Peanut Butter, Apple Jelly, I like bread.

I’ve written before, ages ago now, that my son is autistic. We played hell getting him his disability as well as various services and programs he needs. Well, I’m happy to say that next year he will no longer be receiving PT services at school! What little he needed help with, the PT specialist is confident he’s got down and mastered. So, milestone hit!

He’s speaking more, and finally – FINALLY – is saying what he actually wants! Usually. Half his spoken vocabulary is still hard to understand. But this last weekend I think I might have hit a solution. Unfortunately for those around me who can’t appreciate my off-key and tone-deaf singing, it’s going to be quite painful to listen to all the time.

My son loves music. Like any child his age, he loves to dance and move around to music. He likes to try and sing along with songs.

But he also responds to it faster and easier than the spoken word. I made this discovery last Friday evening while making him dinner. He’s a very picky eater, and has never had apple jelly before. He specifically requested apple jelly on his sandwich (unfortunately we didn’t have any. All we had was grape, and my husband’s strawberry preserves). I was goofing off and sing-songing everything, as I do when the Lego Movie is on because honestly, I’m not ashamed to say that “Everything is Awesome” is one of my favorite songs and is actually on most of my playlists on my other laptop. It’s a really great song and my son, of course, LOVES IT.

So, I was singing at him during a commercial break the words “peanut butter jelly bread peaches”. He responded with “apple jelly”. Now, he loves apples. He can clearly say the word apple. And banana. And sometimes pear. When he is requesting a specific food, it is nearly always last in what he is saying. I say nearly because in the last month he’s taken to saying “please” after the object or snack he wants. So, at first I thought he meant he wanted an apple with his peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead of peaches. So I asked him “Do you want an apple?” of course that time I didn’t sing it at him. When I realized he wasn’t going to respond, I thought “what the hell why not?” and sang the question at him. His response? A very firm and very no-nonsense “Apple Jelly”. This went on for a few more minutes until I said “We don’t have apple jelly. We have purple jelly.” And he pouted and said “purple jelly.”

Yesterday, I went to the store to get a few things for the house and while I was there decided to grab a jar of apple jelly. When it was dinner time and it was time to make his sandwich I looked at him and I sang “I bought apple jelly. Do you want apple jelly?” And he very enthusiastically shouted back at me “Apple jelly!”

You know when kids take apart an Oreo or other similar cookie to get the cream out of the center and eat it first? Well that’s exactly what happened with the apple jelly on this kid’s sandwich. He pulled it apart like an Oreo and started licking the crap out of that apple jelly. I have never seen him attack a food so enthusiastically before. Not even a McDonald’s french fry, which are his absolute favorite of all the fast foods out there.

So of course after making this monumental discovery of the singing rather than speaking to him and the apple jelly, I immediately messaged his special ed Pre-K teacher and told her about it. (There’s an app called Seesaw that the teachers encourage parents to download and use so we can see pictures of our kids doing fun stuff at school, or the teachers can message us directly if there’s a problem or concern. It’s so freaking helpful.)

So that’s been my weekend so far. Pretty good, considering school is closed today and tomorrow for some ungodly reason. Winter Break, they call it. I call it any excuse to get more time off from classes.

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Success and Progress!

Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve been rather busy. And very sick. Usually, you don’t hear people praising the fact they got the flu. But today, I’m rather happy to have gotten it. Not because I enjoy having the flu, far from it. No one LIKES having the flu. The aches and pains, the snot, the coughing, the mucus… Nobody likes feeling like crud.

But I’m happy to have gotten the flu from a school last week. Because last week my son went in for his Special-Ed Pre-K evaluation. It would have all been done in one visit, but we had to go back at the end of the week to finish due to scheduling difficulties all around. And people getting sick with the flu. My son and I both caught it at the first appointment. So at least we know when and where we were exposed. My whole house came down with the flu last week and over the weekend.

today I went in for a meeting at the school with the PT, OT, school psychiatrist, special-ed department head, head school counselor, speech therapist, and of course the woman who would be my son’s teacher.

I am proud to say we managed to get him into the program! He starts on his birthday, the 27th, which is also a Monday. I’ll be taking him myself because 1) we live so close to the school it literally only takes me 5 minutes to get there or back; 2) he doesn’t handle stairs too confidently yet, and school bus steps are too huge for him right now (the PT and OT both agree with this) so when he masters stairs, he’ll be ready for the bus.

After so much worry and fighting to get him a diagnosis from a doctor I can actually get him to, he’s finally in. And as luck would have it, he got in even without an “official” diagnosis. And it’s in his files/notes that he’ll get a proper diagnosis when he’s closer to 5 because of the difficulties in finding a doctor that will diagnose a 3 year old for autism, add/adhd, ocd, and all the other assorted tendencies and issues he’s got/possibly has. However, after testing him themselves to the best they could given his cooperation issues, they are confident he’ll get a diagnosis on the higher functioning end of the spectrum (and since he CAN make eye contact with those he has become comfortable with or have formed a bond of some kind with, they are confident that the diagnosis will likely be Pervasive Developmental Disorder [PDD] which is what his father has as well). All in all, this is a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and my son will definitely benefit from this. It’ll help in ways we are limited in or are not equipped to handle on our own.

And most of all, I really like the team that’s going to be working with him, and after going over their individual methods and techniques this morning, I’m excited to get to work with them for him.

At the same time, I feel old. As all parents do when their child starts school. My child is starting a bit earlier than most, and having just had my 30th birthday it’s a bit much. So I’m rather emotional at the moment. Both in a “I’m getting old!” way, but also in a proud way. Because my son’s growing up and going to be starting school at the end of the month. He’ll have the opportunity to make friends with kids his age, and hopefully get his communication issues sorted so we can finally start understanding him when he speaks to us. I like the school itself as well. They’re very up front about things, to the parents at least, and are more than willing to help you out and explain things easier if you don’t understand. They are really kind. That’s what I like to see out of school employees. It makes for a good atmosphere, and I do genuinely feel safe leaving him there for a few hours each day 5 days a week.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to the last few weeks. Being sick and dealing with that have stressed me out to near exhaustion. Now all that’s left is I pick up a few documents, fill out some paperwork, and get him a brand new backpack for school.

When Lifting (heavy children) Lift From the Knees

On Wednesday my son and I went to our appointment at the WiC office here at our local health department. It was his usual Health Check (HC) where normally they check his weight, height, head size, iron levels, etc. This time all they checked were his height and weight. Thankfully he’s big enough now they let him stand up to get his height and stand on the big boy scale! And no iron check. This was a bonus.

My son is now just over 3 feet tall and weighs 38.9lbs. While this seems like holy jesus he’s fat, he’s actually not. He is above the “percentile” especially when adjusted for his pre-maturity. But the kid is active as hell (except today. Today he’s decided to just chill in bed all day. He’s not sick, he just wants to cuddle his duck pillow and watch Sesame Street all morning) – he’s just really BIG for his age. Bigger and taller than most 2 1/2 year olds. And a good number of 3 and 4 year olds we see at the library a lot. – The point is, even the Health Department is like “holy shit this kid is huge!” and deemed absolutely healthy. Right down to his teeth. – I’m rather proud of this, as I don’t let him have a lot of junk.

So, that was Wednesday. Thursday we spent the day just chilling out. And yesterday… yesterday we WERE going to go grocery shopping… Until I saw him yank his diaper off, and about to piss the floor. I ran over, scooped him up with the intent of putting him on his potty which was across the room (as he’s currently potty training). And… halfway there my back went out. I’ve been pretty much immobile ever since. Though, I did go the rest of the way to the potty with him. Plopped him down and then fell into a chair screaming out for my husband to come help. My back hasn’t felt like this in quite some time.

I’m going to take my pain meds, hope I can ride out the weekend, and then see my doctor on Monday.

But now I know – when lifting heavy children, always lift from the knees.

Two years ago, I had a baby. Yesterday we took him out for ice cream and chicken nuggets.

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Ran out of “Happy Birthday!” wrapping paper. So I got some brown mailing paper and did a freehand Spongebob!

Yesterday was my son’s second birthday. He woke up super early, and opened his presents after breakfast. And yes, he was a little smart-butt.

“You can open presents after breakfast.” – And so he promptly throws all of his cereal onto the floor.

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Now he’ll leave mine alone!

The night before my mom went and bought him a bunch of last minute presents, of which he’s got a few favorites already. A new giant Spongebob Squarepants plush. A light up and sound making duck that actually goes into the water of his bath (though I’m hesitant to let it go in the water because it’ll get gross and icky). And a little Leap Frog toy computer. The duck, the toy computer, and the Spongebob have been played with practically non-stop.

He had some quiet time in his crib for a bit, because of all the new toys he got over stimulated. After that, we went out for dinner at McDonald’s. He had himself a happy meal with apple juice, chicken nuggets, fries, and apple slices (he LOVES the apple slices!). After that, we all had ice cream! He had his first ice cream cone ever, and it took him a while to figure it out, but once he did he went to town on that cone!

We rounded out the evening with a wee bit of grocery shopping and by the time we got home the little guy was ready for bed. Passed out about 15 minutes after we put him in his footie pjs.

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You can get it at Walmart.

In all the other stuff he got, he also got a mess of new clothes (he’s growing again, and most of his 2T sized stuff doesn’t fit anymore!), some new shoes (one for play, one for looking nice for special stuff) a toddler basketball goal and basketball, one of those sound wheel things that I can’t really describe so I’ll just put a picture in this paragraph. And new crayons. And a new Chuggington DVD that came with a special edition train!

All in all, yesterday was a really great day, and he had a really fun time. Even though he’s still a bit too little to get up into the playground equipment, he still ran around the area and had a lot of fun playing tag with his dad.

My son’s Doctor Visit today.

Today has been a very long day…

This morning my son went for his 18month Well Child check up. He got his last HepA shot. He also got his first early screening for Autism. I had to fill out a questionnaire, without knowing what exactly it was. I figured it was a new version of the one I always fill out, because the questions were pretty much the same. Well, I was wrong.

I filled it out, and honestly every answer I put on there was honest. But his doctor on the other hand… was concerned. Of her chief concerns were…

language development isn’t where it should be right now. That’s understandable. Can’t argue that.

He doesn’t make eye contact. – To this, I told her that he does. Her response was “He isn’t making eye-contact with me.” My reply? “There’s books and toys in here, and he’s not here often enough to get used to the office. He’s distracted and exploring. Of course he doesn’t want to make eye contact when there’s toys on the floor and he wants to play.” For the record, he does make regular eye contact, and will actually hold staring contests with other children his age.

He doesn’t respond to language. – To this I told her “He doesn’t see you but once every few months. You’re a stranger to him. Of course he’s not going to respond a whole lot to you.” At which point my son responded to me telling him to give her back her folder, and hugged her when I told him it was rude and to apologize.

I’m not sitting here denying that there might be developmental issues. There is family history of autism in both my and my husband’s families. So I’m not ruling it out. But I’m not going to stand for someone sitting there who hardly ever sees my kid (these days when he goes to the doctor’s office, we deal with the NP instead of the actual doctor, which is fine because Mindy is AMAZING!) and is basically saying he’s got one thing when she legit has not witnessed the behaviors, or lack thereof, and spent only 5 minutes in the room with him and wasn’t actually watching his behaviors and such in the first damn place.

Either way, BECAUSE OF THE FAMILY HISTORY, we were already going to get him tested at age 3. Now, though, we’re going to get him tested a lot sooner. Representatives from a program called Babies Can’t Wait will be getting in touch with us to set up a time and day they can come out to the house. Their job is to observe him in his natural environment before making a decision and such. If they feel he might be autistic, or there’s something there to be looked at, they make the official recommendation for a specialist referral. So, if they decide it’s likely or that he’s showing enough signs, they’ll let his doctor know and her office will schedule with their pediatric behavioral specialist, and a formal diagnosis will be made.

So, I’ve been dealing with the very real possibility of my son being a special needs child. This doesn’t make me love him any less. I’m just scared that I might not be good enough to be up for the task of raising a special needs child. Though, one thing that’s got me through today was the fact that in this day and age, they know so much more about autism and the spectrum than they did when my husband and my older brother were children. And there are so many more resources available to us now.

Anyway, here’s an adorable picture, to lighten the mood! My Boobear cuddled up in my lap watching the Spongebod Squarepants Movie.

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A day of firsts

Today we had 2 firsts.

My son’s first ever dental check-up. And he aced it with flying colors! Perfect teeth, clean (admittedly despite our inability to brush them regularly because he’s one hell of a biter and a fighter!), and not a cavity in sight! Though, I don’t let him have a lot of junk foods and sugar, so that’s a big plus right there. He got his first big boy toothbrush, and his first pinwheel, too!

Today was also a first for me. I found a psychologist to help me with my mental health issues. It’s been a while since I’ve seen one, and I was really leary. I don’t do well with female psychologists. I get really REALLY aggro and oppositional. This, I know, goes back to having trust issues and serious problems with authority figures, especially women (such as the aunt I used to live with, and people who should have been trustworthy but turned out to only use what they knew against me in very bad ways). Though, I came away from this visit smiling from ear to ear. This woman made me feel like I was talking to my favorite aunt, or my grandmother. I feel really at ease with her, and found myself discussing a lot more than I had intended. She even shares a name with my favorite aunt (the one who is deceased). She has this subtle way of getting people to open up, and I like that. We’re going to work on my anger issues first, because that is the root of my current mental health state, and has been causing me serious problems in life in general. And I have always had an anger issue. But since my little man came along, I don’t have the time nor patience nor focus I used to have, and my old coping mechanisms either no longer work, or I simply do not have the time to implement them. So, I need new ones. After anger, we’ll be dealing with my depression, specifically the postpartum. All this, and I’ve got to get a psychiatrist so I can get back on my meds and work on things from the inside as well as the outside.

I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow to deal with my chronic pain and my knees, so there’s that as well. More on that after my visit sometime tomorrow.

And lastly, there’s a surprise third first! It’s not exactly…. good. Exactly.

My son’s first swear word is “damn”. At least, I think it is. He was so mad at me because of the dentist visit that he was screaming and shouting at me almost all the way home, and it was clear he was trying to form words to tell me exactly how pissed off he was. I think I heard, but cannot confirm, that he might have said “damn” somewhere in there.

I guess I’ll find out if or when he ever says it again. Man I need to work on my potty mouth!

Adventures in Toilet Training (HELP THERE’S POOP EVERYWHERE!)

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It’s the same style as my son’s, but a different brand and color scheme. But pretty much the same potty.

Well my son is at the stage of life where he is learning to use the potty. He’s successfully used it…. 2.5 times.

The .5 is when there was poop. Everywhere poop. In the potty. On the potty. On my shirt.

Another .5 is when there was poop. Everywhere poop. On the potty. On the carpet. On my husband.

Another point .5 happened last night, when there was pee. Everywhere pee. In the potty. On the carpet. On his shirt.

An entire 1 is when he sat down, pooped, and it all went in the potty. Just the potty.

The rest of the time is use putting his bare bottom on the potty and hoping for the best. He’s a bit potty shy, though. He needs to go, so we put him on it. And then nothing. Give up after 10 minutes and then BAM! Three training pants soiled in just as much time back to back to back.

I’ve searched and searched online for some great ways to make potty training easier, and right now, I’m just grateful for that 2.5 record we’ve got going.

If someone told 2012 me that one day, I’d be blogging about toddler poop, I’d tell them they were nuts.

These days, I’m just glad the kid’s pooping at all again without the aid of prune juice. All hail the raisins! All hail fig bars!