Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year, New You

I did a much needed template update for this blog.  I am going to work on assigning labels for the individual posts over the next several weeks (it's the librarian in me) as well.  I hope you enjoy the new look!  

W is for Worksheet

Just when I thought I would be without a cute Jimmy story this morning.  I was so tired when Jimmy's therapist arrived this morning that I forgot his first words to her.  Session always starts with a trip to the bathroom, but Jimmy wanted no part of it.  His first request - "I want worksheet."  As an activity to work on his sitting,  they do some math worksheets.  She models one problem and he takes off on doing them.  She wanted him to go to the bathroom, so she explained that there was no worksheet until they had a trip to the bathroom.  He responded "W is for worksheet!", very emphatically.    

Christmas Break Winding Down

It's been a pretty good break with the boys.  I managed to take both to the mall yesterday by myself.  I don't think I have done that since we lost the double stroller.  Of course Jimmy rode in the single stroller and Jacob walked.  Both did pretty well, though.  The only thing on my list that I didn't manage to do was Starbucks in the middle of mall.  A line that long was a recipe for disaster.  We stayed up to watch the UFC last night, but I had to turn around and get up for an 8 a.m. therapy appointment.  Fortunately we were both late.  

I need that coffee now.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A nice day

Aside from the layoff, today was a good day.  I saw Melanie for lunch at Panera.  I saw my friend Beth and her husband and boys.  They are in from California and I honestly haven't seen her in years.  We took the boys to House of Bounce and for pizza today.  Jacob was a bit of a pill at the end, but we had a good time.  It was really good to see her - as I have said before, I don't keep in touch with people the way I should.  But seeing her is a reminder that I should try harder.

My husband has left the building...

He is on his way home.  I feel awful... my initial excitement about his interview is tempered by the fact that it was one of his Hail Mary passes, where he applied for something on Monster that isn't something in his field and job is very vague.  Still, it is not even New Year's yet and I can't imagine too many people doing a lot scheduling before the holidays are over completely.  I am totally harping on the guy too - "Did you see this job?," "Did you apply for this?"  I can't seem to help myself.  Maybe I should try harder.  As if autism wasn't enough of a variable to deal with...

Welcome to the ride...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Autistic Kids - The Sibling Problem

"The "typically developing" siblings of autistic children are, in fact, the furthest thing from typical. Often, they are wiser and more mature than their age would suggest. And they have to be, given the myriad challenges they face: parental responsibility; a feeling of isolation from the rest of their family; confusion, fear, anger and embarrassment about their autistic sibling. And on top of all of it, guilt for having these feelings."

An important subject finally sees the light of day...  To my many friends, if you get a chance, please read this.  

A positive sign

DH just checked his e-mail and got an invitation to interview from one of the resumes he sent out.  I am sort of unclear about which job it is, but I feel better that he has one interview lined up.  I think he needed a positive sign as well - tomorrow is his last day!

I feel like poo...

I can't sleep.  I have the cough.  The one I wait for all year that turns into a month long battle with bronchitis.  It's arrived.  Lucky me.  I am coughing so much that I have abandoned my bed so my spouse can get some sleep.  I have Sudafed and cough medicine in me, so it is a mix of being too restless to sleep in a body that's ready to fall down.  Part of me feels like I should wait to go to the doctor until it presents with more symptoms, but the other part just wishes I would hurry up and get there so I can get the requisite drugs and get better.  When your body does the same thing once a year, every year, at roughly the same time, can't they just phone it in?!

Jimmy's fascination with the Boohbah episode entitled Islands continues.  He watched it six times in a row yesterday.  I cannot wait until it falls off the OnDemand rotation.  I can't remember if I mentioned it before, but the week we get back from break, Jimmy finally has his appointment for his psych evaluation.  It's an important step in getting him waivers for respite and other community based services from the state.  Of course the waiting list is years long, but I am thrilled at being closer to getting on it.   

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!!

So another one has come and nearly gone.  The boys had a good day, making out like bandits as usual.  I am glad the food fest is over.  If I can ditch my cold, I am back at the gym Thursday.  That was the only negative - that I was under the weather today.  I think the whole job situation is making it go a little faster this year.  The 25th has sort of lived in the shadow of the 28th for the past few weeks.  I want to get the tree down, get my husband through the next three days, and move on to what's next, whatever that is.  I am still hoping that he gets something fairly quickly and much closer to home.  

Jimmy did pretty well.  We went to my mom's, which is the first time we have done that in a while.  Of all the situations that can present themselves to us, taking Jimmy to someone else's home, even my mom's, is the most stressful.  It's a new environment and he wants to check everything out.  If the house isn't child proofed, Lord help us all.  Any kid has that problem, but it is to a much greater degree with Jimmy.  He kept wanting to go into my stepdad's room, which was the one room he was forbidden from entering.  Who can blame him?  It's all trains!!!  We all survived to face another holiday next year.  

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  Remember, 365 shopping days to the next.  (No, I am not wrong.  It's leap year in 2008!)  

Monday, December 24, 2007

Pantless at McDonalds

We took Jimmy to lunch at McDonalds today. He came out of the tube construction without his pants. We had to send another kid in after them. No, I am not making this up.

Autism is priceless...

An Interview with Jamie Lynn

A Christmas Eve laugh for you...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Good Morning...

I woke up hearing Jimmy downstairs.  He was almost chanting "Presents Now" as he was at the tree unwrapping gifts.  Only the ones for him and his brother, all of which will be rewrapped.  At least he read the tags.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Decisions, decisions...

Which should I buy for Jimmy over the break for his first day back?

On the first day of Christmas...

We are stretching our celebration out into four days this year. Day one was spent with a morning therapy session with a community outing to the mall. He is doing a much better job of walking with an adult, but anytime he has to wait in a line, he goes limp. I won't completely knock improvement, but we aren't ready to be stroller free. And it will be a long time before I can take both out solo. But you have to start somewhere.

Shortly after we arrived home, Uncle Mark arrived. It had been awhile since he had been for a visit, which went fairly well. Except for Jimmy peeing in his cup... he was shifting around as I went to try to get him to the bathroom. Just leaked right there, as he was drinking his medicine (I have never seen anyone move as fast as Mark did to get out of the way.) So Jimmy used his cup... I can feel you cringe, but this is my life. It's why my house doesn't really get clean or neat - I can barely stay ahead of putting out the fires. It's an effort just to get him to keep his pants on at home. Unless you are living it, it is so hard to understand what we go through.

Yeah, I wish that it had been the perfect visit, but I can't knock it - the husband made prime rib for dinner. The food was great. The boys each got a present early as Mark opened his, so Jimmy got his little Padme and Anakin action figures for his Galactic Heroes set. Rosa, their old sitter, dropped by with gifts for them as well. They both were very happy to see her as well.

Tomorrow is another packed day. We have therapy for Jimmy in the morning, a visit with Auntie D in the afternoon, and I am planning to Jacob to a kids church service here in town tomorrow night. Hopefully I can fold some of the clean clothes in the basement and put a dent in the loads of work I have to do over the break. I get the feeling it will be over before I know it.

Friday, December 21, 2007

For those keeping track of the car saga...

The guy who hit my husband and son plead guilty to "Failure to maintain proper control" of his car on Thursday.  He had his case continued once and my husband was subpoenaed to appear.  I think the expectation is that, for misdemeanor traffic offenses, people won't honor the summons and the driver charged gets a lucky break.  When my husband appeared and gave the prosecutor his side of the story, our bad driver decided to plead guilty to max instead of drag it out.  The $250 fine he got was the max, but I wish he could have lost his license.  

A Needed Break...

The holidays are here.  I need a break.  My husband is off with me until Wednesday and then returns to work for his last two days.  It's sort of weird.  I am okay with it at the moment... then I drop and want to breathe into a paper bag a whole lot.  The poor guy has several dozen resumes out there, but I think every HR department in the metro area is sitting on them until New Years.  The worst part is, even when I try, I can't shut up about the whole job thing.  I am just pecking away at him and he hasn't even stopped working.  Heck, he has round three with his back coming up in two weeks.  And I am asking, "How many resumes have you sent today?  Has anyone called?"  Now that I think about it, I hope I don't go completely insane over the next 11 days...

Jimmy decided that he wanted McDonalds for dinner.  He started crying as we drove past it, then started yelling "Chicken and fries, chicken and fries!  McDonalds!!!"  Then he started saying "Now!!!"  Such a basic word, but I have never heard him use it before.  Now... It was such a burst of communication - I was very taken aback.  It was pretty thrilling.  And, yes, he did have a Happy Meal for dinner.    

Monday, December 17, 2007

Autism Study Lends Credence to 'Fever Effect'

"For the first three years of his life, Rene Craft's son, Jackson, communicated primarily through screaming tantrums. He never spoke. He didn't point to things. He didn't make eye contact. He had the classic signs of severe autism.

Then a couple of years ago, Jackson got sick. His mother, Rene Craft, says he was running a high fever.

"He was lying in our bed, and he was recovering," Craft says. "And he said out of the blue, 'I like the sheets, Daddy. They're really comfortable.' And then later that day he looked out the window and he said, 'Oh, it's raining, and squirrels eat nuts."

Craft says that she and her husband got a brief glimpse of a son who had been locked in his own world of autism. Then the fever went away, and so did Jackson's improvement."

This is an interesting article. Thanks to Edwin for sending it to me. I am going to go to bed finally. Maybe I will dream about what he would say to me if he could. He has thoughts, ideas, even a sense of humor and its all locked up inside. I long for a day when it will all come out.

Autism, Welcome to My Inner Circle...

For the longest time now, I have felt like Jimmy was one in 150. It's the statistic, it's the norm now. I figured I probably knew more autistic kids by benefit of being a parent of one - people who we met through autism rather than people we had know having kids with it. Today, that all changed.

We got a Christmas card from a couple we have know for years - someone my husband worked with in the comics industry. Taking you back... he, an incredible creative individual in many ways, got engaged and married this wonderful woman. We hung out a bit, until we started having kids. Then it got a little harder. I think as Jimmy's problems became more obvious, we both started to shut people we had known in the past. I had my friends from Mason, women who having been walking this road with me since the day autism entered my vocabulary. The husband has been sort of walking alone. Both of us found our paths easier than constantly having to explain or apologize for what has happened with our son. I will freely admit that I have shut my own family out to some degree, just because it hurts too much to have explain or defend or justify.

At any rate, eventually they moved away and we didn't stay in touch. In part for the reasons above, but also because regular old life has kept us extremely busy. Today, their family Christmas letter revealed that their son had recently gotten a spectrum diagnosis. The husband is crushed, but I am just shocked. I think maybe we collectively have 50 people that we consider friends between the two of us. Relationships are hard to maintain in adulthood in the best of circumstances. These are the people who we manage and even work at staying in touch with, even if we don't get to see them the way we would like or should. People he knew from his store, people I knew from grad school or my job, people we know now. Of those 50 people, not one had a child with autism or anywhere on the spectrum, save us. Until now.

By my estimation, that isn't 1 in 150. That's 1 in 100. The activist in me would really like to know how many kids it takes to make autism a national emergency, so people are motivated to find a cause, a treatment, and a cure. So kids like mine can speak and interact and live a more normal life. So families don't feel like they have to hide or apologize because their child doesn't act like his or her peers. How many kids and how many families have to suffer before the rest of the world cares or acts? Or does it have to strike everyone's inner circle first?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A follow up e-mail...

Someone e-mailed the husband about a job today.  He is still pretty out of it, so he will answer it tomorrow.  It's our first line on something else.  I don't know if its the job for him, but it is a place to start.  I was telling him I just needed someone to respond to feel better.  It worked.

Shot number two has left him in a lot of pain.  Want to know what it looks like?

The left side seemed to have worked with last round, so this focused on the right.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Date Night

We went out tonight.  He took me to see "No Country For Old Men."  I generally like the Coen Brothers, but I am not a fan of this.  Depressing.  But the husband's the one having surgery again tomorrow, so I indulged him.  He is kind of having a run of it - the injuries from the car accident, the job thing...  I think he is healing from the car accident, so it really isn't as much of an issue.  But to have that and the job thing and having it all come to bear during the holidays is a bit much for anyone.  He still is cranking out the resumes, but he hasn't gotten a call for an interview yet.  It's only been a week and a half, but I can't seem to get that through my head.  
My sister is begging me to look at it like a three month paid vacation - before I make myself completely mad.  She is probably right.  

I would say my sister is better at rolling with the punches than I am, but I don't think that is entirely correct.  She has long said she could not handle the situation I have with Jimmy - having to advocate, the unknown of it all.  It's never easy, but it is what I am used to.  Her husband got laid off after 9/11, not once or twice, but three times.  She is used to that, that uncertainty, being stressed out about when he was going to have a reason to get off the couch (I say that jokingly - my brother-in-law is a great guy!) or how the bills were going to get paid.  Heck, they went through foreclosure.  Money stuff makes me crazy.  Maybe it's true - God gives us what we can handle.

I just hope the Almighty helps with the whole interview thing, because I think He may have sorely misjudged me...

Never anger PETA

Oh my...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Freaking hysterical...

I was just checking my IP addresses to see who has been reading and found that my Jif post was read by the J.M. Smucker Company.  Hope you didn't mind the shout out.  If you want to send me a year's worth of peanut butter, just e-mail me!

Too funny!

A sick kid...

Jacob is running a fever, which means I have a day off tomorrow.  It's bad timing, with a lot going on at work and having to be off Wednesday afternoon.  These things happen, I guess.  But it sucks.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Buying stock in Jif

Jimmy ate a cubed peanut butter sandwich today without any prompting whatsoever.  His therapist got it ready and sat it in front of him to start working on the food program and he just dove in!!!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Meeting with Jimmy's Teacher

I had my first lengthy one-on-one meeting with Jimmy's teacher. When you are dealing with a cast of a dozen characters in helping and educating your son, direct face time is scarse. It is also the most valuable thing you can have.

Allison is amazing. It is her first year teaching, yet that doesn't scare me. I think initially she was overwhelmed, but this is now her life and passion. I honestly think she wouldn't have it any other way. It can be so hard to be Jimmy's mom sometimes - I carried that boy inside me for nine months. I have loved him more fiercely than I have loved anyone in my life. I need to know the people who I turn him over too for so much of the day love and believe in him.

I have always felt that Mr. Booty (the instructional assistant) believes him and now I know Allison does too. I am thrilled. She is anxious to continue consult and working with his therapists, which I think is great. I walked out of there for the first time this year really confident in his school situation. That helps me get through everything else I have to do with my day personally and professionally. It's huge.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Why is your phone always busy?

How to spend your snowy evening? Posting your husband's resume on,, and Am I good or what?

Please let there be a two hour delay tomorrow morning!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

An odd side effect...

We have noticed something odd.  We tried Strattera for several months with Jimmy earlier this summer and fall.  We had a marked increase in his fecal fixation.  We stopped it a few weeks ago and, well, we haven't really had the problem since.  Kind of nice, I must say.  

I am getting ready to try something else in terms of medication.  I figure the upcoming Christmas break will give us the opportunity to try something new.  I just need to get into the doctor again. Anything to get him less hyper and more focused.  When he is more focused, he talks more, he is more engaged, and he is less prone to tantrums.  There is no magic pill for autism, but I am still hoping to come across a medication to help some of the more trying aspects of his behavior.

Sigh.  If there was only a magic pill...

Monday, December 03, 2007

FAPT Today

Services were continued.  Thank God for small favors.  The school staff sent in this glowing report of progress being made without any data to support it.  Our therapist provided actual data demonstrating regression over the past several months.  I am so frustrated with the school system - I want to hear good things about how Jimmy is doing, but you can't ignore the problems and the lack of progress in some areas.  

The speech therapist has asked that the goals be modified - they were great goals, but there is no evidence of data collection in these new ones and the benchmarks have been set too low.  The reinforcement plan in the last IEP wasn't followed.  I still have not seen a BIP from either the consult or the school.  We haven't addressed the gym issue for the winter.  Looks like I get to call an IEP meeting.  

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Waiting for the Sunday paper...

Jimmy went to McLean Bible Church for respite today.  He has such a great time there and the people in the ministry are just so wonderful to us.  I ran into Melanie briefly, but she was working in another room.  I went to lunch with my friend Amy.  Jim took Jacob to the Christmas parade and sat with a friend of mine from work and her son.  I think it was a fairly nice day all around. 

DH's job search kicks off in earnest tomorrow, with the arrival of the Sunday paper.  I think I applied for about 8-10 jobs when I did my job search a year and a half ago.  Nine or ten resumes yield four invitations to interview, two interviews, and two job offers. I hope my husband's goes as well.  He is already up to five jobs applied for in five days. 

What a year - the car accident, his injury, and now this...  I am more than a bit overwhelmed at this point.  I know he is too.  Keep good thoughts for us.  And if you have any jobs in desktop publishing or need someone who know Quark, Illustrator, InDesign, etc..., send me an e-mail.  I know a guy...


An Update...

My husband has already applied for five jobs.  That should cheer me, and I do appreciate that he is throwing himself into this, but I just am in knots about him losing his job.  I know he is as well, so I shouldn't be complaining, but it's just awful.