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20 things I was fixing to do before school let out.

I wrote this at the end of the last school year. Sadly, everything is still on this list yet to be done.

Cr@p in a basket. It’s the last day of school. Here’s 20 things I was fixin’ to do:

1. Get my ladies check up.

2. Go to the dentist.

3. Color my hair.

4. Fold and hang all the laundry on the “guest bed” aka folding table or as hubs calls it, the giver of socks.

5. Clean closets.

6. Clean the bathroom.

7. Blog more.

8. Finish my children’s’ book.

9. Find an agent for said children’s book.

10. Have lunch with my friends.

11. Mop my floors.

12. Clean off the coffee table.

13. Go furniture shopping.

14. Stock up on sunscreen.

15. Stock up on snacks.

16. Get our summer lessons ready.

17. Loose thirty pounds.

18. Shave my legs.

19. Organize my pantry.

20. Read a book.

I’ll totally get right on that checklist on August 25th.

I’ve totally got 2nd and 4th graders in my house. Whoa.

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Christmas Gift From BigBrudder

You know what they say about those with autism lacking empathy? I’m here to tell you that just isn’t so. Today, I walked BigBrudder and the WeeOne in to school to let WeeOne’s teacher know I had to pick him up early, had to give money to Big’s teacher for their class Christmas Party. I was also mentally prepping myself for a meeting today where I’m fairly certain one of Big’s teachers is going to tell me all the ways he isn’t measuring up in this class.

I was standing and chatting with a few of the ladies at the elementary school; I’m there often enough that I’ve made some pretty neat relationships there. As we were conversing, I noticed a little boy with what I ass/u/me was cerebral palsy walking by. (I apologize for my lack of knowledge regarding this. Please, forgive me.)   I gave him a smile as he walked by and kept talking to the teachers. Suddenly, the special education teacher says to me, “Mama, be quiet, but come look at this.” Here is what I saw:

The boy who I’d noticed walking and smiled at had fallen in front of his classroom door. Big and his fellow GT classmates were walking to their classroom. Big stops and says, “Oh man, you fell. Can I help you up? It’s no big deal; we all fall down sometimes. Me? I fall down all the time.” So Big bends down and scoops the boy up under his arms and helps him up like it’s no big deal. He and his friends continue on their way to their classroom. He sees me, walks in and gives me a great big ol’ wet kiss on the lips and goes on his merry way.

That my friends is empathy at it’s finest. It wasn’t the neurotypical kids who stopped. It was MY boy: the one who doesn’t see anything wrong with being different. The one who loves animals, insects, reptiles and all of God’s creatures more than anyone else I know. The one who didn’t know that that is exactly what I needed today more than any other day. This, my friends, is my Christmas gift from Big, and it is perfect.

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Things I know FOR SURE about raising a kid with autism

I’m about to write some sage stuff here y’all. Are you ready. Here are the things I know FOR SURE about raising a kid with autism.

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26 I know for sure my son is awesome. I know for sure my son is worth it. I know for sure my son makes me happy, even though he is equally maddening. I know for sure there is not one thing in this world that could ever make me stop loving him. I know for sure that whatever this life throws at him, he’s eventually going to knock it out of the ballpark.

I could write volumes about what I know for sure about raising kids with autism.

Xoxoxo

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Autism vs. Being A Pain In The Ass

Pardon me as I blog typing with two thumbs on my phone. I’ve eked out the only semi-quiet place I can find. If you find glaring errors of spelling and grammar, it’s because I’m on the phone; certainly not because I lack writing skills.

Today, I read about a wonderful thing one of my friends experienced. I was happy for her yet I had a terrible thought that reduced me to tears smack dab in the middle of the orthodontists office. Perhaps the terrible thought came because of the email I’d just sent one of BigBrudder’s teachers regarding his behavior. Maybe I should back up.

The other day, I had a whole blog planned in my head about how our life isn’t all about autism. It’s not. Sometimes, it’s about relationships, friendships, family life, doctors appointments for both kids, worry for both kids, school, shopping, reading, sleepovers, sleeping…But you know what? Autism is always underneath each of those things. Always a running current in my thoughts. Maybe it’s in the background a lot, but autism doesn’t take a break. Not really. Maybe, I should back up again.

Yesterday around BigBrudder’s lunchtime, I got a text from his school psychologist letting me know that he’d had a meltdown in the cafeteria over them showing Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. (Who shows MMCH to nine and ten year olds, anyway? But that’s not the point.) he hasn’t had a meltdown in quite a while. He was so loud, she could hear him in her office; she went and got BB, and finished up lunch in her office. He went and jumped on the trampoline in the focus room for a few minutes because recess was cancelled. The day went on and I had no further communication. Great!

I picked the boys up and could tell that one of Big’s teachers was shadowing him. Crap. Yep. That’s eye contact. Double crap. As I pull to a stop, the boys get in and she opens the passenger door. Uh-oh. She lets me know that BigBrudder refused to use his strategies and made a 50 on a test. I said something to the effect of “thank you, and we’ll be talking with him about this.”

Hubs and I had one of those lectures that had me channeling my dad. “If a fifty was the best you could do, I’d be shouting from the rooftops. But a fifty isn’t the best you can do. You had to try really hard at not trying to get a fifty.” I may or may not have also said, “you were being a pain in your teachers ass. Autism has nothing to do with refusing to use the tools she’s given you to succeed.” I admitted to being a pain in the ass too, sometimes. It was the kind of good lecture where you don’t yell and you know your kid is listening and hearing because he’s got those tears that he’s trying to hold back. The thing that I told him about his being a pain in the ass had nothing to do with autism, that’s a half truth. His brain is so stuck on that class being stressful that before he even gets in there he’s tense and rigid. That part of it IS autism. Have you ever tried to teach someone with a rigid brain? (His teacher deserves a raise, by the way.) It’s not easy to change that mindset.

I would truly be ecstatic if BigBrudder made a fifty and that was his best. But the fact of the matter is, it’s not. He’s gifted. Profoundly so. My struggle is finding a way to unlock the potential. To ease the rigid brain. To find ways for him to connect to the lesson, even when it’s not about dinosaurs or beekeeping or MineCraft. To find a way for him to see how much these teachers want for him to succeed and to connect with him. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how smart he is if he can’t learn to function in the world around him. He doesn’t have a trust fund (shocking, I know), he won’t be able to float around this world doing whatever he wants. He’s going to have to listen to his teachers, professors and eventually bosses…what I want to do is sweep him up, keep him in this bubble, phrase questions so that he will always know the answer. But as I mama I know what I have to do: I have to let him struggle some, no matter how much it hurts my heart. I have to know that I’m learning and struggling too and that’s okay. We’ll continue to have the good lectures, telling him not to be a pain in his teachers ass, learning along the way.

Xoxoxo
K