Friday, June 26, 2009

Can't ya just have fun?

Casey and I popped over to the local carnival last night, a bit spur of the moment. We had planned to go swimming indoors, despite his doing so at camp yesterday and the rain that had sorta stirred me away from going to the carnival had actually disappeared. The sky was clear and the air was noticeably dryer and cooler. Who could resist...

We had a nice time. He suddenly wanted to go on more rides than he did last year, and he wanted to play the hokey games! I brought a 20 dollar bill, assuming we would buy a treat and listen to music after walking around, as we always have in years past. This sudden interest in all the things carnival was new, interesting, and frustrating since I was an idiot and didn't pull more out of the ATM.

I managed to have enough for us to get a funnel cake, go on the old fashioned cars, and play one game which he lost of course 'CAUSE THEY' RE RIGGED I TELL YA!!!

Sorry... Anyway, as we walked I couldn't help but get that sad, regretful feeling about all the kids that looked around Casey's age strolling the grounds in packs, laughing, teasing the opposite sex, going on the big rides, having the times of their lives. And here's Casey, walking around with his boring mother.

I began to resent these kids, resent their normalcy. I began to wonder if Casey would ever have friends to walk around a carnival with sans supervision. Could he ever walk around a carnival sans supervision? Will he ever experience life as it should be for a kid, fun, free, an adventure of sorts?

Basking in my "feeling sorry for myself" attitude like a corn dog in hot grease, we passed a mom pushing her son in a wheelchair. The boy was in his teens and looked like he might have severe cerebral palsy. His limbs were crooked and very uncomfortable looking, tight. His neck was turned so that his head was positioned to the side. Your heart would go out immediately if you saw him.

But, he was smiling and eating cotton candy. He looked happy despite his obvious disability and discomfort. He was simply enjoying the carnival. I looked over at the tall, strapping boy lopping along side of me and thought "He suddenly wanted to go on more rides than he did last year, and he wanted to play the hokey games!"

Fun is in the eye of the beholder I guess......and clearly, my boy and the cotton candy muncher weren't seeing what I was seeing....

At that, I told myself "Get over it!".

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Comedy of Errors, pre Casey's Return....

Well, Mr. Casey D. has returned to Motown after a fabulous week in Indy! He had a great time from all accounts (non of which of course were told to me by the good time boy himself). His Aunts Sue and Cheryl split up the week, and both showed him a rockin' good time. As mentioned in a recent blog entry, I don't think he really missed me at all but I guess that's a good thing.

My dear sisters offered to bring him home Sunday afternoon and offered to stay and hang out for a day too. I accepted, not wanting to make that long drive again in the same week! Plus, I was a little hungover from a wedding we attended on Saturday...Hey, I don't get out much okay!

So, Sunday, Father's day, started out okay. No Casey made it seem a little less fatherly for Bill to be celebrating. However his own parents did come over so he could celebrate his Pop (it's really only fair, Ernie (Bill's Dad) has been a father far longer than Bill and deserves some recognition).

We cleaned and prepared and I went to the store to buy some snackies to make the in-laws visit fun. But when I got home, Bill quickly lead me out to the backyard in a panicked fashion. Ricky, our youngest and most unliked at times feline, had made his way to the top of a tree in our backyard!

Ahhhhhh, funny, funny.....So funny...........

And so, that was around 2pm. The In-laws were on there way, stuff still needed to be done, and the cat was stuck in the tree!

Long story long, after many failed attempts at trying to get this idiot down, and much concern on the part of my in-laws and ourselves, making it almost unfathomable for me to be a fab hostess like I usually am, we gave up around 2 am. It was so sad, he meowed and meowed but nothing was bringing him down, not even the opened can of salmon we left high as we could on a branch. I had called the fire department and as I told my story, the operator cut me off, and said they will not come and that I needed to put a can of cat food at the bottom of the tree and he would come down eventually? Really? A cat can smell cat food from 40 ft? Really?........That damn salmon that I put high up probably didn't even make it's way to his nostrils!

On top of all this drama, my sisters who were bringing Casey back never arrived at the time we thought they would. Freaking out, I called, to get both their answering services on their cells! What the....? Suddenly Cheryl called to tell me Casey had puked all over Sue's pillow she had brought in the back seat and they were taking care of things, not to worry! Yeah, okay....

They finally arrived around midnight, and a sick but awake Casey seemed very glad to see us! He was also excited to see his new room. What then followed was about 6 trips to the toilet for not puking, but the other end's activities. So, between wondering if my little cat was falling off a branch out in the dark of night getting eaten by a raccoon and my son's mysterious and sudden onset bowel activity, non of us got much sleep!

Things got better the next day. Casey seemed to feel okay, despite more bathroom trips (finally remedied by some Immodium), I had to have our friend come with his lumberjack gear and get the cat out of the tree. He had made it through the night miraculously, but somehow got even higher! Kevin, our cat lifesaver, heroically made it up the tree and got the little ass down, risking life and some limbs (of my tree) to save the little jerk......(he's really up there, just look at our friend and then go up and to the left)

We later went and had Greek, made our way through IKEA, had some cinnamon rolls and coffee, drank some booze, watched the "Bacherlorette" (the sister's idea, not mine) and had a great time despite all the crap the had occurred! They left this morning before I hauled Case off to his first day of camp, which is another blog entry entirely....and I was sad. I miss them already......

If you don't have a sister, you really should get some....but not cats....don't bother........

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Promise Kept....

For the last two years, I have promised Casey that I was going to paint his room red (per his choice) every time he goes to hang out with the family in Indiana. Yep, that's what I promised...

So the first year, the time just got away from me and I just never quite got the old paintbrush out, and much to the disappointment of Casey, he came home to the same icky faded green walls and teddy bear border he'd known since he was born.

The next time he was away, promises were once again made. Well, in all fairness, I got the teddy bear border down. I tearfully ripped down the last vestiges of Casey's babyhood, recalling the day when, bulging with pregnancy, my sister Sue and I put that border up, wondering at the cuteness of it when we were done. It was sad, but change is good. The border was down but the green wasn't. Sadly, Casey was so wanting me to do something to his room that just this tiny change was much appreciated! In other words, he took what he could get! What a good mom.....

Considering his latest visit was to last a week, I told myself that I HAD TO PAINT HIS ROOM. Had to... I really had no excuse.

The red was still on my mind since that's what I promised him it would be, but the more I thought about it, red is well, stimulating. Actually, I've read it makes one hungry, but to me it's a busy hue, and I had to wonder if that would be a good idea for a room in which one had to go to sleep at night. Considering the fact that we have to give the boy Melatonin sometimes just to settle him down to go to sleep, red might not be the all around best choice. But I did promise. Well, four walls offers opportunity for creativity, so I chose to paint one and half walls "California Ruby" red, and the other two and a half "Almond Toast". Breaking up the red with a calmer, earthy tone seemed to make sense.

I started on Tuesday, and as of today, I have all the walls done, with two needing touching up/second coat perhaps. So I'm doing good. He's coming home tomorrow and I'm anxious to try and run out and get him a new bedspread to go with the room's new "big boy" look. I'm quite pleased with the results, and I hope he will be too, 'cause I'm not doing this for another 10 years!

It's still a little strange to pass by and not see that nursery color. I've sorta saved a little piece of those days though! I was happy to discover that at one point in his baby days I tried to start a measuring chart of sorts on his door, and it looks like I only got around to doing so twice, but it's there, and it's priceless. I can still see the green, and I can physically see how little he once was.....Sorry Casey, I won't be painting that!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

School's Out!

Casey is out of school as of last week. His last day was Thursday and it was really strange. There was no end of year party that the parents were invited to. They did have a huge bowling party with some other classes that Tuesday before but parents weren't invited to that either. I popped in anyway to see what was happening and say good bye to the teachers.

He was having a great time. The alley was set up like Midnight Bowling with dark lights and fluorescent stuff on the walls, rock music blaring. I was standing chatting with his teacher when he suddenly walked up and put his arm around her and did his little lovely smelling thing to her cheek. Yes, I was jealous, I was. But I'm glad he loves her so much. On the last day, his teacher came out to meet me when I dropped him off to let me know that she will officially be his teacher again next year! I was elated, but it got better. The teacher Casey had in 4th grade is coming over to take the other AI teacher's place and he loves her too!!!!! It's going to be teacher heaven next year and I am elated! I told Casey about it but I think it's too far into the future for him to absorb yet, but not me!

He made mention a few times the weekend after that he was going to miss Ms. M.. When I asked him why, he replied "She adores me!". Like I don't. Yes I was jealous.... Anyway, it's cool that he wasn't that thrilled to leave school, it may make going back for 6th grade that much easier.

Casey is now with his Auntie Cheryl in Indy, being spoiled and being kept extremely busy. I don't think he misses me...yes, I am jealous...but that's okay because he's having a great time and I am able to work without worrying about him. He often talks of living in Indy, and I think he thinks his life would be like it is on summer break all the time. Trips to the Children's Museum, lots of fast food, fun, frivolity, sweet Aunts who hardly ever get mad at him. Since it probably won't ever happen, at least not in the near future, I'll let him live the dream....

I have personally felt a little like I'm on vacation, despite working. As any parent knows, not having to be "on" all the time is so nice. Not having to keep someone busy, entertained, worrying about someone's safety, feeling guilty if you aren't doing all those things every minute, that's a vacation in it's simplest form, for me at least.

We're going to a wedding Saturday night, and out to see a movie Friday night, another movie with my dear friend tommorow...nice. I have been working out, and cleaning, and organizing.

Somehow though, there's always a little emptiness, missing little sounds, rather cute or annoying, walking by a room to see what someone is doing and no one is there. It's weird. I enjoy my time, but I know by Sunday, I'll be havin' a Casey "jones" and won't be able to wait to hug his chubby little self!

Separation does make the heart grow fonder, at least mine!

Monday, June 1, 2009

This and That

First off, for all you moms and dads who have little ones with Autism read this because I think it could really give you a little hope despite things you are or aren't doing for your kiddo.

Go, read it, and then come back, I'll wait...tra la la la!....Cat! Get off the sink! Casey, don't chew on that! Stop! ugh.....

Okay, sigh.....oh sorry, you're back...yeah, so anyway, did that make ya feel good? I have to atest to it, Casey seems to get better every year, speech wise, independence, how he carries himself, all that. He still has a ways to go, but he's come so far, and I believe that most of it is attributed to age, experience, maturing. We have given him vitamins, lots of vitamins, tried the diet, done some therapies, mostly at school, and lots of love, but age has been the biggest "magic bullet" I believe. So, despite all the things that are yet to come, there have been so many things that have gone away, thank GOD!

Having said that, with age has come anxiety for Case. He's been experiencing it mostly in the form of saying he's hearing voices in his head, and allowing them to drive him to the point of crying. Another anxiety I think I've mentioned before was his problem with the year 2009, he hates it for some reason. Of course, he hated Saturdays for about a 6 month period, and he's over that now thank God again (he actually said to himself in the toilet at the library last Saturday "I used to hate Saturdays but now I think they're really cool"! Supports the age issue above I think, our attempts never helped, he got over it on his own for sure!) These are the two anxieties that have stood out.

So, we took him to a doctor here who I had heard about for years, all good things. I have known of her since he was around 3, and known a good many parents who have taken there kids there. She's a medical doctor, I'm done with going to a DAN focused doctor. The appointment was interesting, and long story short, she gave me two options for dealing with Casey's Autism as a whole: either try meds, or explore and stick to biomed with her support.

I really respected her at the point she said with no hesitation that in all her years of treating kids with Autism, biomed or otherwise that she has never "cured" one, nor has she seen a child who has been cured. I respected her even more when she said she didn't look down upon parents who chose the medication route over biomed. Biomed is a huge commitement and she understands that. And with that, she prescribed Wellbutrin and told me to make an appointment in 6 weeks after trying the Wellbutrin, and we'll let her know how that goes and if we want to persue the biomed stuff.

Well, it's been over 3 weeks since then, and I still have not tried the Wellbutrin. I immediately got home and started reading about it online, and honestly, I can't find anything good about it pertaining to Autism, nothing. If you have something to offer, please do so. Plus all the stuff that it can cause, including thoughts of suicide, really frighten me. So, other than a really good fish oil supplement that I found that she thought he could benefit from for his skin, I have given him nothing.

On another note, allow me to brag for a moment 'cause lets be honest, we don't get to brag as much as typical parents.

This morning, we were watching the news over breakfast, his choice, and they mentioned the date March 17th as the day of something happening. He goes "They said March 17th!" and I said "Yeah?" wondering what significance it held for him. He answered, "That was a Tuesday!". Really? I walked over to the calendar, and indeed it was. I started spouting off dates, one after the other, to which he would reply the exact day it fell on with no hesitation! I was a little breathless honestly, I really was not aware of this skill he has (yeah, it's a splinter skill, whatever, it's a skill and it's cool), and I couldn't stop asking him different days. He was never wrong on one, nor did he have to think more than a moment to answer. Wowzer! Do your kids have such skills? I bet they do, please share in the comments section if you can.

I think I was so surprised about this because he hasn't really displayed a skill like this since he was little and put the US and ABC puzzle together in minutes and he was only 2 or 3 years old. Also, his math skills are so awful, at least on paper and trying to do homework, that I have to wonder if he is doing this mathematically or does he literally have the calendar page memorized in his head? I wouldn't be surprised if it was the latter.

One more thing, I have been reading an awesome book called "A Regular Guy-Growing Up with Autism" by Laura Shumaker. You really must read it. I have to confess, I don't read much more than stuff on the internet and magazine articles, so it says a lot that I have commited to this book. It's so interesting, relatable, honest, funny, sad, all that. I like it because for the first half, I could relate, as Mrs. Shumaker's son is growing up, but now I'm at the point of learning, as she recalls his years from around 13 on. I can't wait to find out what he was like as a teen and now. Please, please, please read it. You won't regret it!