Friday, June 26, 2015

do you hear what i hear?

Just a little insight into Sensory Processing Disorder and Auditory Processing Disorder, common occurrences with autism: earlier today Emma was in the living room, Noah in his room, and I was one room over in the laundry room. Noah said to me, in a voice just above normal, "I love you!" About a full 60 seconds Emma started screaming. She was panicked. She yelled, "Who's talking in my ear?! Who said 'I love you' in my ear?!" I reassured her it was Noah who had said that to me.
I wanted to give you an understanding of how slowly she processes sounds at times and also how her brain is not telling her where the sound is coming from and is making it louder and extremely close to her. It becomes easier to see how one might feel scared and even a bit crazy if this is how you 'hear.'

Monday, June 22, 2015

learning to live without my Charlie

The yard was calling to me. I mowed, weeded, and mulched. Then sat down to watch four hummingbirds converge at the feeder. Someone was letting off fireworks in the east and the lightning bugs were out. I ignored my pounding allergy headache and enjoyed the slight evening breeze. With every step I took outside my heart ached. Charlie was always following me-- back and forth, back and forth-- as I made rows with the mower. I miss his green Grinch paws so much. I wished he was lying beside me at the patio out back as I rested... but I couldn't bear to sit out there. So I sat at the front of the house and was still, hoping for restoration of my heart and peace in my mind.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

morphing

As we segway into adolescence -- I say "we" because Hello! I'm on this ride with my daughter for sure!-- I watch as her meltdowns morph into something a little different.
She is nervous about walking up to her classmates when we see them at the video store or grocery. This is something new. Her stuttering increases and she blurts out random and strange (untrue?) things to them as a greeting. i.e., "Hi, ______. How is your summer? I've been itchy a lot lately," as she scratches at her scalp and rubs her arms. They're going to think she has fleas or something! Oh dear.
She's never really liked being in the grocery store for long, but now her agitation quickly shifts to a manic state. She clomps around the store at high speeds, spouting off brand names read from labels and laughing hysterically.
More time is spent in her room with the door closed. Shutting her little brother out.
She has become more interested in hygiene. I still have to turn the shower on for her. She can now wash her hair and body! But I do the rinsing of the hair or there will be globs of shampoo left in it.
I mourn the little girl I used to have. And I marvel at this new blossoming creature. In a way, I get to keep them both. As she matures, her love of "baby" things seems to remain, and even has become more so as the part of her brain that does pretend play has grown and is being used more. I've never seen her so interested in her baby dolls as I have lately. She now has a stroller and a carseat and a highchair and she plays with them regularly.
She's reading four chapter books at once! She's into paranormal shows and reading up on trivia about the universe. She was so sad when she saw that the video store no longer carries the toddler cartoon that she used to watch repeatedly. And she's forgotten what it's title is ( also something new -- because the girl doesn't forget things like that!) so I can't look it up on Amazon. Maybe it will come to my tired old brain soon.
I adore my girl who drinks iced mochas from crazy straw cups, who knows everything there is to know about the 7 Super Girls on YouTube, and who believes with all her heart that mermaids, LochNess, and BigFoot exist. Even as she gets a little older, there is still so much Magic in Emma's world.

Friday, June 12, 2015

livin' on the edge

Going into town later at night than usual to get free rentals with the kids and their report cards and getting dog food at Kroger when Emma is teetering on manic and/or breakdown when we get there = walking the edge. (I live dangerously.) Coming home and hearing her squeal and clap her hands and do that funny excited laugh she does when the AdventureTime DVD lights up on the screen = priceless.

nite nite, Emma

As soon as summer vacation was here Emma was determined to stay up late every night! I don't really mind. But I have a cut-off point. After midnight is just too late. She's only almost eleven. Well, the nights were getting later and later. And she -- has been getting sneaky--getting up after I've tucked her in. Getting out the Kindle or Ipad. I haven't felt well for a couple of days. Last night I slept hard until about 7:30 when I needed to get up and pee. She was awake! She hadn't gone to sleep! She was watching videos on YouTube! Good lord! Tonight the Kindle was taken away at 9:00. Oh, there was screaming. crying. it was awful. but she finally read a book like I had suggested, then crawled into bed. She didn't fall asleep right away. I kept checking. At midnight I went in again. She was staring at the ceiling, doing something with her hands. I could tell she was drifting off into her world. I asked a few times if she wanted the light off. No answer. I turned it off. She rolled over and closed her eyes. I kissed and hugged her goodnight. Told her I love her. No answer, which isn't unusual. I think she's asleep now.

i'll be honest

So I'm lying here, having many thoughts while on this drug-laced cough syrup. wink emoticon ... I keep thinking about yesterday at the library when a little girl came up to Emma and asked her if she wanted to play with her. Emma thought about it, didn't answer immediately. Sometimes kids will just walk away or roll their eyes when Emma doesn't answer. But this girl waited. Patiently. Emma said, "Yes. I would. ... My name is Emma." The girl told her her name. Emma said, "and I have autism." She was proud when declaring that. I chuckled a little to myself. I had tears in my eyes as they went off to play dress up in the theatre corner. They played for quite a while. I'll be honest, it was a relief to see that this other girl did not see my Emma as 'weird.' It happens a lot. And it shouldn't matter, yeah, what others think. But as a mother, I want my children to be liked and have friends. It's just how it is. I am thankful for other parents who have raised their children to be kind.

Monday, June 8, 2015

catching up

I could complain and be exasperated that Emma stays up late in the summer. But why? It's summer! Last night I went to check on her. It was very late. She was tucking in all of her baby dolls. I helped her. There are 3 doll beds on the floor and more babies tucked in with her. She let me lie next to her (until I snored too loud.) She even let me hold her new baby and burrito wrap it like a newborn. Yes, we're talking about a sweet girl who is almost 11. And it brings tears to my eyes because we didn't have these moments at age 3, 4, 5, or even 6. We have them now. And I cherish each one. She may be a super smart Honor Roll girl, but she's still getting caught up on the pretend play. I love it! It melts me. <3

#autism #PretendPlay

an open letter to my daughter


An open letter to my daughter:

Dear Emma,
Some kids turn into adults still trying to fit in. Trying to figure out who they are. Never being true to themselves. But not you. You already know. You've known. Since day one.
I admire you. The way you learn. It is all your own. Since the week you spoke 55 words not long after the neurologist said you were delayed because you had a vocabulary of 5 words. And the way you do column math in your head now like it's nothing.
I am in awe of your dancing. You will dance anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes I have to remind you that it isn't always appropriate and it might make strangers uncomfortable. *not everyone is begging for you to perform a live show just for them. wink emoticon * But other times, I think, 'eh. Look at her. It's like I can see the colors of her swirling around her as she twirls and jigs and booty-shakes. Go, baby girl, go. smile emoticon '
Your laughter is infectious. It catches on and makes people smile. It warms my heart. I know which laugh means what, and when you've had enough-- when it's time to shut things down. I know when you need to decompress.
Your fashion sense is the best. You Own your look. You always have. If I could slow down time and keep you in your Capri pants, ruffle skirts, and glitter rhinestone butterfly/cat/panda 3/4 sleeve shirts, I certainly would. So I could hold onto these years a little longer.
Your confidence can't be shaken. What I would give for that kind of attitude!
You are loyal. Compassionate. Knowledgeable. A leader. A trend-setter.
I'm the lucky one. I got YOU. A daughter that I look up to.
You're going to go far. You're going to make things happen. I don't doubt it one bit.


Love,
Mom <3

#autism #love