Monday, December 29, 2008

A Merry Christmas and a Childless End to the Year


Well, Christmas is over and we had a great time. Casey did great throughout, and despite sorta diving into computer action for comfort and familiarity, he really enjoyed Christmas with my family in Indianapolis. My sister Sue held the festivities at her beautifully decorated home (even the fish bowl had ornaments in it) and we had tons of people, food, gifts and fun. Bill and I won the Wii bowling tournament (we were good, I mean, really good!) Casey got some gifts I don't think he expected due to the fact that all he asked for was Barney and Veggietale dvds. I advised against it and my family got creative and he got some stuff I think he'll really get into.

We hung out a few more days after Christmas and then after much discussion and planning, decided spur of the moment that Casey was gonna stay with his two Aunties (who my mom said loved him more than I did, isn't she a peach?). And so, we are childless at this point.

Today is Bill's Dad Ernie's 85th birthday today, so we went over to his parents pad last night for a little birthday bash with family and friends. It was a lot of fun celebrating the 85th year of a very sharp and funny man! I can only hope Bill can follow in his footsteps! We got to see my sis in law and her hubby, and mom and dad in law of course, and Bill's brother who was worn out from babysitting our 3 cats and 11 Bettas while we were gone. Again, more food and fun was enjoyed along with some lovely champagne!

Being childless, we decided after the party to go hang out at a local bar with Don, Bill's brother, and have a few beers and some good conversation. It felt like quite a luxury not having to worry about a babysitter waiting for us.

And so, we are now going to go out and choose a new paint color for our bedroom. Bill is on vacation and has committed to painting it. I can't decide if we should do something swarthy and sexy, or something bright and optimistic. I'm leaning toward swarthy and sexy, maybe an aubergine? Anything will be better than the ugly light blue I painted it some odd 11 years ago!

We are picking Casey up on Wednesday so he can be with us on New Years Eve, and he is by the way, having a fantastic time and not sounding homesick at all! Little ingrate!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Casey Performs!

Hey 8 readers, remember how I was all nervous and anxiety ridden over Casey's performance at the 5th grade winter concert? Well, it was all for not!

He did wonderfully! I was a little nervous at first for him because when we arrived, his teacher was there and told me that apparantly the kids who had volunteered to be his peer buddies that night (aka people to make him stay in his spot and not look like a total nerd) didn't show! Thanks guys. But, she had come only to see him perform but said she would be happy to step in. I was relieved of course and offered to do so myself. She prodded me on to go and sit down and enjoy the show, but to stay close to the area Case would be standing in the bleachers, "just in case".

Luckily, at the last minute some kid did show up to help so it worked out well. Case walked in with the other 10,000 kids in the fifth grade classes and stood where he was supposed to (they put an orange dot on the floor where he stood just to remind him where to stay).

He sang his heart out, and despite a few funky stims due to his excitement, and an attempt to stand on the bleacher in front of him, we felt like he did really well.

He sang 4 songs with the group and then sat out the rest, since some of them were done by just the chicks, and some were sung in round, and some were done with hand movements that were deemed too difficult for Casey to follow. They did this queer "concert etiquette rap" which had some not so tricky arm movements that he wasn't included in. I looked over and watched him where he sat off to the side with his "helper" and teacher, and he was singing and doing some of the same movements. I looked at the kids doing the "rap" and some of them sucked. HHhhhhhmmmmm......let it go Bon.

Anyway, we were very proud of our boy's performance, we were happy that he was up there, joining in and behaving appropriately, for the most part. His teacher beamed with pride as well. Casey was the only kid who participated from her class. That's a bit sad to me, but, that's their parents choice.

The old saying "All that worry over nothing" certainly rang true that night!

Monday, December 15, 2008

And Now, as for Casey......

Geeze, too much, too much animal nonsense here on my blog about my son with Autism! I apologizefor verging from the original intention of this blog. I almost wonder if I should start a blog about all this additional crapola subject matter I seem to like to spout off about on here! I think though that oneor the other blog would get neglected. My New Years resolution, blog about Casey here 95% of the time, cats, kittens, and bettas 5%. I am sure certain individuals will see to it that I stick to that and remind profusely when I don't....DON.....REBECCA.....

Any hoot, I guess I didn't really post much about Casey last week because there wasn't much to post other than the note I recieved that first day concerning his ok day in his new classroom. Not much after that was reported, and as my sweet (and often dilusionary) hubby would say, "No news is good news!". Casey hasn't fought me on going to school, nor has he sounded off about any negativity he is feeling, so I am not sure how the whole thing is rollin' right now. Today will be another weird day because they have their big Christmas concert and each class performs today and tonight. Which brings me to a whole other subject all together.

Right now, Case has music with regular ed one day, and just the "Center" program another day. Apparantly, this is the first year the music teacher has experienced having the "special needs" (yuk) group in his room, so it really threw off his concert plans. Ahhh, poor guy....I guess he didn't realized that throwing choreography in with singing brand new songs might be a little tough for some kids who can't even talk, focus, or maintain a proper stillness for more that 5 seconds without being held in place! Hee hee...where's the prep work I say? He knew these kids were going to be in there! I don't know why I went there, irresponsible and funny at the same time. So, in short, it's been a challenge and I am really anxious to see how the whole things turns out.

Casey has really latched on to the songs they are singing and we hear them being sung all the time, which is a delight! He actually has a good little voice and a natural rhythm (neither one he gets from me). The school gave everyone a copy of the songs to practice at home and I couldn't believe the first time we listened to it together how he sang along of course and did some pretty cute little hand movements and gestures too. I think he will do fine tonight, if he can just stay in his spot. He gets really excited at being on stage, and in the past, for example at his dance recitals, he tends to steal the show with some sort of improvisational number. That's ok when he's on stage with a bunch of kids who aren't really doing the number to begin with. It's sort of a comic relief actually. But tonight would not be cool for him to hop out in front of the choir and begin his boogying down and perhaps singing to himself. I pray they have a parapro to assist. I of course will give a full report and perhaps a peek at the actual performance tomorrow. Say a little prayer Bill and I won't be crining in our seats!

Ok, so 5% of this can be about animals. Ricky, our new kitten, is doing swimmingly so far! He used the litter box, which was the main thing, and seems to be getting along ok with the old cats. I feel sorta bad for them, it's like bringing a little kid in a nursing home letting him run amuck! A few smacks and hisses have been thrown but no one is the worse for wear, so far! Ok, I'm done!

Casey and Abe

I downloaded this photo thinking I was going to put it in my latest entry and it didn't work that way. Seeing as how I'm at the library, I have no idea how to fix enjoy....

Casey and Abe

Friday, December 12, 2008

Taken a Sick Day, for a Sick Cat!

Hi 8 readers. Indulge me if you will. I promise I will do a weekly wrap up of Casey's first few days in the new classroom, but as you can tell lately, my writing seems to have strayed from Autism and children to animals. I shouldn't say writing, more my photo offerings have verged over to the beasty side. And today is no exception when it comes to all things animals.

As featured in my Wordless Wednesday, this is Simba.

I know, he's adorable. We have had him since we've been married. So, we know for sure that he's at least 15 years old. Not too shabby for a cat!

He is an extremely sweet and loveable cat, wanting to be where his people are, and if company is over, being with them too. Simba is dog-like in many ways because he comes when you call him, he begs for food and is a voracious eater. I simply adore him.

In the morning, he usually comes in the bathroom with me, and follows me to the kitche to insure that his wet food gets distributed properly. But, when I got up this particular morning, he was no where to be found. I went through our house to all this favorite sleeping spots, but never found him. He finally limped downstairs, and he clearly was not himself. I could just tell by his expression if you can believe it. You know how you can just look at your kid and know he's sick? Same thing.

Being about 90 in people years, I decided I best take him to the cat clinic. And in doing so, found out he's lost about 3lbs over the last 3 years, and has a heart murmur, and a oddly shaped kidney. The doc ran some diagnostics on him, he had to have his paw shaved to get his blood pressure checked, and he pee'd on his blankie. He also go intravenious fluids. He seems to be feeling much better now and begged for my sushi. We will find out what the tests show tomorrow. If you are a cat or animal in general lover, please say a little prayer that he has a few more years in him, we love him soooooo much!

While he was having his tests done on him, I started connecting to a little kitten guy in the waiting room who was waiting to be adopted. Only 6 months old or so, he was found in a taped up box by the side of the road! Yes, the side of the road. My cat obsession got the best of me and I took him out of the little cage they had him in and he purred and licked my face and loved on me and never tried to get away and I fell in love! I felt a little like I was cheating on Simba, but we've thrown around getting a new kitty, and his situation, utter cutie pieness, and social skills won me over. I filled out the adoption papers and called Bill on the way home to tell him. Unphased, he said he'd think about it. Perhaps when they send that picture of him they promised, he'll make up his mind!

Cats, gotta love 'em.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thoroughly Thoughtless Thursday

I just can't muster up the time to blog about Casey's first day right now, I need some sit down time....So, here's something cute to tide ya over....

This is Fletch, my sister Sue's baby...I mean dog. He's "sittin' pretty"!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Plan is officially In Action

So, this news is a little late in coming because I just haven't found much time to sit and really put any work into retelling this scenario. But, since I just came home to get a warmer coat while working, and all is quiet, I will take a few moments to share with my now 8 readers.
Friday I finally got to meet up with all involved in the potential transitioning of Casey over to a new class room as was recounted in an earlier post.
There was his potential new teacher, who all in all seemed optimistic and open to his being in her class. There was his old teacher who claims she adores him but seems too optimistic to get him out of her class. There was a lady who is in charge of the "Team" room where kids go for discipline and rewards (confusing I think) and who seems like, well, I'll say it, a bitch. Rounding out the group was the woman who didn't even want me to see this very program last year and gave me about 2 minutes in each classroom. She's an administrator of some kind, some muckity muck.
Oddly the meeting went smoothly. I was able to explain my concerns and worries, and they all seemed very open to working with me on these. We discussed his transition over, which everyone seemed happy about. At first, a hour or so a day was thrown out, but after light debate, it was finally agreed that it would be half a day for the next week. He would meet up with the new class in the morning and go to their room straight away and then come back to the old classroom in the afternoon. I had to giggle as the new teacher wanted the opposite, but the muckity muck changed it completely, as if to say, "I'm in charge!". Politics, I swear!

The biggest issue I had was with the discipline program they have too and how they kids track a point system all day for what they do and don't. If they keep their points, they get rewards, if they don't,well, I think they have to go to the "Team" room and hang out with the afore mentioned bitch. I won't go into why I think of her as a bitch, other than her overall demeanor, but I made it clear that I didn't want Casey in the "Team" room all the time because he isn't being set up for success. They all seemed to agree, and in all fairness, the bitch was even giving some good suggestions on things they could do in class to help him.
I felt at times that parts of this meeting had been rehearsed prior to my arrival, as if to appease me in some way. I am still in doubt as to whether they really think he can handle this or whether they just feel it's a better inclusive enviorment for him and, that way, they don't have to fiddle fart with taking him to general ed. I am a bit of a conspiracy theorist so I hopefully I'm wrong.

He was supposed to start yesterday, but his current class had a field trip scheduled for then and today and so he starts tomorrow. I have been talking it up a bit, and he has said he would like to be in the new classroom. I fear however, that when he sees what it entails, the curriculum, the lack of silly field trips, and the structure, his happy little world may be knocked upside down. Then again, he may step up to the challenge and embrace the structure, maybe more of that is what he needs. Hopefully the influence of higher functioning more verbal classmates will help too. I'm trying to be "glass-half full" person, but it's very unnatural for me, ask my husband!

I laid awake the other night thinking about the change with a pit in my tummy. This is what I wanted for him last year, and now that it might be happening, I am doubting why I wanted it in the first place. I have always been happy with him being "comfortable" and maybe a little challenged at school, but mostly, comfortable. I fear too that because he has been so comfortable for so long, a very realistic classroom setting is going to be really too hard for him to handle. I hate for him to be miserable, to be stressed, to have anxiety, as does any mom. I guess if you have a typical kid though, you can reason things out if they have a bad experience, get information from them on it. With my boy, I can't. If he's sad, he really has trouble telling us why, and if he is upset about this class it could backfire in nasty behaviour and shutting down before any sort of conversation could ensue.

BUT, back to being "glass-half full" person, this might just be the thing he needs. He may really blossom in this room, I hope so. I just want him to be happy!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bouncin' is Fun!

Anybody who has a kid with Autism and has had Occupational Therapy has probably been shown the wonders of sitting on an exercise ball for their child. We've had one for years down in our basement, although it's probably about 3 feet wide, pretty large. We've had fun over the years letting him lie on his belly over it, and while holding his feet, let him push off the floor, sorta like doing "push ups" or sitting him on top while we held him and bounced him.

But, now that he's about 5'2 and 116lbs, it's a little more difficult to do such activities! My sisters in Indiana being the work out mavens that they are both have exercise balls that are a bit smaller, and somehow he always finds them when we visit, and loves to bounce himself. It's great proprioceptive activity, and very calming, yet an energy burner at the same time.

I finally bought one for our house and it's a hit. I totally suggest one for any kid, especially when they're watching TV. He sits on one at school as well while working. Even better, it cost 10 bucks at Walmart!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Let Us Remember......

? TO 11-05-08


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Jenny McCarthy Revisited...Now I'm Annoyed!

I just posted (so go read the one before this if you will please) but I was just thinking about the fact that last night I grabbed Jenny McCarthy's first book off the library shelf and sorta grazed over it. Casey was playing at the library computer, and since I already went through the various encyclopedias and reference books that I cared to on other occasions that are within reach, I got up and got a book off the wall that holds books on homeschooling, and disabilities. Jenny's book was there.

I had never really thorougly read it before, and it's the first one I'm talking about, not the new mommy warrior one (that just makes me puke for some reason). It was certainly an easy read, each chapter being about 2 or 3 pages long, some one page (I am seriously not exaggerating). I strummed through, seeing anecdotes on her son's behaviors, his seizures, her separation from her hubby (he truly didn't get it). From all accounts, the kid was a mess. I could relate to a lot of the stories, and her feelings, although I sorta hate to admit it.

After finishing and getting the general gist of the thing, I started to see why so many people found her inspiring, and helpful. She definitely gives some good information about the biomed aspect of things. A lot of it made sense. I think she's a good mom. There, I said it! I am not as anti-Jenny, as I thought I was.

I think the thing that makes me a little anti-Jenny is that the way she tells her tale is very, uhm, convincing. I mean, if I were a mom of a newly diagnosed kid with Autism, her book could possibly become a bible for me. I would run out and find a DAN doctor right away! I would try all the things she did, even though, she never really makes a point too much of saying how different kids with Autism are. I think this could be dangerous and disappointing.

Years ago, my friend and I went to several presentations on the biomend aspect of Autism given by a local dentist who had a child with Autism. This was my first experience with terms such as yeast, supplementation, gf/cf diet, mercury poisining. We of course were fascinated and drawn towards trying anything and everything for our kids. I had so much hope, much like Jenny's book dishes out. I thought I had found those magic bullets. Guess what, I never did.

In all fairness, I never followed a full fledge regimen. I started too, but got bored with giving my kid 9 vitamins everytime he ate. I tried the diet, it never worked for us. I never attempted getting rid of yeast if there was any in the first place. Chelation was out of the question. My friend, on the other hand, has followed her DAN doctor's suggestions, gone organic and dairy free, supplemented per results of testing. She's done everything right, and she is seeing results with her child, which is awesome. We've actually seen great improvements with b-12 shots in Casey. I doubt though, that either one of us will ever tell ya that our children have lost their Autism label, as Jenny's son apparantly did.

And there in lies another issue I have with her. Why is this so important to lose that label, and let everyone know about it? I don't see people scrambling to get rid of a Downs label. Heck, some people fight for an ADHD label for their kid, just so they know why they are doing so bad in school! It almost makes me suspect that in Jenny's mind, Autism is something to be ashamed of, to fight. Be that "Mommy Warrior" against.

It makes me wonder, am I in the wrong for not doing all I apparantly could? Am I wrong for not being that "Mommy Warrior" when it comes to things like chelation and ridding your child of yeast? Am I wrong for not persuing such things?

Dammit, why did I even read that book. Such simplicity making me doubt myself! Ick!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'm Still Here!

Gosh I've been so bad about blogging! LIfe has been really busy for us beginning last Wednesday and on! We had a great Thanksgiving, so nice to hang out with the family. Casey pretty much summed up our weekend when Dad asked him what we did in Indy and he answered:
"Well Daddy, on Wednesday, we had Donatos pizza! On Thursday, we had our Thanksgiving Feast! On Friday we had Mexican! On Saturday we had Italian!".....
Yes, it's true, the eating was hot and heavy all holiday long. He forgot to mention to his dad that we took him to a Christmas display at a Historical Museum, (this is that leg lamp from the movie "A Christmas Story") .And to see "The Polar Express" at the IMAX in 3-D, which I highly suggest, way cool.
He even go to celebrate his Mammaw's (family name for grandma) 72nd birthday! I tried adding a photo but Blogger won't allow it! I hate Blogger sometimes!
That's about it. I have more stuff to share but thought I would just jot down a few thoughts so as to let my 8 readers know I'm alive!