Saturday, January 31, 2009

I cannot tell a lie

I haven't been posting much because I am finding it hard to be all "sunshine-y" right now. Jack's behavior has gotten worse recently and we're really struggling with how to handle it. I've always told myself that "things will get better" and have the mindset that he'll just grow out of most of this...but lately I've had the realization that things might not get better. Things might stay the same. Things might get worse. Jack will get bigger and stronger and smarter.

His listening skills have gone way down. He doesn't listen to most of the things we tell him or ask him to do. He yells and screams A LOT. He throws many tantrums throughout the day. A lot of what we say doesn't "register" with him and we get a lot of blank stares. Parts of his communication have improved, but other parts seem to be regressing. It doesn't seem to matter how we talk to him or how we discipline him - things just keep getting worse. It doesn't matter whether we talk calmly to him or if we yell at him - he reacts the same way. It doesn't matter whether we put him in time-out, try to re-direct him or ignore it - he reacts the same way. He yells and screams. And then he screams and yells some more. We spend quality time with him. We play with him. We read to him. We have a pretty well-structured day. We give him plenty of warnings as to what activities come next. We give him reasons. We love on him. We keep his routine consistent. We talk to him all of the time. And it seems that none of that makes a difference. His behavior (even if it is completely unintentional on his part) is like a slap in the face to us. We TRY. I wish there was an easy solution to this.

What makes this even more difficult is that no one else sees this. No one else sees the way Jack acts at home. He acts fine at school. His teacher has mentioned that she can tell he's "holding it together" at school...just because he's at school. He's absolutely adorable when we're in public and he smiles and says "hi" to all of the people. He's a ham at the doctor's office. Everyone just thinks he is the cutest kid ever. But once he's told something that he doesn't like or doesn't get his way or gets upset over something (that is invisible to us), he turns into a different child. And, let's be honest, you can't let a preschooler have their way all of the time. We still need to be parents.

Autism sucks. There's just no other way to put it. We have so much to learn and so much to figure out. We feel lost. We are tired of being yelled and screamed at. We are tired of repeating the same instructions hundreds of times. We are tired of not sleeping well. We are tired of the tantrums. Lonnie and I are just so, so tired.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Just another Wednesday...

Jack's new glasses!







Jack decorated my face with stickers.
(ignore the laundry on the couch!)


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Negativity

A warning - this post is one huge vent. I am sick and tired of winter and I need somewhere to get it out. You all get to be the recipients of this lovely outburst.

It is ridiculously cold outside. So cold, that they've cancelled school. Jack also has next Monday off, so we get a 5-day weekend. Which you would normally think is a nice thing. But, when you have a kid that thrives on routine/schedule and absolutely loves school...it's not a good thing. I am really not looking forward to having him in the house for that long. He keeps asking to go outside. And I keep having to say "no, it's too cold out." I am tired of saying that he can't go outside because it's too cold! And this morning I had to tell him that he couldn't go to school because it's too cold. I keep saying, "when it gets warmer." In like, 3 months! I am tired of watching the same shows on TV. I am tired of going to McDonald's because it's the only indoor playplace in our city. I am tired of listening to Jack whine about not being able to play outside. It is so cold that the heater is constantly running. Our heating bill was already "up there" last month...I am dreading to see what it is this month. The heater has a hard time heating up the house because it is SO cold out.

I don't know why we're here. We keep waiting for this "reason" of why we're supposed to be here - but this big "reason" hasn't shown up yet. What if we're waiting for nothing? What if the "reason" has already happened? What if it was that Jack was diagnosed with autism and got started with school? What if it was to meet certain people...and we've already met them? What if our big lesson has already taken place and we're just waiting for something bigger that's not really going to happen? When is it time to move on?

And, on the topic of moving...we know that chances are VERY slim that we would be able to sell our house. Even more slim that we would be able to break even on the price. Our city isn't really somewhere that people want to move to. The big companies here are laying off people and cutting back production. Things are going downhill. So even if we decided that we were going to move, it would be near impossible to get out of our house. We are STUCK here. Who knows when the real estate market will turn around. I don't think I can handle years and years of this. Seriously. I am sick of it. I hate it.

I heard this song by Third Day on the radio the other day, and it couldn't more accurately describe how I'm feeling. I am crying out to God to show me (us) what to do.




My life,

Has led me down the road that's so uncertain

And now I am left alone and I am broken,

Trying to find my way,

Trying to find the faith that's gone

This time,

I know that you are holding all the answers

I'm tired of losing hope and taking chances,

On roads that never seem,

To be the ones that bring me home



Give me a revelation,

Show me what to do

Cause I've been trying to find my way,

I haven't got a clue

Tell me should I stay here,

Or do I need to move

Give me a revelation

I've got nothing without You

I've got nothing without You



My life,

Has led me down this path that's ever winding

Through every twist and turn I'm always finding,

That I am lost again (I am lost again)

Tell me when this road will ever end



Give me a revelation,

Show me what to do

Cause I've been trying to find my way,

I haven't got a clue

Tell me should I stay here,

Or do I need to move

Give me a revelation

I've got nothing without You

I've got nothing without...



I don't know where I can turn

Tell me when will I learn

Won't You show me where I need to go

Oh oh

Let me follow Your lead,

I know that it's the only way that I can get back home



Give me a revelation,

Show me what to do

Cause I've been trying to find my way,

I haven't got a clue

Tell me should I stay here,

Or do I need to move

Give me a revelation

I've got nothing without You

I've got nothing without You



Oh, give me a revelation...

I've got nothing without You

I've got nothing without You


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Cheese Song

Lonnie recorded Jack playing his guitar and singing the "Cheese Song" the other day while I was out. It's a 3-part act. Enjoy. :)


video



video




video

Thursday, January 8, 2009

East & West

It seems that Jack has had somewhat of a compromised immune system...especially the last 2 years. He was catching EVERY bug and it always turned into a nasty cough that would keep us all up at night. He would be healthy for a couple of weeks (at the most) and then he would get sick again. I was tired of constantly going to our pediatrician and hearing the word "virus." If it wasn't a virus, then it was an ear infection. Through the suggestion of a friend, we took him to see a chiropractor. The thought was that if we could get him all "aligned" and get his nerves working right, then his immune system would be stronger (I'm sure there's much more to it than that, but that's what I remember at the moment).

He has been to the chiropractor 5 times and it's like a new kid....almost. He was quite healthy for a couple of months, and then he just came down with an ear infection Sunday night. Fever, cranky, lethargic, the works. So, I took him to see his pediatrician on Monday and sure enough...it's an ear infection. So, we load up on amoxicillin and ibuprofen.

He had a chiropractor appointment today. The chiropractor looks in his ears and says, "I disagree that he has an ear infection." His ears look great, although one of them is slightly red and inflamed. AND, the kid has so much wax in his ears that the doctor has a hard time seeing anything at all. (About that wax thing - first they tell you that you're not supposed to use q-tips on kids' ears and then I get all these comments that he has too much wax in his ears. What's a mom to do?) But, his neck has moved more at this visit than it did at any previous visits. And, Jack didn't cry this time (huge deal).

Obviously the chiropractic is helping. Jack's immune system is much stronger and we're not constantly dealing with a sick kid. This is especially impressive since this is his first year in school (during a Minnesota winter, none-the-less). Our pediatrician is all for the "alternative" treatment, in moderation. I feel like we're finding a nice balance between alternative and traditional medicine.

My problem is that I always feel ashamed to tell either doctor that I've taken him to someone else. Almost like cheating. It's like I have to confess to them that I'm "seeing someone" outside of their practice and I'm just waiting for them to tell me what a bad person I am. But, it hasn't happened. Both doctors are wonderful and understanding of the whole situation. And I feel like we're doing what's best for our son.

I finally feel like we've done something right in this whole parenting thing!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Multi-Talented

I let Jack have control of the camera this morning and he thought it was the best thing ever. Here are some of his masterpieces.





Buster's one-eyed bunny rabbit, a firetruck and other miscellaneous toys/junk.




The corner of the recliner.




The back end of the firetruck.




Lightning McQueen.



In case the whole photography thing doesn't work out, I think Jack has a good shot at becoming a professional flasher. I asked him to show me his new robe last night and this is what he did....



Saturday, January 3, 2009

Some really late Christmas pictures


All dressed up, getting ready to sing in "big church" the Sunday before Christmas. (Video to come soon)





Saying something about opening presents.




Being upset about opening presents (he was pretty much done after 3).





Checking out a toy car.





Playing with a new blanket from Grandma.




Playing his guitar with new BIG picks.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Silence

I have been trying to write a new post for almost 3 weeks. But every time I sit at the computer, the words have a hard time coming out. I was going to write a post about the new year and reflect back on 2008, but that just made me want to whine. Truthfully, it's been a very difficult year. But in the midst of it all, God is still faithful. I am learning that God is not silent. Even when we don't feel Him, He is working. His answers might not always be the ones I'm hoping for, but I continue to trust that He is sovereign. I lean into His promises of never leaving me and always loving me.

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.” - Helen Keller




(Hopefully I will write more very soon!)