Wednesday, February 25, 2015

autism, Emma, and gender stereotype obsession

If you've ever wondered why Emma talks about pink anything, sparkles, hair bows, eye shadow, lip gloss, dresses, dancing, fashion, pop music sooooooo much, this is a screenshot of an excerpt from an article I came across that will give you a little bit of insight. Yes, it is just who she is. But it is also typical for her to obsess over these gender-specific stereotypes as an Autistic person. It once (as near as a decade ago) was only noted in boys on the Spectrum to have obsessive interests and to talk about them in a one-sided conversation. Two specialists we took Emma to as a preschooler did not recognize this in her and told us she couldn't have autism because she talked too much and she was doing pretend play( dressing as a dancer and dancing.) It took a third (a wonderful, wonderful, educated doctor and psychologist who was extremely thorough in her observations, to finally diagnose her. ... even after a neurologist telling us Emma had autistic-like characteristics at the age of 1! Anyway, just a little Autism post for you. <3 .... and Emma does attempt to make conservation. :-) she asks your opinions on colors and favorites and likes. And she asks again. And again. We often have the exact same conversations day after day, if not for weeks. Even months, some topics persist. It's a little like Groundhog Day sometimes. <3 We once were talking in the car, and I dropped her off somewhere. I picked her up later, and she started up the conversation right where we had left off. :-)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

not gonna buy them. nope.

I am a sucky mom. I don't give a shit about Spring Picture day. I never dress my kids nice or do their hair neat. Those picture packages are twice as much as fall pics. We never buy them. I bet the kids looked fabuloso in theirs today.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

a morning meltdown

Charlie sniffed the ground, looking for a good spot to relieve his full bladder. I held onto his leash, looked up at the deep, thick, blackness around me. Snowflakes, so many of them, revealed in the lamplight. I said a prayer to the Universe, to keep me going, to give me warmth and light and assurance and the right words to say and a calm voice to say them, when I returned to the house.

Monday, February 9, 2015

nobody likes a Monday (an Autism post)

Emma slept until after supper tonight. Missed most of her Papaw's birthday dinner. Lots of crying after school. I put her to bed. Felt bad because my temper was short. She slept so long-- I knew she must have been holding a lot in all day at school, trying to make it through. She ate and told Papaw "Happy Birthday," or rather I asked her to say it and she never did. :-) but it was implied ;-) After I put Noah to bed, we did a little homework. But not all. We need some sleep. -----> I <----- need sleep. <3

Thursday, February 5, 2015

i get to be Emma's mom (an Autism blog post)

I read a post in The Mighty, and I really felt a connection to the writer. This mom and I feel the same about a lot when it comes to our Autism kids.
I got to thinking...

I remember when Emma didn't say door. She would say, "Rectangle," over and over again. I remember when she obsessed over heart shapes, pointing them out even in old trim work in an ancient house we lived in and in the intricate patterns of Mamaw Virginia's shirt. She was a little over a year old. She didn't look at us. We wondered if she was deaf. She lacked fine motor skills to hold a spoon or pincer a Cheerio. She lacked gross motor skills and muscle tone to crawl or pull herself up. She didn't look through picture books with us but instead flipped the pages, flapping the back of her left hand on them. For the feel. For the noise. She would stare for a long time at the carpet, at the colored fibers. She would hum and rock and not answer if we said her name.

Sometimes I wish I could go back in time. Hold her so much more. I would burn the books that told me to let her cry it out. I would hold her all night long. Fuck those 'experts' -- I didn't know.

I know it's not my fault. It wouldn't change a thing. But I still wish I could go back and hold her again when she was a roly poly chubby baby.

I remember all the times I cried. Because I didn't have answers. My baby was a sweet, "good" baby. But she didn't look at me. She never fussed, but she was like a ragdoll. The other babies crawled and walked and talked. Emma lay on her blankey watching the blades of the ceiling fan whir around. I was sad. I lost friends because the other moms' babies were beginning to toddle. Emma and I were left behind.

So I did my own research, when doctors failed me. I learned how to teach Emma. We learned and grew together. She still teaches ME so much.

I remember:
pictures of beans and pictures of juice on the fridge door. If she wanted something, she had to point to the picture. Because yelling or grunting wasn't acceptable.

pictures and words on cards taped all over our house, labeling Door, Window, Bedroom, Cups

flashcards I made from magazine cut outs and my own (poor) drawings taped in the bathroom, detailing step by step instructions on how to go about doing your business in the correct order, then washing your hands

a binder of cards that had pictures of the stores we went to, so I could show her in what order we would go to them. in hopes of avoiding a meltdown

I also remember soooo much laughter. the happiest child you ever saw. I remember milestones-- nevermind when she achieved them. It's not even important. We celebrated each and every one.

I get to be Emma's mom. And Noah's. <3 and I celebrate THAT.

just look at her now! my dancing girl. my sparkling girl. She shines!

We have conversations sometimes. She is interested in what others have to say.
Yes, she tells me every day what her favorite colors are. She tells me what her dolls are doing in their "lives." It's nearly always the same. Sometimes I say "uh huh... yeah," but she is telling me. I don't care if it IS a scenario she saw in a Monster High video, she is still telling me about it. And it's so beautiful to me.