Friday, December 30, 2005

"Yeeeeaaaaah...MOMMY! Gooooo MOMMY!" "Hurray!!!!" (Crowd Cheering)


That's exactly what I need -Cheerleaders. Not Cheerleaders in the typical Dallas Cowboy kinda way, but just a small group, say 2 -3 enthusiastic people, that would follow me around all day singing my praises. Some reinforcers tossed intermittently to me would be great too. You know, a new pair of cool pants, some stylish shoes or a quick back rub with a relaxing Green tea ----Oh hell....let's be honest...a Bass Ale. Make that a couple Bass Ale for those LONG days.

This has all surfaced due to an article I read on Http:// about "Dead Time". Dead Time is the time you spend not engaging, utilizing generalization opportunities from ABA therapy or time spent outside therapy. Basically the time your child is not engaged with someone. So, I added up the time outside of our scheduled therapy and generalization we do throughout the day. Wow. It feels like I am all over Gabe, but I am missing about 50% of his day. I don't think I could be anymore on top of him without losing my sanity. So, I spent today trying to fill those voids...The Dead Time. Oh My God! I'm exhausted and there's many more hours in the day.

THAT'S where my cheerleaders would come in. Chocolate in hand, they would toss a Godiva my way when the going got tough. While pulling out another puzzle, I would hear the faint sound of "Your the greatest mommy in the world.....yeah!...You're the greatest mommy in the world...yeah....." in the background. Or better yet, during dinner and Gabe is screaming and pushing away from the table, One would separate from the group and start massaging my shoulders saying...."You've got 2 more rounds....2 more rounds!!!!....He's weak. I can see it. You can do it... YOU CAN DO IT!!!! GO SUPER MOMMY!!!!!"

*Sigh* I'm a busy body by nature, but I also get burned out quick. Can't explain it very well. I guess I would be great at marathons, but useless the week after. Deadlines are invigorating, but constant Martha Stewart - I'm not. I see "Dead Time" as the one hour that I have without kids before I go to bed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

What's New for 2006

This is Gabe when he was 7 months old. He didn't mind sitting on Santa's lap, because his coat felt really neat. I don't think Gabe ever "looked" at Santa, maybe that's why he seemed OK with it. Our Santa looked like a 3 pack a day Santa. "Ho, Ho *cough* *wheeze* Ho!"

...Happy Holidays to Everyone! I appreciate how incredibly supportive of myself and Gabe you all have been. These past months I couldn't have gotten through without your encouragement. Best to all in the new year.

2006- What's in store...

We have managed to find outside funding for Gabe's schooling for only one semester, after that, we spend our retirement. He will continue through the same school, but a different program. Through this program, he will be working with two therapists for three hours a day for an entire semester. They will focus on his speech, life skills, generalization, motor, play and group activities such as games, crafts, circle time, using ABA. I will be implementing at home following the ABA therapy that I was trained in through their other program. I can not begin to explain the shear joy of having this opportunity. I am even more thankful after catching a glimpse of more things about about Gabe that have gone unnoticed until this holiday. The Big "A" was out and taking no survivors.

Sometimes it takes new places to really "see" Gabe. His eye contact with people outside our family, requesting things with other people and social abilities all come into perspective outside our realm as a family unit. We watched as we implemented opportunities for generalization and they failed over and over. Am I being too hard on him? Was it a crazy time? Yes and No. Did I give him slack? You bet. But all that we gained had seemed to be replaced with stimming, no eye contact, absent two word requests, gibberish, not eating food unless fed, Is this what it is going to be like outside of our "norm"? How do you generalize when you've "lost" the ability to reach the person? He was gone. Too much noise? Nope. Too many people? Maybe-8 people. It was a slap in the face of reality. I needed it. I had written about Gabe's diagnosis in our Christmas letter to all our family members (except mine, a whole another blog) and I think that helped. He no longer was aloof and ignoring people, he had a reason for his behavior. It eased the expectations.

This Program/School for Gabe is about $9,000 every 3 months (per semester). That's about $36,000 a year. I don't think my college tuition per year cost that much and I went to a state university. I can't go back to work to pay for it, because he has to be picked up around noon everyday and we live about an hour away. I did check back in on the Early On Program offered through the State and school district-No ABA, No RDI, No Floortime, No Kauffman Cards, NOTHING even remotely associated with Autism and its therapies and practices. He would have gone for 3 hours a week, with only a 1/2 hour speech per week for someone who has almost a two year deficit in language. Gabe would be going through the motions of what a preschool setting would entail. My son can barely speak, barely feed himself, and they want to socialize him. I am at a loss for words....

Ooops.....Gotta go....SD has 40 Year Old Virgin in Queue ...I need a good laugh. Take Care!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

One star review...

Restaurante Mommy Review by Gabe
Rating based on 5 stars
Ambiance ***--
(Christmas music, my favorite)

Decor ****-
(Snowman placemats add a nice touch)

Quality of Food ***--
(Mostly Heinz or Gerber stage 3 babyfood
I recommend the Banana Strawberry as an
appetizer, Entree- Green beans and rice)

Service *****
(Outstanding- Milk is always cold)

Authenticity *----
(Very poor-Sometimes food is not what it seems!)

Meet Our Critic - Gabe

We are having the hardest time moving onto table food. This look of pain and angst was created by putting the tiniest sliver of a cooked apple that Gerber has as finger foods on his dinner plate. We pulled out every reinforcer we had. ABA was on high alert and we were going to get him to try it...just lick it..put it to his mouth, ANYTHING. We promised suckers, candy, sugary cereal,whatever we could. He got as far as putting it on his spoon and then burst into tears. Screaming at the top of his lungs, pushing chair away from the table and refusing all food after that.

What's strange is he does like apples. Apples as babyfood only. What is going on here???? He has no problem eating chips, rice cakes, FRENCH FRIES, ice cream, cake, cookies, Licking rocks (See past post "You can take my floaty..") So, he does not have an eating issue, motor wise. I'm at a complete loss. Our old OT did get him to try some things, but we could never reproduce it at home. Or she had so many toys going that it seemed unnatural. We actually tried that route. The toys got expensive, because the stakes were always going up and he would let you feed him, but he was not going to put it in his own mouth-NO WAY! It looks almost painful. I imagine it to be like someone forcing me to eat the mush inside a lima bean or worse a garbonzo bean.YUCK! With a capital Y. I can totally understand not wanting to eat some things, but mostly everything?

To Gabe's credit, he did try by putting it on his spoon. He also has gone from eating only some stage 2 foods to quite a few stage 3 babyfoods the last 7 months. Maybe another year until table food? He still says "Fen Fie?" when we pass a McDonald's, Wendy's or Burger King. I always answer with " How about a burger to go with that?"

Friday, December 16, 2005

On a lighter, more kooky note...


Well not exactly....

Both kids were home all day Thursday, thanks to alot of snow. You know what that means to us? Laundry Basket Day!!!!! My children are free to play in the laundry baskets. Silly as this may sound...even a bit Kooky, but this is like getting a new car to them. Glorious as it may sound, there is something special to these baskets. What makes them sooooo great is not the rock bottom price you can purchase them for, but ...this is the kicker....they have magical powers. How you may ask? Why these baskets??? Asked Boo one day. Because I said they did. And so created the magical laundry baskets.

In the pictures above, my kids are pretending to be squirrels in their "nests". We watched one outside our window for awhile, gathering nuts and climbing trees. Then, Boo wanted to BE a squirrel. How do you play squirrel? Ah HA! I made each one their own "nest", created by the magical laundry basket. They both had a blanket to cover themselves with when I made a winter storm come (I made loud wind noises and tickled them). I got wooden beads out and placed them around the room and they had to gather them and put them in their home. Gabe surprising watched Boo and imitated her. He was having fun, not sure he knew he was supposed to be a squirrel, but... it was too funny.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Realizations for today

Some realizations that I made today-

1. After watching Gabe's 1st Speech Therapy session from 6 months ago, I realized that through the entire half hour his therapist worked with him he had not said a single word. Not because he chose not too, but because he couldn't. In fact, he had no means to communicate, no signs, no imitations, not even with prompting. I didn't even know my child was completely non-verbal 6 months ago.

2. I read about 30 blogs on Autism daily, some are of children in their teens with Autism, some high functioning, some not. Those blogs leave me wondering, how cute will some of the things Gabe does now like sucking his fingers and screaming in a high pitch be when he's 16+ years old?

3. What happens when the therapy fails?

4. If stimming and sucking on things is a means for my son to cope in our world, who the hell am I to take that away?

5. Is this a race I think we can win? I sometimes think with enough therapy and intervention, he could be mainstreamed, maybe even without an aide. I have days I truly believe that. I forget that Autism will still be at the finish line...waiting. Deep down, I secretly want to believe Gabe will be cured and the unknowing will be over.

6. Am I just teaching correct responses? Does it make any sense to Gabe? Why would he want to put the Fisher Price person in the bed, when it is so much more interesting to put them in and out of the door?

7. Am I trying to change someone I love into something their not? I want to believe that to function in society, you need certain tools. Tools that Gabe is lacking. How do you send your child to the wolves after years of telling him everything he thinks is right is all wrong? That in order to function he has to not be himself. What a lonely and confusing journey that would be.

8. I honestly believe that I have been on a quest to "cure" Gabe the last 6 months. Although genuine and sincere, I have to admit to myself, today, that Gabe will not be cured. He will not be like the boy next door. I saw the difference in that little boys eyes today when he looked at me. He saw me. I don't think Gabe has ever looked at me that way. I think a part of me died today outside in the snow.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


The Ginger Bread Houses In all Their Glory.....

One piece of candy....
Two Pieces...

Here's Gabe's house. Every piece of candy
was tasted before being displayed!
He had some help from SD (Super
Daddy), mostly just the path.

Below is Boo's incredibly creative house.
She really wanted to eat the ginger
bread cookies that came with
it. I had to say no, because
she has a severe
peanut allergy.
I never knew I could hate
a little peanut so much.
We found out she was
anaphylatic to peanuts
one year before finding
out Gabe was Autistic.
Talk about a double whammy.

So, every year I buy the supplies to make ginger bread houses. I absolutely love doing this with my kids and highly recommend it to anyone who wants something to do that's festive on a cold Sunday. This year I chose Costco's kit and I must say it is so much better than the Target one I bought last year. It had more frosting and it came with a plastic bottom that had insets where the pieces for the house sat for extra support. Last year with the Target ginger bread house, I used toothpicks and crossed my fingers. It ended up looking like a slanted/shack house. It only lasted about 1 week until Gabe-zilla came. Boo made the only one last year. This year they both made wonderful houses. Gabe did great, although he licked almost every piece of candy he put on it . He also took his finger and wiped part of the "snow" off the roof. It's funny that he doesn't seem to have any sensory issues with candy. Hmmmmmm.

Just a quick note, I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on this. Gabe has started to suck on his three right hand fingers. It started about 2 weeks ago. We thought it could be because he had a cold and his throat maybe hurting him. Now, we can't get him to stop and his cold is long gone. What's going on? He never was a thumb sucker or anything. Any ideas?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I cursed myself

Alright...I take it back. I still mean it, BUT I will only think it than write it. Now can we all just go back to our "normal" lives??? In my last blog I stated that I am thankful for my "fantastically unpredictable boy". I've change my mind. I really have about the unpredictable part. What was I thinking? Actually I do know now...

This is what I was thinking (He's doing awesome through ABA. He's not that different than other 2 1/2 year olds).....But this is what I know now. Since Gabe's diagnosis last March, our family has been living in the "Gabe" world. Everything revolves around him. It gets old after awhile for everyone and the "he needs us" quickly changes to "what about me?"Boo wants to go to a friends house to play, well, I have to bring Gabe. Sometimes I drop her off, but it has to be around "his schedule". If he does come....Is their house safe? Will they leave out snacks? Will he let her play with her friends? Can he unlock their front door? Will he have fun? I had stressed myself out so much about it, that I have left the NT world completely. I didn't even realize I was doing it until I called some of the moms who I used to hang out with a lot to make playdates. They had their kids signed up in activities at the library, swimming lessons, other playdates etc. Everything I used to do. I have been so wrapped up with the training at Gabe's school in ABA that I missed all those opportunities. And after today, I don't think I could do it anyway.

The first time I almost cried today......I was at the library getting ready to check out our stuff and get the kids' coats on, when a group of children Gabe's age start coming in with their mom's to go to their "storytime" at the library. I looked around and all the children were quietly taking off their coats, reading a book with mom or doing a puzzle. It looked like a Norman Rockwell painting....except for Gabe. Gabe had left the children's area and was B-lining to the front door. I caught up to him and he does the limp noodle. I start to lift him up and the screaming starts. I'm now dragging his body back to were his coat is, in the middle of "the painting", and he has his shirt almost up and over his head. He gets very slippery when he does the limp noodle. Finally...coats on....Off we go...Now where did I leave my dignity?????? The librarians at our library do not like to be librarians and snarl at you when you check out books. I took a survey of my friends and it is not just me. I can feel her growl at me while she sloooooowly checks out our books. She's also watching Gabe stand at the handicapped button to the door, continuously pushing it, watching the door open and and close. was getting cold in there. Sad to say this, but I wanted the evil woman to feel my hell. I thought she was going to hit me with a book when Gabe just stood there, button pushed, door wide opened. What did I care, she would have her life back when I left.

Second time I almost cried.......Target. After the library incident, I just couldn't go home. It was not even noon yet and much of the day was still left. I thought I would go get the new Fisher Price Zoo that has the alphabet and an animal for each letter That would surely make the afternoon much more fun! Not there, no zoo. Light Bright? Nope. New playdough stuff? Not much. Yikes. Now I was desperate. Off to the craft isle. Got that...Got that..No good...."Oh, Hi!...." I bump into a great mom that I knew from a mom's group that I used to really be part off. She also has a younger sister that grew up with Aspergers. Last time I saw her, we met at a water spray park and Gabe had tripped and hit his face on a bench. It was bloody and horrifying. That's another moment in my life that I wanted to cry, because I wanted to hold Gabe, but at the time, when he was hurt, that only made it worse. That's a whole other blog.....So, her cutie, who is younger, but somehow actually bigger than Gabe (Gabe is big for his age) is sitting as wonderfully as can be in his shopping cart. What is Gabe doing? Oh, he is trying to scale down out of the cart with wet fruit snacks stuck to his pants. They're wet, because he wouldn't eat them, just liked sucking on them.
"How is Gabe doing?" she asks.
I try to put Gabe back in the cart and the screaming and the stiffness in his legs begin. He will not sit down and his record for staying by me today has been terrible.
I say."Great! His school has really helped him."
I wanted to say..."Shitty! This sucks! Why ? Oh why God is he doing this to me?"
She senses my stress and says "she'll let me go and have a great Christmas!"
"You too.."
Goodbye NT world.

Monday, December 05, 2005

10 Random Things about myself:o)

Here goes... for Irish at Sometimes Holland Feels like Hell (
(P.S. You have to check out her blog. I read it almost everyday)

I have to post 10 random things about myself and then infect 10 others to do the same. (I'm not sure I can think of 10 more, I don't know many other bloggers. You chose some of the ones I would've chosen...Hmmmmm)

1. I secretly love doing these questionnaires, but can't ever figure out what to write when I get chosen.

2. I would love to wear a pair of those low, low cut jeans, if it wasn't for the "plumber" issue and forgetting where I left my six pack.

3. I used to be part of a group in high school that called themselves "The Squids" because we were so Goth. I think I wore nothing but black for 6 years.

4. I met my husband through 6 years ago, because a friend convinced me to fill out the incredibly long survey through that website. Little did I know, that "friend" really wanted to marry me.

5. I wish my husband liked to go out to cool bars and socialize, but then I like how he keeps me grounded.

6. I thought my husband drove a really fancy sports car when I met him, but it was just a 1990 Celica.

7. I miss having short spikey hair, but I'm growing it long again so I do not have to hear from my daughter that boys have short hair. I liked it when she told me my hair was sooooooooo pretty when it was long.

8. I wish I had money for lipo under my chin.

9. I get goosebumps when a room is laid out so that it is not only aesthetically pleasing, but functional. (I'm a geek for interior design)

10. Last one......I think Autism brought my son and I closer. Closer than I thought ever imaginable. Sometimes, in a twisted sorta way, I am grateful that God gave me such a unique and fantastically unpredictable little boy. I do love surprises.

The following have now been Infected- Have fun!
Mom-Not otherwise specified
Rockstar Mommy
Gretchen's Blog
My Beautiful Child Griffin
Adventures in Autism

Dear Noah
Another Day, Another Diaper

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Hoooray for Fiber Optics!!!Hoooray!

Both my children have their own tree to decorate. Here Gabe is this year.
He was having a blast putting the ornaments on. It's a fiber optic tree, rainbow lights and all.
Very tacky...we call it "Tack-a-licious!" It is so tacky it's fabulous.
The picture below was Gabe last year decorating his first tree.
We got them both larger trees
because the ornaments were getting bigger than the trees!

Below is our big tree. All our "good" ornaments are on our mantel, nestled in garland. I just know they are going to touch the tree, so we put stuff on like toys and stuffed animals so that they can. That way everyone can enjoy the tree.

"Oooooohhhhhh....It's beginning to look... a lot .....Christmas. Lalalalalalaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" That seems to be the theme around here. Ever since it snowed a beautiful ,powdery white, we have all been enjoying the initial love of winter. We will build towering snowpeople, sled as if we are in the Olympics, throw snowballs fast from "the pitcher's mound", and slide across the driveway gracefully in our boots, arms outstretched like ice skaters. Oh, the love of winter in December is wonderful. In march, however, the glory has long gone and Michiganders begin to curse at the once majestical snow.

Now, drum roll pleeeeeease........Taaaaaa....Daaaaaa! THE GINGERBREAD HOUSES!!!!!!!! OOOOOOOH and AAAAAAAAAAAAH!
Aaaaaaaaaaannnnd NOW!
I guess blogger will not let me post more pictures.

Till next time.....
Will we ever see the elusive Gingerbread Houses? Will I ever stop swearing at the computer?
Will blogger see the light that I NEED lots and lots of pictures on my blog???
TO BE CONTINUED.........................................