Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Sorry about the mess. My pictures got all out of place and my side bar is running away down the page. This may take awhile....lol

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Scary Things

"Mommy, I have nightmares."

Last week, when all the Halloween decorations went up around the stores and neighborhood, Gabe started talking about nightmares. Particularly, a fuzzy monster with big teeth. I haven't figured out where this monster came from, until now.

First, I pictured Animal from the Muppets, a misunderstood monster that just really wanted to have fun....

Shopping at Target the other day I came across this and then it clicked...

Let me introduce you to Target's mascot for Halloween.... "Domo". Domo is a fuzzy monster with very sharp teeth. No wonder Gabe does not like to shop. Domo was everywhere in Target, lurking around every corner, in the candy isle, dollar area. He even hovers over you as you enter the store, mouth agape, teeth furiously displayed, all he needs is drool puddling and being released from the corner of its mouth.
Poor Gabe. Only 16 days till Halloween and then it's all about Christmas. Cookies, Santa, snowpeople, snow forts, stars, lights, family. Is it time to put my tree up yet?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wonderful and Bumpy

Cows at the dairy farm.

Wonderful..... That's how I would explain what I feel right now. If Wonderful were a place, I would be the greeter.

"Helloooooooo and welcome to WonderrrrrrrfuL!"

Then I would trip over my own shoes and fall less than gracefully into a Yucca plant.

I have given my two weeks at my retail job before the holidays set in. I did it for a year, enjoyed the experience, but it was difficult to swallow the pay with the dedication they expected. We'll just have to make due.

A new year at school and things are coming along pretty smoothly. Siena is in a peanut free second grade classroom with a very organized and friendly teacher. Gabe has a very sweet, but no nonsense kindergarten teacher. She has a lot of great ideas and utilizes them well with all the kids. We were so fortunate to have her for Gabe. It feels like a good match.

Gabe is doing good. He enjoys school and is able to do the classroom work with success. I noticed after a week or so that his fine motor skills for writing are a little low which is also affecting his coloring. We practice both at home and have a system that makes homework fun and rewarding. I'll share that at a later time. I'm still not sure if it is purely developmental or an area that needs extra attention and fine tuning.

Making friends normally takes a little more than a couple months for Gabe. He likes to gauge the situation and the people within it before making a bold move. So, while others are busy making friends, Gabe is a little slow on the go. Sometimes he wants to play on his own, which is perfectly fine, but other times I notice he is having a hard time engaging others because he doesn't know their name or is not paying attention when they try to engage him. I am currently doing recess duty twice a week, so I can see how he is doing. I'm there to give a hug and some strength if he needs it. That feels great.

Speech is coming along sporadically. He's working on his "l"s and his high pitch in his voice. We did twice a week in the summer, one session was one on one and the other was a play date with another child playing games, sharing and talking about toys and interests. I'm waiting to see if my insurance will cover the playdate sessions.

Gabe is in school full time now, which makes getting to speech in rush hour 45 minutes away and 1 1/2 hours back a challenge. I really need something much closer. What do you do when you know you have the best therapist for your child? But, they are too far away? I've been loading up my Ipod for the trips. I guess that's all you can do.

I am so excited about Christmas already.
I would put my tree up right now if I could.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

And Then There Was One

As I held my son, fear wrapped tightly around me. His body shook as his little hands tugged at my shirt. It was a different cry this time. One that could not be fixed by a smile, hug or kiss. Gabe is aware that people hurt his feelings often. That something he is doing is making them turn away or laugh boldly in his face. Gabe is reaching out with so much determination, so much love to others he sees as friends. He's putting his vulnerable hand out there waiting, reaching, trying to make some connection. He's waiting for what all the others have. What comes so easily between kids his age, a friend.

I would like to say that he made some friends this year at school, but honestly, irregardless of the tainted gene pool there, gabe rarely mentioned anyone with excitement attached. Was it a great class full of children you would look back on and say, "I knew so and so since preschool.", probably not. But, it was the slide show at his preschool graduation that showed not all were given a chance to be a friend. In every picture with Gabe, he was alone or with his teacher. He was alone. My baby was alone. The other boys huddled in a group together with big smiles. Or were shown sharing a toy. Gabe existed on the fringes. He so desperatly wanted to be included. Halfway through the year, I think he just gave up. He still offered friendship, no strings attached, but most of the time his warm gesture went unnoticed.

I hope in my deepest heart that people will see all the great attributes that he has before they turn away. That those that are quick to judge, take a second look. There is more, so much more to Gabe if you just give him a chance. He is kind, caring, funny, imaginative and loves the friends he does have so dearly. This part seems to be the hardest for both of us now.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Summary

Sitting at my desk with my laptop feels a little new and awkward. As if I was back at the beginning of this blog or cracking the binding of a new book. Where have I been? Well, let me say that time has had its way with me, running past me as if I was standing still and it beckons me to stop being so stagnant. So, why do I feel as if I have been running for months? Finding each finish line was only really a lap in the race? Enough of the analogies...Where do I begin?

I left off in the beginning of this past school year of 2007. Preschool still is going well. Gabe has adapted really well and is excited to go to school. His teacher is amazing. The other boys, well you can only go so far with genetics and bad parenting. I hate to say it, but some groups just don't mesh well, but thankfully his teacher has a great program that she utilizes along with the children in her classroom that addresses that issue.

I did loose my appeal to the state. They deemed his therapy (ABA) not medically necessary. Infuriated doesn't even come close to how I felt. The next step was to get a lawyer and challenge the State's decision. We decided to close that chapter and direct our attention to what can be than what should be. Does that make sense? Needless to say, I found out recently that some people I know who have had cases with BCBS in Michigan for ABA Therapy coverage have won due to the fact that their child was self injuring. Gabe was not. It felt good to finally let go.

I also have been working part time since the summer. I work evenings in retail, until I can start my career again without sacrificing my family. I like getting out, getting a paycheck (no matter how small) and letting my anal retentiveness thrive and flourish each evening while I fold and organize clothes until the store looks amazing. It's funny what makes some of us happy.

Gabe was also evaluated by his preschool teacher for readiness for kindergarten and he was tested through a private practice using the WPPSI. He passed the kindergaten readiness test (The Gesell). Happily, Gabe scores indicated that he will do well in kindergarten and that we should definitely seek placement for next year! So we did. He will be attending a private Catholic school with my daughter Boo!!!!! They will provide speech for him and have a social skills group that meets weekly. There are quite a few children on the spectrum that attend school there. Gabe will be in good hands :o)

With all the worry waiting for test results, weighing pros and cons, going back over more test results, late night discussions, this feels right for now. This is where he should be. He did struggle with his receptive language and responding to some one on one questions with someone he didn't know. So, we have increased his speech to twice a week and set aside time each day to practice. Everyday now I see growth in Gabe. He amazes me.

So, there it is in a nut shell. I hope some of you still pass by occasionally to take a peek. I wonder about your children and everyday wish them well. Take care.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

If only I had Get Smart's shoe phone....

Sometimes I wonder, I wonder if kids are just being kids, I'm just being a mom and the two together make for an interesting combination. Can I truly be objective when it comes to my child's friends? Could they ever be what Gabe needs and I envisioned them to be, caring, thoughtful, fun and accepting? I needed to know who was with him when I wasn't.

I wanted to get an "inside" the peer relationship dynamics of Gabe's classroom, so I happily volunteered to help at Gabe's Halloween party. This would give me an incredible opportunity to secretly psychoanalyze each child that comes in contact with Gabe each day at preschool. Dissect and interpret clues into their family dynamics, past history,siblings and parental involvement. I was "Double O, M..O..M".

This is what I found...
There are roughly, given what day it is, 14 boys and 6 girls.
The girls seemed pretty normal, easy going. Girls generally are.
The boys. Psych 101, years of observing people and 7 years of teaching really came in handy when watching the boys. The boys could be summed up as such
(names have been changed to protect their identity)

"O"- Very small child (Gabe literally looks down at him), shows signs of having a speech impairment, can be bossy and low on the totem pole of the "boy click" in the room.

"J"- I like to call him Mr. Cranky. Gabe first met him last year for a few hours when I wanted to observe him in a regular preschool setting with other three year olds. "J" may still be cranky about the fact the Gabe hit him with a dinosaur to see how he would react last year in class. Outcome....not good.

"T"-America's Most Wanted will be doing an expose on him soon. He has that "look" in his eye. Other teachers will know exactly what I mean. He seems older and far more wise about the workings of the underground than the homeless guy that rides his bike all day around my township. It makes me sad, but then I also want to say as I lean in close to his face, "Stay the hell away from Gabe if you know what is good for you."

"Red"- Possible "T" accomplice or the second picture displayed next to "T's on America's Most Wanted. He has devious written all over him. However, the jury is still out. Maybe he'll decide to use his powers for good and come over to our side.

"B"- Grips mom's leg like a hungry man's hand around a Ball Park hot dog at a baseball game when he is dropped off. He seems to bide time watching the clock until mom returns.

"M"- Seems like a good kid, but Gabe seems to be attracted to the ones that "run the roost" shall we say. Part of "the click", possible middle management. Dedicated with no real benefits.

"JK"- very sweet, perhaps a little too reserved for Gabe. He would get first draft choice if it were up to me.

"I"- He's a quite the sourpuss (and also Gabe's locker partner). Luckily he comes very sporadically, mostly Fridays when Gabe is not there. His mom's a nurse and works nights sometimes and her shift is always changing. "I" never knows when he is going to come. My sympathy goes out to him, but my heart is loyal to Gabe. I say," Back off "I" guy!"

"L"- is a child of someone I know (The one that ditched me high and dry at McDonalds) I thought he was going to be a good match for Gabe. Still a sweet boy, but the dark side can be very alluring and has made quite an impression on "L" if you know what I mean.

There are more boys that didn't catch my eye or just weren't at the party, because it wasn't their day to come. What's so frustrating is that this is what the general population consists of in real life. There are leaders, followers, those that go against the tide and those that go unnoticed. I am taking steps to ensure that Gabe is not pigeonholed before he gets his turn to shine. That he is learning the rules of social engagement at warp speed, but is still so innocent and unjaded, as if he was wading in a pool of sharks unknowingly. Give me strength to not go shark hunting anytime soon.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Is it safe?

It's been hard, but I waited a few extra days. Just a couple days, although it felt like eternity. I didn't want to jinx myself, my luck and Gabe.

OK...Here goes.....(deep breath)

Gabe's in preschool.
Public school preschool. Our District's public preschool. And he is doing very well! He is making friends, petting the classroom pet Guinea pig 'Buddy', eating lunch, and going out on recess. The other day he said, "I play with my friend Gavin at school."

I caught myself thinking, "What? "Full sentences? Friends? Independence?"I couldn't help but have a big smile.

Then this weekend it was, "Santa will get me the marble roller coaster."
I guess Gabe and Santa have established a close relationship out of my radar range. And Santa must shop at Target.

This gives me hope that Christmas will be even better this year. Both Boo and Gabe will be able to participate in our traditions of hanging ornaments, decorating ginger bread houses, and have the immense anticipation of Santa's arrival. That's all the gift I will need this year.

There was one incident the first day of preschool. I thought about not mentioning it, because it is pretty age appropriate, meaning that the Autism flag needn't be raised, the 'armed' forces could lay low and I could keep my anxiety in check. But, it just so happens that it was at the top of my list of concerns for Gabe when deciding to place him in a regular preschool. I can only describe it by telling you what happened. Gabe is in a class of about 14 kids along with a teacher (Ms. J), classroom aide and another teacher (Ms. K) that floats in and out, her position is a little unclear to me, must be based on number of kids in the room. Anyway, Ms. J had to run out of the room for a minute or two, so Ms. K took the class to the bathroom before going outside to play. Two boys in Gabe's class, after leaving the bathroom, decided to run down the hall. Ms. K had to coral them back in line by the wall and remind them to wait until everyone was ready. Meanwhile,as far as we can guess, Gabe must have come out of the bathroom, while Ms. K was running down the hall. He then got into a different line, going the wrong way. It was not one going to recess, but to the buses. After counting the heads on the playground, Ms. J came back and noticed one missing too. She immediately found Gabe outside the bus, crying for me on the sidewalk. Someone must have noticed he did not belong on the bus and called the office or another teacher. Thank God . (insert prayer here) So, when I picked him up the first day he was really weepy with swollen red eyes. She apologized many times. After about 5 minutes, Gabe left my side and happily joined the other kids on the play structure.

My reaction was not of anger, because I adore Ms. J. She was so fantastic with Boo that I knew it was an honest accident, not an oversight, especially since she wasn't even there when it took place. And now that it did happen, I can let out a sigh of relief that my biggest fear is in check with the teachers and I believe now that Gabe will be given an extra hand in leading him in the right direction. Which is what we all need at some time in our lives.

Boo is in first grade. (I'm feeling faint) I keep dreaming of her in high school. I keep reminding myself that she will only be turning 6 years old this month, not 16. She looks so beautiful in her uniform. I know I couldn't pull off a plaid jumper. She makes it look like the new fall fashion must have in your closet.

I have found that my thyroid is normal (Thanks for the idea to get tested Melissa) The problem I have/had was depression. So, two months later and appropriate medication (Screw you Tom Cruise) I feel better than I ever had in my life.

I also have started looking for a part time job. My SAHM status is quickly coming to a close. With needing a new roof and Gabe's preschool costs this year, our bank account reflects that we live paycheck to paycheck. It doesn't help that the state of Michigan is something like 2 billion (?) in debt and talk about shutting down the state is being discussed as an option. SD's salary as a teacher is dangling by a thread. The schools can't balance budgets or promise much of a security, because the state keeps changing what it will provide and then sometimes doesn't give financial support at all. How do you balance a budget like that?

This school marks another massive change in my life along with having a first grader, Gabe in preschool, a possible new career path, but it is also the first time in 2 1/2 years (or ever) that I drop my kids off at school and I can go HOME. When I took Gabe to school for those two+ years, I was an hour away from home. Going home was not an option. I have been trying to get things organized, clean, clean some more, do laundry, mow the lawn, do some PR for the family and kids and establish connections in my children's classrooms. It has been a lovely ride, sweet, but too short.

Some of you maybe wondering, what did happen to my crazy hair? I hate to admit this, but I ended up dying my hair four times. I'm a nut when it comes to my hair. It was a week of my daughter giving her encouragement through each change of hair color. "I think it looks nice mommy", she would smile. I had gray hair, green, grayish, greenish, brownish, reddish hair, dark brown hair (picture a witch) I was looking for carmel and got a mixture of Gothic and heroin addict.

I ended up stripping all the horrid colors out of my hair to reveal the lightest blonde ever with streaks of light orange where the red from one of the hair colors would not come out without loosing my hair. I settled on blonde for the vacation. And was I blonde. Barbie has nothing on me. I surpassed Barbie as a Blonde. She looked like a medium to dark blonde next to me. It was frightful, luckily we were where it was warm, sunny with an ocean. I almost fit right in as a surfer girl. In Michigan, I looked like a pole dancer. I currently, yes I actually dyed it again, a dark, neutral blonde with a hint of gray (color has a hard time now sticking to the lightest part of my hair. It's not perfect, but then no one's throwing change at me anymore.
I'd post the new look, but I haven't had a good photo op yet. I always look goofy when I take it myself, ya know, forehead missing, chin cut off, odd strained smile while attempting to look easy going when you can not find the button to actually take the picture. So until then, know that I have been following every one's lives and am so excited to look forward with all of you to another year of special moments with our children.

Oh! Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank Mom-Nos for the award of
Nice Matters
This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you’ve been awarded please pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award.

I am so flattered. I am in fact speechless, which is rare. Who knew that over two years ago, when I searched the word Autism through Blogger that it would land me here? Where years earlier Mom-Nos brought hope to me that my journey with Gabe was not meant to be dark and lonely filled with isolation and dread. But a chance to embrace my fears, not let go of hope and still plan celebrations each and every day. Thank you, thank you Mom-Nos and all of you have either stood behind me pushing me forward, stood beside me letting me lean on you and those of you with strength that kept pulling me forward. Thank so much.

I nominate the following seven bloggers that have helped me along the way, many before they even new it. You deserve the NICE MATTERS Award!

Gretchen from Gretchen's Blog

Lora from My Beautiful Child Griffin & Autism

Stephanie from If It Ain't Broke


Melissa H.


Kyra from THISMOM