Posted in autism, Autism awareness, Autism life, Being a mom, blessed, Children, Children with disabilities, family, foster parent life, life, love, Mom life, RAD, thankful

The Different Emotions of Vacation

Last week my husband and I took our kiddos on vacation, even our oldest son got to go with us this year.  The idea of us going out of our comfort zone of home for a week was down right freighting to me.  With wild mans autism he prefers to stay home where he knows his surroundings and knows what he can and can’t do.  With diva, you never know when her RAD will surface and disrupt the day.  I was not looking forward to a week of the unknowns at all.  I am sure I’m not the only mother that feels like this.  So many different emotions surfaced throughout the week.

 

EXCITEMENT:

Saturday morning the kids woke up around 6.  We loaded up the last of the “must haves” in the van and headed out.  Have you ever packed for eight people?  The amount of clothes, toys, snacks, drinks, and bedding quickly filled the back of our 12 passenger van. The excitement that filled the van made me happy.  We were pulling out of the driveway when the first showing of “LAND BEFORE TIME”  made its appearance on the DVD player.  The kids love Littlefoot, Sarah, Ducky, and Spike.  It’s one of the few things all five agree on.  For the next 7 hours the excitement built.  I can’t wait to see the ocean!!  I can’t wait to go swimming in the pool!!! I can’t wait to stay up late!!! ARE WE THERE YET??!!!  The closer we got the more giggles and and more more questions we heard.

Big Al was not a fan of the ocean so his first day of vacation started off by searching for sea shells.  To his delight he found several shells to his liking.  Excitement filled the air when he discovered a large brown rock that he insists is dinosaur poop.  He carried said dinosaur poop around as if it was the Vince Lombardi Trophy.  Every day after that initial find he surveyed the beach looking for more dinosaur poo.  No rock was safe.  We have a bucket of dinosaur poo that now sets at the end of his bed.   Oh the joy of boys.

OVERWHELMED:

Panic sat in when my in-laws called to give us the news about our house we had rented.  They arrived to our beach rental before we did.  The owner of the house was still in the house.  Her mother had came down to visit the week before.  The night before we were scheduled to start our vacation in her home her mother fell and broke her leg/hip, meaning they would not be leaving the house.  The rental company had tried calling us all morning to work something out with us ( according to the messages on my phone when we got back home they called us 12 times) but were calling the house number not my cell number.  As my mother in law told me what was going on I became overwhelmed.  I had rented the house because it was child friendly,  It had a pool in case wild man could not handle the noise of the ocean.  It had a bedroom set up with two sets of bunk-beds so all the kids could be in one room which would be easier for me to “bed hop” when they could not sleep because they were not in their own beds.  It had extra locks on the doors so I would not worry (as much) about wild man escaping.  I had spent weeks looking and securing the perfect rental house.  How would they find me something comparable in just a few hours.  When we arrived to the new rental, I must say I was impressed. The rental agency had given us and upgrade, a beach front upgrade.  We still had a private pool and there was a bedroom for everyone.  Instead of having to walk a block to the beach we could now be on the beach in just a few steps.  The agency told us they would help us with anything we needed and apologized for having to move us.  I packed sheets for bunk-beds not queens so they brought us sheets and a pack-n-play for baby girl to sleep in.  I went from being overwhelmed with fear to being overwhelmed with gratitude.

 

AGGRAVATION: 

We were at the beach all of a few hours before diva’s RAD started rearing its ugly head.  You can’t baby her when it surfaces, but her grandparents can’t help but baby her. I know they mean well, but it really does not help her or us. No matter what I did for her it was wrong.  I could not comb her hair right, I could not put on her bathing suit right, heck I could not even make her lunch without her screaming at me and saying ” I just quit.  You are being so mean to me.”   She had them eating out of the palm of her hands and she knew it.  Because her dad and I were “so mean” she got to go on not one but three outings with them.  Just her and them.  Once they took her for a walk in the beach to look for sea shells.  The second trip, we had decided to take the kids on a golf chart ride around the isle while my in-laws went down the road to do a little shopping.  Diva did not want to go on the ride so she began to stomp around and fuss that she didn’t want to go.  I tried to talk her into it but she saw them looking at her so she began to scream and they didn’t want her upset so they took her shopping with them.  As she walked out the door she looked back at me and just smiled.   The third outing they were running out to the store for groceries, diva and Big Al had been arguing, so naturally they took her so she did not have to “put up with him being mean to her” Aggravated does not cover what I was feeling.  I was aggravated at the situation not at my inlaws, let me make that clear. They only want what’s best for her.   It’s not fair to the other kids, she manipulates the situations and she got rewarded for it.  We have spent months trying to move forward and it all went down the drain because she refused to listen to us. RAD, ADHD, and FASD are not things we just made up in our heads. Her actions made for a long week. Today at the house was awful, she kept screaming and trying to start fights. When I told her to stop her response was “I will just call my grandparents they will take my side”  Lovely….just lovely.  

 

HAPPY:

Wild man was so scared of the ocean the last time we went.  The noise hurt his ears and the sand sent his sensory issues into overdrive.  So I was nervous to go back this year.  For weeks before our trip he would talk about the water and how he hoped to see a shark.  Thankfully we did not see any sharks, but what we did see brought tears to my eyes.  As my husband held his hand and walked him out to see the ocean shortly after we arrived my heart raced.  My oldest son held tight to Big Al and Elmo while my father in law had Diva.  Instead of running back to the house like he did a few years ago, wild man ran into the ocean, magic pajama pants and all.  He had found his peaceful place.  He played hard in the water and loved every minute of it.  He even played in the pool once we managed to get him out of the ocean.  All week he looked forward to going out and swimming in the great big blue ocean.  I have never seen him more at peace than what I did there.   Just thinking about it makes me smile and makes me happy.  

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Wild man taking on the ocean
Other happy moments included watching the kids blow bubbles off the deck, getting baby girl to say cheese when she saw the camera, eating ice cream cones after every meal, and seeing the kids enjoy themselves playing with their dinosaurs and play-dough.  Celebrating Diva’s 7th birthday was lots of fun at the beach.  I was happy to see my husband be able to relax for a few days.

SURPRISED:

I was surprised that by children made the trip ( it took us 7 hours to get down there and 8 hours to return home) without anyone getting sick in the car or peeing in their car seat.  I was surprised that we watched most of the 14 different Land Before Time videos and no one fussed about wanting to watch something else.

THANKFUL:

I am thankful for the beautiful works of art God provided in the sky each morning.   His mix of colors in the morning sky is simply breathtaking . I am thankful that God found a way to make me a mom to seven unique kids.  I am thankful my oldest son got to go to the beach with us and for the time we got to spend together.  I am thankful for my husband who works so had to provide moments like this for us.

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As a mom I know there really is no such thing as a vacation for me.  I was still the one up with the kids at all hours of the night when they could not sleep or if baby girl needed a bottle. I woke up between 5 and 6 every morning because wild man does not sleep in just because its summer break and we are on vacation. I still did the laundry and fixed their meals.  I worried, I rejoiced, and I cried.  Being a mom is the most rewarding and hardest job I have ever done.  I am tired, I am unsure of myself, I am loved, I am hated, I am scared, I am hurt, and I am sure I would do it all again.

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We survived our vacation. We had a few bumps in the road but overall we made some great memories.  I can’t ask for anything better than that.

From our beautiful chaos to yours  take time to feel every emotion God gives you.  Emotions are powerful embrace them.

 

Posted in autism, Autism awareness, Autism life, Being a mom, blessed, Children, Children with disabilities, family, foster parent life, life, love, Mom life, thankful

Summer Days and Autism

Aw summer. Time for relaxing by the pool, drinking mimosas, and sleeping in.  Oh wait I forgot I don’t have a pool, nor do I drink, and my six year old is autistic so sleeping in to him means 5AM.  Oh the joys of long summer days.

We started our official summer break two weeks ago.  And since then I can’t recall a single shower or trip to the bathroom that I’ve not had an audience of some sort. I swear I know more than get in the bathroom door and they line up knocking to ask me life’s important questions: Why are you in there?   Did dad go to work?  Can I eat these?  Can you open this? Why does the baby smell so weird?   All questions that to them can’t wait five minutes for me to get out of the restroom.

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With wild man he needs a routine.  He needs to know what is going to happen from the time he gets up till the time he goes to bed.  He likes it that way.  So with the school days behind us he has started his own daily routine of things that I thought I would share.

Thanks to the Sprout channel, I am reliving the all famous Teletubbies.  The kids love them.  I thought for sure my time with these brightly colored singing wonders was long over after my older children out grew of them.  I was sadly mistaken.   Wild man loves the Teletubbies, the bright colors, the songs, the movements.  He takes it all in.  And now he is sharing this love with his younger siblings.  Elmo loves the color green so naturally he is Dipsy.  Big Al is the tallest so he is Tinky-Winky.  There’s not a pink but red is close enough for diva so she is Po.  That leaves yellow Laa-laa for wild man. Baby girl just dances around and giggles. They spend the mornings, while waiting for the sun to dry the dew off the grass, acting out their favorite parts of the show or making up their own story lines.

telletubbies

And then we have the name and question game.  While he loves Teletubbies he also loves annoying orange.  (I know completely different yet he loves them both.  And yes I know its not the best thing for him to watch so please keep your negative comments to yourself)  Since the Annoying Orange trend started with him, he has given everyone in the family and a few close friends nicknames that we all go my now.  For instance he calls me Apple now.  His dad is coconut. The list includes his siblings which he has named: Kiwi = big sissy her boyfriend is banana, Tug boy= big bubby, little apple= diva, marshmallow= Big Al, Tomato= Elmo (because he hates tomatoes and wild man finds it funny, and baby girl is Pear.  My parents are Onion (my mom) and cabbage (my dad)  while my husband’s parents are blueberry (husbands mom) and blackberry(husbands dad).  My brother is cookie while his kids are carrot and bindi. My grandmother even has the nickname of candies. And a few close friends are pineapple and peach.  One of my best friend and her daughters are potato, butter and gray.  While another is cheese (or cheese head but in all fairness she does live in Green Bay, WI) Every day, I mean every day, he will stop what he is doing to come climb on my lap and ask what each and every person is doing.  Where is kiwi and banana today? Are they coming for a visit?  Is onion at work? Is cabbage at his house?  He starts at the top of the list and works all the way down.  Asking something about each and every person he has nicknamed.  After the questions stop then this conversation starts:

wild man” HEY APPLE” “HEY APPLE”

me: What?

Wild man “blender”

me:  AYYYYYYYY

kids: laughing

It’s an Annoying Orange thing.  He says blender( or any object for that matter) I yell the kids laugh it repeats.  Sometimes for minutes sometimes for an hour.  Just depends on them.  Again I know the show is not great, don’t judge me.  We all have our weak moments in parenting.  It makes him happy and to me that’s important.

Once the grass drys its time to get outside and play.  He loves to be outside more than anything.  He could swing for hours.  Baby girl is still getting use to having everyone home all day everyday.  She is not liking sharing momma with the rest of the kiddos.  So while the bigger kids are outside swinging and hunting for dinosaur eggs she is all cuddled up trying to squeeze in a quick nap on momma’s lap.  She has defiantly become more clingy over the past few weeks.

After lunch its time to play school.  The school system here is fantastic.  The kids received backpacks filled with coloring books, easy read books, math, reading and social studies work books, flash cards and crayons.  Everything they would need to keep up with their studies over the summer. The funny thing is they love to do their “studies” after lunch, even the two little guys.  They actually ask for it.  While they work hard doing their math sheet or their coloring page, I pull out one of the books and read to them.

 

The fact that wild man is doing any of this things with his siblings this year amazes me. He does more parallel play than actual playing in most cases.  He has come so far since the move.  A year ago he would have been in another room while they watched TV, or if they came outside he went inside, or if we were at the table he would be wondering around the house.  But now he is trying to be with us, in his terms.  And his siblings and I love it. This could turn out to be an amazing summer.

At night he has a routine as well.  After he is all tucked in under his airplane sheets he has three things that must be done. First he sings his ABC’s both forward (A,B,C,D,E,etc ) then in reverse (Z,Y,X,W,V, etc). Second he recites the Pledge of Allegiance. And then he prays. While he says his prayers he thanks God for his apple and his coconut. He thanks God for his siblings, kiwi, tug boy, little apple, marshmallow, tomato, and pear.  He thanks God for the good day he had and asks God to help him sleep.  It’s the same prayer night after night word for word but it is the sweetest prayer I have ever heard.

My days may start early and my bathroom breaks may now draw a crowd, but I love being their mom.  Some days are down right exhausting but I would not trade them for anything.

His superpower is Autism what’s yours?

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Posted in autism, Autism awareness, Autism life, Being a mom, blessed, Children, Children with disabilities, family, life, love, Mom life, thankful

We Had a Breakthrough…He tried Pizza!!

When wild man was two, he ate like any normal two year old.  We could go out and eat just about anywhere. By the age of two and a half he had stopped eating.  Back then we knew something was different.  He did not talk like other two year-old’s, he did not make eye contact, he would sit and line cars up for hours, he did not play with others he preferred to be by himself. He is destructive. He can tear through a clean room faster than anyone I know leaving a trail of broken toys and books in his path.  Back then we knew but didn’t want to know.  We contributed his delays to his unique begin and brought in early intervention workers to help get him caught up.  By the age of three we had a diagnosis, he was autistic.

My older two children were what I would call picky eaters. But even they would eat chicken, pizza, and pastas. I have had many people tell me, “If he were mine he would eat what I fix or not eat at all” or “Why don’t you  just make him eat.”  Autism does not work that way.  Wild mans diet consists of Stage two Gerber peas, orange creme yogurt,  KFC mash potatoes ,bread sticks, Cheerios, Trix, Pringles honey stix’s, fruit snacks, french fries,peanut butter and chips Dill pickle flavored or cheese flavored.  That’s it.  He will drink water, apple juice, Kool Aid, and milk.  He just turned six.  And even though his food choices are limited he is a happy healthy little boy.

I packed his lunch everyday this school year.  He ate with the regular kindergarten class and it did not take long for one of the little boys to make fun of him eating stage two peas.  Those are for babies are YOU a baby?  He came home and said, No eat peas momma I no baby.  I called the school to see what happened and was told the story.  The teacher talked with the little boy but the damage was already done.  And with one child in the class allergic to peanuts wild man’s limited list of foods was now down by two.  But we managed and made it through the school year.

For the last few days, he has been on this “Let me made food” kick.  He has help cut up vegetables, buttered bread, and tried his hand at making smoothies.  He is becoming a fine little chief.  If only he would eat what he made.   Well yesterday he decided he wanted pizza.  We turned on the over and got all the ingredients ready.  I keep it simple, pepperoni and cheese. He was so excited.  He arranged the pepperoni in straight lines and made sure there was enough cheese to cover all the sauce and crust.  He watched it bake while he reminded me it was the longest 15 minutes of his life.   When it was done I removed it from the oven so it could cool.  That’s when it happened.

 

      HE ASKED FOR A PIECE OF PIZZA!!!!

Pizza, Food, Italian, Cheese

At first I thought I misunderstood him.   I looked at him and asked, Did you say you want  a piece of pizza?  Yes momma,  I want that one (pointing to the square piece perfectly in the middle)  Alright then, let me get it for you.  Thanks momma, thanks alot. He was all smiles.  My husband and I stared at each other.  I quickly got everyone’s plates together and told my husband to get a plate for wild man.  If he asked for that piece of pizza he was going to get it.  My husband placed the plate in front of wild man at the table.  He looked at it and then sniffed it.  Again he smiled.  He looked over at me and asked, Me eat now momma?  Yes baby you can eat now.  So he touched it, he moved the pepperoni around, he pulled the cheese off, and then he took a bite.  And he swallowed.  Momma me not like the bread.  He said.  That’s okay buddy you don’t have to eat the crust.  Okay momma thanks.  So he sat at the table, picking at the pepperoni and at the cheese.  He licked the sauce off the crust and he ate dinner with us.  For the first time in over four years all of my kids were at the table eating the same thing….pizza.  And it was wonderful.   We have had pizza many nights for dinner over the last six years, why he decided last night he would eat it I will never understand, but I am ever so grateful he did.

To most this might not be a big deal.  It may sound silly.  To us this is huge.  For him to be able to try a new food without throwing up is a major accomplishment.  For him to sit at the table with us and staying with us for the full dinner is major.  The whole night was a miracle. For in that twenty minutes we were just a normal family.

 

Nothing about autism is normal.  Some days are just plain hard, but nights like last night give us hope.  Doctors told us he would not talk, yet at five he said his first sentence.  We were told he might not walk or run do to injuries that took place before he found his was into our home, but he not only runs he climbs and jumps.  When man says you can’t Our God says YES YOU CAN!! It’s all in His precious timing.

Wild man may never eat pizza again, or it could become one of his stable foods, only time will time. It may take another four years before he tries something new.  And that’s okay also.  For now we will celebrate the small victories because life is about the small victories.

 

From our beautiful chaos to yours celebrate in all things big and small.

Posted in adoption, autism, Autism life, Being a mom, Children, Children with disabilities, family, foster parent life, life, love, Mom life, RAD

Summer Vacation

via Daily Prompt: Survive

 

The school year has come to an end.  We survived our first year in our new state and in our new schools.  While most parents get excited that the longer days of summer are quickly approaching I for one almost dread it.  Summer means all the children will be home 24/7 and this year, this summer will be the first summer I will be without the help of my older two kids.  Lord give me guidance for I am in uncharted territory.

Let me start off by saying, my kids are my world, anyone that knows me knows this to be true.  However I have one child with RAD and ADHD and one with autism and three under the age of four.  Sometimes, most of the time, their is no peace in the house if they are all together.

We have reached the point where our almost seven year old (RAD) notices that our six year old (autistic) does not have to do the same things she does and does not have the same consequences she does.  This has become a daily problem for her.  And to be honest how do you explain to a seven year old that her brother is treated different because of his disability?  All she shes is that he does not get in trouble for things like she does.  We try our best to be fair but we are human so I am sure we have messed up from time to time.  We have been out of school for four days now and the time out chair is already getting its workout in.  And don’t get me started on her thoughts about the other three little ones.  I know its not her, I know its all the pain from her birth parents, I know she takes it out on me because in her eyes I replaced her mom so therefore I am as bad as she is, but man some days are hard.

Last summer, I was fortunate to have our oldest daughter with us.  She came down after her junior semester was over and helped us get settled in to the new house.  It was nice having an extra set of hands during the day.  She does so well with all of them, especially with our wild man.  The two of them can spend hours together lining up his cars or playing with his Lego’s.  She is his favorite thing in the whole wide world.  He feels safe to just be himself around her.   With her here I was able to take care of our other little ones. Of course there were days that meltdowns happened, but having someone else here to help buffer was a blessing.  I already miss her this summer.

My husband helps when he can, however he is the one that provides for us.  He works a 40 hour a week job that normally turns into closer to 50 or 60 a week.  By the time he gets in he is exhausted.  He comes home most nights around 7pm sometimes later but rarely at the 5 o’clock hour.  He helps with baths and helps get them to bed. He is looking forward to our family vacation to the beach in a few weeks.  I wish I could say the same.

Vacation to most means relaxation, fun, sleeping in, dinning out at new places, and taking a moment for yourself.  Vacationing for me makes me anxious. The packing and repacking.  The food list.  The activities to take for the car ride, the 7 hour car ride. I know wild man’s sleep pattern will be off because he will not be in his own bed.  It will be days before he gets a good night sleep if it happens at all.  I will spend the first few hours at the house we rented child proofing and making sure he can’t hurt himself and making sure our three little ones can’t get into anything either.  I will check and recheck the locks on the doors to makes sure he can’t get out.  I will make sure the fence around the yard does not have any holes he can dig under.  I will stock up on stage two Gerber peas, because those are his comfort food and we will need his comfort food when he realizes we are spending the night in the strange house.  I will end up in the same room with him and baby girl I’m sure because when they wake up in the middle of the night they will not know where they are and instead of them trying to find me in the strange to them house it will just be easier for me to sleep in the extra twin bed.  Correction I will not sleep that week, for I am sure he will not sleep.  If he does mange sleep we will be up at his normal 4AM, autism does not sleep in even on vacation. We will not go out to new restaurants for dinner or lunch because the noise will be much to loud for him to handle.  And as for a moment to myself, well I have five little ones I can’t even go to the bathroom by myself.  I am thankful our oldest son is going with us.  The kids(and I) miss him not living here so it will be nice to have him with us for a week.

As for Diva she will be in heaven for her daddy and grandparents will be with us.  I know that the first day or so will be fine for she will be on her best behavior, like she always does around them.  I know though her behaviors will surface.  They always do.  Unless you live with RAD everyday you can’t understand the struggle’s we face daily.  The mood swings, the screaming, the always fighting are real and painful.  What if I’m not enough for them by myself this summer?  What if they need more of me than I can be? I really miss home in times like this.  My parents, friends, and in-laws.  Here its just me.  I hope we can survive  summer vacation.  GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

My prayer is that God will show me the way to make the most of this summer.  That He will show me how to be the best mom to each of my kids.  They all have pasts, they all of troubles and yet God chose me to be their momma.  Maybe He sees something in me that I don’t see.  Most days I think I’m an okay mom.  Some days however I know I’m not so great.  I don’t want to be perfect just better.

Earlier today I read a blog “Eighteen summers: It’s all we get, so this is my promise to you” over at simpleasthatblog.com  And it got me thinking.  With my oldest daughter I had 21 full summers, with my oldest son 17.  Time does go by so quickly.  I’m not going to lie and say that I am excited now to go on vacation since I read this blog, but I will say it opened my eyes.  I do want to see baby girl’s eyes when she sees the ocean for the first time.  I want to watch the boys run freely on the beach with the sand between their toes.  I want to hear the giggles and laughter coming from their rooms as my husband tucks them into bed each night.  I want to steal a moment under the stars with my head on his shoulder and breathe in all that God as blessed us with.  We will survive we always do, sometimes it just takes a little more work and patience to get to the end.

From our beautiful chaos to yours.  Summer can be hot, long and hard.  Not everyday will be sunshine.  God washes us with the rain from the storms.

Posted in adoption, autism, Autism awareness, Autism life, Being a mom, Children, Children with disabilities, family, foster parent life, life, love, Mom life

The Grocery store experience 

We all eat so therefore we must go to the grocery store. As a mother of five little ones I try my best to go when most of my little loves are at school. It’s both easier and cheaper on me.  However some days things don’t workout like I plan and I end up taking a few with me.  I’m sure we are entertaining for our fellow shoppers to watch. Which leads me to this blog.

A few days ago my youngest and I made a quick run to the local Food City before picking up the boys from preschool (I had ran out of coffee, I don’t function without coffee) Naturally she had been fighting sleep all morning so as soon as I placed her in the car she was out.  At this point I had a decision to make: go to the store anyway and hope she did not wake up or go get in the preschool pickup line early let and let her sleep and then take my three youngest to the store.  I did not feel like spending twenty extra dollars on cheap matchbox cars or whatever toy happened to catch my boys’ eyes so I opted to take my sleeping beauty to the store.  

I know we would not be long so I carried her. She did look sweet with her little head rested on my shoulder as I made my way up and down the aisles.  People stopped and let me cross in front of them or just stopped to smile at her.  The words “she precious” and “look how sweet she is” came out of more than a few mouths.  When I got to the register to checkout there were only two lanes opened. As I waited patiently a young clerk, early twenties max, came over and asked if I was ready to checkout. I told him I was, after all I was standing in line, and he took my little shopping chart and walked it over to lane 3.  He offered to carry my things out, but I told him I could manage and smiled. I grabbed my three bags in my right hand(I always buy more than what I go in for)  and out the door we went.  As we were walking out the door two more people stopped me and asked if they could help me to my car.

Why can’t people’s response be this way when I have my son with me?  

This question has made me both mad and hurt me over the last couple of days.


JR loves to spend time with me. The problem if we are anywhere other than our home his system goes into overdrive.  When I found out the grocery store had special needs shopping charts I was ecstatic.  The normal charts he can no longer get his legs in and if I place him in the chart there is no room for the groceries.  Does not sound like a big problem, but to an autistic six year old trust me it is. So about a month ago I decided to take him shopping with me.  Just me and him while my husband stayed home with our other kids.   He was so excited.  When he saw the chart his arms started flying. He giggled and said ” hey momma look at me” all through the store.  He is loud, he can’t help it.  He covered and uncovered his eyes a thousand times for the fluorescent lights hurt them. He covered his ears as we passed the cooler because the humming rolling off of them was loud.  He screamed when he saw the lobsters in the water tank. He didn’t notice the people starring at him. But I did. Some shook their heads while others whispered.  Times like these I am thankful for his autism for he does not see that they are judging him.  I even passed a store employee and I watched as her eyes traced my son as to say, ” why are you using that chart he looks perfectly normal”  I tried to let it go but I could not. I went up to the employee and told them to thank the store manager for getting the charts in. I made it a point to tell her he was excited to be able to go to the store with his mom and that I wished every store, not just grocery stores, had these charts.   She facial expression changed a little and she said she would be sure to tell the store owner. I thanked her and proceeded to go check out.  We waited our turn in the long line and not one person offered to help me and me wailing six year old to the car they were just happy to see us go.

I get it, babies are cute and sweet and everyone makes over them.  And for the record my daughter is adorable, however so is my son.  I’m so tired of the stares. And he is only six.  What will it be like when he turns 10, 16, or 21?  Why could they not see that he was just enjoying the day with his momma? Why would you ask a mom if she needed help with a sleeping baby and not ask to help a mom who’s child is having a meltdown?  I get so tired of the If you took him out more he would learn to behave comments.  It does not work that way, he does not work that way.  Why can people see what I see in him? 
From our beautiful chaos to yours look past the differences of others we are all beautifully made. 

Posted in adoption, autism, Autism life, Being a mom, Children, family, life, love, Mom life

Parenting is hard 

Yesterday was the worst. Plain and simple. Since we moved our children have been somewhat isolated from visitors.  Don’t get me wrong, we have had grandpa’s and grandma’s come down and a couple of family members have stopped by.  We have even had a few really close friends make the trip down to see us.  But the constant traffic of caseworkers and in home therapist have since came to a stop. 

And for the record, I am not great at making friends. Add on five kiddos and it becomes almost impossible.  I know I can hear some people shaking their heads right this moment while they say “she asked for it when she took in so many kids” and yes I know what I got myself into thank you.  I’m not trying to blame the kids in anyway, all I am saying is it’s easier to stay at home most of the time rather than tackle the chaos that is my little loves.  Trying to find time to make new friends is just not high on my priority list. But it’s been almost a year and I was thinking I needed to step out of my comfort zone and invite someone over.  After all what could possibly go wrong?   

I’m not sure what I was thinking when I had this brilliant idea.  It started off fine.  The kids and I were outside playing when our guest arrived.  They were running and playing and being normal fun loving children.  She and I sat in my living room and talked for a few minutes before things started going downhill. Diva and Big Al had gotten into an argument that somehow resulted in Elmo getting smacked in the face. So he was crying and the other two were screaming.  I excused myself to defuse the situation and quickly returned to my visit.  Within minutes Diva was slamming the door asking if she could play on a tablet because she “just hated her life and wished she lived somewhere else”. Thats now two crying.   I gave in and gave her the tablet (she normally does not get to just play on one but I really wanted some adult conversation) Biggest mistake ever!!!

As soon as she got it the fight was on.  And things only got worse. By the time my husband got home wild man was running around in his underwear (normal autism behavior but we have been trying to keep him clothed) Both of our three year olds were screaming, one had decided he was only eating candy and pop (soda) for dinner while the other one was just tired.  As for the baby she had graciously covered my soon to not be new friend in cheese puff dust. Diva was still screaming because life as a six year old is apparently the worst thing ever.  Oh and how did I forget to tell you that when my husband asked the kids to come inside so he could get them ready for dinner my wild man called him a Mother F@&$@r.  Yep the whole word. And repeated it three times (again one of his autism ticks) Plain as day, of course it was why wouldn’t it be.  The look on her face told me it was as pronounced prefectly. Lucky me. Apparently he unlocked the parent lock on his tablet and…..well he found Caillou. A very inappropriate version of Caillou. I assumed he was watching the PBS version. Lesson learned the hard way.

I was never so ready for someone to leave my house in my life.  And I’m pretty sure that possible friendship was over before it started.  Why oh why could they not behave for just a few hours for me? I mean seriously was it to much to ask? After a quick dinner, not the candy and pop the kids wanted, but cereal and juice. I’m sure it had just as much sugar in it as the candy would have(I know mom of the year but I just could not at that moment)

By 7:30, wild man, diva and Elmo were asleep(part of the problem I am sure) By 8:30 baby peanut was out. My husband and I had not said a word to each other since our friend left, I looked and him and said “I’m taking her to bed, you got him?” Pointing at Big Al who was tired but still going strong. He nodded his head yes, kissed me and off I went. I was embarrassed. I was angry . I was emotionally drained and I was at a loss for words. I know my kids are no angels but man, that was rough. 

I woke up this morning still in a funk. Still doubting my parenting skills and wondering why in the world God picked me to be their mom. Yesterday was a perfect example that I am not cut out for the job.  I went through our morning routine. Diva was still in a mood as well so she was running late.  My husband had to leave for work and could not wait any longer so I had to take her when I took the boys to preschool, which made her even more angry.  After dropping them off to their schools I headed over to the doctors office to get peanuts 18 month well child check up and shots.

I was still kind of upset with how my kids had behaved as I sat and waited for her to be seen. In the waiting room were two other families. One, a young mother and two kids. Her daughter about four years old and a newborn boy. The other, also a young mother, her mom, her newborn daughter and her son who was 15 months old.  The little boy quickly made his rounds over to my daughter and the four year old. The young moms started chatting about being moms and how it was now even harder with two.  As I held peanut on my lap I smiled a little at the conversation. The one young ladies mother quickly jumped in and said  “Well at least you waited a few years these two are barely 15 months apart” to the other young mom.  The conversation continued about how the little boy was so full of energy and how grandma was to tired to chase after him all the time.  The little girl spun around and around begging for juice while her mom dealt with her very fussy baby brother.  I could see the stress on both families faces.   The one mom was called back and grandma was suppose to watch the rambunctiousness little boy and his sleeping sister while mom went up and filled out paperwork. He was fast on his feet and before the grandmother knew it he was headed for the door.  She was able to grab him before he made his daring escape but she was winded.  She came back over to the waiting area and said ” I’m to old for this. I raised my two girls. All he wants to do is run run run. I’m 43 I’m to old to chase him down”.    43 is to old to chase a toddler?   I just turn 41. I sat in the waiting room with my daughter who is just a few months older than her grandson and let her words sink in.  She continued to complain about raising kids and talked about everything that could go wrong. When the other young mom committed that it was just her and her two kids (no dad in the picture I’m guessing) the grandmother quickly started down the “how are you going to do this by yourself? Parenting is hard” lecture. The young mom was fidgety in her seat and I guess that’s when grandma realized I was looking at her. In a very rough voice she looked at me and said “You’re lucky you just got the one” That’s when I opened my mouth.

I smiled and said that I actually had seven children. And I rattled off their ages “22, 18,6,6,3,3& this one is 18 months”. The room got quiet.  I went on to say that yes parenting is hard but it is by far the best thing I have ever done and that some of my kids were close in age and even though we had bad days the good days far out weighed them. I rambled on for a few minutes until she got my point. Both her daughter and the other young mom were smiling by the time I finished my little soap box talk. 

Peanut was called back, vaccination was given and out the door we went.  I had started off the day angry that my kids had misbehaved so badly the night before but by the time I was finished with the appointment I realized even they are entitled to a bad day every now and then my kids just picked the same day to have their bad day. I get in bad moods and don’t want to do anything. Aren’t kids just little humans? They have the same feelings and emotions the only difference is they don’t know how to express it. 

I did make a few rule changes and tonight was rough but we managed. The tablets and phones are gone, for now no more games or video watching on them. My husband threw out what was left of the Easter candy so that the kids (or us) would be tempted to eat it. Instead of them playing video games while I cooked they played with play dough and drew pictures, daddy worked late so we had to make due with what we could.  It was a long night but we made it through. 

That grandma was right, parenting is hard. There is no right way or wrong way. No matter what we do some will say we are to hard on our kids while others say we are to easy on them. Our kids are going to be good one day and not so good the next. And it does not matter if you have one child or if you have 20 children they are going to act up at some point when you really don’t want them to.  Their kids it’s what they do and how the learn. 

I’m thankful God placed that lady in my path today. By hearing her negative view on kids and live in general it reminded me just how blessed I truly am. And for that I am thankful. 

From our beautiful chaos to yours here’s to more peaceful tomorrow’s.

Posted in adoption, autism, Autism awareness, Autism life, Being a mom, Children with disabilities, family, foster parent life, Mom life

Simple trip to the Zoo

Tuesday was an exciting day for my five year old son. It was the big field trip to the zoo. For the last few weeks he had talked about “zoo day.”  We had spent hours looking at pictures of the different animals he would see there and learning the different sounds they made. He was excited and I was excited for him.

The permission slip was signed and his lunch was packed and the school had agreed to let his aid go with him. So on Tuesday he got up and got ready and out the door he went.  I dressed our other little ones and dropped them off to preschool and headed to the zoo. 

It was raining some but not enough to ruin the day. Wild man loves to play on the rain anyways so it did not even phase him.  He was all smiles.  He walked in between me and his aid “Ms T” and pointed out to everyone that his momma and baby sister was there.   He engaged well with the questions his aid asked him about the animals and he was eager to share his knowledge of his favorite ones.   My heart could not have been more full. 

He loved the giraffes
 

His class was given tickets to feed the giraffes.  I was not allowed (safety measures for the animals) to take the stroller passed a certain point, so he and Ms T went with the class so he could take his turn feeding the giraffe.  Pure joy came across his face as the giraffe took the carrot from his hand.  He clapped and jumped and smiled from ear to ear.  Life was good. 
When it was time for lunch we made our way over to the picnic tables so that the class could eat together.  The teacher and other staff passed out the brown bagged lunches the school sent and passed out the lunches the parents had sent.   My son sat patiently ( well as patiently as he can) waiting on his lunch.  The teacher asked me several times what I had sent his lunch in.  I replied, “I sent his green camouflage lunch box. The same lunch box he has used all year.”  They looked and looked and then sent someone to the bus to see if it was with another classes lunch.  The teacher then came over and looked at my son and asked him(and me) if he had taken it out of his backpack that morning.  My son’s reply “backpack backpack backpack” while clapping his hands in shear delight.  She then looks at me and says, “Well if he didn’t take it out of his backpack then it’s not here. We are working on teaching him to do things like that on his own.”  “We have an extra school lunch he can have if he wants.”  
Mad is an understatement.  First off, my son is still new to the “regular kindergarten room”. He goes to the regular room half a day and then to his autism classroom the other half and he has only been doing this about two months. He is still getting use to the idea and still learning the day in and day out routine of how things are done in a regular classroom. Second, he takes his lunch to school EVERYDAY because he has sensory issues that prevent him from eating “normal foods”.  Third, I get that they are trying to teach him to be independent however if you know he brings his lunch everyday would it have hurt to check his backpack that morning to make sure he took it out especially if you know he is still forgetting to take it out of his backpack?  I understand that the morning was most likely filled with chaos as the children were excited about the trip, but he is the only autistic child in the class one extra step would have changed the whole outcome of the day.   

We declined the lunch from school.  I am sure that the ham and cheese sandwich was delicious but my son does not eat meat. I do appreciate the teacher giving him her chips from her Subway meal she brought, I do really but I could tell she was not happy about it.   As I looked at him and then looked at all the other children eating their lunch I became aggravated.  This is Exactly why I was worried about him being placed in a regular classroom.  He looks normal and people overlook his abilities and lack of abilities.  But the truth is he is not like all kids his age.  What if I had not been there? Would anyone even noticed that he did not have a lunch?  

I seen the meltdown coming so I walked over to the little consession stand and paid $12 for two orders of nachos and cheese and two juices, one for him to eat and one for me to eat so he would understand it was safe to eat.  As I walked back over to the table I received the “we were told  to pack a lunch” head shakes and glares from some of the other parents while a few of the other kids wanted to know why my son got special treatment and got to eat from the consession stand when they were told they were not allowed.  At the end of the thirty minute lunch I was ready to scream.     

His aid was overly apologetic. She felt terrible that his lunch and been left at school.   She was sorry and I believed her. She went as far as to text my sons other teacher (the one in his autism classroom) to let her know he would need a snack when he got back to class. She could tell I was upset because my son was upset with the events that had taken place.  
As I left the zoo to pick up my preschoolers from class, my son was walking around with Ms T looking at the monkeys.  He was back to his happy go lucky self and I was thankful, still mad but thankful. 

As a mom I worry about things like this all the time. Is he being well cared for while at school? Is he making friends? Are other kids picking on him? Is he really adjusting to the new class or are they just overlooking him?  

And while I want to be mad(I am still pretty ticked) I am going to remember this day as a day my son played with the giraffes and talked to the zebras.  Yes we had a meltdown and people stared but at this point on our autism journey I don’t care.  It’s part of our life.  The smiles and laughs that day far outweigh the forgotten lunch. 
From our beautiful chaos to yours it’s not the situations that make us it’s how we react to them that shape us.

Posted in adoption, autism, Autism awareness, Autism life, Being a mom, Children, Children with disabilities, family, foster parent life, life, love, Mom life

Autism Awareness Month…Why My Son will never be Accepted 

Unless you live under a rock you know by know that April is Autism Awareness Month. Many people will be “supporting” awareness by making donations to local organizations or wearing their blue shirts or bragging about how they “one time helped an autistic child carry books to their class” on social media.  And while all of that is well and good, as an autism mom here is what I would have you do if I could. 
I want you to see my son through my eyes.  He is just a child. A wonderful little boy. Treat him as such!

My boy cheering on our favorite football team💛💚🏈

Don’t whisper things like “I bet life at home is hard with that one.” Or “She should bust his ass, my child would never act that way in public” Or the all famous “Control your kid, what a terrible mother she must be” line.   First off life at our home is just fine. At home our son is not judge for his actions that are out of his control, he has autism he does not see things they way you or I do therefore his behavior is different. Second, I’m thrilled your child behaves for you while you are out where everyone can see.  Truly I am. As for me, I don’t get to pick when or what will cause my son to have a meltdown, but I know busting his ass will Not make the situation any easier on any of us.  And third, I am controlling my kid, trust me on this one.

Me and my little guy enjoying some playtime a few years back

Don’t stare at him at the playground or make your children play somewhere else. As his mom all I want is for him to have the best childhood he can, just like you want for your child.  And while he will not notice that you are pointing at him and shaking your head…. I will notice.  He will not see that you quickly gathered your children up and moved them away from the swings and over to the sandbox…..but I will see and it hurts.  Playgrounds are suppose to be safe places where children can be just that… kids. Please help me help me child be “just a kid” for just a few minutes out of the day.

Wild man and his Papaw laughing at one of his airplane video’s

Don’t ask me if I’ve tried this or that to help with his eating habits or his outburst.  I know you mean well, I do, but autism is my life 24/7 if we thought it could help we have tried it.  As his mom do I want to see my almost six year old eat only yogurts, Barbecue potato chips, and stage two Gerber peas, the answer is no. Babies don’t even want to eat stage two peas. But I want him to eat so we take what we can get.  We have tried dairy free diets and gluten free diets and we have taken ideas from them and other diets to come up with what works best for him.

Wild man loved to pet sit Bacon Bit more than anything

“Why is he still not toilet trained, there is no way I would be changing crap diapers at his age.  If he can pee in the toilet he can poop in it”.  There again if it were your son and he needed you to change his diaper at the age of 6 or at 30 you would do so, because you love him just as I love my son.  And no just because he can pee in the toilet (most days) does not mean he can poop in it. With his limited diet he does not “poo” like everyone else. It’s hard and painful for him.  And before you ask, yes he is on medicine to help and he still only goes once every 8 to 10 days.  Autism moms are painful poo experts.

Me and my boy doing what he loves best
Game day. Go Pack Go

You should take him out more places, that way he would learn how to behave around others”. Don’t you think I want to take my child out? I want more than anything to be able to go to the store or out to eat as a family without the noise or the lights sending him into a major meltdown. I want to take him to an amusement park to ride rides but know the crowd and the lines would overstimulate him and led to more harm than good.  I want to enjoy family get togthers and family reunions just as much as the next person, but I know as soon as he tries to get a snack that he saw hanging out of cousin Karries bag things will get heated because those were not his but for her daughter and she does not want to share.  They will not care that he does not understand personal space or personal belongs. I know school plays and class parties are to much for him, and seeing all of the other kids enjoy them hurts. I want a normal life for him but know his limitations better than anyone.  So I stay home where I know he is safe.

Morning cuddles with this guy ❤️

My son hates clothes so if you get offended by an almost six year old running around in our house in only a pull-up or underwear, please do use a favor and don’t come around.  He has to keep clothes on while he is at school or at church, but as soon as he is home he knows he is safe and the clothes come off. Sensory issues at their finest. Remember this is his home not yours. My job as his mom is to make him feel safe, especially at his house. I’m not trying to be mean but I use up all my patience and love on him (and our other kiddos) I don’t have time to entertain your ignorance about my sons disabilities. If it bothers you don’t come around. You can just call.  You can always reach me on the phone and this will be less hurtful for all of us.

My son is not unruly or a mistake or nuisance or the monster-child uneducated society portrays him as.  He is a sweet, loving, adorable kid that I’m blessed to have call me “momma”  

In Our world we celebrate autism awareness every month, every day, and every minute. I do appreciate the thought of bringing awareness to something that many people deal with day in and day out but the fact is this my son will never be accepted in the social norm of things and that is something I am still trying to process and accept myself. He is loud and he chirps at different things. He looks just like any “normal child” but his meltdowns set him apart. He screams. He sits and lines cars up for hours while he rocks in place. He talks about the same airplanes for hours.  He has a room “his office” where, although a cluttered mess, he knows where every lego or every piece of paper is because they are ALL his “treats” aka treasures.  He plays on his tablet more than I’m sure you think he should, but that keeps him engaged for more than two minutes, in his games and videos he is in control of his otherwise out of control world.  He is so smart and so funny, his laugh lights up my world more than a few times daily.  He did not choose this life but it is what was given to him and he is making them most of it. So as an autism mom I ask this of you.  The next time you see a child don’t be so quick to judge their behavior. If you know a family who has an autistic child offer to watch their child so they can go out to dinner or on a date with their spouse. Encourage not discourage your own child to play with them, laugh with them and be friendly with them. Treat that child with love and respect just as you treat other kids.  Kids with autism are just like other kids trying to make it in this difficult world. They just have to find a way as unique as they are.

My autism awareness 💙

Buying a tshirt or donating money to an organization is great, but getting it actually know someone with autism is a much brighter beautiful action.  And by doing so it could just be the first step to making our world a better place for everyone to live it.   

So this month I will flood my social media with facts about autism and pictures of my amazing little guy in the hopes that one, just one person takes the “awesomeness” to heart and takes time to actually get to know someone with autism.  They might be surprised to see just how bright that person shines.     

From our beautiful chaos to yours God does not create junk. We are all beautifully made in His image. Remember that. Much love

Posted in adoption, autism, Being a mom, Children, family, foster parent life, life, love, Mom life, RAD

The Seven Wonders of My World

My world is made up of many things.  Good things, bad things, big things and small things. But nothing holds more value than my seven wonders that call me mom.  Each one unique and different but yet still the same.

Sphinx and Khephren Pyramid
Sphinx and Khephren Pyramid
It is only fitting we start with the one that started it all, almost 22 years ago.  I was a young 18 year old scared out of my mind.  How in the world was I going to be a good mom to this precious girl when I was but a kid myself?  But the moment she was placed in my arms I knew my goal in life was to make sure her life was the best it could be.  Her early years were filled with laughter and joy, trips to grandpa’s, and movie nights with grandma.  She has always been “an old soul” and she has a beautiful heart for helping others.  She is my gift from heaven.  She made me want to be a better person, she continues to make me a better person.  Her school years were made up of cheer leading, piano, dance, taekwondo (she is now a 4th degree black belt) , honors classes, color guard, and winter guard.  She is a fighter for what she believes in and a friend that will stand by your side when everyone else has walked away.  She tries to find the good in the darkest of places, but if you hurt her or someone she loves watch out.  It seems little only yesterday I was bringing her home from the hospital, how can it be she is about to graduate college in just a few short weeks?  The first in our family to achieve this accomplishment. True to her overachiever fashion she is graduating with a double major in Political Science and English with minors in Religion and History.  Proud momma is an understatement.

Statue of Zeus, Olympia
Statue of Zeus, Olymipa
Next comes my boy, 18 and full of life.  His sister wanted a puppy but got a baby brother instead.  His first year was touch and go.  Filled with hospital stays and surgeries (almost nine full months we spent in the hospital his first year) We lost him more than once that year but by God’s grace and the doctors He provided my boy, my miracle made it back to us. I am blessed to be his momma.  His school years were challenging to say the least but we made it through. He played T-ball when he was little but taekwondo quickly became his life( he is now a 3rd degree black belt, not quite old enough to test for his 4th degree). He became a gifted saxophone player in high school and marching band, concert band and jazz band filled our weekends and evenings.  He can make me laugh harder than anyone else with his silly jokes and corny puns. He will always be my baby. He is the perfect gentleman, opening up doors, pulling out chairs, and quick to give a complement. He goes above and beyond not to do the things his father done, he strives to be more like his step dad.  I know he is nothing like the man who helped create him. He is good and loving and kind, wish I could take the fear away. He wears his heart on his sleeve and is slow to anger. He protects/ guards his siblings with everything he has. He worries about others and is the best big brother anyone could ask for.  He works hard at his job and goes to college, while still trying to figure out what path he wants to take.  He knows me better than I know myself and can make my darkest day bright with a phone call or text.  Love being his momma.

 

 

I have worried about them for more than I should.  There were a few dark years where I was not sure if I was doing what was best for them.  Part of me feels guilty that their father and I divorced but the logical side of me knows if I would have stayed I would be died and they would be on their own.  I hope they can forgive me for the tough choices that had to be made back then.  I think they have turned out pretty perfect given the darkest we escaped.

 

Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Next we come to diva, six and sassy and everything in between.  Her past is clouded with darkness but she shines so bright.  At sixteen months she made her way to us, in a t-shirt three times to big and jeans that could not button for they were two sizes to small.  She did not talk, she did not walk, but she did warm our hearts.  With her situation comes baggage that did not surface until two years ago, long after we fell in love with her.  She was RAD or Reactive attachment disorder, ADD/ADHD and FASD or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.  None of which are her fault, that lies with her birth mom’s poor life choices.  When she is good things are beautiful and bright, but more days than not we struggle to figure out what is making her so angry.  Her imaginary world where her life is perfect with her birth mom crosses over to our world some days making reasoning with her impossible, but we love her anyway.  I wish I could go back and change the things that happened to her.  I wish she could see what I see in her. Her behavior may not always be great but she is gifted with knowledge.  She is so smart.  Spelling and reading come easy to her and she can do math in her sleep.   She is so eager to learn and try new things, and she loves going to church and singing God’s praise.  I am thankful to be her momma.

temple of Artemis
Temple of Artemis
Wild man, my spunky five year old.  Oh how my world changed when he come into my life.  At two months and four and a half pounds, he redirected my path the moment he was placed in my arms.  It is because of my love for him diva came to live with us, siblings (in their case half siblings) the department tries to keep together.  He, like my oldest son, spent much of his first year in and out of hospitals.  Surgeries and sickness consumed his early days.  He too is a fighter.  Innocent victim of a drug addicted mom that wanted nothing to do with him. He survived the drugs in his system and being shaken then thrown across the room. He is destined to do great and mighty things. He has proven doctors wrong time after time.  When they said he would not walk or talk he showed them he could and would.  He was diagnosed with autism at 3 but that has not stopped him. Autism does not defy who he is.  He makes me see the beauty in everything.  Through his eyes the world is such a kinder nicer place.  He does not judge others and does not notice when others judge him.  His laugh is contagious and he can melt my heart with his smile.  God knew what He was doing when He had the caseworker call me.  I am blessed to be his momma.

 

Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
Wonder number five we find Big Al.  Its funny how after we decided we were finished being foster parents God puts His plan in motion.  At two days old he was in my arms. He has the biggest smile and the most gorgeous brown eyes I have ever seen.  His hair is as wild as he is.  He is one of few words but his facial expressions do his talking for him.  He loves to set with me in the mornings and share a cup of coffee.  He is beautiful both inside and out.  He is the peace maker in the family.  If someone needs a playmate he is the one to drop whatever he is doing and go play so that the other child is not upset.  He has a calmness about him that is unique and welcomed on days of complete chaos.  I am grateful for  my grandfathers advice the night the call came in about the “little boy who needed a temporary home” Rest In Peace grandfather and know I still hear your voice of reason. He makes my days more enjoyable by just being here.  I can’t imagine my life without him in it.  I miss him running around during the days now that he is in preschool.  Its so quiet here now.   I am honored to be his momma.

colossus of Rhodes
Colossus of Rhodes
Our Elmo is wonder number six.  Just thinking about him brings a smile to my face.  Three and a half and full of energy.  He is definitely our class clown. He can make you laugh like no other.  His silly faces and sweet little voice warm my heart daily.   He too had a rough start but has overcome those sicknesses and is growing leaps and bounds.  His eyes are are blue as the ocean and his heart is even bigger.  He is not afraid to tell you he is “momma’s baby” and he proudly wears that imaginary badge.    He brings much needed laughter to our home.  He is the cuddlier on rainy days and the “come lay with me till I fall asleep” at night boy.  He loves to learn the names of things and is always carrying a book around and asking “Whats this things name?”  His imagination has dinosaurs running in our yard most days and with race cars chasing them away.  Oh what an exciting world he gives us to live in.   It is my joy to be his momma.

lighthouse of Alexandria
Lighthouse of Alexandria 
Last but certainly not least is our wonder number seven, our precious unexpected peanut.  In the mist of our already crazy lives God saw fit to bless us one more time, this time a sister to our three little blonde cuties.  She was so tiny but healthier than the rest (Praise God) She is the one we did not know we needed until she was placed in our arms.  In her I get to redo all the joys that make up being a mom.  I get to be mom one last time.  The late night feedings and the early morning wake ups don’t bother me like they did 20 plus years ago, for I know when I blink she will be off and going to college.  I was not as hurried for her to walk or talk as I was with the others,  though she did both early.  In her short 18 months she has changed our lives more than she will ever know.  I am so thankful for the caseworker that took the time to locate her half brothers and sister, it would have been so easy to just place her somewhere else.  But now, even though they are not with their birth mom they are together and with me.  Her sweet dimples when she smiles take over her little face.  Her hair so thin but we manage to get those big bows in.  For now she is a girly girly but I know in time she will be out in the mud and riding bikes with the rest of our pack.  I am thankful God gave me one more chance to get this mothering thing down right.  I am overjoyed to be her momma.

 

These seven wonders have made me the mother/person I am today.  I can only hope that I have given them the love and guidance they need for this world.  I know we do not always see eye to eye on things but I hope they understand that I only say and do what I do because I love them so much.  My two oldest laid the foundation for the type of mom I wanted to be, with the five youngest I get to do the things I wish I had done with them.  I am older and wiser and my choices are much easier these days than back then.  I am happier now than I have ever been, which is completely crazy seeing I get every little sleep.  I treasure both the memories made and those to come.  I would love to see the Seven Wonders of the World someday, but until then my seven wonders are all I need.

 

From our beautiful chaos to ours make today better than yesterday and the foundation for a greater tomorrow.

much love my friends

Posted in adoption, autism, Being a mom, Children, family, life, love, Mom life

A Mother’s Instinct

via Daily Prompt: Instinct

 

From the moment a woman finds out she is pregnant, her first instinct is to protect and love her unborn child.

As a mom of five adopted little loves, I did not have those first few months to bond with my children as he or she grew inside of me.  Our bonding started the day the caseworker handed them over to me with their trash bag filled with all of their belongings.  The healing starts as soon as they feel safe and loved.

With wild man the bond was instantaneous.  The worker handed me his car seat and I took him in the house. As I unbuckled his car seat and pulled his tiny little body up into my arms he made the sweetest noise.  As I held him tight and listened to the worker explain his case I fell in love.  The bond we share could not be stronger if I had given birth to him.

Our journey has not been easy.  Early on we knew he was not developing at what society calls a”normal” rate.  By the age of three we were given the diagnosis of autism with sensory issues.  We were told that he would never talk in full sentences, he would most likely never run or climb, and that his abilities would be limited.  Our world changed drastically inside that 45 minute office visit. We were just getting use to be parents of little ones again, and now we were told we were the parents of a child with autism.  I was not prepared.  But I had no choice, I would move mountains for him, he was my son.

Now he is six.  In the last three years we have figured out how to do things in order to give him the best possible life.  We have moved and the school he attends now is nothing less than a God send. He is not only doing well, he is excelling.  He can now hold a pencil, write his name, and is learning to count and even read, YES READ!!!! For all these things I am thankful.  But there is still the other side of autism not many talk about.  We still have daily food battles.  I have been told by teachers and family he needs to eat a better diet.  With his sensory issues a good diet is not something in our reach.  You name it we have tried it. Everything from gluten free to all organic, but the fact is if I can’t get it in his mouth then its not going to work.  What works, well this week he is eating popcorn, bread sticks, strawberry yogurt, strawberry pop-tarts, KFC mash potatoes, cheese curls, and his all time favorite food Stage two Gerber peas(these he only eats at the house now because some boy at his school told him it was for babies)  Is it a healthy diet? Probably not, but at least he is eating and to me that’s all that matters.  We also deal with the fact that with his diet we have poop issues.  In the past six months we have managed to get him potty trained (thanks to his awesome teachers) well by that I mean he pee’s in the potty during the day.  At night we are still in pull-ups because he has not mastered overnight bladder control and there is no bowel control. So when he needs to poop lets just say its still a mess.  His system does not operate as yours or mine so it can be days, 7 to 14 days, without him going.  Yes, he takes medicine daily to help out in this area, but his average is one good poo every 8 days.  It’s painful and it’s massive!!! No one talks about this side of autism.

So this past weekend I will admit I was more than nervous about taking him with me while I went to visit my grandmother in WV.  She has been ill and I knew taking all the little loves would be to much for her. My husband had made plans to take wild man up to his parents but seeing that my grandmother was ill, he agreed he would watch all of our other little loves while I took wild man with me.  Wild man would get to see all of his grandparents and he was excited.  He does not do well with change so the trip made me anxious.  What if he refused to sleep? What if he would not eat? What if the car ride was to much? What is the surroundings were to much?  I had hundreds of what if questions running through my head.  We never know what will happen when we have him out.  In fact we have secluded ourselves from many things,(family nights at school, trips to the mall, large family gatherings) because we know the stimulation will surely cause him a meltdown and its just not worth it if he will be in pain.  But sometimes life can not be helped. And just when you think the worst, God gives you the best.

I can not believe the weekend we had.  Wild man did such an amazing job.  I had several people I wanted to met up with while I was in so I dropped wild man off to my in-laws. We sat and had a visit before I headed off to my next destination and when I got up to leave, guess what? He didn’t even scream. Praise Jesus. Not only did he spend the whole night with my in-laws he actually slept. I knew taking him place to place would be to much for him but thankfully my in-laws were able to watch him while I did.  When I went to pick him up he showed me everything he had done while there.  He showed me his “new office” and his race track that he had beat papaw on many times.  He showed me his new cars and even his new favorite snack (pickled flavored chips) When it came time to leave, he did not cry instead he kissed them goodbye and said  See you laters.  We loaded up and went to met my parents and brother for breakfast, where he sat and ate his chips.

IMG_0950
Wild man cuddled up to my dad aka papaw  (don’t mind my dad he hates pictures lol)

There was a baby that started to cry, but instead of having a meltdown he covered his ears until she stopped then said Shew that baby to loud.  From there we went to my aunts to visit with her and my grandmother. He told me he was excited and that he could not wait to jump on her and give mamaw a big hug.  I told him he would have to be easy.   He took his lunchbox full of cars and freddy figures and followed my oldest daughter in the house.  He quickly made his way over to grandma and very easily gave her a hug.  My aunt was wonderful and let him roam from room to room exploring all the new wonders his eyes saw.  He felt at home and that made me happy.  He played with my cousins little ones and made his way over to set on my dad’s lap a time or two.  For the first time in a long time I was not nervous about what he would do, he had this calmness about him that I don’t get to see often. Maybe he could sense mamaw was not feeling the greatest who knows. Or maybe the difference was that here, no one was looking at him and judging him, they were all just happy to see him.  There he was not “the kid being loud” he was just my son.  He was surrounded by people who love him all weekend long.  He did not have to try and fit in with the social norm for there at my in-laws and at my aunts it was OK for him to just be himself. As our visit winded down and we started to say our goodbyes, wild man made it back over to my grandma.  Before anyone could catch him he jumped (just as he said he was going too) into her arms and hugged her.  I found myself apologizing and asking her if she was okay, and she just laughed.  She smiled and said “He is fine don’t make a fuss”  And you know what, she’s right.  He is fine.  Her smile said it all.  He had made her happy.

IMG_0954
wild man with my oldest daughter and my grandmother
As his mom my instinct is to protect him, as an autism mom my guard is always up.  People judge him without knowing him and that makes me both mad and sad.  They will never know the joy it is to be him mom.  They will never know the endless love I have for him and all of his uniqueness.  But my grandmother showed me something this weekend.  She loved him for his heart, my whole family did.  They did not care that he got a little loud, they were just happy to see him.  I am thankful for their loving ways.  What a great weekend we had.

From our beautiful chaos to ours when life is not going exactly like you pictured it, in the words of my wise grandmother Don’t fuss.  Take time to enjoy the good for the bad days will get better, life is to precious to fuss about the small stuff.   Smile and laugh your way through it all.