So as I was going through Facebook the other day a friend of mine posted her status “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming! Dory had it right”. I have to say after the past few weeks I would have to agree with her (both my friend and Dory). It has certainly been a challenging few weeks both in the media and on a personal side but as our lovely Finding Nemo friend reminds us “Just Keep Swimming”.
First off in the news the past few weeks we have been shocked and saddened by a few stories such as the events that unfolded last night in New York when a mother came home to find that her Nanny had killed her two kids and herself. A fellow blogger I know wrote a post about it this evening and I felt that instead of me writing about it you should read her take by copying and pasting this link:
On a more personal note I have been dealing with a few issues with my son and myself (I am currently in a cast for the next 4 to 6 weeks with a fractured bone and sprained ankle and really not too happy about it) recently. My son has been having some issues at school and it got serious enough that I had to go and get him from school on Wednesday and his mom had to go and get him on Thursday. The challenge with trying to get to the root of the problem with my son is that he really doesn’t tell you much and I say sometimes that getting information out of him is like pulling teeth. I certainly worry about this because as he gets older he is going to face tougher challenges and how he learns and adapts are going to determine the person he is going to become as he gets older. Both his mom and I work very hard with him and we of course will continue to do so, fortunately we are working with the school and his EAs and they really do seem to care for him and want him to be a success.
He will have his good days and bad days and we are getting pretty good and knowing when the bad days are going to happen. For example on Thursday I knew it was going to be a bad day, I dropped the kids off at the school for the before school club and everything was fine. As I was heading towards work I looked and saw that my daughter left her princess water bottle in the car, so I headed back to the school. When I got there I see my daughter crying and discover that my son and her were playing a game and she knocked over his cups and he retaliated by knocking over her’s and happened to hit her at the same time.
I took my son for a walk outside the school to talk to him about what happened and kind of give him a restart to the day. That worked perfectly!! He was happy and ready to go back in and play with his Lego, then tragedy struck. He ran towards his Lego and banged his hip right off of a desk and hit the floor, again I ran in and brought him out to the school kitchen and put an ice pack on his hip and tried to calm him down. Again he was calm and ready to face the day, but I knew full well with so much chaos starting off his day something was bound to happen at school. I called their mom and gave her the heads up and sure enough he had a melt down halfway through the day.
So today was a bit of a better day but overall it has been a very rough week for him, so keeping in the theme of my title I am going to take this weekend and have a reset with my son and daughter. I decided to treat the kids to Ray’s Reptile Zoo tomorrow and go shopping for birthday gifts. I am figuring that will be a fun filled day and should give my son the much needed reset he needs so that he can keep swimming next week at school.
There are always going to be challenges to face with both my son and daughter over the years and that is what parents sign up for and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The secret to surviving it is to enjoy the good and get through the bad and learn from it. Each challenge we face makes us stronger if we let the negative get us down we will never be able to enjoy the positives we see in life. So Dory may not have realized it but those simple words “Just Keep Swimming” are actually really good advice!! Keep the positives in your mind, work through the negatives, and always know if you just keep swimming you will get to that happy destination you are looking for!!
All the best!!
The next few weeks will present some very fun times and some frustration. First off the fun times, Halloween and birthdays!! Of course this Sunday will be trick or treating with the kids which is always a blast but also a challenge. With my son’s strict diet most of the candy he gets he won’t be able to eat which is kind of sad. To combat this I try to pick up some candy and chips that he can eat and just switch it out from his treat bag which seems to work well. Both kids are very excited for Halloween and have been putting on their costumes already.
Food is always a challenge when it comes to things like Halloween, birthday parties, school events, and so on. Whenever there is a birthday party my son doesn’t get to eat the cake (has his own brownies or cupcakes brought from home). When he was younger this wasn’t much of an issue but now you can tell that he wants the cake or ice cream that everyone else is eating. Even with school pizza days and hot-dog days this challenge comes up. A note came from school a little while ago and stated that he was the only kid in the class that wasn’t signed up for pizza day. Of course this would make him stand out with his peers and that can be very tough for a kid his age because we all know other kids can be cruel when someone is different. Again though there is a happy ending to this story, his teacher contacted us about this and wanted to help and we worked with them for a solution. For Pizza day the Boston Pizza near the school was nice enough to give us a deal on a package of their Gluten Free pizza crusts that we can leave at the school along with some sauce. So now on Pizza Day he gets to have pizza with all the other kids, which is fantastic. Thanks to this Boston Pizza will be getting my business from now on!!
On the Birthday side of things the kids are very excited and can’t wait to pick out their presents. I think they are both going to have a blast and these is going to be the best Birthdays yet for them. My son was also invited to a classmate’s party next weekend which is a movie party. This should prove to be very interesting as my son has never been to a movie theater before (not sure if he could actually sit still for that long). So to prepare for this I am going to take him to a movie on Sunday to see how he does. I am hoping that he will be able to handle being in the theater and can make it through the whole movie so we will see what happens I guess.
On a side note, from my branch entry. The branch was finally taken away, so I was overjoyed to see it gone however I came home the other day from work to see a new branch sitting on the front lawn!!!
Just a quick note (or update) about an earlier post. I had written the other day about how my son brought this massive tree branch onto my front yard. Well I have been taking the branch putting it on the other side of the road and each day when I come home from work it is on the lawn again!!! He really likes this branch I guess!!
So on Tuesday night I decided enough is enough so I took the branch and put it out to be picked up by the garbage collectors (down the road a little from the house). I figured there is no way he will find it before it gets picked up. Boy was I wrong!! Sure enough, I get home from work walk towards the house and guess what greets me on the front lawn, the tree branch!! As much as I was fuming that this 6 foot long by about 4 foot wide branch was sitting right in the middle of the lawn again I had to have a quick laugh and admire my son’s determination!! I walked into the house and sure enough there he was with a big grin on his face, overjoyed that he got his tree branch back. I gave him a big hug and am now trying to figure out how to outsmart him and get this eyesore off my front lawn. Something tells me I may be stuck with this branch for a while!!
With a son on the spectrum going to school, you normally hear about the horror stories of not enough attention, being told your child is a distraction to the other kids, and other negative things. This morning though there was a different message received from my son’s school.
Each day my son comes home with homework (which he loves and hates), and the odd note is written in his book on how the day went. This morning there was a note written in there and the usual was there but it ended off with the following:
“We hope he loves school as much as we love having him here”
I put a big smile on my face and realized that my little boy is having the same impact he has on family and friends on his teachers at school. After reading about all the challenges that parents face from the school system I thought it was really great that they would put a note in there for us to let us know how much they like having him there.
So another weekend goes by and yet another adventure with the kids. My son and daughter love being outside and just can’t get enough of it. The weather was great this past weekend so the bulk of the weekend was spent in front of the house riding bikes, playing tag, and hide and seek. Oddly enough I went to pick up some groceries and when I got back there was a massive tree branch in the walkway blocking the front door. I put the groceries down and proceeded to drag the branch back across the street. I went on into the house, unloaded the groceries and headed back outside where I was greeted by my son who looked straight at me and said “What, you didn’t like my branch?” I cracked up!! Sure enough I went in for a shower and came back out a few hours later to see the branch back on the front lawn!!
Last night was Beavers meeting number 2, I was late getting home from work so the kids mom took the them to the meeting which was at a farm. About 7:30 or so I heard the kids come in and when I looked up here was my son with a big pumpkin and my daughter with a little pumpkin. Both had smiles on their faces from ear to ear it was quite a sight to see.
I have to say that since my daughter has become old enough to play along side my son it is a true joy to see the two of them in action. Before when they would play together it was only a matter of time that I would hear a smack, or push, or fall, followed by my daughter crying. Now they both laugh and giggle and play so well together, and fortunately my daughter is tough enough to put my son in his place when she needs to (it is actually quite funny to see). I was always worried how having a little brother or sister would be for my son and at first it was a challenge. It was tough on him and her but I really think that as they both got a little older that having a little sister has actually been a real help for my son. He has someone to play with all the time that loves him unconditionally and he is never left out, it helps him develop social skills as my daughter is a great little communicator (I sometimes say she is 2 going on 16), so their interactions are fantastic.
I am preparing to head out of town for a few days this week and it will be the first time in almost 2 years that I have been away from the kids. As much as I am looking forward to getting away with the guys for some golf and good times part of me is really having a hard time with it. I love being able to play with the kids in the evening, bath time, brushing their teeth, and giving them a kiss good night is something that I am used to doing everyday. So going without them for a few days feels very strange to me, but I guess I will have to suck it up, hop on the plane, and get some golf in. Oddly enough my little girl told me she was going on the plane with daddy as well, she is not going to be impressed as I only have one ticket!!
I think my proudest moment with my son was a little over a year ago; we had to move away to get ABA therapy as the cost was just too much where we lived. My son had progressed to the point where he really didn’t need the therapy and we decided to move back. I will never forget the first time my friends got to see my son after being away for a year.
A group of my friends were doing some work outside and asked if I could help. I went there and brought my son along with me, a few other kids were there as well and my son jumped right in and started playing with the kids (jumping in the pile of soil, talking and interacting with the other kids). Of course I see my son every day so this was nothing new to me at this point but my friends were blown away. I will never forget going to pick up some extra sod with a few of the guys in the truck and all of them turning to me and saying. “I cannot believe this is the same kid we saw a year ago, he is a completely different boy.” That simple statement will stay with me for the rest of my life as it told me that all of the sacrifice, all of the stress, the financial burdens, and everything we have gone through was worth it just to hear those words and know that there is hope and to stay positive no matter what life throws at you.
As my son has started grade one this year he has had to get used to full days of school and no more transition groups to assist him. It was a very tough start for him, the first day of school he didn’t want to get on the bus, got up in the middle of class and yelled “I hate school”, and then to top it all off was put on the wrong school bus at the end of the day. Needless to say it was a fun filled entertaining day!!
Since then there have been good and bad days with school and when it comes to a change in routine or schedule this is expected. To cope with this the best solution was to make the morning as routine as possible. If the morning goes off without a hitch he has a great day, if there are challenges in the morning he has a bad day.
When he was first diagnosed, we had no eye contact, no real communication (just random words mainly from Diego). He is now fun loving and a joy to play with, yes he is a little different sometimes and may seem a little immature compared to his peers but he still has a blast and most kids don’t seem to shy away from him (of course some do but in my humble opinion that is their loss).
When I first found out that I was going to have a son I thought to myself how he would play hockey, softball, soccer, basketball, and any other sport under the sun. I had a vision of my boy being the guy that everyone liked and the boy knocking the ladies off with a stick (just like his dad 🙂 ). Once he was diagnosed all those dreams I had for my son seemed to come crashing down and I had a really hard time coming to terms with that. I didn’t know much about Autism and the natural instinct was to fear the worst. I really think that men and women deal with things differently, his mom talked to friends openly and came to terms with it while I bottled it up inside and for a while there shut down.
After some time I did come to accept the diagnosis and eventually I started to see that it is not the end of the world. With a lot of hard work and a tonne of stress I actually got to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have watched my son go from a distant person to a loving little boy who loves his mom, dad, and little sister. A little boy that loves to go outside and play and little boy that loves to give hugs, he may not be trying out for the all-star team this year but he will always be my all-star!!
The day to day stresses are far out-weighed by the joy in my humble opinion and believe me I have had more curve balls thrown at me than some major league baseball players over the past few years.