Posts Tagged ‘speech’

My boy takes care of me

So,  for the second time, I sprained my right ankle and bruised my left knee.

Yes, once again, a kid’s shoe was at the bottom of a step.  So I didn’t see it, stepped on it with said right foot, fell down on my left knee, and almost passed out from the pain. Then I gave a speech about the importance of putting away shoes as I laid on the floor.  I struggled to get up, then had to sit down because I was blacking out.

Same place, same scenario, for the second time.  Only this time I tripped over my daughter’s cowboy boots.  Last time it was my son’s sneakers.

But the bright side?  My boy noticed and tried to come to my rescue.

For the first time.

First, he ran out to the back yard and got my hubby. Then, he came to me, rubbed my arm, and said, “Awww, Mom, we have to get you to the hospital.”  I explained that it wasn’t that bad, that I was a pro and knew how to take care of my ankle and knee.  I gave a speech about putting away the darn shoes and then hobbled around finding the ace bandage while my husband got me an ice pack.

As I was elevating my foot (using the RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation… very well known to me by now), Philip came and sat with me in the recliner.  He put his arm around me and rubbed my shoulder.

(Of course, I had to call to my husband and ask him to take a picture… so I could blog about this.  And then I had to erase the background to hide the mess, LOL.)

After cuddling for a while, Philip said, “I’ll be right back!” and went out of the room.

And indeed he was “right back,” with a plate of grapes and a cup of orange juice.  “I’ll help you feel better, mom.”

And he did.

It was a landmark day for us.  Not because it was the second third fourth time I’ve sprained my right ankle since we moved into this house 4 years ago, but because it was the first time my son gave me TLC verbally and physically.  He’s  just breaking stereotypes all over the place!

Chores, to-do’s, and more phone calls

I was out with my daughter at Daisies, and I received a phone call from my son.

“Hello?”

“Uh, Mom?”

“Yes, Philip?”

“I did my homework!”

“Great!  What’s next?”

“Uh, let’s see here…. hmmmm….. oh, chore!”

“Okay, I’ll tell you your chore when I get home.”

“What’s my chore?”

“I can’t tell you right now, I’m driving!  But I’ll be home.”

“But what’s my chore?”

Sigh.  “Ask Dad.”

“Okay.”

I hung up the phone.  5 minutes later…

“Hello?”

“I did my chore!”

“Ok, what’s next?”

“Um…. practice drum for 10 minutes.”

“Okay, practice your drum.  You don’t have to call back… I’ll see you at home.”

Click. 10 minutes pass.

Ring.  I ignore, because I’m driving!

One minute passes.  Ring.

Sigh. “Hi there.”

“I practiced my drum for 10 minutes!”

“Okay, what’s next?”

“Practice piano for 15 minutes!”

“Okay!  Go do it, then!”

Click.

And so on and so forth.

He was really self-motivated, I guess, because before he could play his X Box, he had to do all of his to do list, including homework, practicing, chores, packing up his backpack for the next day, etc.  A parent has to check off the to do list.  My husband was busy doing his mom’s taxes, so Philip called me.

As I said in a  previous post, I love hearing my kids’ voices on the phone.  I wonder if my mom still loves hearing mine.  I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it.  And I’m proud that he is motivated to do his chores from his new to do list, and I’m happy that he is proud of himself, too.

I listened to my phone messages later.  Of course, one was from Philip.

“Mom? Mom? Humph.”

I saved it.

Phone messages

My kids regularly call my cell phone and leave me messages when I’m away.

Actually, sometimes I’m home.

Anyway, since I love it when they use words, whether or not they have autism, I cherish these messages and save them.  Right now I have about 9 messages saved that I listen to when I need a laugh or a smile.

Most of the messages are from my daughter:

“Oh, helloooooo, Mommy.  Would you please come home soon?  I would like to watch tv with you, or maybe a mooooooovie.  We could snuggle on the couch together.  Come home soon. Bye.”

“Mommy, I need to let you know that you should really keep your phone with you so that when we call you will answer. Remember your phone next time and answer! Bye.”

“Hi, Mom. I miss you.  I really do miss you.  Can you come home soon? I love you.  I really love you.  I miss you.  Bye.”

A couple are from my son:

“Hi Mom.  I need a snack.  Bye.”

“Hi mom, okay, mom… you need to come home.  Bye.”

I know that someday my kids will be grown and gone.  Sometimes, actually, I am excited for that day to come.  Other times, my heart aches at the very thought. I am hopeful, though, that these calls will continue as they get older.  I must be doing something right, because my kids love me and miss me. Even when I’m gone for only 5 minutes.

Hangin’ at the Hibachi

My son loves the hibachi. You know, where you and others sit around a grill, watch a Japanese chef cook and entertain, and then eat yummy food.  He was thrilled when we went to a Japanese steak house in Annapolis.

Since we usually go to the hibachi restaurants for lunch, not dinner, we were not used to waiting more than about 5 minutes for our chef to arrive. Philip was a real trooper, though. He waited patiently, gave me his soup, ate my salad… it was all good.

I admit that I was a little nervous when some strangers were seated at our hibachi, and Philip said something to me about it. But I explained to him that sometimes people we don’t know sit with us at hibachis, and he accepted this just fine.  Hooray!

When our chef finally arrived and began to twirl his cooking utensils like batons, my boy decided to be a little announcer.

“Ladies and Gentlemen!” he cried. “Give it up for… um… the guy who… plays with these things! Let the show begin!”
To my relief, the strangers at our hibachi laughed with me. We had a great time.

I’m not sure why I feel the need to “explain” my son to others, but when Philip got up to get an after dinner mint, I explained that he had autism. No worries, they said. Their friend had a son with autism, too, and they were hoping that he would speak soon. They said they were impressed with Philip’s speech.
Understanding, acceptance and fun while hanging at the hibachi. That gives me hope!

Sibling love part 2: Did the aliens take my boys?

Who are these boys and where are my sons????

I thought that my boys tolerated rather than liked each other.  They are both on the autism spectrum but they are so different.

Philip is mathematically and musically oriented– it goes with his perfectionism. Josh has little tolerance for math, likes music but doesn’t want to read the notes. There are more pressing things to be perfectionistic about. (Perfectionism, although in different areas, is definitely a common trait with those two.)

They both like diy stuff but in radically different ways. Philip likes to make the tools talk and act like the ones on Handy Manny.  Josh wants to go into construction.  At 2 years old, he knew the names of all Dad’s tools and helped Dad build a small wooden trailer.  When he’s stressed, he grabs his tool box and scrapwood and pounds away building interesting objects.

Philip doesn’t mind that he’s a loner. He’d rather be alone most of the time. He was one of those kids who had a problem with eloping (hee hee… when I first heard that term I pictured him eloping to Vegas… but not that kind of eloping, of course). Josh likes being with people. When he first moved in with us 6 years ago (he’s my stepson, but I claim him as my own!), he was always two steps behind me.

Philip’s room is neat.  Josh’s room… well, we haven’t seen the floor in a while. When they shared a bedroom it wasn’t pretty.

And so on and so forth.

So today, when I heard this exchange, I was taken aback. For two boys who have communication issues, this was major.  I was so glad I heard this when they were unaware that I was listening.

Josh: “Sorry, Philip, I have to go to school now. I’ll miss you and I love you.”

Philip: “Well, I love you and I’ll miss you too.”

Josh: “You’re the greatest brother in the world.”

Admittedly, Josh did have a sarcastic tone, as most teenagers that I know. Being somewhat skeptical, I considered that Josh might have been joking.   But then again…

This is just one more example that there is more than meets the eye, especially with kids on the autism spectrum: feelings that aren’t voiced, words that aren’t expressed, real human beings behind the stims and the “off” behaviors.

Knowing this lightens my load.  Sometimes I don’t give my kids the benefit of the doubt, and sometimes I get burned out and way too skeptical.

Today– I feel that maybe, just maybe, we have a “normal” family!  🙂

Moving through the challenges

This past December, my husband’s side of the family decided to have our Christmas gathering at the bowling alley.  I was hesitant not because my kids don’t like bowling (they really like it), but because I don’t particularly like it.  However, I really wanted to see my nieces and nephew and hang with my brothers- and sisters-in law.

About half-way through our gathering, I decided to get the shoes and join in the bowling fun.  I did this in celebration, as a response to my middle son’s statement…

“I’m just a boy who loves bowling!”

Learning how to speak, as I wrote in a previous post, was a major feat for him.  And now he’s expressing himself at a busy bowling alley, to family he only occasionally sees, and is having the time of his life.  If he can overcome his sensory issues to enjoy a game of bowling, then I can overcome my dislike of the game and have fun playing with my family!

We tell our kids that sometimes we have to do the things we don’t like. Or we tell them to try things which may be scary. But sometimes we may just like that thing which we thought we wouldn’t. My kids are now teaching me, and that gives me hope!

Therapies, or “Wacky things we do that seem to be therapeutic”: Musical mayhem

So this is my first of these posts.  I’m going to swallow my pride and tell the world the wacky things we do to get our kids to do what they are supposed to do.

First off: my kids love music.

I mean LOOOOOVE music.

When Philip was 2 (pre-autism-diagnosis), I couldn’t get him to get dressed. When I say I couldn’t get him to get dressed, what I really mean is I couldn’t get him to get dressed or keep his clothes on.  Nor would he keep his shoes on.  Looking back, I’m not sure if it was a sensory thing or if it was defiance or a little of both.  I remember that he seemed as if he was in his own little world and just didn’t comprehend what he needed to do.  (Sound familiar?)

So I started to sing all the directions to the theme from “Elmo’s World.” For example, “La la lala, la la lala,  Shi-rrt on, la la lala la la lala, shiiirrrt on.” Then we we’d do pants, socks, and shoes. “La la la, la la la la…. that’s Phi-lip’s world!” It worked like a charm.  I even did “la la lala,  la la lala, seat belt on….” and so on and so forth.

When he grew out of the Elmo’s world phase, we graduated to cheers.  “Philip used his fork! Philip used his fork! Philip used his fork, because he’s a big boy! YEAH!”  We used to walk around with a drum, singing “Put on your socks, put on your socks, put on your socks now!” repeatedly until he did it. Then, when he’d do it, we sing, “Good job, good job! Good job, good job!  Good job, good job now!” I wish I could tell you the tune, but I made it up on the spot. Sometimes the whole family would be singing by the time Philip was dressed.

Imagine my excitement when I found out that there was a real music therapy office with awesome music therapists only 2 blocks away from our house.  We got Philip in as soon as there was an opening, and he’s now been in music therapy for 5 years.  It’s been amazing.  We’ve also found out that he has perfect pitch, taught himself keyboard, and has amazing rhythm.  I half jokingly say he gets it from me, since I do after all have a music degree! His music teacher at school says he’s a prodigy. (Proud mom smile.)

So next time you see a family doing something like singing a fork song in a restaurant, try to guess which one at the table is the musical genius!

Words

I am thankful for making words.

I read this and froze in my tracks. My son wrote this on his construction paper “leaf” at school for Thanksgiving 2010.

I began to remember all the times we wondered if he’d ever speak to us.  I remembered when he was three years old and, putting him to bed one night, he said, “I love you” to me for the first time.  I cried, and told my husband and called my friends and family, even though it was late.

I recalled how we used to not give him anything he wanted, putting everything out of his reach, until he would say the word for the item.

I remembered how his only words were echolalic terms.  He would only repeat or “script” words from movies, books, and songs.  I remembered how happy I was when he told me the first time, “I want…. Daddy?”, as if he were unsure he could want Daddy.  I remember (as does my husband) how I unlocked the bathroom door where Daddy was… um… busy… because Philip used a complete sentence and expressed that he wanted someone he couldn’t see for the first time!  Philip stayed in the bathroom with Daddy until Daddy was done.

I remembered how we slowly and painstakingly helped him ask questions and request what he wanted, how we used and are using sentence starters to help him have conversations with friends, how we role played before social situations what he could say when someone asked him such things as “How are you?  Do you like school? What grade are you in? How old are you now?”

And, more recently, I remembered with tears in my eyes how happy I was when I asked my husband if he would put Philip to bed and Philip said, “Daddy, tell Mommy no.”  How he answered me now when I asked him how his day was or what he wanted for dinner.

Philip wrote, I am thankful for making words.

I am thankful, too.