week one of ???

So, we made it. I haven’t had a complete mental breakdown…yet. All thanks to that handy LSSP I mentioned in the previous blog post. 60/40 split. Really, the boy made it through. So, it’s more like batting (well, what’s a good batting average?) He’s a survivor. I need to learn to trust him. Today’s chaos really did a number on my confidence, though. Actually, I take that back. I know now Joe’s teacher is on his side and willing to think outside the box (gosh, I don’t like that phrase, but it applies here) in order to help him…Maybe, though, it’s to help her sanity. Either way, we win. It’s five o’clock here. I’m relaxing and letting the boys unwind a bit too. My boys are smart enough to do a little damage playing video games, right? I need the moments of peace to unwind, let the week go and gear up for a better one next week. I mean, only four days, what can happen, right? Hugs and love, K PS Thanks for all the kind words, support and prayers from you guys. They mean the world to me!


off to a rough start

so who likes transitions? not me. i’m not good at it. not even good ones. not even finally getting to be in the place we’ve dreamed for the last ten years…how has it been that long? anyway, second grade and kindergarten have begun amidst a BUNCH of other changes. the little one has had some seriously, frighteningly, amazingly smoothe sailing. he’s loving school. he has this little blonde angel who says “hi, chet” to him every morning as i walk him in. any of you phineas and ferb vewiers will know what i’m talking about here, i swear she looks at my baby the way isabella looks at phinneas. i also feel like “whatchaaa dooooinnn?” is going to come out of her mouth next. the eldest has not had such an easy transition into a new school. the first day of school started off horribly. when i say horribly, you are thinking that is an exaggeration. it is. horribly doesn’t do it justice. we were off from the start. he finally gets to his room and it’s BAD (unbeknownst to the mama). i take cheech to school. i go have breakfast with my husband for his birthday. i realize i need to take the eldest’s inhaler and epipen to school before i head to my preschool job. cool. i don’t have to be there until ten thirty (i think). i go to the nurses office. wait 20 minutes. get my 20 minutes in, and who is there waiting for me? the principal, vice-principal and the counselor at joe’s new school. to myself i think, crap, it’s only 9:30…what could have gone THAT wrong already? one word. ok. i’m going to make it into two just for drama’s sake. melt down. so, i visit with a very kind group of women, cry a bit in front of relative strangers, and get back to my car at 10. sweet, i have just enough time to make it to my meet the teacher with my littles. i have FIVE missed calls. i am five minutes late, mascara a mess and a total ball of nerves. tuesday. much smoother. thank (insert your diety here). wednesday. worse than monday. what????? tears from mama. letter from the teacher. letter to my favorite LSSP EVER and the best advocate and mama bear calmer downer ever! reply from above LSSP reassuring me that YES, i was over thinking things. letter back to the teacher. talks intermittently with the eldest…one can only stand so much, you know? him or me? both! this brings us to today, thursday. guess what??? the note in his folder said “great day!” i have never been so HAPPY to see those two words in my life. of course above mentioned spy LSSP had given me a heads up as to the day’s progression. quick e-mail to teacher telling her how relieved i was that they had a great day. her response made me happier still. she said joe was on the verge of several meltdowns but that he made the right choice every time. so, for the first week of school so far we are shooting 50/50. today’s success has given the boy and i some confidence back in ourselves. we are lucky to have the support that we do. you know who you are. i love you all! xoxoxo k


Extractions, x-rays and Austin~oh my!

The biggest boy in the house and his son and I will head to the best dentist office in the world this morning. This is a last minute change; yesterday the office called and said they had a few spots open. This is really a good thing. Joe will have his x-ray to see if the bone graft took (fingers and toes crossed, knocking on wood, etc. etc.) and five (possibly six) teeth removed. The teeth are all healthy, but are in the way of other, permanent teeth coming in. The doctor assures me that it will be an in an out type of procedure and that he will be roaring to go tomorrow. The dentist also said that everyday we should see more and more of the permanent teeth moving down.

This is the first(ish) step toward palate expansion and the first set of braces for our big guy. He doesn’t want braces AT ALL. I can remember being about his age and wanting braces SO BADLY…not so much because I needed them (although to see pictures of me when these huge suckers came in you would have thought I was in need of orthodontic intervention.). I got off track there, didn’t I? I think I wanted braces because I knew they were a sign of growing up; my mom taught high school, I saw so many of those kids with braces and I thought they were cool. Alas, I was graced with headgear for an underbite. That made me the hit of sleepovers. A kid with the hair do of an 80-year-old and headgear. No WONDER I was so frightfully popular. Wait. I did it again, right? Totally off track. Sorry.

The good news is that Joe won’t miss school for what we had scheduled as
two separate appointments. He should be able to resume normal diet. (hip-hip-hurrah!)

Exciting times.


Letter to the teacher…Too Much???

Hello, I am struggling to know exactly what to share with you all and what to keep private and see how the year starts off for Joe. To be honest, I don’t want to color your vision of Joseph before you get a chance to know him. In all fairness, however, I want for you, his teachers, principals, nurse, librarians, aides and the rest of the devoted staff at GE to know his possible challenges. Joseph is an extremely bright, kind, loving, wonderful little boy who happens to have Asperger’s Syndrome. He comes with a unique set of challenges-as do all children- not just those on the spectrum. One of Joe’s greatest challenges is knowing how others are feeling-especially in relation to himself. If you are frustrated with his behavior and choices (which you will surely be- he is a seven year old boy, after all) you have to verbalize this. He cannot pick up on the social cues that one gives. It’s not that he doesn’t care; he cares greatly and wants to please. It’s that, often, he does not know how to unless he is given specific instructions. He has to be told what you want and need him to do. Another area of challenge for Joe is eye contact. It’s almost painful for him. He taught himself to look at people in the general area, but cannot maintain even that for more than a moment or two. He often seems as though he is not listening as he’s looking around the room and fidgeting; however, more often than not, he is. Often for kids on the spectrum, looking at faces can give them too much input to sort and file in their brains. This leads me to another challenge for Joe. Children on the spectrum often experience the world in a much more intense way in regards to their sensory processing than you and I. They receive a barrage of information that can be SO intense that it is painful. Imagine trying to block out the hum of lights and electricity, birds chirping on the playground, talking in a room four doors down, the smells that come along with school and so on and so on all while trying to maintain calm and order within so that you can do the one thing you love most in life – learn. It’s physically and emotionally exhausting. Add to that a sense of anxiety that never quite goes away. This can lead to stimms (for Joe this can be squawking, flapping, rocking, pinching himself) ticks and the dreaded meltdown. I am hopeful you won’t experience this issue. We expect Joseph to behave. We expect for him to be challenged. We, at home, treat meltdowns in a much different way than a tantrum. Tantrums are short and easily diffused. Meltdowns are entirely different. They occur, for Joe, when all coping mechanisms have failed him. Please do NOT try to talk him out of a meltdown. This makes things worse for him because he wants to please you and he is in a moment of not being able to. Also, it’s more sensory input at a time when he cannot take it and use it. Usually, a “cool down” spot and some time to get himself together are all that is needed. Later, when the meltdown has passed and he is under control and is able to communicate, talking can help. Although, it can bring his anxiety back to a boil… Joseph carries a pocket fidget to help curb his anxiety. He calls them squeezy toys. These are a great coping tool for Joe and are a huge source of comfort. If he is being a distraction with the squeezy, we’ve told him the teacher can put it away. Please, don’t use the squeezy as a punishment during a meltdown…not that anyone would, but this only sets him up for further failure to calm himself and please. Joseph’s previous teachers (Insert Names Here)are an excellent source of knowledge on how to help Joe succeed. I hope that this note hasn’t scared you to death. Joseph is a wonderful child and truly wants to learn. He seeks knowledge constantly. He is enthusiastic, warm, sensitive, funny, silly and just plain AWESOME. My goal for this year, as a helicopter mama, is to hover just out of sight…keep my radar up but give the boy some room to stretch his own, wonderful, beautiful, fabulous puzzle piece wings. Please, feel free to contact me anytime. My cell phone is with me at ALL times. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I feel like writing it has helped me understand Joe in a way that only putting things down in words can do. Sincerely, Kristi Gold Some books I’ve found helpful to understanding Joe are: (On being 2E-Gifted and having learning differences) Different Minds: Gifted Children with AD/HD, Asperger Syndrome and Other Learning Disabilities by Deirdre Lovecky 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s by Ellen Nothbohm and Veronica Zysk Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Mainstream Classroom: How to Reach and Teach Students with ASDs by Barbara Boroson I have these books in my personal collection and would be happy to loan them out. Thanks Again, Kristi


Back to school blues?

Holy guacamole!?! Where has the summer gone? We go today to meet the eldest’s teacher; we’re meeting her and taking a tour of the school before meet the teacher tomorrow evening. Oh, we’ll do that one too. The young ‘uns meet the teacher is Thursday. I can’t believe yesterday they were babes, running around in nothing but a diaper, and today they are almost six and eight, starting kindergarten and second grade and running around in their…undies…hey, we live in Texas. It’s hot. They don’t like clothes. Don’t judge.

I’m sad. Happy. Excited. Nervous. Anxious. Proud. All these emotions jumbled into one big ball of a mama. I don’t know if I need to take the child’s teacher a dozen roses, a six pack of beer and a condolence card for having to put up with this helicopter mama. I’m trying, you see, to let the boy fly independently (some). My goal for this year, as a helicopter mama, is to hover just out of sight…keep my radar up but give the boy some room to stretch his own, wonderful, beautiful, fabulous puzzle piece wings.