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.

I’m About to Come Alive

Someday I’d like a life with some peace, tranquility and stability. I often find myself in constant flux; trying to do the right thing and make the world spin in a perfect orbit. I’ve managed for the last 20 years to narrow myself down into someone who wants to make sure that everyone is happy. That means they like me.

Well…I’m kinda done. Honestly, I’ve been “done” for awhile. A few months ago, a wise man told me I should do more to care for Myself and let other people deal with their own shit. Yes, he used the word “shit.” Yes, my insurance company paid him by the hour to help me sort through the complexities of the place I find myself in. But he was right. In the weeks that followed his mandate, I gave myself permission to be occasionally selfish. I’ve gone out with my friends more, had a few moments of “me” time and managed a whole week away from home with old friends. Yikes! But, it’s not enough. There’s still a lot of me left to reaquaint myself with. I miss me.

I watch my children intently. I don’t want them to make the same mistakes I did. I don’t want them to sell themselves short for the sake of the status quo or to just please others. But I’m afraid I’ve been teaching them that their job in life is to make sure no one gets mad. That is SO NOT cool.

So, from here on out it changes. When it’s just me and the kids hanging out for days this summer, I’ve tried to be nothing but real and honest with them. I’ve always had fun, got silly, carried on and let them explore who they are. But I haven’t modeled independance and I will, from now on out, make sure they begin to be okay in their own skin, regardless of who they think they have to please.

We live in this world to care for others and to love and nurture each person we are in contact with. But, it is not in anyone’s right to change you into someone who you don’t recognize and to manipulate you into someone that no longer thinks for themselves. I will not have my children engage in that life.

My baby boy, Colin, has brought out in all of us the need to look beyond ourselves and learn another world. Frankly, learn an entire new language…and in so doing has brought myself and my children to a place where we respect the preciousness of others and yet are now finding out how real we all are.

I have loved the following song for several years. It speaks of a hurting time between a man and a woman, but the lyrics can apply themselves to anyone who is about to realize that they’ve reached the place where they become who they really are. And the lead singer is pretty beautiful…so that doesn’t hurt!

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.

Flight of Ideas

Well….typical ADHD day for me….brain flits from this to that and then finds a shiny thing to watch for a few seconds.

I was diagnosed with Adult ADHD about four months ago…which caused my mother to say…”Well, THAT explains everything!”.

Wow.

Here’s today’s flighty recap:

“Mom, mom…..Mommy!!!!! Mom, mom…..mom…do you hear me? MOM!!!!!”

Son #1 managed to get through another day of 7th grade without a girlfriend (thank god!) and kick ass in a baseball game.

Daughter #2 managed to get through another day of 5th grade with Maximum attitude…resulting in a few disciplanary actions…..

Son # 2…see Colin Speaks

Hubby? Well, I don’t want to know that he’s in 90 degree weather (and I don’t care how much time he spent inside)….

Daughter #1 I imagine is doing okay since she hasn’t asked for anything lately or wandered into more trouble than she can handle.

Life as a relatively single Mom with crazy schedules and Asperger’s needs gets tough sometimes.
But…it’s good…it’s ALL good…or at least it wil be when it all pays off.

And tomorrow, I cap off or begin (however you want to look at it) my 40 lb weight loss with the beginning of a crazy, insane home workout….

I’ll let you know if I’m alive on Sunday, K?

Going Gluten Free (And broke!)

Today I wandered into the world of gluten-free shopping. Since Colin’s diagnosis of Asperger’s last Fall, I (information sponge of a Mom) have spent countless hours reading books, articles and scouring websites for information on therapies, remedies and diets. Over and over I’d smack into websites discussing a Gluten and Casein free diet for kids on the spectrucm.

The theory is that AS kids may not properly digest gluten and casein which form peptides that can actually turn into an opiate like substance in their bodies to which they then become addicted. Peptides may change behaviors, perceptions and responses to stimuli. If this is true, the child may then limit his entire diet to gluten and casein products because it’s what makes him feel good (like an alcoholic with a drink) even though it’s actually making him feel bad.

Andy and I had tossed the idea of trying to slowly go gluten/casein free (GFCF) but we couldn’t agree on when. Until this week…when our pediatrician took a look at Colin and ordered a barrage of bloodwork to rule out iron deficiency and Celiac Disease. UGH!!!

Until I have the full results of the bloodwork, I’m starting slow beginning with gluten replacements and toning down how much milk he drinks…but here’s the kicker…

Over the past year, Colin has completely self-limited his eating to carbs and dairy…hmm? Is there truth to the theory that he might be an addict? I’m beginning to think so. His gut is a mess (but I won’t elaborate), he’s exhausted all the time, his “belly hurts”, his behaviors are (off meds) out of control at times.

If it turns out he has Celiac disease…I guess I’ll go cold turkey on the gluten, but I’m not a cold turkey kinda girl…

So, I’d like to hear from any of you who’ve made this leap. Tell me how your child did…was withdrawal as bad as I’m imagining? And how in the hell do you explain to a six-year-old that he can’t have Kraft Mac’n’Cheese anymore (when it’s truly a food group in his world).

I started today to stock the pantry. Luckily we have some decent grocery stores but I felt like a total stranger in the land! I bought mixes and fixes. Two and a half hours and $200 later, Erin prounounced the Gluten Free Blueberry Waffles acceptable…we’ll have to see what Colin says (if it ain’t EGGO, it ain’t a waffle).

I might need some serious handholding soon.

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!

It’s Our Fault They’re Here

Do we as grown ups know the power we have over the children in our lives? Not just our own..all of them…they run in packs.

I sat back last night and watched my youngest daughter get giddy, silly and crazy with an equally hyper ten-yr-old girl. As I watched them, I flashed back to my childhood. I was class clown, hyper, silly, whacky and fun. No “diva” in me…just total fun. These two babes embodied me and my friends “back in the day.”

Watched my teenage son and his best bud at the Globetrotters game. Torn between having fun at a crazy show and texting their friends and girlfriends. The show won out but that won’t last forever. I’m grateful he has a best friend that I trust and love. Grateful that both of them still tell me everything…how long will that last. I never told my mom anything…i guess I’m “cool.”

I sat with my little baby on my lap. Not so little. He stroked my cheek, rubbed my leg, made strange noises, took a walk, flew his airplanes and flapped his arms….but he liked the farting noises the globetrotters made.

All in all it was a fun nite. Successfully entertained multiple age groups….managed to get through the evening without a meltdown…had fun watching trick basketball…

Maybe we made some memories for them.

Either way…they live because we do…

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