Sometimes My Brain Hurts

I’m tired. Not the sleepy kind of tired…or the exhausted kind of tired. My brain is tired. It hurts. So much going on right now…so much emotional crap being thrown at me from every conceivable place…well not “crap” but y’know.

Someone asked me yesterday if I was really glad that summer was here so that I could have my kids home with me. After I actually laughed out loud I replied, “Yes and no. I’m not a great stay-at-home mom.” Deep down the honest explanation would have been way too hard for her to understand and I didn’t feel like trying. Not everyone cares to know.

Colin has been off his meds for about three weeks. Due to, in part, the fact that he’s scheduled to see his Pedi for a med check and I always take him off a week ahead of time so that we can discuss the differences on/off the stimulants. Butttt….I had to cancel the appointment and am playing phone tag with the office to get a new appointment time. Meanwhile…Colin begins the “Big Spin”. The Spin that doesn’t end.

He exhausts me. Without meds, C is on a constant quest for stim. Tactile stim is his gig. While most mothers would die for the endless hugs and incessant kisses they just make me sad because I know why he’s doling them out. Him and Albert…the fearless stuffed dog who tells me more about Colin than Colin does. Albert goes absolutely freaking everywhere with us!!

“Albert wants a kiss”
“Albert is lonely, will you sleep with him?
“Albert will miss me, so can he ride in your car today while I’m away?”

Albert was at the petting zoo with us today for exactly nine minutes before I’d had enough of Albert needing to feed the ducks one pellet at a time. We decided Albert was tired and should nap in the car for awhile. Then I figured out that Albert is part of his tactile stim need. Once Albert was gone, C decided that putting the little duck food pellets in between his bare toes so that he had 8 pellets stuck in his own little webs was the new “good feeling”. I saw someone walk by and grin while he did that…like it was cute. Maybe to them…to me all I thought was “Please God. Not again.”

The most exhausting thing is the non-stop one-sided conversation. A diatribe on Mario or Sponge Bob I can handle about once a day. Right now…it’s constant. I’ve taken to telling him that he’s got three minutes to talk or he gets to tell me three facts about whatever the current obsession is. (It’s a new rule…should work right?) And then my heart breaks because I realize that we’ve talked all day long with each other and not once has he initiated a conversation that had anything to do with anyone else’s interests or feelings. He’s just researching the facts, Ma’am.

I try to find the fun and crazy things about this Asperger’s Beast most of the time. There are many of them…we giggle a lot and love this little man to death.

But tonight I’m tired. My brain hurts. I need a little bit of a vent…thank you very much.

The Bold…The Beast and The Beautiful

I stood for awhile tonight at my bathroom mirror. I actually stood and peered into my own reflection…looked into my own eyes to see what lies behind the flesh and bone. Someone told me recently that my eyes sometimes talk and I wanted to know what they said. They didn’t talk. Maybe I have to be looking at, or thinking of something before my eyes say anything. I actually twisted my face around to see what would happen. Not many wrinkles. No spots…just a couple of left over bug bites from a trip through the swamps of Chincoteague. Does my skin bounce back? Am I getting old? Should I get a face lift?

Ugh…those of you that really know me know that my beauty regime is minimal. Wash my face, brush my teeth…maybe do my hair…why the hell am I staring at myself in the mirror? Am seriously about to let my hair dred again cause I so do not feel like messing with a brush.

Because a face tells many stories. It’s the beast and the beautiful in all of us.

Colin watched me contorting my face in the mirror.
Him: “Mommy…there are 16 lines on your face!”
Me: “Really? Where?”
Him: “Beside your eyes…they’re funny when you laugh.”

Laugh lines. Only sixteen? I did count and he’s right on of course.

Laugh lines…awesome! From here out…every stress will bring on another laugh line. Every down moment will elicit a humorous outlook…every bad thought will cause an equally hilarious thought to cross my mind. I want 72 laugh lines before I’m forty! We’ve got 5 months.

Tomorrow I’ll stake up my lilies so their beauty will show through the scrub.

Tomorrow I will be beautiful despite what the beast inside me tells me I am.

Tomorrow I’ll kiss someone just for the hell of it.

Tomorrow I might dance some more…kitchen parties rock.

Tomorrow I might imagine the future.

Tomorrow I will laugh like crazy at anything I can find.

The beast won’t find me.

It’s all good.

Even when it’s not.

Growing Pains

Eight months? Seriously? Wow! I know I’ve said this before, but I really can’t believe I’ve taken so many months away from this little lovely blog. For so long writing was my therapy…and the only reason I stopped, honestly, was that so much of what I wanted to write would come out in jumbles and total ADD jargon. I’ll always admit to the fact that my mouth works faster than my brain and I say stuff unfiltered most of the time. But, in my writing I am free to edit and I haven’t wanted to edit much of what I thought lately I guess.

It’s been an interesting time of change for sure! Change often hurts, but we grow through pain and I’ve committed myself to a path of personal improvement in spite of hurt and irregardless of happiness. Emotions are wonderful things…but they can’t make decisions for you.

Maybe it’s because the warmer weather is slowly (way too slowly) working it’s way in…I’m a total summertime chicka…but a few days ago I felt my writing fairy tug on my sleeve a little. I was sitting at a ball park watching tiki tiki play a great game of baseball…and realized that the little fairy was buzzing very loudly in my ear. I love watching baseball…I don’t get tired of it. I also love watching Liam on the field…on the bench…anywhere near the field. He’s part of something really fun and really cool and he loves it. The excitement that he gets preparing for a game and the total meltdown that happens if he feels he didn’t do well afterwards are all so raw and real. We could all learn from him I think. As adults we’ve somehow learned to put on the “right” face instead of allowing ourselves the pleasure of just honestly feeling and letting go of both the good and bad so we can move on.

Colin is learning how to show his feelings too. Unlike Liam, who wears his heart on his sleeve, Colin has to be taught how to express those things. He has to be taught the words for the way he’s feeling. He can’t identify emotions the way others do…but he’s learning. This week (thanks to weeks of Social Skills therapy) he has been doling out hugs and ” I Love Yous” quite a bit. However….he announces them first. “Mommy…I’m going to come hug you and tell you I love you.” Then he sorta pats me on the back. Whatever! I’ll take it!!! Melts me. Sometimes it’s nice to know I’m more important at that moment than the plane, train or car he’s currently obsessing with.

This week, I finalized within myself the ability to not care too much what other people think of me. Not that I’m going to go do whatever I want no matter who gets hurt. Not at all. Just not going to worry about what I might imagine someone else’s opinion of me are. I had the privilege of hearing Darren Hardy speak last month. I took a lot of what he said away with me and slowly incorporate it into my daily activities. Most importantly he taught me not to be afriad of what other people will think. If they aren’t going to cry at my funeral…then they aren’t anyone to be afraid of.

In the meantime…I can’t wait for a fabulously fun summer! I’ll continue to foster my mild crush on Rob Thomas and keep dancing like a nut in my kitchen at night!

Birds, Bees…and Weak Knees

I have noticed Colin initiating more spontaneous conversation lately that FINALLY has nothing to do with Mario Brothers. A few weeks ago, it seemed like a little switch went on and we’ve been having quite long and complicated conversations that revolve around him wanting to know something about life.

Tonight’s conversation, however, made me weak in the knees.

Sitting by the pool, warming up after an after-dinner-swim. Erin’s still swimming and he’s watching her. He’s wearing his swim shorts, swim shirt and ever-present life vest. Wrapped in a colorful striped towel with his little purple lips….

Him: “Mommy…I think I’d like to be a girl.”
Me: “Why?”
Him: “Because girls are pretty.”
Me: “But boys are handsome.”
Him: “I’m quite tired of being handsome. I was hoping that I’d be a girl.”
Me: “You’re definitely a boy buddy.”
Him: Big sigh.

One minute passes silently.

Him: “I think you’re going to have another baby and it will be a girl.”
Me: “OH NO! We are definately NOT having any more babies.”
Him: “Well, you should have had two babies the last time…me and a girl.”

Another minute passes. By now, Erin’s out of the pool and we’re wrapping up and heading in.

Him: “By the way, was Erin a baby?”
Me: “Yes, everyone starts life as a baby. Liam was a baby too.”
Him: Smacks forehead, throws head back…”What the heck?! You had THREE babies! All at the same time?!”
Me: “No, at different times.”
Him: “Was I the first one?”
Me: “No, Liam was first…that’s why he’s oldest. You were last, that’s why you’re youngest.”

He thinks for a minute (by now he’s stripped totally naked, cause he like to be that way) and as we walk towards the pool fence door he asked THE QUESTION.

Him: “Mommy, how does the doctor get the baby to come out of the Mommy?”
Me: gulp…weak knees. “Um…well…you know how girls are the only ones that can have babies, right? And you know that girls have vaginas…remember, it’s near the place that their pee comes from. Well, babies also come from the vagina.”
Him: “What?! But it’s so small there.”
Me: “It gets bigger…trust me!”

Erin: “OH MY GOD MOM!!!”
Me: “I have to tell him the truth Erin.”

Him: “But I’ve only ever seen hair there. Isn’t that where your Penis (yes, emphasis added) is supposed to be?”

Somehow that ended it…and now I sit wondering when he’s going to ask me HOW the baby gets in there…right now he’s concerned with how it gets out.

Lord Have Mercy.

The Blog Fairy Returns

I can’t believe it’s been over six weeks since I blogged. What a dry spell that was! I have no excuse, no reason other than pure busyness and distractions that can’t be ignored. Thank you to all of you who have asked where I am or how I’m doing. I’m fine…

I’ve decided to create a new page called “Colin Speaks” here on this fine blog. Living with an Aspie whose manner of speaking and use of language is very pedantic and precise. He enunciates every syllable (would make any language professor proud).

My plan is to regularly update Colin Speaks. I’m not sure why I feel the need to catalog the things he says and does…perhaps to keep those things in my own memory. But, my hope is that it will give those of you without an AS child in your lives a glimpse of what it’s like for both the child and the family to interact with one another. And, for those of you WITH a spectrum child…maybe you’ll find yourself and your experiences here…

Some will be funny, some poignant…some probably very boring!

Happy Tuesday!

Feelin’ Pretty Cool tyvm

Monday evening I spent two hours at a very emotional basketball playoff—my son’s last ditch effort to win and move on. Sadly, that win didn’t happen because they got their butts handed to them. Not one man on his team was on their game and when they realized that…they started to have fun! Glad basketball is over and we can move on to baseball which will be the thing that moves Liam out of my house and in to college…bring it on!!!

Sitting on the bleachers next to me was a very lovely teenage girl (whom I know well). She told me I was “cool.” Not the first time I’ve heard that from my son’s set (or my daughter’s either), but hearing her say that gave me a warm fuzzy.

YES! I’m cool! (pump fist).

What makes someone my age “cool” to the kids? Is it the way I dress? If jeans, sweats, UGGs or flip flops make me cool…that’s easy! Is it the big car with heated seats? Once, one of the girls in my son’s friend circle told me she liked how I smelled…hmm….ok. Thanks. Does my perfume make me cool?

Is it the wild and wacky dancing in the rain with kids in their skivvies? That was fun and very cool.

Is it because my head stays attached to my shoulders and I simply sigh heavily when I hear swear words and trash talk coming from the next room or the back seat? (I don’t condone it, but it’s not the mountain to die on either).

I must be cool because my kids still tell me everything (well, nearly) and so do their friends. That will change, I’m sure, but for now I probably have Too Much Information and I will protect that.

“It’s cause you’re the warm, fuzzy, squishy cool mom…that’s why our friends tell you everything.”

See…I’m cool, man!

I’ve been sucked in by some of the music my kids listen to….loving Owl City and Lady Gaga (um, yes). Now it’s my job to convince them that the Grateful Dead, Elton John and The Who are cool too. But can’t wait to take Erin to her first concert in a few weeks….TRAIN!!! We’re there babes! “Hey Soul, Sister!”

At the basketball game Monday night I was texting Liam’s best friend. (This is the boy I refer to as “Son #3”. Our house is his second home and vice versa for Liam. I treat him as I do my own.) He was sitting far away from me with the opposing team’s cheering section, so I decided to text him and tell him off for being on the wrong side of the gym. And, I just like messing with him.

Me: “I can c u. Sitting with the enemy.”
#3: “LOL Mrs. G, he’s my old football coach.”
Me: “Fine! LOL, I was just kidding.”
#3: “Ok. And it’s jk fyi.”

What? He’s correcting my text lingo? Really?

A few moments later, Son #3 sheepishly makes his way to my side on the bleachers. He wasn’t really coming to see me, but to check out the two pretty teenage girls next to me. He sat down behind me…

Me: “What the heck, Dude. You feel the need to correct my texts or something?”
#3: “Yeah, Mom. You old people need to get with it.”
Me: “Wow! You just earned yourself very loud country music on the way home.”
#3: “Oh yea? Well, I’ll just turn up the iPod super loud and play the Beastie Boys to fight back!”
He knows how much I hate the Beastie Boys so he often does that to me.

Son #3 slithers off the bleachers but I got a high five on the way out…that’s cool.

I will never know what makes teenagers and tweens think a grown up deserves the label “cool.” That’s okay, I’m happy to bask in it as long as I’m able..

I can live with that.

In the meant time….

I’ll just rotflmao at all their craziness…idk, seems like fun to be a kid these days.

And wth, it’s ok to be cool.

Better Living Through Chemistry?

Colin began taking a stimulant medication two weeks ago. On the advice of his psychiatrist and pediatrician, we agreed to try giving him a low dose of amphetamine each morning in an attempt to control the impulsivity that comes along with Asperger’s. We started it over Christmas break so that any adverse effects would happen here at home and not at school.

So far, so good…I think.

Feedback from his teacher and aide last week seemed positive. Colin’s biggest “issue” at school is his constant need to touch people. Rub them, flick them, make faces at them, hug them. An intense need for tactile stimulation means he’ll go get it wherever he can and he loves the feeling of another human being. This week, he was able to stay in his space better and needed less re-direction. Less stimming by touching people, although his little squeeze ball was in constant use. No behavior issues with other kids that required a “talk with Mrs. G.” after school. All good stuff, in my opinion!

Feedback at home is mixed in nature. Mixed up in my thoughts anyway.

Yes, he’s less impulsive. He’s not jumping over furniture or smacking into his brother. Less time spent arguing when asked to do something and more time sitting quietly. Only one tantrum per day instead of four or five. He’s sleeping well, staying dry at night suddenly and focusing on the task at hand a bit more.

But here’s my conflict: I miss some of those impulsive moves. Particularly one. The one where he touches me all the time. Prior to taking meds, he’d exhaust me with hugs and kisses. Frequently, he’d stop what he was doing just to come rub my arm or cling to my leg. Certain clothing I wear illicits more of this touching and I’d get so tired of it! How many moms have to say “Only one more hug before supper allowed.” How wierd is that?

Now, I’m lucky if I get two or three spontaneous hugs per day. Is that better? I’m not so sure.

So, this weekend I decided not to medicate him. I got tons of hugs, loving kisses, back rubs, arm rubs and leg pulls. I also got lots of wierd noises, couch jumping and spinning in circles. That’s okay…I’ll take it if it means I get my dose of touch for the week.

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