Wednesday, April 25, 2012

So that just happened

Yes that is my TV
Yes it is very broken
Yes I almost threw up

Nate never used to be destructive as a child.  In fact I used to talk about how good he actually was at leaving things alone.  I could put out picture frames, candles, vases, etc. and they wouldn't even get a second glance.  I have no idea how things got so turned upside down.  I guess Karma came to bite me in the ass?

Today Nate broke our TV.  When I say he broke it, I don't mean it just wasn't working for a little while because a cable came unplugged or something like that.  I mean he broke. the. damn. tv. broke. broke. broke.

I was laying Evan down for a nap, and Nate was downstairs looking at pictures on the iPad.  While reading to Evan, I heard this loud banging coming from the basement.  I had no idea what Nate was doing downstairs, but for some stupid reason I didn't go down to check.  Evan was having a rough time settling down for a nap, he was finally happy with the book I was reading to him, and I didn't think the banging was a big deal.  I had a feeling Nate was mad about something going on with the iPad, but taking out his anger on the TV never crossed my mind.  I thought...maybe he's kicking the couch....maybe he tipped the shelf over that holds the DVDs...maybe he threw the iPad around a few times (it is in a pretty beefy case, so I wasn't too concerned about the last one).  When I finished with Evan, I went downstairs to get Nate and see what damage was done.  Much to my surprise, the basement was completely in tact.  He was looking at pictures, the DVD rack was upright, and there were no broken toes from kicking the couch.  Again-didn't think twice about the TV.

At about 5:45 I was getting things ready for a jewelry party that was starting at 6:30.  I turned on the TV so I could put some music on from one of the cable channels, and much to my surprise it was filled with horrible lines.  I stood there for a second and tried to register what I was seeing.  I began thinking about the pounding that happened in my house a few hours earlier and almost threw up.  Nate threw the iPad a the TV.  Nate threw the iPad at the TV (gag).  Nate threw the iPad at the TV (FFFFUUUUCCCCKKKK)!!!!!!!!!!

I went upstairs to get Matt because:
1.  He needed to know about this
2.  He needed to become a barrier between me and my son
3.  I needed to make sure I wasn't seeing things

We checked out the TV and yes indeed, it's very broken.  The glass is cracked in several spots and it's beyond repair.  I'm sick about it.  We don't have the extra money right now to buy something like this, but the basement living room area is where we spend most of our time.  The kids toys are there, the DVD player is there, everything is down there.  We're going to have to go shopping for a new TV this weekend, and I'm terrified that he'll do it again.  

After I calmed down we brought Nate downstairs to show him the damage he had done to the TV.  Like I suspected, he didn't care.  He has a very difficult time reading people's emotions and understanding how people are feeling which is typical for a child on the autism spectrum.  Showing him what he did had no effect on his conscience, and I'm sure he had no idea he did anything wrong at all since it was such a large span of time between when it actually happened and when I found it--plus when it happened the TV was off, so there was no immediate change in what the TV looked like.  

I'm not sure how much more of his destructiveness I can handle.  It's like a switch flipped in his brain.  I wish I could find that switch and flip it back to my nice little boy who doesn't think that destroying things is funny.

So that happened today.  How is everyone else?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Logging Out :-)

Sending a fax, dropping the kids off at the pool, making a grumpy, talking to a man about a horse, having a BM....

You know what it is, and we all do it.  Now Nate does too.  About a year ago, Matt and I were FINALLY able to get Nate potty trained (due to the other issues he has, potty training him was extremely difficult).  We spent 1 full day in the bathroom and after that he was pretty much good to go.  We've had some very minor pee accidents in the past year, but there hasn't been any diapers during the day.  That is the good news.

The gross news is that just because Nate knew how to pee, didn't mean he was ready to poop on the toilet (TMI?  Sorry!!!).  We spent every single day reminding him that if he needed to poop, please let us know and we would take him into the bathroom.  Well, we had accident upon accident.  Nate had absolutely no problem telling us about his poop, AFTER he actually went.  As you can imagine that led to countless gross clean ups and many, many, many new pairs of underwear.  We tried everything from bribery with M&Ms, fruit snacks, and toys, to yelling, to extra iPad time, to sitting in the bathroom for hours on end.  Nothing seemed to work.

On March 18th we got back from a vacation in Vegas, and Nate was still having issues with #2....until that Tuesday the 20th.  Nate got home from school, and after his homework he asked me for some M&Ms.  I said "first let's go poop on the potty, then you can have some M&Ms."  What did he do?  That little stinker RAN right into the bathroom, sat on the toilet and did his business.  SERIOUSLY!?!?!?  Needless to say, he got a huge handful of M&Ms after tons of cheering, praise, and a phone call to daddy.  

I thought it was a fluke.  Like always, he proved me wrong.

The next day (Wednesday), he came home from school, and about 1/2 hour later he asked me for some M&Ms.  I said the same thing that I told him the previous day.  Well, what do you know- he ran into the bathroom and did it again!  Man was I pumped!  This routine went on for about a week--him asking for M&Ms, then going to the bathroom, then getting his reward.

After about 8 or so days, he came home from school, and TOLD me that he had to go.  WOW! WOW! WOW! We raced into the bathroom, he did what he had do do, and got his reward.  I couldn't have been happier for this amazing and huge milestone that we've been waiting and waiting for.

So, it's been almost a month, and we still have a pretty good track record.  I think that Nate has had 3 accidents total (and I hope I'm not jinxing this!), and is now routinely telling me when he has to go.  We've been waiting for this for about 3-4 years, and it has finally come!  I seriously can't even begin to explain how proud of him I am, and how excited I am about how far he's come.  I've learned that with Nate things are just going to take a lot longer to accomplish.  I might get impatient, depressed, and frustrated while waiting, but I can only be hopeful that (like with potty training) he will eventually get to where he needs to be in life. 

If this grossed you out, too bad...I'm excited about poop!!!

Enjoying his ice cream after a week of success

Monday, April 9, 2012

You might not know this...

I think for the most part, I'm a pretty open book, except when it comes to my feelings about having a child with special needs.  I hide a lot of emotion related to this aspect of my life, and since this is my place to vent and work through my feelings, it's a perfect place to compile a small list of how I'm feeling without actually having to speak. 

1.  I'm scared--I have no idea what Nate's future will be like.  I do know that he is healthy and will live a long life.  What I don't know is what that life will be like.  Will he ever have a girlfriend?  Will he be able to drive a car, or will I have to take him everywhere?  Will Nate ever be able to hold a job?  Will he have to live with me and Matt for the rest of our lives?  There are so many uncertainties that come with a child who has special needs.  Many of the parents I know who have children with special needs have these same fears/concerns, while others are confident that their child will grow to live a normal adult life.  

I'm scared that as he gets older, he will get picked on due to his disability, the odd noises that he makes, and because he's not able to form words correctly.  Kids are assholes to each other, and I am terrified that they will be horrible to Nate.  

2.  I'm jealous--As I have written in a previous post, I am jealous.  I hate feeling jealous, but I can't help it.  I see all these wonderful pictures of families who look so happy.  They all have smiles on their faces, kids who are actually looking at the camera.  Kids who are actually posing for pictures and doing silly things for the camera.  Then, I see my family pictures where we are basically holding Nate down in order to take some type of decent family picture.  He's usually looking off in a different direction or trying to escape.  

I want to do things that typical families do.  I want to be able to go to the store with both of my kids without having to worry about which emergency exit Nate is going to make a beeline towards, or if he will run off in the parking lot.  I want to take him to the Natural History Museum, to a restaurant for dinner, to activities that the school puts of for students.  I'd love to take him to the fair, apple picking, on a hayride, or even have him go fishing with Matt.  I think that he would have fun if he just understood how to act in public.  

It hurts my heart to see Nate struggle so much to learn things that come so naturally to other children.

3.  I HATE kids birthday parties--I hate them mostly because of the above (jealousy).  I see kids who are having so much fun celebrating their special day.  They have their friends with them, are laughing and smiling.  They look forward to opening presents, eating cake and doing fun things with their friends.  We don't get to do that.  Nate has no idea what his birthday is or how exciting it is to look forward to presents and friends.  He loves cake, but that's about it.  I'm a party planner, and love putting thought and creativity into birthday parties.  I feel like I don't get to do that with Nathan.  When we attend parties for his friends, it's almost like he's not even there.  He will sit and eat a piece of cake, but isn't interested in any other aspect of a birthday party. 

4.  I love to talk about my son/I don't love to talk about my son--I like to talk about the progress Nathan is making at school, but a lot of the time it just makes me feel worse because I know that he should be doing so much more.  When people ask me how things are going with Nate, I typically say "Things are great!"  What I really want to say is- "things totally suck, and are really hard for us."   Boy, what a buzz kill that would be.  Statements like that make for quite an awkward conversation.  

5.  I am exhausted--Not only do I not sleep well due to my fibromyalgia, I don't sleep well because I have so much on my mind in regards to Nathan.  I'm always thinking about his speech problems.  His IEP goals, speech services, and therapies are always in the back of my mind.  I lay awake some nights thinking about how we are going to pay for his speech therapy because it isn't covered by insurance.  I'm physically tired from chasing Nate around all day.  I am mentally tired from being stressed about the future.  I am emotionally drained from the peaks and troughs that go along with raising a child with special needs.  In the event that I get a day or two away from the kids, there is always a lingering layer of fatigue that follows me around.

Raising a special needs child has made me think differently about a lot of things in life.  I am am less likely to get annoyed or judge out of control kids because I don't know their whole story.  I have become more sensitive to generalizations and inappropriate slang (like the words 'retarded', 'short bus').   I have learned to become more patient with my kids and others, because we all have our shortcomings.  Mostly, I have realized that with all the uncertainties and challenges that come with raising Nathan, I wouldn't trade him for anything.