Thursday, July 28, 2011

No shame in our game!

Funny Quotes

My 4 year old on the spectrum was quizzing me about bees and how they made honey.  I explained that bees got nectar from the flowers and took it back to the hive where they made the honey.  He looked at me seriously, "What are the ingweedients?" 

My oldest with Asperger's showed his grandmother his hands which were wrinkled after being in the pool for a long time.  He said, "Look, Mammaw, my hands are as wrinkled as you are!"  Thank God she has a sense of humor!

I was reading a book on idioms I had recently purchased and was telling my oldest about the history and meaning of the idiom "getting up on the wrong side of the bed."  According to the book, in ancient Roman times, it was considered bad luck to get out of bed on the left side.  My son thought about this and stated that he was "bed-a-dextrous" (playing off the word ambidextrous).

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thanks for the lift

People often ask me how I do it.  How do I get through the days raising my children - autistic as well as neurotypical?  I always appreciate the sentiment since sometimes it's nice for our challenges to be acknowledged.  No matter how many times I'm asked it, though, I never seem to find a good answer.  These days, I tend to laugh and tell them they can come to my house and see what falls through the cracks.  Here are the latest examples:  a couch is in our back yard still waiting for the trip to the dump (we don't have a truck and we need help with lifting it); one son's room downstairs has half the carpet pulled up after a leak in the foundation which requires a simple repair that has yet to be done; we are wasting water with a leaking toilet (yes, I know, my enviro-karma is severely poor right now); we have a Lazy Boy in our garage that is also waiting for its last ride to the the landfill.  If I were to add the things my children have broken to this (the second trampoline, a cabinet door, and so forth), you'd think our house was a wreck.  It is and yet it isn't. 

Most things related to the children's day-to-day activities are organized:  monthly calendar, daily schedule, chore charts, map charts, self serve bins and so forth.  Essentially, it comes down to triage.  It would be crass of me to imply that we are unique in how we have to prioritize our household/life to-dos.  I do think ours is a bit unusual and, unlike some, our busy-ness is not by our choosing.  Prior to having kids, I remember thinking how busy I was and that I never seemed to get anything done.  Now, I realize how much time I did have because I still had time to do non-essential things such as go to a movie, the neighborhood pub, chit-chat on the phone, watch TV, and so forth.  Today, it is hard to find the time to do the essential things:  prepare for my son's upcoming IEP (special education) meeting, cook more than chicken nuggets, get my kids' medicine at the store, spend special time with my typical son who is feeling left out, and so on.  Compared to these things, the small crack in the foundation, the lovely couch in the yard (I jokingly consider this our white trash display), or the leaking toilet are annoyances that we'd like to address but which are overshadowed by what my husband and I find most important:  our family, our sanity and our basic survival.

I would be remiss if I didn't also point out that, in addition to prioritizing our life a wee bit differently, we are fortunate to have a wonderful support network.  What does support for a family like ours look like?  It's quite varied but all equally helpful and appreciated.  From the speech pathologist who celebrates your child with you to the occupational therapist who teaches you ways to help your child navigate his/her world more comfortably; from the mother-in-law who unselfishly watches your children even if her back doesn't feel great to the awesome respite worker your children love; from the consultant that tells it to you like it is without making you feel like dog doo to the friend who brings you cookies because she knows you've been having a rough time; to your Mom and Dad who are always a phone call away and listen patiently to all the crazy emotions you struggle with day to day.   All these ways help.  So, when people ask how I do it, the best answer is that we are all doing it together and, despite how I may feel at times, I am certainly not alone.
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