Thursday, 31 January 2013

My Specialty Is Sarcasm, But I Can Be Just Plain Mean

I think we all know just how passionate I am about autism awareness.  I don't share my life with the entire world to see for the fun of it.  I do it to show people that people with autism are not stupid, dumb, defiant or violent without cause...  People with autism think differently and view life in a different way than us boring, neurotypical, fake, selfish and egotistical folk who will do whatever it takes to be accepted among our peers to the point of changing who we truly are and lying to others to be envied and looked up to.  Us 'normal' people just don't know when to quit when competing with the Joneses, do we?

I think my biggest pet peeve with people is that they like to offer unsolicited parenting advice to parents who are raising children on the autism spectrum.   And to those people I would just like to say "Maybe you should concentrate on cleaning up the mess you made raising your own kids before you start playing Supernanny to ours."

A fellow Winnipeg autism mother went shopping at The Real Canadian Super Store with her son who has autism.  This child's autism is much more intense then my kids, and when you watch him, it is clear that he is a child with a disability.  While shopping, the poor boy had a wee bit of an episode as he suffers from extreme anxiety and was most likely over stimulated... and a manager came to my friend and asked "Is there a problem here?" and kind of put my friend in an awkward position...  There's more to the story, but the part that is upsetting the most is that when she went on The Real Canadian Superstore facebook page to let the store know what happened and her offense at how the situation was handled by the store manager, a supposed 'normal' employee or past employee (if his facebook account is accurate), had two comments to say, and I literally copied and pasted these comments:

Steven Brazeau commented on Real Canadian Superstore's Wall post.
Steven wrote: "Autism isn't a real disease, what is it about today's parents that lead them to label their kids with a disease if they aren't the coolest kid in school. Just because your kid isn't popular socially doesn't give you the excuse to label them with autism."

Steven Brazeau commented on Real Canadian Superstore's Wall post.
Steven wrote: "Do you think you're special or something? Just because. Your kid has autism you think you're entitled to ruin my experience shopping by letting him have a temper tantrum? Take that outside and let him throw a hissy fit. I should complain to superstore about letting kids having open temper tantrums ruining everyones experience."

I'm speechless...  And that doesn't happen very often.
My roommate had to take my laptop away for a while.  She did her best to edit my original post on this, and then called in reinforcements.

First of all, if this Steven Brazeau is or has been employed by the Real Canadian Superstore, I think they have a major HR problem.

Second...  people!!!  Understand that just because you delete your comment on facebook, doesn't mean it wasn't seen on facebook by others, and furthermore...  SOME OF US HAVE COMMENTS FORWARDED TO OUR EMAILS!!!  Even if you delete your comment, guess what?  It's too late!  The comment has already been emailed to the poster's email address!

Autism is not a disease.  It's not something you catch from someone.

Children and adults diagnosed with autism are not diagnosed by their parents, there are actual psychiatrists that have a university degree that give them the 'right' to do that.

An excuse to call my children autistic?  Seriously?  I'd much rather call my children the next Einstein!  Autism is not a country club us parents want to belong to!

As a mother of a child with autism, I can honestly tell you my children's popularity in school is the least of my concerns.  Our kids couldn't care less if they're considered cool or not, that is kind of the beauty of autism.  They couldn't care less about Mr. and Mrs. Jones and what they have.  

And for the record, autism is not a disgrace, ignorance is.  I am proud of all my kids.  It is society that calls my children autistic, God calls them PERFECT.  So for those that have a problem with people on the autism spectrum going shopping for their groceries, a necessity for survival, well...  take it outside and have your own little hissy fit.  Let the rest of us go in the grocery store, do our necessary shopping and get out.

As always, consider yourselves hugged,


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

And Here We Are... The New And Improved Brady Bunch Family!

I've gone from having one child to having nine.  Yes, I said nine.

My room mate and I have four, my boyfriend has five more.  That's nine.  And out of the nine, five are on the autism spectrum.  God created a world of diversity...  not to separate us for our differences, but to teach us acceptance and to love each other for what makes us unique.  And my family is unique...  Autism means I won't lead an ordinary life, I will lead an extraordinary life!!!

How do my boyfriend and I do it?  How do we make it through the day?  Well...  we believe in the power of vegetables.  That's right, I said vegetables; they give us the energy to get through the day.  Since we fully and completely believe that coffee comes from beans (I dare you to challenge me on this), we figure the ten pots of coffee consumed between us during the course of the day covers our daily recommended amount of vegetables, which in turn gives us the energy to tackle the kids.  Extra 'vegetables' are consumed on our Tuesday night PACE KID GYMBOREE evenings to take on more children and play hard.

My room mate thinks I'm nuts.  She may have a point, I've been known to be a wee bit of a nut sometimes, but even though I'm different, sometimes you gotta love me, right?  Right??  Right?!  Dayton's dad laughs and ridicules me every time he calls to speak to Dayton when I'm at my boyfriend's place because he hears the kids screaming in the background...  Neither one of them views life in the same way I do:  One of the most attractive, sexiest traits a man can have is being a good daddy.  While genes may make you a father, they certainly don't make you a daddy.  Daddy is the guy who sits up with the kids, stands up for them at their IEP meetings and would gladly lay his life on the line for all of them.  He's also the guy who comes to the PACE KID'S GYMBOREE and plays hard with all the kids present instead of just sitting on the side lines, consumed with something else entirely.

Come on!!!  Who wouldn't find this attractive?!  In love these Ryan Gosling pics, so here's some more from Extreme Parenting...

Now, while my boyfriend looks nothing like Ryan Gosling, he is the man behind these words.  This is just how he is.  Caring, giving, and completely 100% involved  when it comes to the kids.  And after a long day with the kids, he turns to me and gives me 100% of his attention...  Wow.  A good man can make you feel sexy, strong and able to take on the world...  oh, sorry...  that's wine...  wine does that.  An easy mistake to make...  But seriously, he's the best.  He makes me feel special and important.  Judy Garland said it best:  "For it was not into my ear that you whispered, but into my heart.  It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul."  That's what he does for me.  And for now, that is enough.  That's every girl's dream.

And then of course there are the children.  I've always wanted a house full of kids.  And now I do.  I don't care who you are, no matter what, no matter how old you may be...  hugs from children make everything better.  Getting a hug from a child with autism and sensory issues...  priceless!  You know you're truly loved when that happens.

Now if I could just get them all to behave...

Am & K (12 and 14 years old, both have autism) like to eat everything in sight first thing in the morning and hide wrappers all over the house.  They also like to get up at 5am; it doesn't matter if it's a weekday or not, they're up at 5am and that's final.  We've tried putting them to bed late, but it doesn't make a difference.  Once they're up, the rest of the house wakes as these two are not graceful like their father.  I swear, these two could totally pass for my own, biological kids.  They share my 'swag.'  Dayton, my first and only born (10, turning 11 next month!) is not a morning person...  not unless it's the weekend.  So the three of my babes before medication are a handful together.  Especially when they all believe they are right, but don't agree on anything.  Their motto seems to be "Even though we disagree, you are entitled to your opinion, just don't say it out loud or there will be hell to pay.  You have every right to be wrong.  Once I say you're wrong, stop talking!"  Oh yeah baby...  we're moving like a herd of turtles through a field of peanut butter now!  This argument has the stamina to last for hours of fun.  But do not fear. I believe that for every set back, God has a major come back.  So I do what I can, and let God take over with what I can't handle, sit down at the kitchen table and sip on my vegetables.

At, (age 5, super hyper and we question ADHD) is my little Marilyn Monroe.  She's a diva, and she makes sure everyone in the house knows it.  It's her way or all hell breaks loose.  She's blond, with curly hair (when I said Marilyn Monroe, I meant it), super cute, and she knows it and uses it to her full advantage.  The girl knows what she wants and gets it, irregardless of the cost.

J is 4, a little small for his age as he was born premature.  He's a little trooper.  J was the one of the bunch that took a while to earn his trust.  Now that I have it, he's attached at my hip, literally.  He was the first to call me momma (other than Dayton of course), and the first to run to the door to greet me.  J also practically worships the ground Dayton walks on and has just recently decided to call him 'brother.'

J & At have taught me that the more annoying a toy, the longer the battery lasts...  A story all of its own for another time.

As is 18 going on 30.  She's recently moved in with her grandpa and I don't get to spend nearly as much time with her as I'd like to.  Her Asperger's, OCD, ADHD and other conditions make her an interesting young woman, whom I've become very proud of.  She has her first job, and has had it since the summer.  This may seem to be just another mile stone for some of you, but it's a major thing to us.  She's also received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her efforts in Special Olympics!!!  Who can say that about their kids?  Yes, I know...  I'm oozing with pride that I have no right to, as it wasn't I who raised her.  Her mother was a wonderful and amazing woman who taught her daughter well.  I have the privilege of watching her daughter continue on with the Special Olympics and once in a while, offer 'motherly' advice.  We both know that I could never, ever fill her mother's shoes.  

My room mate's kids don't call me mom, but they have occasionally called me their 'other mother.'  And if there's any doubt as to their love for me, they remind me they consider me their mom by their behaviour towards me.

B (17) is the daughter every mom dreams of.  She's smart, on the honor roll at school and wants to be a paediatrician.  The girl even has O- blood, (the special kind that anyone can have) which she donates every 62 days.  She cleans the house every Sunday, at which time we make sure the rest of the children and adults leave the house as she gets a wee bit cranky.  Usually, I hide out with Dayton at my boyfriend's place.   Her Christmas card to me read:  "Dear mom, I wish you spent more time at home..."  I love her sooooo much!!!

R (15, with autism) is a good kid who always greets me at the door when he hears my car pull up in the driveway and helps me unpack my car.  There are days where he doesn't speak to me for a week at a time after I scold him for something, usually when he's cranky and does something silly to show everyone how ticked off he is.  Let's just say the basement has been redone twice in two years.  This last summer while moving in, my boyfriend, room mate and I had R help in gutting and restoring the basement.  I think he's learnt his lesson...  He's in the process of getting an autism service dog, who's huge!  R will be doing a lot of walking once we get the dog back to our home, meaning lots of energy spent, less time to get himself into trouble.

M (10 years old) is the boy I love to tease and tease and tease.  He makes it so easy...  When he comes back from his dad's house I chase him around the house, screaming at the top of my lungs how much I love him and how much I've missed him...  The way to get what I want from him is to get him Microsoft points for his x-box...  I've just given him 4, 200 points to get him to stop playing Black Ops in the house...  All right, so the kid has expensive taste.  Oh, and the only thing the kid will eat is CHICKEN!!!  Grrr...  I get even with him by feeding him beef when he misbehaves.

And then of course, I can not forget the cats (Grrr, my room mate has 3 of them).  I'm not particularly fond of them as they (actually it's one of them, and when I figure out which one, we're gonna have some words) shed all over my stuff.  The cats' fur sticks to the furniture, clothes, bedding (that's the one that irritates me the most as I have allergies) and oh yes, AIR.  Things the cats' fur does not stick to?  The cats themselves!  Anyone see my problem here?!  I'm hoping R's autism service dog takes them out one by one...  I've already told M that one of the cats who I suspect is the culprit in the shedding vandalism is old, and may soon part with us do to 'natural' causes.

B also has a small dog, who has turned out to be my best friend.  On days where I feel overwhelmed and stressed due to my darling ex husband, I swear this dog is in tune with me and she nudges me around the house, cuddles with me when I sit and keeps me on my toes.  On days where I'm good, she just plays with me.

Thank you Lord for my health, the people you've surrounded me with, the roof over my head, the food in our belies, the wee bit of change in my pocket the children haven't found, and the song in my heart.  You have blessed my life with my children, and I will thank you every day.

I am just really, really, really happy with my life right now.

Consider yourselves hugged,


Monday, 14 January 2013

I Could Pee In This; Happy New Year Mom!

Yup, he peed in my wine glass.  And I drank it.  Gross.  The boy is grounded until further notice.  No joke.  No video games of any kind for the next month.  No Netflix for the next month.  And every time he jokes around about pee I cringe and dry heave.

There is a bond between father and son that I just don't understand.  It doesn't matter what kind of a father the man is, a son will always look up to him.  Not that I'm saying Dayton's dad is a bad guy, I've just seen boys with their dads, and some of these dads are not the best role models.  We'll just leave it at that.

Autism or no autism, Dayton is afraid of betraying his dad.  Not quite sure where he learned what betrayal means, I'm too stunned from the aftermath of his fear of 'betrayal' to have looked into this.  Dayton has a major passion to protect his father, who is 6'3" tall and apparently not able to defend himself against me, a 5'6" woman with the upper body strength of a kitten.

Obeying my rules at home means he's betraying his dad.  I've sported bruised arms, a fat lip, numerous melt downs resulting in being shoved down the stairs as Dayton views being nice and liking me and my new special friend as a betrayal to his father.  All I've asked of Dayton is to sit down at the dinner table to eat, stay seated until everyone's done eating, eat what you put on your plate, don't yell and scream and threaten the kids you're living with, try to get along, share time and toys, and respect people around you as you want to be respected yourself, especially your mother and her friends...

"Don't blame me, I'm just like my daddy."

Yes, yes he is...  but I don't think even "daddy" would pee in my wine glass.

There are days where we all get along well and enjoy each other's company, and then there are days where my new motto kicks into overdrive:
1)   Don't scream, yell or cry.  Dayton doesn't understand social etiquette where someone else's feelings are
      concerned, so he will not do what I expect him to do, making me feel even worse.
2)   Don't give up.  Dayton's worth the fight!
3)   Don't strangle the cats or dog.  Yes, they shed over my stuff, but they're a part of my family.
4)   Don't give up.  All of my kids are worth the struggle of staying sane.
5)   Put the chocolate down
6)   Don't give up.  I love my kids!  On good days, they make me laugh and one of them even gives me a
7)   Don't drink anything out of a wine glass unless I've just poured it myself
8)   Don't give up.  One day, as a geriatric mother, I will get even with ALL of my children.  One day...
9)   Do not speak to the ex as I may say something I may regret after my meltdown is over
10) Don't give up.  Life without my babies is not worth living.  The joys of grandmotherhood is just around
      the corner.  I can hardly wait to feed them all candies and send them home!!!

Consider yourselves hugged,