the sun. Off we went to our favorite outdoor shopping area –The Domain where walked and talked. He stopped into his favorite store to browse. That would be the Apple store.

Just as we are contemplating stopping for a bite to eat, my cell phone rings. Home…I ignore it. That usually means my son who wants to bug me about something unnecessary. The message is from my mom.

My husband is in really bad shape and needs me to take him to the doctor. Mind you –he’s been sick for going on two weeks. He was scheduled to leave town again the following day. I had insisted that he see a doctor before the trip because he has had this congestion for so long. Good thing he had that appointment scheduled for that evening. He came home with a high fever, body aches and the whole shebang all over again.

This meant I was off -back across town to pick up my husband for my third doctor’s appointment of the day. As it turns out, he has the flu. There would be no flight the following day. He would have his butt in bed, recuperating, like he’d been refusing to do for the past two weeks. I stop to get his medicine, Gatorade, soup and ibuprofen. I will be playing nurse Ratched for the next couple of days. All while playing Psychiatrist, Therapist, Driver, Cook and Maid.

Flippantly –my 22 year old son says to me last week, “Maybe if you got a job outside of the house…Dad wouldn’t have to work so hard.” I wanted to slap him back into the future where he would have his own difficult children…and maybe he would catch a glimpse of how much it takes to raise them. THIS IS A FULL-TIME JOB! I have three children to care for (including my husband). I add my 71 year old mother that mix. I am responsible for taking her to the doctor, dentist, grocery shopping, and to get her hair done (which is much more often than I get my own hair done mind you.)

Just call me nurse Ratched running the crazy ward –only I’m a lot nicer, at least most of the time.