Category Archives: My Kiddos

Reunited

Today I went to see an old friend
Years had passed and I wasn’t sure
Why I’d taken so long to visit

Familiar scent filled my nostrils
Hushed voices in quiet corners
Everyone is welcome here

Walking down the rows of pages
I lost myself as I used to do
In the hope of every tale not yet read

Judging them by their covers —
And by prose from random pages —
I found myself again

Roller Coaster Ride

what a ride!

That’s roughly what the last few months have looked like.

I logged in to write about it yesterday (as I have a few times before) and once again ran out of time.  However, I noticed something.  Even though I haven’t posted in entirely too long, people are still visiting this blog.  People are still entering searches that lead them here.  Therefore, I should keep writing.  It’s why I started this blog in the first place.  Once upon a time, I was searching for answers and I stumbled upon someone else’s blog.  She was a single mom with an autistic child. And unlike some of the other blogs I’d read, she sounded like me.  But her blog was long since given up.  I wished she’d kept it up – if she had, her son would have been roughly the same age as Colin.  What are they up to now? What have they tried? What worked? What didn’t?  I’ll never know.

(Even as I try to write this, I’ve been interrupted twice already!)

Here’s what I wrote on 12/21, but never finished the entry to post:

This past Wed (12/19), Colin went back to see Dr. L (psychiatrist).  We did something we should have done before, but never had – we took notes almost daily for the 2.5 weeks Colin spent on the new medication schedule.  Mrs. E (special ed teacher) also emailed us a few times, letting us know what she’d observed at school.
The first week, Colin was doing well in the AM, but not so much in the afternoon.  Rick was giving him his afternoon dose of Clonidine at home because we had not gotten the form filled out and faxed to the school yet (this is sometimes a challenge with our doc’s office).  By the second week, he seemed to have issues all day long – the meds were not affecting him nearly as much and he was back to distractions and hyperactivity.
Dr. L has upped his Adderall XR to 20mg/day and upped his dose of Clonidine in the AM to .1mg (he was taking .05mg before).
Yesterday was the first day on the new dosages.  He was downright zombie-like within 20 minutes!  After breakfast, he plopped down on the couch and buried himself in pillows.  When I told him to go get dressed for school, he told me he couldn’t get up.
Yikes!!
I asked him to try and he realized he was fine and able to go about his business, just a little slower than usual.
I got a phone call at lunch from Mrs. E – she wanted to discuss the new medications.  She told me he seemed very disoriented first thing in the morning.  I told her that concerned me, too.
THEN she told me that they’ve been working on double-digit addition for a while now and Colin has not managed to do a single problem on his own yet – he asks her for every step on every single problem, unable to recall what he needed to do each time.  Yesterday?  He sat down and did TWELVE problems without ANY help.
And then he wrote a full-page for an assignment he was given.
I almost fell out of my chair.  I had tears in my eyes, that’s for sure!
Things were good for a bit.  Then the anger started to amp up again.  At our psych visit in January, we expressed concern over the anger and Dr. L had us add 25mg of Seroquel in the AM (he takes 50mg at night).  We hoped that would help.  We also got the form signed and turned in so that he could take his afternoon dose of Clonidine at school instead of after he got home.  I thought maybe – just maybe – we were getting there this time.  Just a tweak here or there!  We’ll be fine!
And then over the last few weeks, school days have taken a turn for the worst.  Episodes of cursing, spitting, hitting, kicking, throwing his shoes, refusing to work, etc.  Yesterday was the worst.
I got a call from Mrs. E (sp ed teacher) yesterday afternoon – she was very concerned.  He’d acted out in the AM a bit, then was throwing food at lunch.  After lunch, they sent him to Mrs. E where he refused to work, kicked his chair, threw his shoes, started kicking the wall, cursed at his teachers and spit.  They took him to an empty classroom that’s sometimes used to let kids decompress.  No stimuli in there – empty room, blank walls.  They hoped it would help him calm down.
Instead, he amped up.  He started running circles and doing cartwheels and literally bouncing off the walls.  He never slowed down, just kept getting worse. After a while, they realized that wasn’t working and brought him back to Mrs. E’s room.  There, he continued to act out and then started hitting and kicking his teachers.  He had to be restrained by one of them until he could calm down.  He’s never gotten that bad at school before.
Once he was calm, he apologized to them.  He said he was sorry for hitting and spitting and saying bad words.  Then he sat down and took his spelling test and made 100.
They thought he might have calmed down enough to go back to the gen ed class room for the rest of the day, but when they went into the hallway, he started spinning and they knew he had to stay in the sp ed room.
Mrs. E knew Colin was listed as a “walker” and said she was going to walk home with him because she was really worried about his behavior today and didn’t think he should be walking home.  I explained that they only go across the cross walk and then Rick meets them and either walks home with them or they ride in the car.  She said, “Okay, I’ll keep an eye on him until he gets to Rick, then.”
I love Mrs. E. I don’t know how she does all that she does every day for Colin (as well as the other kids in her care).
We put a call into Dr. L to see what he thinks about everything – haven’t heard back yet.  I just don’t know what to think. It’s almost as if the extra Seroquel has made him worse instead of better.  Seems to go that way with any sort of mood stabilizing drug we’ve tried.  In the beginning, it seems like a miracle drug… then suddenly he takes a crazy left turn and we wind up worse than we were before.
In better news, we’ve been fighting with the school to get Colin a psych eval through the school system and they have FINALLY AGREED!  The testing will be sometime in the next 60 days.  Long story short, they did not like the testing that we had done 2 years ago and refused to accept his autism diagnosis.  They say they think it could be FAS or something else masking as autism.  I told them I don’t care WHAT it is, we just need answers so we can help him!
As I wasn’t sure whether or not we’d win this battle, I had also been looking for an independent evaluation again.  This time, touching on points that the school said they wanted to see, etc.  Our play therapist the kids see recommended a colleague of hers.  However, she’s out of network and it would have been very cost prohibitive.  That doctor, however, is a professor at TWU as well and she offered another option.  She has 2 grad students that need to complete a psych evaluation for their coursework and said that if we let them perform the evaluation, she will monitor the entire process and it would be free of charge.  We went ahead and jumped at the chance.  We’re meeting with them today for the evaluation.  I was tempted to let Rick take Colin and I’d stay home with the other two, but the more I thought about it… the more I really would like to stay, especially if they’ll let us observe the evaluation.  I’m interested to see if there are any changes in his answers from two years ago… also want to see what exactly they ask him.
Up again, down again… I know this is so hard on Colin, just as it is on us.  I don’t know how to help him, but we’re trying our best.
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Dear Santa…

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A complete 180

I know I haven’t been around much – I’ve had plenty to say but just haven’t found the time to put it all out there. 

Today, I’m frustrated.  Really, I’ve been frustrated for a couple of weeks now.  Colin’s been out of control and I just don’t know what to do – again.

We haven’t changed meds, we haven’t changed routine.  Everything is pretty much the same at the Crazy Antelope House.  Only Colin’s suddenly acting out at every. single. opportunity.

The moment an adult back is turned, he’s up to no good. In the last two weeks he has:

  • bitten Rodeo on the penis
  • spit on his brothers’ food
  • stolen Halloween candy from the kitchen
  • stuck a pair of tweezers in an outlet and blown a fuse (thank god nothing worse happened)
  • stolen a STEAK KNIFE from the kitchen and hid it under his nightstand (which we had turned around to face the wall because he kept hiding things in the drawer)
  • stolen a handful of straight pins from my sewing table and placed them in random places around his room
  • ran AWAY from Rick as he was picking them up from school (he was chasing a friend)

And the latest… today he ran away from school. (more on that in a minute)

We’ve gotten to the point where he has to be in our line of sight during every waking moment.  He’s not allowed to play in his brothers’ room at all and now he’s not even allowed to go to his room, either, unless its bedtime.  So now, it’s almost as if he’s sitting in wait… all I have to do is turn around to pack up leftovers and he’s biting the dog or messing with his brothers, pocketing something that isn’t his, etc.  It’s exhausting.

Today, about 20 minutes before school let out, I got a call.  Colin had run from the school.  I found out later that he was in his special ed class and just out of control.  The Special Ed teacher called the school counselor and asked her to come help.  Shortly after, Colin was spinning and dancing and refused to settle down…then bolted out the door.

He ran out of the school, across the basketball court…and into the woods behind the school.  He refused to come out.  Five different staff members tried to reason with him, but he wouldn’t give in.  Finally, they agreed to let Rick come get him if he’d just come back to the school.

(Rick’s phone went to voicemail so they called me next.  Rick and I then proceeded to try to call each other at the same time!)

Colin’s been suspended for a day.  Rick tried to reason with the staff members, explaining that keeping him home is just reinforcing the bad behavior.  Oh!  If I act like THIS then I get what I want – which is staying home!

Last week, he spent a good 2-3 days pretending he was sick and had lost his voice because he wanted to stay home.  I left work early on Monday to get him and take him to the doctor only to find there was absolutely nothing wrong.  No redness, no drainage, no fever, no strep.  Thursday he went to the nurse again and they called me. I told her if he wasn’t sick (he wasn’t) then he needed to go back to class.

He went back to the classroom and told his teacher that the nurse had told him to get his backpack and walk home – that I’d said it was okay!  Thankfully everyone at the school knows Colin well enough to double-check a story like that.

I don’t know what’s going on.  He does NOT want to be at school, which is obvious.  I don’t know if he’s starting to realize he’s different or what.  That seems to be the case at home – his brothers are definitely noticing more and more.  They have friends; Colin doesn’t really have friends. They’re allowed to go to play at someone’s house for an afternoon; Colin doesn’t get invited. 

I don’t know what else it could be.  Aside from the craziness at school today, he’s been fairly calm when making these horrible choices.  Rick noticed that today – he isn’t manic and impulsive like he used to be during the worst offenses.  In fact, he’s pretty dang calm.

Just this morning, we started having him meet with the play therapist (Dr. H) Robbie & Ryan were going to.  Our plan was to let Colin go every 3rd time, then every other time… slowly phasing R&R out of the therapy sessions.  We explained to them that they are doing great and we are SO incredibly proud of them.  They understand that Colin needs more help.  We also told them the door is open for them to go see Dr. H if they ever feel the need.

Today was his first day of therapy.  I wish he could go back sooner without upsetting the other two, but I don’t see how.

The school also seems to FINALLY be willing to do a psych eval and possibly accept the ASD diagnosis that we’ve had for 2 years now.

I sense some bumpy patches ahead.

A really interesting read – blogger summarzing the book Wheat Belly.

The Healing Project

For those that would love to read this book, but don’t have the time … I’ve summarized it for you!  Some very interesting information indeed!

Wheat Belly is a provocative look at how eliminating wheat – even so-called healthy whole grain wheat – from our diets is the key to permanent weight loss and can offer relief from a broad spectrum of health and digestive problems.

Drawing on decades of clinical studies and the extraordinary results he has observed after putting thousands of his patients on wheat-free regimens, Dr. William Davis makes a compelling case against this ubiquitous ingredient.”

Chapter 1: What Belly?

  • A wheat belly represents the accumulation of fat that results from years of consuming foods that trigger insulin, the hormone of fat storage.  Unlike fat in other body areas, it provokes inflammatory phenomena, distorts insulin responses, and issues abnormal metabolic signals to the rest of the…

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So far, so good

We’re almost through our 4th week of school and things are going pretty well!  Colin has had ALL GREEN DAYS.  Amazing.  (Hope I’m not jinxing myself!)  Robbie’s had a couple of yellow days and so has Ryan, but no major issues at all.  And, ho-hum, Robbie got 103 on his first two spelling tests. 

103!  He’s gotten all of the regular weekly words plus the 3 bonus words each time.  Crazy kid!

Colin and Ryan are both reading very well these days, though Colin has trouble reading books due to the ADHD – he gets bored after a few pages and is ready to move on.  I’m just glad his skill has increased.  Baby steps!  

We had family come visit last weekend – Mom, sister, brother, sis-in-law, and our four-legged nieces, Bella & Abby (brother’s dogs).  My brother and sister also invited over an old friend of theirs from high school that was in town.  That brought the total to 7 adults, 3 kids and 4 dogs. I don’t think our house has ever been so full!  But we had a great time – the weather was gorgeous and we had tons of food to eat.  I made kabobs and fruit salad, my mom showed up with some bbq and sides from a place near her.  I’d just picked up my bountiful baskets order (usual basket plus 8lbs of strawberries!), so the kids were constantly begging for apples, strawberries, etc.  Good problem to have!

As the day was winding down and people were helping me clean up, my sister-in-law remarked, “The boys have been really good today.  I mean REALLY good. I’m impressed!”

Usually a change in routine turns into temporary insanity for all three of them – not just Colin!  This past weekend was different.  I don’t know if it was because we were calmer…or because they knew (almost) everyone there…or if it’s just them maturing and growing up a little bit, but we had a great time. 

It’s difficult to notice little changes on a daily basis, but when someone points it out to me, I step back and realize how far our kids have come. 

Four weeks in and not a single red day at school.  That’s pretty awesome. 🙂

Recipe: Lasagna Eggrolls

Recently, Robbie decided that he only likes tomato sauce if it’s on a pizza.  Otherwise, he wants nothing to do with it.  I’ve yet to get a good reason from him for this aversion, but since he’s not a terribly picky eater otherwise, I’ve tried to roll with it.

Lasagna is a favorite at our house.  Well, for everyone but Robbie.  Colin can put down more lasagna than any 8 year old I’ve met – I think it’s one of his favorite foods, though he’d never list it himself.

Last Friday when I was at the grocery store, I saw ricotta was on sale, so I decided lasagna was imminent!  Then – on my drive home – I remembered Robbie’s little tomato sauce issue.

And then something weird popped into my head – lasagna eggrolls.  Why not?  It’s finger food, which kids love, and the sauce can be optional.

It was quite a hit. Here’s what I did:

Ingredients:

  • 1lb ground beef, cooked with italian seasoning to taste, then cooled
  • 2 cups ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 2tsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp oregano
  • approx 4oz mozzarella, cut into strips (approx 2″ long)
  • 1 package eggroll wrappers
  • olive oil – for misting or brushing the rolls
  • 2 cups spaghetti sauce – pick your favorite!

Directions:

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or oil it well) and pre-heat your oven to 400F.

Mix ricotta, egg, garlic and oregano until blended.

On a clean, DRY surface, lay out an eggroll wrapper.  Spread with about 1tbsp of ricotta mix.  Top with roughly the same amount of ground beef, then one strip of mozzarella.

Now… admittedly, the package said to roll them up a different way.  I tried both methods (making the envelope described on the back and making the rolls the way I show below) – I liked mine better!

Brush the top of the eggroll wrapper with a little water (I just dipped my finger and swiped it on).  Fold up the bottom, fold in the sides…then roll up to the top. The water will seal the wrapper to itself.  Be careful not to over fill your rolls – you don’t want that yumminess leaking out!

Place the rolls on your parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Brush them with oil (or mist them with your Misto – that’s what I did) and bake them for 10-12 minutes, until golden.

Let cool 5-10 minutes (especially if serving to the kiddos!).  Serve with sauce on the side – hot or cold!  Makes enough for 8-10 kids or 5-7 adults!

Everything’s better with bacon!

Eye on "One"derland

This past Saturday, I was out and about with my mom.  It had been a while since we’d gotten time for just the two of us to hang out.  We started by walking a 5k for charity (okay, we walked *most* of it!) and then we went to see a movie (Odd Life of Timothy Green – I was unimpressed).

This meant Rick was in charge of going to get our basket. (We almost wound up basketless! But he made it at the last minute!)  Seems there is always something new and different in the basket – something I’ve never tried before or haven’t had in years.  This week, it was leeks!

I usually do my grocery shopping on Friday – I hit Sprouts on my way home from work – so I never quite know what produce we’ll have and just wind up winging it. I also had…

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Too excited to wait!

Just a quick post because I’m bursting at the seams with pride and excitement!

I missed a call at lunch. Listening to the voicemail got me all teary-eyed.  It was a message from the gifted & talented coordinator at our kids’ elementary school.

Robbie’s been in first grade for less than 8 full days and they want to know if I’d like him tested for the gifted & talented program!   I’m still a little awestruck.

Standard procedure is to test new students in the Spring – Fall testing is for the children that were in kindergarten at the same school.  Robbie’s teacher recognized him as one of the children she felt could be tested for the program now.  Paperwork was due 8/31!  The coordinator gave us until tomorrow to fill out the forms and get them over.  I printed them out immediately and had them ready to go.  I was only waiting on Rick to wake up so I could tell him.  I felt like I should at least let him know before setting it up!

His first text to me was, “I’m in favor of having him tested ASAP, btw.”  🙂

Best part is that he’s already in the class with the 1st grade GT teacher, so he will get to stay in that classroom. And our elementary school is the GT school for the district, so he won’t have to change schools next year, either.

I’m so excited!  He definitely needs to be challenged and he’s well past the coursework they’re doing now, so this would be wonderful for him.

“I love school!”

These are words I never heard Ryan say last year.  In fact, it was far more often the opposite came out of his mouth.  He’d say he hated school, we’d ask why…he’d usually say, “Because it’s too hard.”

This post by a fellow blogger made me consider how far we’ve come since last year when it coms to Ryan’s self-esteem.  I’m not sure what changed, but my theory is Ryan’s ability to communicate better has helped him in other aspects of his life.  Speech has always been something he’s struggled with, but over the past two years we’ve seen so much improvement!

Last year, he was getting in trouble left and right for his anger.  He’d get reprimanded for something and the second the teacher went to change his “color” in his folder, he’d just have a meltdown.  The meltdown itself was often more cause for disciplinary action than the original infraction. This would usually all begin with him acting silly in class. 

That’s what Ryan does when he feels uncomfortable or challenged – he makes a joke, giggles, wiggles, etc.  Part of me is glad that he doesn’t immediately resort to anger like he used to, but the silliness can cause problems.

So far this year, we haven’t had any anger issues at all.  In fact, in the first 8 days of school, he’s only had 2 “yellow” days – one was for talking when the teacher was talking and the other was for getting out of line to get a drink after recess.  I’ve never been so proud of yellow days before!  Last year, either of those moves resulting in a color change would have likely developed into a full tilt explosion. 

Ryan’s new mantra has become, “I love school!”  He told us this morning that he loves school, but loves summer, too.  He actually comes home happy and he wants to tell us about his day.  Robbie has the same teacher this year that Ryan had last year.  I jokingly told her the other day that I’ve learned more about her in the last week (through Robbie’s tales of school) than I ever did last year! 

Ryan’s reading has improved so much since last year.  I feel guilty at times for not working with each kid individually more, but I think the combination of our reading time in the evenings (the hour before bed) mixed with a little brotherly competition (Robbie’s by far the strongest reader) has done wonders.  I introduced the boys to Shel Silverstein last year – Where the Sidewalk Ends is one of my favorite books from childhood.  It’s now one of their favorites, too.  Ryan used to struggle reading anything from that book (granted, the poetic license isn’t really teaching grammar or proper pronunciation at times!), but now he’s doing so well. 

As a side note, I’m starting to wonder if books like WSE are better for weak readers than I’d originally thought.  It’s one thing to guess what the next word is, but authors like Silverstein and Dr. Seuss throw you for so many loops that they force you to SOUND IT OUT.  What’s that? You’ve got a Wocket in your pocket?  You went for a ride in a flying shoe with Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me, too?  I think these authors – and others like them – help children have FUN with words. 

Last night, Ryan was telling us everything he’d learned in school.  They’re discussing civil rights and he was going on about Thurgood Marshall and Harriet Tubman (though, admittedly, he made us guess at Harriet Tubman – he couldn’t remember her name, just that “she helped people find new homes and she changed her name when she was 18”).  I’ve never heard him go on about what he’d learned in class before.  It was really great to hear him so excited about learning.

I know it’s early in the school year, but this year already feels infinitely better than last year.  Rick’s easing the boys into walking to/from school (currently walking most of the way with them, but will slowly wean them off having him there the whole way).  I’m making them healthy lunches – and they’re coming home with empty lunch boxes most days!  Even Colin is reading better, when he’s willing to sit down and try for more than a few minutes. 

I hope this school year continues to be a good one. Here’s hoping for a good school year for all of you other moms and dads out there, too!