One of the things I cherish most about being in my 40’s is being free from drama. I live a stable life: married to a man I have been with since late 2001, been working at the same place of employment since 2003, brought a beautiful child into this world in 2010, and bought our first house in 2014. Do I yearn for more? Sometimes. I wish I had more ME time, maybe go on vacation, read a book, lay in bed all day, etc.
Autism has created any drama I need in this lifetime. How will he react today vs. yesterday? What will his meltdown be about this morning, afternoon, and night? It makes me usually question spending money on a vacations that may be filled with meltdown or illness. Therefore, we don’t venture out too much. We take trips to the zoo or the aquarium, but our child is really not interested in either outing. He wants to look at the fans in the cafe or go to the giftshop. He always waits to be finished with the outing. When we went to ICE, he basically fell to the floor and screamed to be let out of the exhibit. It’s frustrating to lose that money and not be able to enjoy a holiday event with my son. Will he ever enjoy these things? Going to see Christmas lights in Orland had a similar blood-curdling reaction. Again, we were in a line of cars and could not just leave. Another past time I would love to enjoy with him.
Well, the next holiday is Halloween. He does love Halloween. He has to be Batman (like the previous 2 years) because that is the routine. And, although prompted to say “trick or treat” before every house, he will ring the doorbell and ask “Do you have fans?”.
This is the only drama I need in my life.
Next week, Roger has his second ADOS. For this process, our therapist and I have been discussing his first warning signs of autism, the stages he went through, what were the strong indications of autism and how they presented themselves, etc. Yesterday, I filled out the parent assessment regarding Roger’s skills, behaviors, and emotional development.
I always state how fantastic my son is (and he is) but filling out the assessment made me realize how stressful our lives really are on a daily basis. One day on FB, I saw someone ask a question regarding their child having about 2 meltdowns a week and if they may have autism (roughly around the age of my son). Two meltdowns a week would be awesome! We deal with 2 meltdowns before school, meltdowns in the car on the way home from school, after therapies, around mealtimes, with the going to bed routine. If we only had two meltdowns in a day, it would be manageable. Many questions focused on the frequency of tantrums, mood swings, anger, sadness, bodily harm, hurting others, etc. I cannot believe the amount of times I chose Very Frequently.
The last portion of the questions dealt with basic skills obtained: hygiene related, verbal, academic – counting/letters, fine motor. He does very well with basic academic skills such as number/letter recognition, but completely is lacking fine motor for school. He cannot write his name without tracing it or draw figures. In addition, he has great difficulty dressing himself and does virtually none of his hygiene without being aided.
It was interesting to reflect on how much Roger has grown and advanced since his first ADOS (3.5 years ago). It was also very sad to see all the skills and behaviors he still has. He is a gentle, sweet boy. However, his limitations must frustrate him. I realize he needs to learn better coping skills (as do I). I am very interested in seeing his teacher’s assessment as well as the finalized ADOS. This time it is not as nerve-wracking as his first ADOS, but it surely is bringing a lot of emotions forward.
It is good to reflect.
Today, I had my assessment at the physical therapist re: my chronic back issues. The appointment was long and thorough. I left with seven exercises/stretches to help my back. The majority of these stretches are yoga-related or stretches I used to back in Chico post-exercise. Oddly enough, I never had back issues in Chico once I began a steady exercise routine. Hmmm…
When I started out trying to set the exercise habit, I took yoga classes to insure I would exercise for a full-hour. If left to myself, I could quit halfway through but, due to my social anxiety, there is no way I would leave a class early. Once I became pretty strong in yoga, I started trying to incorporate more cardio exercise. I took zumba a few times until I started getting dizzy during some of the movements. Then, I had a personal trainer for a few sessions that showed me a routine that I kept up (expanding difficulty and duration) until I had my hysterectomy.
So, reflecting back, I believe I shall start my babysteps back….After my back is sufficiently healed by PT, I will start adding additional yoga to my routine. I cannot wait to feel strong again!
I waivered back and forth on whether to cancel Weight Watchers and discontinue the program. I also started tracking calories on my Fitbit to see how many calories I am actually consuming. In addition, I exercised Tuesday and Wednesday. Yesterday afternoon I decided to stop by WW for a weigh-in only after today’s allergy shots (yes, I get 3 allergy shots each week).
Well, I did lose a pound since last week’s weigh-in and .8 lbs overall (in my 2 weeks at WW). I was relieved that my weight did not go up and disappointed that my number was not lower. However, I am feeling better emotionally. I felt better emotionally after I exercised. I have decided that, more than the calorie/point counting, exercise is really important for me. Not just for aiding weight-loss, but for altering my mood. Today, I also did my exercise (starting slow: 30 minutes and hoping to add more as time goes on).
I am not going to beat myself up on days I cannot exercise (due to schedule/health/appointments, etc) but I shall praise myself for the days I do motivate myself to exercise…YAY ME!
This past weekend we celebrated Roger’s Fifth Birthday (although it was officially on Wednesday). We had a nice party at Jump for Fun (pretty self-explanatory: bounce houses galore). Roger and his friends had a blast. Like most kids, Roger could not wait to go home to open his gifts. We allowed him to only open those gifts from friends at the party. We were holding off on our gifts and the family gifts until his actual birthday. After he finished opening all of his gifts in about 10 minutes flat, he started demanding more gifts. I could not believe his behavior. It turned into a full meltdown. I realized he was tired and overstimulated from the day. I tried resting with him in the downstairs bed. He kept crying and screaming for more gifts. I actually don’t remember how he eventually calmed down (and, yes, I realize that was only a few days ago, but my memory is not too good).
Birthday part 2 happened on his actual birthday. We let him open two presents before school, bought cupcakes for his classroom at school, and were going to pick him up early to go to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate. The day through Chuck E. Cheese went pretty smoothly (despite my deepest fears of that place). After Chuck E. Cheese we went to grandma and grandpa’s house for them to wish him a happy birthday. He was so excited for his present. I picked out an awesome Batman toy for them to give him. He loved it but immediately asked for a second present. Um…there was none. After a bit of playing with the toy at their place, he wanted to go home and open the rest of his gifts. He tore through them the same as he did with his other gifts. One gift was broken. I told him we would go to return the item later that day and get a new one. Unfortunately, my husband told him he could choose something else to replace it. Roger opted for a transformer and all seemed well….UNTIL he proclaimed he wanted a ride-on motorcycle with four wheels….a quad. Now, to explain that a $30 toy does not exchange for a $400 quad bike. I told him if he exchanged all his gifts he could get one. Holy moly two and a half hour meltdown!!! At one point, he went up to his room for three random toys he would exchange for a motorcycle: a stick and two microphones. It was adorable but he did not like the reality that an exchange like that would not occur. I told Rob that Roger did receive money for his birthday and could get a cheaper scooter ride-on. We all agreed and went to the store. After what felt like an eternity of sitting in various cars, looking at bikes, asking for large ride on cars and trucks, he eventually settled for two small toys that was equal to the original $30 amount.
Today is the day after his birthday. I pick him up from school and what does he immediately ask for: a new toy. Hey mister this is not a new gift-receiving routine.
Holy smokes, I do not look forward to the holidays now.