Friday, August 31, 2012


It’s been a while again, we’ve had such a busy summer! I’m currently (tues night) at my friend Tasha’s house. Her son Rilee needs constant medical attention and his home care nurse for the evening was unavailable and they couldn’t find backup. I had checked facebook just one more time before leaving for Dawson’s Open House to meet his teacher. The first status I saw was from Tasha, saying she’d have to stay up all night to care for him and then work all day. That is rough! She’s an hour away, but I asked if I could come help her out tonight so she could get some sleep. She had another friend come over too. They are both sleeping. I guess being a night owl has its advantages. J

Dawson’s Open House went great! His teacher is such a sweet person and so is his Special Ed teacher. We were the first to arrive, so we got some time to chat with her, which I was relieved for. Dawson seems to like his new classroom. He found his locker and cubby in the classroom. We looked at the gym, cafeteria and library. His preschool didn’t have a real library, so he was excited to see the room full of books. He wanted to go get some books right away! Turns out a boy from our apartment is in his class too, though we haven’t met him yet.

After the Open House we dropped Daddy off at home and headed to Astride. He started Horse Therapy last week and will go every Tuesday for 8 weeks. They are 1 hour sessions. He brushes, saddles, then gets to ride. They do stretches and work on balance, learn how to stop and turn, go over ground poles, weave cones, back up, and do some fun games like a bean bag toss.  He’s doing great! His teacher says he will go far and he picks up on things so quickly! This was only his second week and he has already graduated from the surcingle, which is just a handle to hold onto and they sit on the saddle blanket. They gave him an English saddle, which has no horn, so all balance has to be done with his body, not holding on. He’s already saying “walk on”, “woah” and pulling back to stop. He pulls the reins to the side to turn and didn’t even need to be reminded how to do any of that at the beginning of class. He sits so tall and has excellent balance. They also have them ride backwards for balance. Last week he went about 10 steps and wasn’t very comfortable with it. Today he took 2 laps backwards and was grinning the whole way, exclaiming about how silly it is to ride backwards! They played Red Light, Green Light at the end and then brought the horse back to the barn and gave her a treat. He’s been talking about it all week and had an even better time tonight. It’s great seeing him so excited about something. He loves animals, and having something to learn like that is very good. They go at the kid’s own pace; he has 1 other child in his class. He loved having me walking beside him the first week. This week I just sat on the sidelines so I could take pics, watch and enjoy that way. I found that I much prefer helping though!  
He first tacks up his horse, as much as he can. He can't really reach up high enough to put the saddle on, but he "helps", then he clips the reins on. They are color coded for the kids who don't know left and right, though he does.
 For each child there is a team of 3, plus the teacher in the middle instructing everyone. There is a horse leader and 2 side walkers. Dawson will probably just need 1 sidewalker soon. They start everyone off with 2 until they see what level of balance they have.
 Backwards! He thought it was so silly.

 Basketball! Another balance game, to be able to focus on something else and keep balance without holding on. He did awesome.
 Feeding Sonjay some treats at the end.
I’ve been volunteering all summer, it’s been fun. The girls I was watching spent 4 nights with us while their parents went and found a house to rent. I helped them pack up and move. It was so hard seeing them go. I got so close to their family in the short 8 months that I’ve known them! I’m house-sitting their place, so that’s been a nice little project on the side. I’ve been working on some cleaning and things. It’s nice having stuff to focus on.

I stopped my depression meds a week ago. It was a low dose to start with, and I just didn’t think they were being very beneficial. Grief depression is a tough one, because often meds don’t really help anyway. They did seem to make things better and helped me through the beginning, but I just found it unnecessary and I’d rather not be on meds if I can help it. So with the ok from my Dr I stopped. It was a rough first week; I had headaches, dizzy spells, nightmares and other symptoms. I’d been told that could happen between 4-7 days as the meds are leaving. Even while on the meds, it wouldn’t take much at all to throw me back into a funk. I decided if people’s words and actions can have that big of an affect on me, I just need to get rid of the negativity. So I went through and weeded my facebook. I deleted about 400 people. Some I just didn’t know, many added to follow Tyler mostly and I haven’t talked to them since, and others were just negative additions to my life. Since then I’ve felt more surrounded by support and real friends. My funk lifted and things were much better. I’ve been focusing on eating better, exercising and positive people. I’m just monitoring how things are going and hopefully I’ll be able to stay in a good place and won’t need the extra help.

I’m excited for the school year to start. Not for the early wake-up time, but the freedom during the day will be so nice. I’ve been surprised at how many people don’t realize I’ve been stuck at home Monday through Friday, 9-5 since November. Sometimes I can plan for the therapist to go somewhere with us, but it can only be places where his goals can be worked on, which is harder than you’d think. I have a moms group on Tuesday mornings and MOPS on Thursday mornings, the rest of the week I’m not sure about, but it will be nice to have those 2 guaranteed days of positive support and adult interaction. I already have friends asking to get on my calendar for my free days, and that means so much to me. I have a list of people I want to visit and spend time with, and to have them come to me first just made my day.

We went to the State Fair over the weekend. It went very well! Dawson loved the rides. He is quite the wild child! He was asking to go on huge rides that are not made for kids. Crazy boy. He loved the ones he went on though, and he even tried new foods! He shared a crepe with Dan and some corn fritters. He’s been doing so good accepting new foods. Still going very slow, but so much better than before! We watched fireworks at the end and the boys slept all the way home and didn’t even wake up when we brought them from the car to their beds.

Waiting in line for the bungee tramplines. His Autism was showing a bit. ;)

 Harnessed up!
 So high! He was yelling "Look mom, I'm SO high!" and laughing.

 Mini ferris wheel

 He did great sitting with other kids on the rides.

 He got to fly! I wasn't sure if my crazy boy would like this one, since he's not been on anything where you don't sit. But he was adamant that he wanted to fly high. He totally loved it and was shouting "mom look, I'm flying!"
 Dan and Gabriel watching rides
 Dan got a peek at the new four wheeler he is building the engine for at work. :)

Dawson has been doing awesome. His supervising therapist says one of her concerns for kindergarten is him getting bored and not challenged enough while waiting for other kids to catch up. He already can read simple books and knows lots of words. He can do basic addition; write words, cut out shapes, trace, glue, etc. He’s been working hard on all those skills for a long time and the ipad has really opened a lot of doors for learning those skills as well. It feels good sending him to kindergarten with so many skills. Hopefully he can work more on his social skills and not have to worry about being frustrating with learning those things. Another awesome thing is having people say “wow, I wouldn’t have known he has Autism!”  I heard that one today, from a nurse too! Some moments it is very obvious. At the state fair he was waiting in line for the bungee trampoline jumping and his Autism was very much showing and everyone was smiling and talking about how cute he was. It’s great to have those positive experiences, instead of the nasty looks and judgmental comments.

Dawson at a family reunion
 Dawson's friend had a pirate party and going away party. He wasn't sure about that eye patch, but he did leave it on for about 3 minutes. We're really missing our friends. Dawson keeps asking to go over there or have them over and doesn't quite understand that they have moved so far away.

 Dawson's loot. He put all his suckers in his pocket and was posing for a pic.
Gabriel has been learning so many new words! He said dog, puppy, Katie, woof, wahoo, more, up, help, all done, and many more. He says new words every day, it’s amazing. He got to play with Katie, her kids and little dogs today. He loves going there. He did that while Dawson and I did the Open House and Astride.

Gabriel and my mom
 Gabriel and his best buddy. They are so adorable! This summer has been so much fun having them around.
Coming back to finish this blog, 2 days later. Things got crazy and I wasn’t able to finish it. I stayed up the entire night on Tuesday and was doing good. Tasha made us some coffee and left for work. We only had a 30 minute gap between her leaving and when the next nurse came for her shift. We told her it would be fine. Five minutes later, Rilee started fussing. He needed a lot of suctioning and was throwing his head back and making a huge fuss. I had been nursing Gabriel, so I went over to help her suction and get him calmed down. I took him and got him calmed down, but he was clammy and his breaths were different. He was very upset still. I looked him over a bit and saw that his Trach tube had come out of his neck! My first thought was to just stick it back in, but then I wasn’t sure of protocol, if sticking it back in would be an infection risk or not. I was certainly not going to be the cause of something bad for this little guy! I had no clue if she had new ones, so I called Tasha. No answer! So I called 911, because her friend was asking me to, and I had no idea how long he could go without his Trach. His oxygen stats were just fine at the moment, but he was all upset about it. So they show up and said they have no experience with “those things” and didn’t even know if blowing oxygen at him was doing any good. Thankfully his mom showed up soon after. He was brought to Children’s in the ambulance, since he has a lump of tissue making it difficult to get his tube back in. He is supposed to be without it in a month or 2 anyway.
The experience made me realize how lucky we were to never have a home emergency like that. We had many emergencies, but they were all at the hospital.

We made it home ok, but skipped our playdate scheduled for that day. Exhaustion was kicking in, so we just relaxed at home. Gabriel took a nap and surprisingly I couldn’t even sleep! Go figure. I thought I’d be out cold at the first available opportunity! The last couple days have been tiring as well. Gabriel got a fever Wednesday night, but most of the day was ok. I figured it was very random, maybe teething or something. We went to the Humane Society and played with some animals. We played with a dog, held a small adorable cat, a rabbit and a guinna pig. They had lots of fun, Dawson even held the smaller animals. He wanted to hold a mouse too, but those are just too small and fast for him to handle. Gabriel kept looking at all the animals and saying “woof!”. It was adorable. He loved petting them all and was so gentle.

Last night, Gabriel’s fever was back and he even woke up at 4am feeling miserable. The fever kept on today and he wasn’t eating anything. I figured it was a virus until he started itching his ear a bit. I took him in and sure enough, it was an ear infection. Our first one! We’ve been lucky with ears so far. Thankfully it was something simple and not contagious. He’s taking his meds very well since he’s used to those. I think he’s happy for something that tastes better than his Iron.

My miserable little boy. He didn't even want his favorite snack.
 Sleepy boy and his favorite truck, which ironically was Tyler's favorite truck also!
I’ve been having a harder time with Dawson this week, he’s been constipated and his behavior has been horrible. It’s so hard to monitor that now that he’s potty trained and flushes the moment he goes. So I’ve bumped up the laxatives again and thankfully things have been going a bit better, though he has a ways to go behavior-wise. I just hope he’s more back to normal by the first day of school, which is only 3 days!! Yikes, it's suddenly coming up so fast, and I still need a few things. Was going to finish shopping this week, but then Gabriel wasn't feeling good. Hopefully tomorrow! He's been up and around more today. :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sleepover and the Fair

We've had a busy week, my friend's husband was out of town, so we took a few of her kids off her hands. Tuesday we just had them for the afternoon, then Wednesday we just ended up doing a sleepover. They had so much fun!

Two buddies, Gabriel and Alchemy
 Gabriel, Alchemy and Skye
 Alchemy being a little ham. This boy is such an adorable cuddlebug. I wanted to keep this little guy, cuddles make everything better, and I sure don't mind that either! My boys are more of "yeah you've kissed me, can I go now?" kids. :)
 Splish splash, 4 kids in the bath! They loved their ball pit bath. I'm not used to girls though, and combing their hair. I just remember how much I hated that when I was a kid. So many tangles.
 Testing out the air mattress before bed. It never feels like we have 5 kids, it sounds like a lot, but then as I look around I keep expecting there to be more. Skye (3) is in red, Gabriel (16mo) in blue, Dawson on the left (5), Rain is upside down (5), and Alchemy in green (19mo). It's a little more crazy when their 2 year old autistic sister and the 3 month old baby are here, but we like crazy. As long as crazy goes home eventually! Which is part of why I take them, because if I had 5 kids under 5, I would be begging for a break! But it's really fun while they're here. :)
 Playground! I let them bring toys out, as long as they helped carry them all.
 Found a use for those hospital bottles.
 Skye recently cut her hair, with her sister's help. Though if you ask her, she says her mom cut her hair! I said "really, it was your mom?" and she says "wellll, I did, but my mom cut it more!" haha
 Gabriel loved the slide, he does it all by himself now! He's getting so big.

 Climbing up by himself.
 Alchemy was excited to ride the trike.
 I think they had as much fun pushing as he did riding!

 Thursday evening we went to the fair. Dawson got to ride a camel!
 Showing off with his parade wave. :)
 Gabriel rode a pony, he was excited to get on one again. He was reaching over to pet the pony as he rode and everything.
 Such a little cowboy. He rode with just 1 hand on the horn!
Carousel. The guy started it up before I got them both on a horse, and a kid pushed past and got on the one next to us, so they ended up sharing a horse.
 Gabriel was excited to ride the cars. I shouldn't have gotten him a wristband, there wasn't many rides at all he could do, but we had fun. He did do about 4 rides.
 Dawson came and sat with him in the car.
 Daddy and Gabriel, watching Dawson on a ride. Gabriel was so upset that he couldn't ride more of them. When Tyler was a year old, he had no interest in rides, he just liked watching them! Gabriel needs to be in on all the fun though!
 The slide. We've had bad luck with the slide, 2 years in a row now! Last year, the guy told Tyler he was too short, even though he was exactly the height required. He rolled his eyes and said "there's always next year".  Thankfully it wasn't the same guy this year. Dawson did the slide all by himself this year. He stands in lines so well. I told him "you're behind the boy in the blue shirt", and he stuck to him like glue. Then another boy, older than him, cut in line. Dawson looked confused, looked at me and I told his mom that Dawson was behind the boy in blue. Issue fixed. Then the boy kept touching Dawson, and pushing him out of the way. Dawson got fed up and pushed him back. The mom only saw Dawson push, she'd been talking to a friend and missed the rest. So she yelled at Dawson, then yelled at me, saying her son is Autistic and doesn't understand.

At that word, I had hope. Mothers are usually understanding because they know Autism and it's social awkwardness. I said "my son is Autistic too!", in an understanding, relieved tone. Finally, someone who understands Autism. I was imagining smiles and understanding to follow. Instead I heard "I don't care! It's not ok to push!". Um... what?! That was not expected at all. I knew it was a lost cause, I didn't even tell her that her son was doing the same thing. She was still yelling, Dawson started crying, her son started crying.Then she noticed him crying and just gave me a dirty look and walked off with him in a huff. I saw her son later doing rides. Had we talked through it and had them apologize, things would've stayed calm. Autistic kids feed off those angery emotions so much, and it's such a bad example to just go off and yell at people! Dawson was so shaken up by it all, that he refused going on any rides after that, even his favorite ride that he hadn't gotten to try yet. He just sat in the stroller, looking close to tears as he looked at all the rides on the way out. I gave him time to simmer down, Gabriel rode the carousel with me once more, but Dawson was still too shaken up to want to stand in any more lines. At least he still did the slide.

It just ruined our whole night though. It's already hard going to places and having fun, missing Tyler. Plus yesterday marked 9 months since Tyler died, so that was on our mind, plus the fact that this fair was the last place we got to take him. It was already tough, we really didn't need any drama. I wish people would look at both sides. Once she said he had Autism, my annoyed thoughts of the child immediately went away. Where is people's compassion? We're all just trying to have a good time, a little patience and understanding would go a long way. What gets me the most is when it's other special needs parents, and friends, who in theory should be understanding and compassionate. Yet they jump to conclusions without a thought about what might actually be going on. Think before you judge people, because nobody knows what someone else is going through and what their story is. Everyone is fighting a battle of some sort. Be kind. "Love thy neighbor!"

 Gabriel on the carousel

 Thankfully Dawson did perk up just long enough to hold some animals. I was relieved. He loves animals, and has been more interested in them, with his imaginary pets and all. :)  He decided to hold a chicken. I wasn't sure if he'd want to hold the chirping, flapping, kicking little thing, but he was adamant and determined. He did it! That face is priceless.

 Then he got to hold a duck. So cute and fuzzy! Gabriel pet the animals, and I didn't get any pics because I was too busy just making sure he didn't injure them! He held out a finger and let me help him pet the chicken's head. But the duck, that thing has a good neck for a handle! Before I got his hand, he had grabbed the poor duck's neck and looked so proud of himself. That poor duck. I managed to pry his fingers off without injuring the poor thing, and we let him have a break back in his cage after showing Gabriel the proper way to pet a duck. His favorite animal was the horses though. Gabriel really wanted to climb in with them. He's related to his mommy I'm thinking. ;)
I'm not sure what it was, but this morning both boys woke up and immediately threw up. That made for a smelly, exhausting morning, but thankfully it seemed to be a one time thing. They had pizza at the fair, and I'm thinking maybe it was just too greasy or something. They aren't used to that really greasy stuff. After a nap they both seem to be fine. Knock on wood! I'm really hoping so, because we have a very busy weekend, between donating stuff to a family, going to a grieving families picnic and having Dawson evaluation for his horse therapy that's starting in just 2 weeks!