Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Are We Upside Down Or Right Side Up?

Most of us go on with our lives never really thinking about our world and how it all comes together.  We don't focus our world of illusions.  We are so accustomed to talking about the sunset and the sunrise.  No romance novel talks about the globe spinning on an axel or the world turning and therefore we have day and night.  It's just not romantic literature, is it?  He looked in her eyes as the world turned a little more and the sun was gone, replaced by dusk...  Yeah no...  I think I'll stick with sun sets, thanks.

How does this work with a little guy on the autism spectrum who thinks visually?  Who thinks in pictures?  Has Dayton seen a globe?  Yes, he has.  He knows the earth is round, but has a question...  "Mamma, are we at the bottom of the globe?  Won't we fall off?  Are we standing upside down?  How does it spin?  Does it go left to right or right to left or upside down?"
"Baby, ask your teacher."


Feel free to answer Dayton's questions, and consider yourselves hugged!

Lou

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Positive Things Can Happen Once You Accept Your Child's Diagnos-is/es


Yeah, I said positive things.  Don't roll your eyes, it can happen.  It's happened to me.  It's still a work in progress for me too.  Every day things that don't kill me, make me stronger.  You know as much as I do there are people out there that thrive on bringing others down, especially vulnerable people who have much to protect.

A wonderful autism mom had posted this question to the Autism Winnipeg Facebook Wall:

"What do you think is the best thing that has happened to you because your child was diagnosed with autism?"



Excuse me?!

Good question!  When I first read the question, I could have spat in the woman's face for asking it in the first place.  What the hell do you mean?!  All these appointments that I keep having to have in order to take care of my child's autism, the failure of being to teach him when I can teach adults from a foreign country 800 chemicals in their generic and brand names...  holly crap, yeah, I feel like I've failed my son...  Lets not forget the judging people all around me, telling me if I only disciplined Dayton better...  The teachers who have man handled my baby because my baby was not "complying."  My anger was getting seriously out of control, trying to remember where I stored the baseball bat from our summer play...  but then...  I thought about her question, and how my personality has changed since Dayton's diagnoses, for the better (yes, I know, how ironic since I was just looking for my baseball bat, right?!  Don't judge people, I'm sure you've all been there yourself).

I sat myself down after having a traumatic evening with Dayton being sick.  He came home from school, sat at the dining room table to eat his supper and wham!  Started puking like there was no tomorrow.  Now, I know I'm no master chef, but seriously kid, I do the best I can!  You've survived for ten years with my burned toast and charcoal soup cooking, you should have an iron stomach by now...

Sitting back with a nice glass of shiraz (teachers, educational assistants, school division, better than thou people - back away from the phone and DO NOT call CFS; they said I'm within my rights to live a normal life.) to settle the nerves AFTER Dayton was in bed asleep, I thought about this autism mom's question again...

Hmmmm....  Life before PDD-NOS (high functioning autism), ADHD, ODD, OCD, global developmental delays...  You know that Nytol commercial where the husband gives his wife the Nytol and tells her "it's like life before we had kids..."  and you see the woman waking up in the morning in a beautiful white bed with red rose petals and gorgeous hair?  Hmmmmm...  Life was really never quite that good, but man was it good!

Hair before Dayton...
Hair after...
Would you believe me if I told you that I used to be incredibly, painfully shy?  Well, I was.  I got fired from my first job as a waitress for it.  I had a really hard time speaking with men and pouring their coffee, the last coffee I poured was in some poor man's lap, but that's a whole other story.

Dayton's diagnoses cured me of that shyness...  Now I'm a loud mouthed red neck (with perfect teeth and good grammar, those things are really important to me).  A total change over my dear friends.  I say it like it is and be done with it.  No beating around the bush.  I either like you or I don't.  If I love you, I love you passionately.  I don't play games.  I tell you what I think, I yell at you if I think you've deserved it, and I cry when you hurt my feelings, sometimes right in front of you.  I am real, honest, sincere and have no edit filter.  I am what I am said Sam I am.  In order to advocate for Dayton and his rights, I've had to let go of that quiet, shy girl and become the suave red neck I am today.

I used to be afraid of pain.  Any kind of pain.  Emotional, physical...  I have a mutant gene that causes breast and ovarian cancer.  I didn't want to go through the pain of surgery and the embarrassment of a mastectomy; of not having nipples and be a road map of scar tissue and not be attractive to a man ever again.

Dayton's diagnoses changed all that.  I don't care if you don't like what you see, turn the other cheek.  My son taught me to survive, and live my life to the fullest.   Dayton's courage to deal with his own challenges gave me the courage and drive to be a survivor myself.  Besides, I wanna live to see my baby's babies.  Now I'm not afraid of pain, or piercings...  a whole other story.

Until last summer, I used to be a nice and sweet, never hurt your feelings kind of girl.  I'd give you the shirt off my back, even if it meant I would be exposed for all to see in my glorious embarrassment.  I always had put myself on the back burner and put everyone ahead of me.  I never wanted to disappoint anyone around me, even if it meant that to make others happy, I would be miserable.

Hmmmm....  Dayton's diagnoses did change some of this, but I'm still working on some of it...  I still care very much about peoples needs, but I've come to a limit of self preservation, which is a very important thing to do. Sometimes we can help others too much.  I need to remind myself of that.  Sometimes people take advantage of my good nature, which naturally ticks me right off.  I'm kind of going through that right now with my supposed best friend.  Um hum...  Not going there tonight.

I used to pity people with a handicap or disability.  Dayton's diagnoses changed that too.  I now have a respect and admiration for people with a disability.  They are my heroes...  How many times has a stranger said:  "I'm so sorry" when I tell them of Dayton's autism...  or well meaning friends "I don't know how you do it Lou..."  Well, how do you think Dayton does it?  How do you think the handicapped man across the street does it?  That's what's truly amazing, isn't it?  

Finally, I used to look at Dayton as a child.  Now I see him in a new light...  He's my teacher.  Dayton sees things in a whole different way, he thinks outside the proverbial box our employers continually beg us to.  He is  AMAZING...

So, I'm dying to hear...  I WANT TO KNOW, SO TELL ME:  What do you think is the best thing that has happened to you because your child was diagnosed with autism?




Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Thursday, 24 November 2011

My New Dishwasher

He's such a little darling, my little Dayton, and he's turning ten soon.  Sitting at the kitchen table with his Grandpa Hans, I'm drooling all over myself as I'm really, really sick now...

"Dayton, why don't you empty the dishwasher out for mom?"
"Ok grandpa."

Oh my God.  He's gonna break every dish in the house, but I have no strength or energy to stop it from happening.  Dayton may be turning ten in February, but he's inherited my swag, you know where you can trip over a cordless phone?  Oh well.  Thank goodness for my mother's china in the china cabinet.  No worries...  Just praying with my chin covered in drool that he doesn't break my favorite mug.  The one I start my morning with, not sure what I'd do without it.  You know...  routine, routine, routine...  My own OCD showing now...

Wouldn't you know it, my babe doesn't just unload the dishwasher without breaking my coffee mug, he manages to do it without breaking any dishes.  I think his OCD must have kicked in, because he did it so well, that everything is in exactly its correct place.  Hoooooray!!!  Woot-Woot!!!

Yes, my dear boy.  You're getting an 'empty the dishwasher' magnet to earn your magnets...  Mamma's gonna give you more chores to do, oh yessss....  Mamma loves you baby!


Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Allergic To Physical Education???

Hmmmm...  Not sure what to think here...  All I know is my little guy's got a huge red spot under his eye that looks like someone punched him in the face, which is NOT what happened, so let's just settle down all you autism mamma warriors.  No one hit my boy, he's fine...  kind of...  He's rubbed the skin off from under his eye, and it's super, angry red...

When I got to the school and snuck around to spy on my boy, to see what it is that happens for him during gym class, he was huddled with his educational assistant who was obviously tenderly caring for him.  As much as it tore at my heart strings, seeing that someone who actually cared about him was there for him held me in place to continue spying, only he stayed with his educational assistant and did not look ready to participate at gym.  Cuddling for this long is not the norm for Dayton and to be honest, I got a little jealous!  Who does this broad think she is?  Kidding.  I'm super grateful for her tender loving care for my baby.  I'm very fortunate to have her work with Dayton and pray to God that Dayton gets to keep her next year, his last year at elementary school.  Anyhow...

When I got to my babe, he looked up at me all sad like, and crawled closer to me.  Mwahahaha, babe loves mamma the best.  But my poor babe!  He looked so sad.  He told me how he got all ready for gym class, and then his eyes started to hurt 'real bad.'  Poor little guy...  I asked if he would get back to class if I raced home to get him some Advil, and he promised he would.  Thank goodness I live a two minute drive from the school!  I raced home, grabbed the Advil, and thought I'd best take some Benadryl too...  His face kind of reminded me of what it looked like when he had his rash in Campbell River, and I wanted to make him feel more comfortable.

Racing back to the school, I walked in on my babe participating with the rest of the class in gym.  Walking by, I quickly gave him the medicine I brought from home and continued to the end of the gym to sit beside his educational assistant.

I can see why he likes her.  She's a petite 'lil lady, with beautiful facial features and gorgeous hair.  She's very down to earth and talked about Dayton in a kind way.  She told me how Dayton doesn't like to do work, but she's explained to him how she doesn't like to do dishes, but she still has to do them...  He told her 'that's dumb...,' but she didn't get mad.  She just insisted he do his work, and he has.

Do they have confrontations?  Sure they do!  But here's the interesting part, the difference I was looking for this year...  Dayton LOVES her!  More important, he respects her.  He cares about what she thinks.  He is crushed if he disappoints her.  She told me of one time how he looked at her after an incident and said to her "I guess you're mad at me now," and he looked terribly sad about it.

Am I jealous?  Absolutely!  The little punk doesn't care if he disappoints me!  Why that little...  Yes, I'm jealous.  Not only is she perfect, but she's stolen my boy's heart...  and I couldn't be happier.  What comfort it gives a mamma to know her baby is loved!

But then I talked to the office administrator...  It seems Dayton has been flirting with her, winking at her and giving her that flirtatious smile...  Looks like I'm gonna have ma'hands full...



Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Autism Vs. Being A Little Puke

Perhaps 'puke' ain't the politically correct word I'm searching for, but I'm the kind of person who says it like it is.  My babe, my angel, my little man, the air I breathe, can be a little puke too.  The apple don't fall far from the tree, he is after all his father's son...  Dayton gets the good stuff from my side of the family, with the exception of his stubbornness...  I'll take full responsibility in that department.  I'm as stubborn as they get.  Oh, and the no co-ordination bit...  that I'm afraid is mine too.  There is no grace in my movements or the way I speak.  I'm red necked through and through.  It is what it is.  So is my babe.

Things have been going fantastic this year, with no phone calls home to come and get my babe early from school, no out of school suspensions, I don't think his royal highness even got an in school suspension this year.  If he has, I haven't been aware of it.  I've even called the school twice asking if Dayton even attends school, as I make sure he gets on the school bus in the morning, and I pick him up from the bus in the afternoon, but have not heard anything from the school, leading me to believe my babe may have figured out how to skip class, but nope.  The principal has assured me on both phone calls that my babe is there at school, every day.  While there have been a few incidents, they incidents have not been drastic enough to warrant a call home to me...  Wow!

The past few weeks Dayton has been complaining about gym class.  "Ugh mamma, she won't let me do gym 'cuz it takes me too long to get changed."
"Watch your grammar babe, it's 'because.'"
"Mamma, she won't let me do gym B.E.C.A.U.S.E. it takes me to long to get changed."
"Really?  Have you spoken to your teacher about this Dayton?"
"Yeah, she just gets mad and says I take too long to get ready."
"Have you asked her for help?"
"No."
"Maybe try asking her for help and see what happens."

Week two:
"Don't bother packing my gym clothes mamma, I'm not allowed to go to gym."
"Excuuuuuusssssssse me?"
"Don't bother packing my gym clothes mamma, I'm not allowed to go to gym."
"I heard you babe, but WHY are you not aloud to go to gym?"
"I take too long and can't tie my shoes in time to do the warm up.  Can't take gym if I don't do the warm up."
"Excuuuuuusssssssse me?"
"Ugh...  I take to long and can't tie my shoes in time to do the warm up..."
"I got it Dayton, thank you.  Have you asked your teacher to help you tie your shoes?"
"No."
"Have you asked your EA to help you tie your shoes?"
"No."
"Babe, what is stopping you from asking for help?"
"It doesn't matter.  I'm not allowed to change in the boy's change room anymore.  Don't pack my gym clothes."
"Excccccccuuuuuuuuuuusssssse me?"
"Ugh...  It doesn't matter.  I'm not allowed to change in the boy's change..."
"Got it Dayton.  Thank you.  Now what do you think mamma should do babe?  Should I call your gym teacher?"
"Yes mamma."
"O.K."
"Don't forget to ask her about deodorant too."
I really don't like the idea of Dayton using deodorant yet, as his skin is so sensitive....  but yes, I should ask her if he needs it, as we've been fighting about it for weeks.  Dayton's snuck into his dad's toiletry bag and used his deodorant last summer (at least that's what I think happened) and his arm pits were red, raw and cracked from it...)

So I get in touch with Dayton's phys. ed. teacher, who tells me a little bit of a different story.  Dayton's goofing off in the boy's change room.  He's swinging his back pack around, not really focusing on getting ready.  He's playing around and goofing off with the boys instead of getting ready.  She's talked to him numerous times to get ready and asked him to focus on the task of getting changed instead of goofing off, but he's not listening...  grrrr...  yeah, Dayton forgot about this part of the story.  The rest of his story is correct, except for the part where it is HIS idea NOT to participate in gym class.  When told to settle down and get ready for gym or he won't be participating, Dayton's chosen NOT TO participate.  Well I'll be...  In other words, he's being a little puke.  Really?!  I'm so kicking his butt when he gets home.  I'm going through the house and there are chores he will be helping me with today boy...  scrubbing the toilet, cleaning his room, vacuuming, taking out the trash, cleaning the kitty litter...  oh yes...  I can hardly wait for his little royal highness to get his behind home.  'Cuz when he does...  ma'home be all clean!  Grammar or no grammar, ma' home be spotless chil'e.  Oh yes.

Yes, even Einstein had his childish moments

Anyways, the teacher and I discussed how I can support her with Dayton's behaviour

I've asked the teacher to get his EA to fill out the report sheets I get at the end of the day, giving him a check mark for getting ready on time, asking for help if necessary and NOT goofing off.  This will give me an idea of whether or not he is making an attempt to participate in gym and listening to his teachers.

So you see, I get it.  I get my son has a disability, but not everything is to be blamed on his disability.  He knows how to follow the rules, he knows how to get ready for gym.  This is not a part of his autism, he's being a little puke.  A typical nine year old who just wants to mess around, ya know?  A part of me celebrates this, at least he's not delayed in this part of his milestones.


Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Monday, 21 November 2011

Has Special Needs Inclusion Gone Too Far?

To integrate or not to integrate...  A question rarely posed to a parent of a child with special needs.  I certainly don't have an option, thanks to our fantastic government.  You would think that as a parent with a child on the autism spectrum, I should have a choice at least in the matter, but no.  No body gives a crap about what a parent NEEDS for their child.

I'm not sitting here talking about what I WANT for my son.  I'm talking about what I NEED for my baby, actually, what Dayton NEEDS for himself, not what I need or want.

I am very fortunate that Dayton has a teacher this year that 'gets' him.  But it wasn't always so...  And all it takes is one bad teacher for the house of cards to fall...  I've had two years of literal hell, feeling as though I was going to lose my mind, powerless to help my son in school, powerless to help the teacher or his educational assistant.  Feelings of absolute rage when the school principal decided to call the police on my then seven year old, fifty pound boy, the guidance counsellor calling CFS twice, and the shame and ridicule that I felt came along with those decisions.  I know I'm not alone in this.  I've met with other parents of children on the autism spectrum who have been mortified and gone through the very same issues as myself.

Is it really fair of the government to expect the school to know how to integrate our kids with special needs?  I'm not just talking autism here, but any disability.  I don't mean to sound rude or disrespectful, but I think there is a different expectation in regards to integrating a child not able to walk compared to a child with a cognitive disability.

Is it fair to expect all teachers be able to teach braille to a blind child?  What about sign language to a child that can not speak?  Do all teachers posses these skills?

How about cerebral palsy, spina bifida, epilepsy, down syndrome, mental retardation, ADD, ADHD, speech and language impairments, traumatic brain injury, pervasive developmental disorder, autistic disorder, learning disabilities, etc...  Are teachers supposed to know about every single disorder?  Are educational assistants?  Are principals, guidance counsellors or resource teachers?  Who exactly in our schools is supposed to know every single childhood disability in order to teach the rest of the school when it comes time to integrate a student with an individual disability?

Trust me, segregation is far from what I WANT for my child, but I do want the best education I can get my hands on for him, which begins with a knowledgeable teacher.  This is not meant to insult any of the teachers out there, please understand this.  I mean no disrespect.  Society NEEDS my child to become a contributing member of society, not a burden.  I have very high hopes that my son will be contributing to his generation.  But there are others out there who may not be so fortunate to have a positive outlook on their child's future.

Does a fifteen year old girl with the cognitive skills of first grader truly belong in a grade ten classroom?  Is it really fair to this girl to have to sit through seven hours of social studies, math, English, and metal work when she can not read or write?  Who's interest are we really focusing on here, the student's human rights or her parents' warm fuzzy feelings of having their daughter in class with her peers?  Does society really think this girl is happy with her social promotion?  And how about the teacher?  Do we really expect her or him not to lose their "cool?"  In a class of thirty students, chances are this teacher is already making twenty different class lesson plans...  As a former instructor myself, just having to create and re-create the one lesson plan was like getting a freaking root canal.  I can't imagine having to do twenty...


My son Dayton is in grade four.  He is finally beginning to learn how to read and write.  I wanted him to repeat grade three last year, but the principal refused, probably because she really had no choice, did she?  As much as parents get upset with their school teachers, principals and school divisions, at the core of this problem lies the government.  They make the law, and they're the ones that are not giving the teacher, principal, school division or the parent for that matter, the choice to do what is best for our children.  In the mean time, the government hides behind the schools.  As a parent, I don't get to talk to our premier Greg Selinger, do I?  Noooooo...  I get to throw my temper tantrums at the school staff and school division, right?  They're the only ones I get to speak to.  Trust me, I know first hand.

Me, freaking out on speaker phone with the Premier's office for transferring me yet again to Manitoba Education who is absolutely useless...  Take charge Mr. Premier!  Answer your phone!

It all boils down to social promotion...  It does not seem to matter to our government that our kids are not learning.  All that matters is that no child is left behind.  You know, that warm, fuzzy, lovin' feeling.  All the funding in the world is not going to help our kids if the government doesn't put some help in place for our educators to have at their finger tips, does it?  It's like going out and buying a low fat cookbook, but unless I use it, I won't be losing weight, will I?  That reminds me...  Gotta go through the cookbook and make out some menu plans and go grocery shopping...  When is government going to wake up and smell the coffee here?  I'm all for inclusion, but lets be realistic here with what we're dealing with people, shall we?

Social promotion.  Education.  Society NEEDS education.  The days of do your work, learn in class, do your homework and pass your tests are gone.  In place we have social promotion, to spare our children's feelings? I'll tell you what will raise our kid's self esteem...  EDUCATION.  My son is proud of himself for passing his spelling test today.  He got six out of six words right.  Yeah, that's right.  My baby rocked his spelling test.  But last year...  last year my boy had low self esteem, fits of rage where he questioned me why bother going to school, he was too stupid anyway (his words, not mine).  Last year's teacher wasn't the calibre of teacher Dayton has today.  Perhaps I'm a little too harsh, I wasn't really there to observe.  But I can tell you that this year, Dayton understands his teacher.  Last year he didn't.  Could last year's teacher been overwhelmed with too many lesson plans to keep up with, and this year's teacher doesn't have nearly as many lesson plans to create?  Is this year's teacher's assistant more on the ball, more experienced with autism?  Or has Dayton somehow found that magical button of compliance?  There are so many things that could be different, or a combination of things that just fit into that mysterious, multi-coloured  puzzle.

Our kids may have challenges, they may have a disability, but they're far from stupid.  They know when they're truly included in their education and when they're being patronized or simply tolerated.  So perhaps it's a combination of blame, the government and the teacher.  I think mostly the government though.  I like to blame it all on 'the man.'


Consider yourselves hugged,


Lou

Sunday, 20 November 2011

An Autism Mom's Milestone: My First MASE Meeting

After months of contemplating and wishing I could go, I finally did it.  I went to a MASE meeting.  MASE (Moms of autism supporting eachother) is a small group of women who I thought had one thing in common:  autism.

I almost bailed out as I am sick AGAIN...  yes I know, Lou, get a flu shot already.  But then Super Dad made me feel bad about not coming, and another autism mom told me I should still come, so I pulled on my big girl panties and headed out the door.

Turns out the table of fourteen people (two men were allowed to "infiltrate" the group this one time only; Super Dad and another Super Dad), had much more in common than autism.  We also seemed to share the same side effects of autism I thought I was alone in...  Wow...

I thought I was the only "autism" mom who endured my child's school staff calling CFS, the only autism mom who's child's principal called the police due to her child's choice of words or behaviour and the only autism mom who has been judged on her 'parenting skills' by school staff...  Let me rephrase that:  I felt judged by the school staff.  Calling CFS to me seems like a judgement call...

I thought I was the only autism mom who sees the grocery store Nazis shaking their heads in disapproval when they see my boy sitting in the shopping cart, my boy who is almost ten and to tall to be sitting in a cart and still leave me room for groceries.  I thought I was the only sniper!

I thought I was the only bad, bad autism mom who's been kicked out of McDonalds, the only bad, bad, very bad autism mom who's child got kicked out of daycare!

I'm not alone.  Some moms told me stories much worse than mine, and they looked "normal."  I didn't see the third eye I have growing out of my own forehead.  You know the one people see growing out of yours when you try to explain your child's behavior?  Yeah, that one!

These women looked real.  They looked like anyone else.  They didn't have a sign on their forehead with a bulls eye showing "autism mom."  Very bad, bad, bad, bad, bad mom...

It was like walking into an AA meeting and seeing if you could pick out the alcoholic.  No one looked the part.  Oh my goodness...

Four out of the fourteen are Educational Assistants.  Wow.  I want to be just like them!

I found people just like me.  Women that have had their hearts ripped apart by judgement calls made by people who just don't understand...  People that should understand but don't.  Who's fault is it?  The question seemed to resonate through the table when the group was splitting up to go home.  Three of us remained talking...  Is it the teachers fault?  The principals?  The resource teachers?  The guidance counsellors?  Ahhhh...  no, no...   More on my thoughts on this on my next post, I promise.  The point of this post is:  WE'RE NOT ALONE!


Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Abused In School

Not everyone is meant to be a teacher or child care professional.  You really need to have a love for children and truly enjoy seeing little people's light bulbs go off when they 'get' your lesson.  I enjoyed this feeling with adults as a Pharmacy Technician Instructor at a local college, just didn't really enjoy marking the lengthy assignments and tests...  
You can not view the little people as a burden.  If you do, then you're definitely in the wrong place, not just for the children's sake, but your own.  I imagine that when someone becomes abusive, it is because they've lost their 'self control,' and losing 'it' ain't pretty...  You know the song "she ain't pretty" by the Northern Pikes?  Yeah, that's what a teacher with no self control ends up looking like.  All dressed nice and looking the part, but then she opens her mouth and pow!  She ain't too pretty no more.
I've met a few of these not so pretty teachers in the last few years.  Teachers and daycares.  I think the worst incident I had with Dayton where he was abused by a worker was at River Road Child Care which is located in the St. Amant Centre.  Here's a quote straight from their website at http://www.stamant.mb.ca/about-us:  

Founded by the Grey Nuns in 1931 as the St. Boniface Sanatorium, the Grey Nuns originally cared for patients with tuberculosis. The building was re-named the St. Vital Hospital in 1961.
Children with disabilities were first admitted to the St.Amant Ward in 1959. The organization was re-named St.Amant Centre in 1974 as the space became dedicated to meeting the needs of persons with developmental disabilities.
The Grey Nuns nurtured the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of every individual they cared for, laying the foundation for many generations of work to come. The Grey Nuns were strong advocates for the people they cared for and were determined to teach those who it was said could not be taught, to help children learn to walk who it was said would never walk. They helped each and every individual develop to the best of their abilities.The Grey Nuns were fearless leaders, unafraid to go against the grain or be defeated by the attitudes that prevailed toward those with developmental disabilities at the time. They provided direction and leadership of the organization into the 1990’s.
St.Amant is now the largest provider of community living services in Manitoba supporting individuals and their families with residential options, family care and outreach services. St.Amant also has a growing program for pre-school and school aged children with Autism.



You can see why I would think this was a fantastic place for my little guy!  Wow!  And speaking with the director of the daycare, I was told that yes, they would have no problems with Dayton.  At the time, Dayton's diagnoses were ADHD and global developmental delays.  I informed the director that Dayton was also being observed for autism.  She assured me there would be no problems, didn't I know where I was?  I was at St. Amant!  I could not have chosen a better place on the world for my babe.  
Here's some information on River Road Child Care located in the St. Amant Centre, again right off their website which you can find at:  http://www.stamant.mb.ca/child-care:



We provide high-quality childcare in a warm, loving environment and promote the full development and well-being of all children with various needs and characteristics. We believe children have the right to be cared for in an atmosphere of warmth, acceptance, respect, love and laughter.
Our programming includes:

Here's a link to the daycare's brochure:  http://www.stamant.mb.ca/sites/default/files/River%20Road%20Child%20Care.pdf


So, you can see I did my homework before I decided to enlist their help in taking care of my babe's needs...  They found a wonderful assistant to help Dayton throughout the day, who really bonded well with Dayton.  We had become friends, play dates with our children were arranged.  She's still a friend today.  If it were not for her, I never would have found out what they did to my baby...
"Mamma, C hurt me."
"Dayton, how could you say something like that about C?  She loves you, and she's like an auntie to you!  She would never hurt you."
"Mamma, I no wanna go to deeeecare.  Not like.  C hurt me."
"Dayton, don't ever let me hear you talk about C like that again!!!"
And then the biting began.  My boy had become a carnivore, and his appetite insatiable....  In roughly one month's time, he had bit C as well as other child care professionals a total of seven times.  I was informed that Dayton either stopped biting or I would have to find another daycare.  Daycares in Winnipeg are not easy to come by.  I'm struggling without daycare for the last two years now...  Talk about a financial oweeee!  Anyways...


I made two crucial mistakes...  
Mistake number one:  Dayton tried to tell me he someone was hurting him, and I did NOT believe him.
Mistake number two:  I didn't question WHY Dayton was becoming a carnivore...  
ALL behaviour is COMMUNICATION.  Dayton's communication skills were severely delayed, they still are.  He was also five years old, functioning at about a three year old level.  About half of his communication at age five for Dayton was PHYSICAL.
C called me and wanted to talk to me in person, without the kids present.  Just the two of us.  She told me, then because of my stunned look had to physically show me what was happening to my child at the hands of the director of the River Road Child Care...  I can honestly tell you exactly what it feels like to have your heart ripped in half...
Dayton was forced to sit on the floor with his legs stretched straight in front of him in front of ALL the children at the daycare.  Dayton was the example to the other children, treated like an animal.  The director would sit behind him with her legs parallel to his, his back against her upper body.  She then grabbed his wrists and pinned them behind his back.  She put one of her legs across Dayton's upper legs or thighs in order to keep him rooted to the floor.  With Dayton's arms stretched out tight, wrists pinned together in her hands, she lifted...  she could have dislocated his shoulders!!!  All Dayton could do was bite, it was his only defence!!!  It seemed she didn't like being bit, so she made C do this to Dayton once a week, in front of EVERYBODY!!!
How painful was this for Dayton?  How humiliating for my baby!!!  He must have been so scared, so wounded, and he tried to tell me, he wanted me to protect and defend him and I didn't believe him...  I let my baby down...  Never, ever again will I take someone else's word over his, EVER.  
After surviving this experience, I can honestly tell you exactly what it feels like to have your heart ripped in half...  I went through four of the five stages of grief, missing only the 'bargaining' stage, which believe it or not, when I reached the anger stage, River Road Child Care tried to bargain with me.  Their bargain?  They would take Dayton back for one month while I searched for appropriate child care that could take care of his needs!!!  What???  Over my dead body!  My anger sky rocketed and I contacted the media.  The story hit the air, and before it did, the daycare issued a letter to all parents who's children were taken care of at the daycare that I was an angry and desperate mother, and I would lie about their practice because I couldn't find daycare?!  Whatever!  


It took me every ounce of energy not to drive to the daycare and take matters into my own hands.  The woman is lucky to be alive and well.  Instead, I did an interview with Global TV, and had my 15 minutes three nights in a row, twice a night, warning everyone in Winnipeg NOT to enrol their child into River Road Child Care. 
The province launched an investigation into the matter, and the director had to go back to school...  


Come again Lou?
Yes, that's right.  She got training which was covered by her employer...  How fantastic is that? 


Dayton is not the only child that has been abused by "professionals."  It happens all the time.  Our kiddos with special needs are like moving targets.  Child care professionals, teachers and educational assistants are over worked and underpaid (not our problem, I know).  Everyone, including the children are fantastic in September, but come December with Christmas holidays...  tempers flare up, on both ends.  
Here's the latest abuse story in school, this time recorded by a 15 year old, using his cell phone:


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/16/julio-artuz-15-records-teacher-verbally-abusing_n_1097166.html?ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false


Dreadful.  Sick.  Demented...  My heart splits in half again for this family...


Consider yourselves hugged,


Lou

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Volunteering In The School

I volunteered to help out with hot lunch today at Dayton's school.  I've done it once last year and really liked seeing Dayton's classroom and his peers, watching them all interact together, like a whole separate little community.  Parents rarely get the opportunity to see their kids in action, and if I get an opportunity, I'm all over it.  I strongly recommend volunteering at your child's school if the opportunity presents itself.

My babe remembered I was coming to help out with the hot lunch today, and he came scampering down the hall to greet me, a big huge smile on his face, his arms stretched out to hug me.  I love it when he wants to hug me!  It's so rare to have him be affectionate, I take what I can get these days, and to see him not care what his peers thought about our affectionate exchange warmed my heart and made my day!

What a difference in classrooms from grade three to grade four.  Bigger desks, and chairs that even I could sit in without feeling like a giant.  Last year, sitting beside Dayton in one of 'em 'lil chairs, my feet and butt actually fell asleep, which was surprising since half my butt cheek spilled over the chair seat...  Anyhow....

All the kids behaved super well!  Every single one of them stayed in their seat until finished eating, obeyed the rules, and the educational assistant supervising the classroom during lunch stood at the head of the room, with a paper laying on the desk I was sitting at.  The paper was there to write the names of kids who were disobedient.  Not one name ended up on that paper.

I was thrilled to hear two of the assistants talking about never having a problem with Dayton!  Wow!  That's amazing!  Either the school has new educational assistants this year, or they haven't heard of Dayton's past few years of constant suspensions...  Either way, I don't care.  All I care about is that my babe is doing well, he's not getting suspended and he's following the rules.



Hoping you're having as a good a day as I am, consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Good Morning Sunshine

Are you ready kids "Aye Aye Captain"
I Can't hear you "AYE AYE CAPTAIN"
Ohh...

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? 
"Spongebob Squarepants"
Absorbant and yellow and porous is he...
"Spongebob Squarepants"
If nautical nonsense be something you wish... 
"Spongebob Squarepants"
Then flop on the deck and plop like a fish... 
"Spongebob Squarepants"

READY???

Spongebob Squarepants
Spongebob Squarepants
Spongebob Squarepants

SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS!! AH AHH AHH AHAHAHAHAHAHAHHH....





Yes, we watch way too much Spongebob squarepants in this house.  It's Dayton's favourite.  God help me the day they take it off air at 7:30am.  Until then, it's Spongebob squarepants to the rescue.  Every morning.  EVERY MORNING!!!.  Oh, don't forget every night at 7:30 again, so he can go to sleep.  And then iCarly, although he probably would never admit it to his friends.  

Red light, Green light every morning while waiting for the school bus.  Did not go well this morning for me at all.  I am soooooo tired.  Not being able to sleep at night really, really sucks.  I have Dayton's psychologist appointment this morning, so I really need to get my coffee buzz on.  And no, this has nothing to do with it being my birthday yesterday.  I spent the evening with my friend Shelley (who I might like to add is trying a starvation diet this week, consisting strictly of caffeine and cigarettes) and played Yahtzee until 7:30 pm, just in time for me to watch Spongebob Squarepants with Dayton for his bed time routine. 

I do love my Yahtzee.  Kicked her butt too.  I am the Queen of Yahtzee!  


Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou 

Monday, 14 November 2011

Time For A New Me?

Between visiting with friends in Campbell River, BC and catching up with friends here in Winnipeg after my return from BC, then meeting Super Dad, I've been thinking about how people change.  Am I the same person I was ten years ago?  Definitely not!  I was dating, and Dayton wasn't quite a twinkle in his daddy's eye.  I was fit, working out religiously, cautious of my diet and even dabbled in body building...  I had energy galore!  And now...

Had a baby by C-section (surgery numero uno), then a hysterectomy and later a bi-lateral mastectomy with a tram-flap (a 16 hour medical surgery that took close to 20 hours)...  My energy levels have depleted and my body shape is a whole lot different...  I mean waaaaay different.

My friend Jen who had moved to BC in September has completely changed since I had seen her three months ago.  Never really a 'big girl,' she now looks like a freaking super model!  Mind you, she's 24 years old and has no kids, but still!  She's completely changed her life and is actually so in love with hot yoga, she's decided to teach it!  She's also become a vegetarian, which I think is awesome...  I have an aversion to touching raw meat...  a whole new story in itself...

Jen hiking with Dayton and I, and yes, there were vultures circling above me there too.

Another friend, Kim, has lost over 75 lbs in less than a year!  An amazing accomplishment!  She looks fantastic!!!  She made us supper one night during our stay in Campbell River, and I couldn't stop staring at her.  I'm sure she thought I had changed too...  not only wider in the hips but gone a little 'weird.'  Sure didn't help that she wore these cute camouflage capri's with something spelled out in shiny diamond rhinestones on her behind...  That was really distracting, as we all know how much I like pretty, shiny bling, never mind the fact that the size of her behind used to be twice the size it is now!  She's lost the equivalent of a 6th grader people!!!

My weight loss guru, she's gorgeous!

When I got home from BC, my friend picked me up at the airport...  She had been losing weight for the last three months, and I couldn't believe how much more weight she had lost in the two weeks I had been gone...   I went for walks with her and her kids and Dayton on bikes, roller blades and a third one walking with us...  It was embarrassing!  I was left in the dust with their family dog (an ankle biting mini poodle I jokingly call 'killer,' which the dog answers to now).  I swear when I looked up in the sky I saw vultures circling up high above us, waiting for me to pass out beside the dog.  I decided that walking outside was no longer an option and that indoor workouts would need to begin or I was OUT.

Not the best picture of Shelley, but she doesn't read my blog anyway...  LOL!!!

Finally, Super Dad.  While I may have just met him, talking to him over a cup of coffee and listening to his story, he's gone through some major changes in life this past year himself.  Some changes he had no choice in, like the loss of his beloved wife and becoming a single parent of five.  Other changes he had partial control of, like knowing he was about to lose his job and deciding if it was going to happen, it would happen on his terms.  And the change he had control of, his career.  Changing careers from a produce manager to a teacher's assistant is a huge change!  These two careers have absolutely nothing in common!  But he's doing it.  With a smile on his face.  No gritting his teeth and no feeling sorry for himself about anything!

Unfortunately, the only picture I have of Super Dad...  LOL

These three friends listed above have one thing in common...  COURAGE.

It's my birthday today, and I'm thinking to myself 'am I happy with choices I've made in my life?  Is there anything I can do to change what I don't like, my career, my health, my scope of influence?  If so, do I have the courage to change?'

Is this what they call a mid life crisis?  Maybe, but I can see where my life needs to change.  I need a better 'balance' in my life.  For the past five years I've been eating, breathing, drinking, dreaming autism, ADHD, OCD, ODD, PDD-NOS and global delays.  I've been reading and now this past year writing about it.  I'm not suggesting I stop any of it, I just need to find some time to myself to rejuvenate.  I need some 'me' time, where I focus on what it is that I want and what I NEED.  All this time I've thought how selfish it is to do anything for me and take that time away from Dayton, but I'm finally starting to realize that while I am taking care of every single one of Dayton's needs, I've neglected the most important one of all:  giving Dayton a healthy, well rounded mom.  Everyone deserves one of those, right?



"The true definition of insanity: Doing the same task over and over, and expecting a different outcome" - Albert Einstein




Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Super Dad, A Hero In My Eyes

Finally, I finally got a chance to meet my new hero, whom I will from now on refer to as Super Dad.  He's earned the title.  I know of no other man who is as selfless, warm and caring as this man.

Super Dad is a single father of five, that's right, FIVE children, three of which are biologically his, and the two youngest are his niece and nephew.  Their ages range from seventeen to...  drum roll please...  three!!!  Wow!!!  I don't know where the man gets the energy to do it, but he does it and does it well.  The three oldest are on the autism spectrum...  Given these circumstances, Super Dad still finds the time to decorate his home and all of his front yard with Halloween decorations, and come Christmas, he'll do the same!  He does this for his five children, bringing to mind the saying that there is a difference between a 'daddy' and a sperm donor.  Sorry, I don't mean to sound so harsh, but I've met both, and the ones in between.

Super Dad's Halloween work

My favourite snap shot of Super Dad's handy work

He's such a proud Super Dad!  He even brought out pictures for me to see his kiddos.  How embarrassing for me...  I have tons of pictures of Dayton on my blackberry, but I forgot it on my trip home from BC, and it's in the mail, so I had none to show him...  And here I think of myself as an awesome mom!  Woops.

Raising five kids, Super Dad even finds time to keep a beautiful garden of flowers around his home.  He showed me pictures of tiger lilies and other flowers, and I shamefully had to admit I have a black thumb.  My plants have all died since I moved, including my cactus.  How do you kill a cactus you may ask...  Just bring it over to my home,  I'll have it dead in a week.

Why am I raving about Super Dad?  I have one child on the autism spectrum, ONE.  I dread Halloween.  A hyper boy to begin with, Dayton looks and behaves like a squirrel on acid with OCD when introduced to candy.  Even his voice changes and he talks so fast I can hardly understand him.  I have no energy to put up Halloween decorations.  Christmas time is different.  While I still don't have the energy, celebrating the birth of Christ is very important to me.  There's no candy involved in my house other than baked cookies.  I can handle that.  How Super Dad does it with three on the autism spectrum is remarkable.

It gets better...  Super Dad is changing careers...  He's just recently got hired as an educational assistant.  He's inspired me to take a look at this career choice myself.  I love pharmacy, but I really want to make a change in someone's life.  As  Leo Tolstoy has said:  "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing themself."  Time to make a change within myself.

Super Dad without caffeine, LOL.  Can you believe this guy is single ladies?  Once you get past  the mask, he's a heart breaker, I swear!  LOL






Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Thursday, 10 November 2011

What Happened To The Boy From Campbell River?!

For those of you who know me, you know I love my son more than the air I breathe.  Heck, he IS the air I breathe.  Without him, I would not have gone through the surgeries that no doubt have saved my life.  He gave me a reason to care about my life expectancy.

What I don't understand though is why, oh why he's changed...  Let me explain.

As most children on the autism spectrum, Dayton hates change.  Any kind of change will set him off, whether it be a good change or a bad change.  Christmas, birthdays, Halloween...  they're a nightmare in my home.  Well, not completely.  Christmas is very special to me and always will be, no matter what anyone's mood is.  My point, excuse my Menopause brain, it's in full swing again today...  My point is, that the recent two week stay of ours in BC went FANTASTIC.  No meltdowns.  No confusion, no freak outs.  Dayton was a perfect angel.  He was absolutely wonderful, even though our visit wasn't particularly meant as a vacation.  He was sad his grandpa Jerry passed away, but behaved spectacularly.

It seems he was allergic to something or got a rash on his face due to the stress of a change.  Taking him to a walk in clinic didn't help; the doctor had no clue what the problem was.  Not wanting to chance allergies, he suggested I give Dayton Benadryl, something I had already done before he advised it.  But he did suggest I give him an adult dose to see if it would be of more help since the children's dose had little to no affect.

Benadryl should have made Dayton drowsy, but it didn't.  He functioned perfectly, wasn't drugged or sleepy. In fact, my boy was cool, calm and collected for most of our "visit", with the exception of bed time, which is typical for any nine year old.  He complained that his rash was itchy and burned and that his eyes hurt, so I added children's Advil to his Benadryl regime.  As long as he had his Benadryl every four hours and his Advil every six hours, he was pain and irritant free.

Once we got home and didn't need the Benadryl anymore, he went back to the Dayton I've known for the past nine years.  Hyper, hyper, hyper!  Fortunately, I haven't had any complaints from his school, but at home...  Ugh.  His inner motor's been cranked on high!  He's lost all aim in the washroom, and I'm threatening to make him sit on the throne like a girl.  He didn't have this problem in Campbell River, I thought he'd mastered his aim!  We even celebrated with a freaking cake!  What the heck?!

Yesterday morning the little turkey decided to pee in the waste basket beside the toilet!  Just thinking about it is making me drive heave.  There was pee around the toilet, in the waste basket...  I literally blew a gasket.  His aim's always been a wee bit off in the mornings, but not like this.  And when I asked him about it, he had no answer.  Of course, at first he claimed "I didn't do it".  Jeez!  I want to find this "I didn't do it" kid and claim him on my income tax...  He also brings up this kid called "I don't know."  I'll be calling Revenue Canada in the morning...
I could understand if the toilet looked something like this...  I wouldn't want to pee in it either!  But this is NOT the case!
The stench of pee emanating from the waste basket was driving me insane, so I cleaned it, but held firm to stomaching the pee around the toilet for him to clean up after school.  Of course he didn't like it and thought cleaning pee was "gross."  He started crying, which made me feel bad for a split second until my gag reflex kicked in and made me dry heave again.  Leaning over the sink dry heaving, I did my best to explain to him during the wee breaths I managed to take that it's not fair that I have to clean up his pee.  "The M in MOM is for mom, not maid Dayton!"
"The S in SON is for son, not slave mamma."
I thought he didn't know how to spell!  Well excuse me!  I suppose I've used the mom argument for too many years.  I wonder how long he's been thinking of the son argument.  I didn't even know he knew what the word slave meant.  I suppose I had it coming.  He is, after all, my son.


As dad Paul has taught me, consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

It's Official, I've Lost My Mind

Menopause SUCKS.  While I may have the hot flashes somewhat under control, my memory is not what it used to be.  And the worst part about it is that I'm really not THAT old...  I had to undergo a complete hysterectomy and bi-lateral mastectomy with tram-flap by the age of 29...  I refuse to admit how old I am now, but I'm definitely under 50, for a little while...  In my imagination, I'm still 25...  Although I must admit, I finally got a sense of style in my mid thirties, so mid thirties weren't too bad.  I wish I was thinner though...  Oh look, there goes my Menopause brain, AGAIN.  I'm rambling...


I was convinced Monday night that I had an appointment with Dayton's child psychologist yesterday afternoon, so much so, that when I got Dayton on the bus, I rushed back inside, cleaned up a bit, decided to take a little nap, than grab a shower, put on make up and did my hair.  Got dressed...  Drove all the way out to the psychologist's office and announced to the receptionist that I was here for my appointment.  I sat in the waiting room while she called Dayton's psychologist's nurse (Nurse Penny), and heard a "really?  are you sure, because she's sitting right here in the waiting room..."

Nurse Penny comes out to the waiting room, and thank goodness I was by myself without Dayton and the waiting room was empty...  "Lou, we're in a scheduled meeting right now, I'm pretty sure your appointment is next Tuesday...  Let me go get my appointment book."

Whhhhaaaaaaaat?!  I'm so tired...  You mean to tell me I could still be obliviously drooling on my pillow?  Seriously?!

Nurse Penny comes back with her appointment book and shows me pencilled in for November 15th at 11:30am.  Really?!  I even got the freaking time wrong?!  What's wrong with me?!

I apologize for my confusion and interruption and slink away to my car.  Does this mean Dayton's school's hot lunch isn't on tomorrow and I need to go out and buy bread today?  Better go home and check as I am also one of the volunteers for hot lunch day...

Check the calendar and guess what?  Oops I did it again!  Got that day wrong too.  Hot lunch is next week!!!  What's happening to me?!  I threw in the towel and went back to bed.  Whatever.  Deal with it later.


Consider yourselves hugged, especially if your brain is somewhat like mine.

Lou

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Take Your Shoes Off!!!

So, I'm in the middle of finishing up Dayton's home reading last night.  We get two books a day to read, and of course he's behind a few reading levels in comparison to his peers in grade four.  The book we're reading last night is called Birthday Balloons and consists of 16 pages.  We make it to page 12, where the Tom the birthday boy is about to make his little baby sister stop crying by sharing one of his birthday balloons, when Dayton notices that Tom is wearing shoes...

"Mamma!  Stop!!!"
"What's wrong?!"
"Tom!  He's wearing  SHOES!!!"
"You're right babe, he is wearing shoes.  Now let's finish the book, we're almost done babe."
"Why is he wearing shoes?"
Oh no...  Come on kid, we're almost at the end of the book, and I'm really tired here kiddo...
"Dayton, some families don't take their shoes off in their house."
"But he shouldn't wear shoes in the house mamma."
"You're right babe, that's our rules in our home.  If Tom came to our home, we would ask him to take his shoes off."
Dayton starts flipping through the book...  "Mamma!!!  They're all wearing their shoes in the house!!!"
"Babe, I think the point of the story here is that Tom shared one of his birthday balloons with his baby sister, which made her stop crying when no one else could get her to stop.  It was Tom's birthday, and he could have been selfish and not shared, but he did Dayton..."
"But the shoes..."
"Babe, forget about the shoes!"
"I can't!!!"

We did eventually get through the book, but I couldn't guess how long it took us to actually 'read' the book, discussing and reading it took well over an hour...  I just didn't have the strength to do spelling with him.  I was spent.  I actually broke out in a sweat.  It's been a while since Dayton's perseverated over something so small...


My own perseverance on the word mamma...  I've learned just past two weeks ago that I've been spelling the word mama wrong...  and for the life of me, I can't stop it.  What is wrong with me?  Hahahahaha, I guess we all have issues...


Consider yourselves hugged,


Lou

Monday, 7 November 2011

Home Sweet Home

We're home!  Back on track with routine!  I don't know which one of us needs the routine more, Dayton or I.  While Big D's not crazy about going back to school, I most certainly am...  Mamma loves ya baby!!!  Seeing the school bus this morning coming to get Dayton nearly brought a tear to my eye...

Visiting family back in BC was good, but I missed my home.  While my condo may not be as lavish as my dad's brand new, enormous, fancy home, and needs some serious updates, there's nothing like home sweet home, and our routine.

Funny...  routine, routine, routine.  I hate not being able to stray away from it for Dayton's sake, but I craved it the whole time away from home.  I missed our autism "pic schedules" posted in my washroom for Dayton to focus on morning and bed time routines.  I missed handing Dayton a magnet for his magnet board for doing a job well done.  I missed our bed time routine:  bath, book, bed, TV, a quick cuddle (I don't get them often, and it needs to be in the routine for my sake, not Dayton's), kiss and a hug and finally, lights out.  It's nice knowing that no matter how tough my day is, come 8:30 it's big mamma's time.

While we may have strayed from the routine a wee bit while in BC, and we went there for a sad time in our life, it wasn't all bad...  Dayton got to meet one of his 'Aussie' uncles for the first time as did I, his name is Iain.  Dayton and I both got a chance to meet the other 'Aussie' uncle James last Christmas vacation.  They're both awesome guys!!!  I love their accents, and so does Dayton (quick little story to follow in a few lines).  The highlight of my visit, however charming the 'Aussie' uncles may be, was meeting my little niece Alessandra for the first time in person.  Oh my God, she's just so cute, I wanted to hide her in my purse (trust me, the purse is big enough) and take her home with me.  Having to leave her behind was heart breaking.  Not having the chance to say goodbye to her was even worse.  There's nothing quite like the smell and feel of a new baby, and nothing as awesome to put a smile on your face as a cutie like Alessandra.

Dayton with his auntie Carrie and the beautiful Alessandra

Alessandra and I




Dayton had a fantastic time with his 'Aussie' uncles.  Uncle Iain made sure to beat him with these swimming noodles (now before y'all go callin' CFS, I'd like to add that Dayton won the battle, so relax), and uncle James played golf with Dayton in the back yard.  Both Aussie uncles were awesome with Dayton, and Dayton loves them both to death.  He got to go trick or treating with them for Halloween, as it was their first Halloween!  They don't have Halloween in Australia!  I'm so moving there!!!  While Dayton didn't really care to share his uncles with his cousins, he did it with no complaints.  Their Aussie accents are fun to Dayton...  so much so he got right into a conversation as though he was Aussie himself, following just about everything with a "mate" for friend.

Uncle Iain and Dayton
Uncle James, Alessandra and Dayton


DISCLAIMER: The comments and actions of my child do not necessarily reflect those of my own.

Picture us at supper time.  Uncle Iain and auntie Carrie (Alessandra's parents) made a fantastic pasta supper (I love pasta, and it really does show) and the boys are sitting in the living room.  Glen of course is making fun of someone at all times and has turned his unsolicited comments on uncle James...  I tell Glen to stop because I "like James.  Stop picking on him!"  Glen's uncle Dave:  "I like James too, he's a likable kind of fella."
Dayton:  "Yeah, you would mate, bahahahahahahahaha!"
Fortunately, we all laughed. 

Dayton, talking to my dad:  "You know mate, I wasn't gonna tell you this, but I'm gonna have to say it; you're mean grandpa.  You need to stop being mean mate, or I'm gonna walk out the door and not come back.  I'm gonna take my mamma with me, we don't have to stay here and listen to you be mean mate."  I love it when my babe has my back!!!  Grandpa swore a little too much even for Dayton.  You know things are pretty bad when that's the case.  Most kids find it funny or cool.

Dayton, talking to my dad again:  "Mate, I already told you!  I have to go back to Winnipeg.  I have a cat.  His name is Jack, and I miss him.  He needs fresh food and fresh water, and someone needs to take care of him.  It's not all about you, you know?!  Now mate, you gotta stop asking me to stay with you.  Besides, I gotta go with mamma 'cuz she promised to wrap herself around me if the plane crashes so I don't die.  Now you try to have a 'good eye' (good day in Aussie)."

Dayton, talking to Glen:  "Hey mate, I have a plan!!  Are you scared yet?"

I think the highlight of Dayton time on the West Coast was the fishing.  The boys went out fishing twice, and Dayton was the one that caught the biggest fish.  Their second trip out, they did something I've never heard of...  and I'm not sure if it was the Aussie uncles' idea or Glen's, maybe even Dayton's...  they blew air into the worms, wait for it....  I pray you're sitting down...  using a hypodermic needle.  That's right.  They took a worm in one hand, a hypodermic needle with air in the syringe in the other, and  No one is willing to take the credit for the idea...  I'm thinking it was the Aussies...

Hugging uncle Iain good bye at the airport on our way home brought Dayton to tears that took a couple of hours to change to a smile.  Yes, I bribed him with ice cream, because that's what mothers do.


Consider yourselves hugged,

Lou

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Roses And Thorns

There's a column in a Campbell River local newspaper called Roses and Thorns.  I love the title!  And some of the gripping and loving stories are interesting, but what I found most interesting is that the 'thorns' stories were much, much longer than the 'rose' stories.  This made me think of me...  I hate it when that happens.

Why is it that we seem to do more gripping and complaining than we do telling 'rose' stories?  Possibly human nature, a sort of 'misery loves company kind of thing.'  Maybe we all pretend to be positive, but deep inside we're just negative Nelley's...

When it boils right down to it, my major 'thorn' is ignorance.  And not just ignorance when it comes to autism or ADHD, but any kind of ignorance.  I have no patience for stupid, or unsolicited advice.  All of my 'thorns' stem from people that have an intelligence deficiency, this includes members of my family (remember, I have a small 'blood related' family here in Canada, consisting of my dad, then Dayton and I.  Seeing how I think Dayton is the best thing since sliced bread, it's not him, leaving two of us left.  Another clue - it ain't me.  That leaves one person standing).

Now my 'roses...'
I don't speak of my 'roses' nearly enough as I should.  So I'd like to take this opportunity to do so...

- Dayton's grade four teacher...  Thank God for her.  I love her.  My son loves her, and tells me she 'gets' him.  Grade 4 has become the best year Dayton's had since kindergarten.  No phone calls home to complain about Dayton's behavior.  No 'novellas' like last year.

- Dayton's educational assistant.  Looks like she doesn't put up with his bossiness.  He doesn't control her or have her for lunch, and yet she's so tiny!  I am so grateful to have an educational assistant vs. an 'aid.'  I'm certain that between her and Dayton's teacher's efforts, they've managed to actually have my son learn how to read AND write!  Hooray!!!

- Dayton's guidance counselor.  I know...  Her and I have NEVER gotten along, and I always felt as though she was judging everything about me, right down to my face.  While this year the two of us have had limited contact, the contact we have had has been much more positive then in the past, and she's done a fantastic job researching air travel, preparing an interactive social story for Dayton to be more at ease to fly (remember, he was afraid of going on a plane because it may crash, but thanks to her hard work, he was quite at ease when the time came to travel).

- Dayton's resource teacher...  You know, even though the last two years have felt like I've lived in a literal hell, she was the only person that never had anything negative to say to me about Dayton.  She smiled whenever she saw us, especially at Dayton, and every time she saw me, she made sure to tell me how much she loves my babe.   I wish I knew her better.

- Grandpa Paul and Grandma Kathleen...  I don't even know where to begin with these two...  I love them and respect them as my own parents, calling them mom and dad.  Not only did dad cut short his business trip to come and be with us for grandpa Jerry's funeral, but the two of them sent us money to help us out financially knowing how difficult it was to financially not only make the trip to BC, but how difficult it was going to be for the next couple of weeks getting caught up on bills and meals.  Needless to say, we're not having much of a Christmas this year.  We won't have the cash to buy presents...  But, we will still have each other, and that's what makes Christmas, not the 'gifts.'  We are blessed to have grandpa Paul and grandma Kathleen in our lives, and blessed to be allowed to call them mom and dad, and blessed to have their love.  Dad spent a week consoling us about grandpa Jerry's death, helping with the family as a counselor, and gave grandma Margaret a book his own mother wrote after the death of his father.   And...  he babysat my bio dad...  The biggest Rose in God's creation to my daddy Paul.

- Cousin Evan and his wife Kim.  Whenever we come to Regina, they open their doors to us and give us a place to not only stay, but feel included in their family.  They've just received a blessed addition to their family, little Stensen, a bouncing baby boy, and I'm just absolutely dying to meet this little guy.  My next trip to Regina will be spent mostly with him, as I intend to give the mom and dad a night away from home to do whatever they want.  I can hardly wait!!!  I've seen pictures of little Stensen, and he's a real charmer, just like his daddy.

- My friends S and J who willingly accept Dayton for who he is, and love him as their own.  Their children are Dayton's best friends after school.

- Dayton's grandma Karen.  She just has this knack for knowing exactly what my boy is thinking.  She knows the difference between his autistic moments and his moments of being a little monkey.  She understands how he thinks, and works within his parameters to get the best out of him.  I'm totally missing her as she's not coming back from Colorado, and I don't have it in my heart to break the news to Dayton...

- My CSS worker Diana Sanders...  I no longer live in her catchment area, and haven't for a couple of years, yet she's still here with me, helping me get the diagnosis for Dayton and constantly offering a helping hand.

- My CFSSuderman.  She's given me back my self worth as a parent, and assurance that no matter how many times Dayton's school has called CFS, I AM more than just a good parent, and I love my child, and I will do whatever it takes to get Dayton whatever he needs.  She's been my backbone when I couldn't handle the school's ridicule of my parenting and Dayton's behavior.  Brenda has given me back my self respect, and that is a huge thing.  As a parent, having your child's school call CFS is a huge slap in the face, and it shows just what they think of you.  Brenda was there for me, assuring me that I am not what they've made me out to be, and that I am a fantastic parent. 



Consider yourselves hugged,


Lou