Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Picking up off the floor

Yup, he did it again. Puppy had asked to go across the street to keep the old man company while he worked on his truck. I get so tired of arguing with him that I allowed for a five minute visit and no longer. It seems that five minutes was just long enough for him to search his surroundings and find exactly what he was looking for...cigarettes. But these were not just any cigarettes, they were those metal ones that come in screw parts to make one, probably for persons either trying to quit or wanting to smoke indoors while avoiding the smoke, I don't know.

So he had them in his pockets for about one hour on Monday. He could no longer keep the secret to himself and came to tell me, "Mom, can I talk to you?" I always worry what surprise is going to follow this question. He's a bright kid and begins to explain that they are not real cigarettes and that the man gave them to him. And this smart child makes sure he keeps them hidden in his room while revealing this information to avoid me taking them from him. I convince him that I have no clue what he's talking about and would like to see them. He brings them to me and of course I give him a speech I've repeated so many times before. I clearly see he's not handing them over, they are now his prized possessions. Remember that he is observant and mimics everything, so ripping them out of his hand or screaming and shouting are not the way to go here. I coach him to give them up without success. So our evening routine continues and he is finally in bed.

Tuesday morning he rises with energy and has at least taken my advice not to take them to school. He knows that unwanted behavior will remove him from the classroom on Thursday while they have their Christmas party.  While having breakfast we discuss all the negatives about the cigarettes and by some miracle he decides to comply and he throws the cigarettes in the kitchen trashcan right before the bus arrives to take him to school. What a huge relief it was for me. The sweet smell of success is actually a dirty stinky one.

Knowing my son like I do; I waited for him to leave and went to retrieve them from the trashcan. Their smell is strong and I put them in a plastic zipper bag. I take them with me with the intentions of throwing them away, but not before I take a picture...just for you guys. :)

He had taken off the wrap of one so that it wouldn't look like a cigarette, he thinks things through sometimes.

Now to continue about how well I know my son. We come home last night and he's pacing around the kitchen. Instead of going upstairs to change, I suspect he's up to no good, and I begin washing dishes. Puppy starts to get anxious and even asks me why I'm not going upstairs. Since I'm not leaving he decides to be the most helpful child and asks if he can throw out the trash for me, and of course I let him. I gave him a few minutes and when he didn't return I went to find him emptying the contents on the driveway next to the outdoor trashcan. He's usually nervous when doing mischievous acts and is constantly looking around for someone to see who is watching him. After a minute Puppy saw me standing there. He started cussing like a sailor and told me to "get the f*** out of here" and some other pretty words. I assured him I wasn't going anywhere and was going to wait until he cleaned up all his mess. Puppy continued to empty and search the contents of the bag until it was empty. He was getting even more angrier and confused.  It was escalating and we were outdoors for the whole neighborhood to hear his screaming echos, just perfectly. I saw how determined he was to find them and was prepared to throw out all the contents of the large outdoor trashcan to find them. I told him he didn't find them because I had taken them out and threw them at a convenient store trashcan. I could see he was angry, but glad he didn't have to dig anymore. He gave me a few more selective words and we came inside to clean up. He cried and sought comfort and sympathy because his plan and his needs were not met. I hugged him and consoled him all the time asking him to jump in the shower and wash off all the germs from the trash. It only took about 30 minutes this time and he was showering. The entire evening went by with only a couple of soft hits to the walls with his head. Threats really, but no major tantrums, yea!

So what happened next? He switched his attention to his biceps. And again, after a lengthy talk about muscles he finally marched himself upstairs to bed. I was so tired after all the drama, that I actually slept like a baby.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Bad Day...

I heard this today and I thought to myself, if there was a simple way to express living with autism...this might be it.

"A bad day is a bad day; a good day is just a bad day waiting to happen."

I hope that when you read this you don't feel I'm being negative. I simply live with a teenager with autism. Everyday is different and yet the same. One word, one object moved, or just one look can and may bring Puppy into a state of anger.

I use repetition in reminding Puppy that he is in control of his tantrums (and meltdowns) and that he is the only person that can make himself feel better.

Whenever sparked to anger, he tells me his head hurts or that he's hot or has a temperature. This anger may lead up to a tantrum and I'm glad he's becoming aware of his own body changes and may even try to prevent tantrums.

Of course, recognizing the warning signs doesn't always work. If Puppy says he's hot and I say he's not...I take a step back--because here we go again. Will he or won't he escalate into a tantrum simply because I have not given him the answer he wanted to hear? Honestly, my answer to this question has repeatedly been, "A little warm". As quickly as possible, I then redirect him to drink a cold glass of milk or water and the moment is reduced to a calmer Puppy with him saying, "See, I feel better now...that's all I needed." Oh how I wish this was the result every time, but it isn't.

"A bad day is a bad day; a good day is just a bad day waiting to happen."

Friday, December 14, 2012

Damn Obsessions (Final)

Okay, I dragged it out and for some reason I'm not making time to finish this story off.  I'm going to cut to the chase and ignore the details. Here we go.

Puppy went next door in the evening of the 8th to play with the kids since they were in the backyard. The family was cooking out and let him in. There were a few family guests there and all seemed to be going well. I had told Puppy to come home early because he wasn't invited for the cookout and to my surprise he complied and was home around 7 P.M. Then he asked if he could go to his room and rest then shower. I wasn't going to disagree and so the evening ended on a good note.

The next morning he was up at his usual 7 A.M. and dressed. He wanted to go outdoors but isn't allowed to unless I'm watching him. When a few hours went by and we had gone through our morning routines, he comes inside and sits across from me.  He says he has to tell me something and is looking at my face for an expression. I see his eyes moving back and forth as if taking a hundred pictures. I try to make my expressions as exaggerated as possible so he can tell the difference, and he's caught on pretty well. So first of all I'm as calm as can be to make sure he confides in me. Then he hits me with the information that he has another box of cigarettes. He's been picking them off the ground for years. He asks if I want to see it and hands it to me with a grip on it so I need to pull it from him. He quickly says it's his and wants it back. Surprise! THIS box has eleven cigarettes in it!! I can only imagine he swiped it off a table at the neighbor's the night before.

I talked to him about right and wrong and very wrong and super duper wrong. I may as well been talking to the wall because he just kept shaking his head and asking for the box back because they were his, in his eyes. I hid the box during his pacing back and forth and managed to keep it away from him permanently.

My son, the cigarette snatcher, picker upper. This damn obsession is so strong and overwhelming to him. I wish there was an on and off switch. I am open for any advice.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Damn Obsessions (Continued)

So on this Saturday morning of the 8th, I am having breakfast around 8 A.M. because that’s as early as I was able to drag myself out of bed. Puppy had already fixed himself waffles and milk and was ready to head out the door to observe any neighbor smoking that comes out of their house first. I figured something was up, so sure enough he had run out of paper to use as rolled up cigarettes, so he had gone through my purse and taken four dollars, had rolled them up and taped them as substitutes. But I didn’t find these until later that morning. So let’s just say he was a happy camper because he was getting his imaginary fix on cigarettes.

In one of his check-ups on me, I was able to have him help me with laundry chores, so the entire morning wasn’t lost. However, we had an invitation from Ms. H to attend her son’s birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese at noon. Let’s just say the morning flew by and we were at the party. The only problem is that Puppy has been complaining of chest pains for a few days this week so I figured I better have him checked. With Puppy, it could be anything. It’s not easy to know because he doesn’t have the vocabulary to describe his pain or location very well. He’s been going through so many issues these days that I was thinking it was just anxiety or nerves because it usually comes around the time he’s stressed about something he did. He was looked over by a doctor at a clinic and he guessed it may be heartburn because test results were normal. We picked up our prescription for Zantac and went home.

Boy, this story is really going to drag out since I’m writing early in the morning and not having enough time. Once again, to be continued.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Damn Obsessions

Yea, I am cussing. I am just so damned tired. I've learned to hide so much that if it weren't for prescription drugs...I'd definitely would have lost it so many times. It's almost like being in a relationship that's so demanding and sometimes overwhelming that you feel if you talk or share with others, you are complaining and no one wants to be around a complainer or whiner. So we, I, hide it and keep to myself.

If it weren't for blogging I may have been worse off. I can vent or share in my blog. Well, this weekend was one of those weekends that was with great strain on us. Puppy started Friday evening with some debating. I picked him up from daycare and we visited with my parents for a while. But he was eager to get home. Puppy had his wallet removed from him at school the week before around Wednesday; and since then he was carrying his extra credit cards in his pocket to school. For lack of concentration, he had those taken away as well during the week. So when he finally got the wallet back, he had no cards to put in it. I had an ARD on Friday and the teacher returned the cards to me explaining how it all came to be that he had them taken away. So now I returned cards to him and he wanted to get home to fill his wallet which he had purposely left at home so that it wouldn't be taken away at school again.

But it didn't stop there. Cigarettes were on his mind as well. He was nagging all the way home for me to stop at the Dollar General store so that he could buy toy cigarettes, as if. So driving by passed the store caused only more of a tantrum with him punching the truck window and dashboard. Not the first time, so it goes on for about a half mile and we make it home without damage to the truck or him.

His Saturday morning just picked up where it left off the night before only it was now 7 A.M.

Sorry readers, I just saw the clock and I'll make myself late for work if I don't get moving. This will definitely be continued, hopefully tonight. I have so many parts to the story to write about that I don't want to cut to the chase and end it. Stay tuned for more.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Boys and biceps

I am skipping on my list and jumping to Number 10 to discuss Puppy and his biceps.  I actually wrote this on November 10 in my journal during my without-Internet-days and thought I might share.

It's Saturday and today's already been a "wow" day.  Puppy is obsessing with his biceps. I can only imagine he has seen someone, maybe his coach or someone else whom has large biceps. He's so observant and of course he mimics what he sees. Today and most of this past week it has been muscles and biceps.  I got a few pictures of him doing just that, too. The only way to keep him from putting a rubber band around his upper-arm is to find another solution.

Well, I came up with putting scotch tape on the fatty part of the arm to emphasize the bicep.  It did the trick for him but I'm also hoping that the pain from removing the tape will leave a lasting impression...enough to not want to do it again.

Puppy seems to find it difficult to accept my advice because I'm "a girl".  It might be my own fault. I've used this excuse before whenever I wanted to avoid a subject or discussion.  This smart child has learned to turn things around an throw it back at me, ha ha.

Anyway, he's calm and liking his bicep (only the right arm) and has gone outdoors to show off his arm to Cody.

I found some pictures of the first days when he was crumbling paper balls and putting them under his sleeves, and of the the tape on his arms.

How can you stop him from doing something like this when you see that smile?


Friday, November 30, 2012

The New A/C Unit

As if the broken washer wasn't enough to interrupt our lives, on August 16 our A/C goes out on us...on a weekend. Luckily, I have a cousin-once-removed that works in the field of repairs and a call had him visiting by noon. He gave me the diagnosis and it was yet another unexpected expense, not in my budget.

I made a call or maybe sent a text to my sister Margie. Puppy and I asked to move in to her home until I could get the A/C repaired. The plus to this move was that I was already going to her house to wash clothes so we were already spending Saturday and some Sundays there.

Well, I don't want to bore you with details but let's just say the repair was not smooth.  We bought one part, put it on, then the mother boards weren't communicating indoors with outdoors, or the new thermostat.  We ended up replacing more than just a motor as originally planned, but on October 7, our new 5-ton A/C unit was installed completely and was operating to cool down our home that had been through several days of 100+ temperatures. It took about four hours to get the house comfortable again.

Puppy and I were so tired from the wait during the installation in the heat that we just dropped and slept at home. We then went to gather our things within the next few days. It didn't seem like we had taken so much over to my sister's but it took more than one trip. However, on this day we were still going over to do laundry at her place. I actually considered just staying there at one time. But after seeing Puppy happy at home, I knew it was time to come home, too.

Many thanks to the financial support of my sister Aud and my parents. And another big thanks to Margie for putting a roof over our heads.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The washer

Today’s posting might not be of any importance to any of you, but on November 12, 2012, I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Our washer went out of commission some time in July this summer. Since then I have been going to a laundromat, my sister’s house or my parents’ to wash and sometimes dry, our dryer works fine.

When I bought my home five and half years ago, I purchased a new washer and dryer set from Sears. They are those upright front loading kind, not cheap. Well like with most things, I don’t buy the warranty. So now I was stuck with a washer that wasn’t working and a repair estimate that I couldn’t afford. 

However, I had left my old washer in a storage shed at my parents’ when I bought the new appliances. It was in good order and on this day in November, my brother and his friend took it over to my garage. It was the beginning of the next chapter. He was also able to find someone to give me that third estimate and the price for parts was more reasonable but not yet in the budget, so it will have to wait.

Then two days later, the washing machines were swapped out by another brother and me. Thanks to them, and family our lives are a lot easier. With the new chapter on washing at home, and the light at end of the tunnel was met and this convenience is no longer taken for granted.

The going back and forth took its toll on Puppy as well. It was his chore to separate his clothes but then the waits in between washes was not pleasant for him and very boring. He would help now and then, but he never liked not being at home. He's a happy camper now that he can be outdoors with Cody. Whew!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Internet Service

Yes, I fell into that category of being an Internet customer whom thought that my provider would keep me going if I paid every other month or actually, every three months. Well, they didn't. Funny thing is that when I called to make payment they were unable to find my account, and that's with me giving them the account number, address, phone number, and even my social security number. I tried for weeks making a call and getting the same run around from operator to operator in different departments and different states.

Finally, my mom decided to set up her Internet at my parents' home. My brother Albert used to pay for it, but he has left this world for a better one so the account was cancelled. But that is another story for another day. So in helping her set up her account on the telephone, I took advantage of the operator and he searched high and low and found my account. It was in the "disconnect and do not reconnect" files. He said that I'd have to open a new account to have service. So I went through the entire process of applying only to be told that I was unable to have service with AT&T because I didn't have a land-line.  But I didn't have one before? There was a nice operator who had done some slicks on my application the last time that allowed me to have an account; but now it seemed that I was not compliant with the rules and could not have them as a provider.

So I had to give in and pay a little higher fee for having TWC as a provider. I even upgraded my TV package and I'm happier that I get channels I missed for years, I just hope I don't regret it when the bill comes in for payment.

I am back and I will try to keep up with my blog. I just think that postings are better when they have pictures, so I take pictures of Puppy and think it will make a story, but then I sit at the computer and go blank. I can't make a story about the picture, it's no longer as interesting as I thought it would be so I don't write. I promise that I will sit myself down and hopefully get into a rhythm of posting.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My List

Oh how I miss blogging. So much has happened since my last posting that I don't know where to start. Maybe if I list them I can get a handle on my thoughts and run through them and I might even place some on hold for later posts.

1. I had my Internet disconnected.
2. Our washer is still broken.
3. I had to replace my a/c unit.
4. Puppy and I are back home and sleeping in our own beds.
5. I'm busier than ever at work with new duties.
6. I paid off my truck!
7. Puppy keeps pulling out his wires and the brackets on his braces. I got scolded by the orthodontist.
8. Puppy still wants to make boxes with rolled up papers in them.
9. My brother passed away.
10. Puppy is still obsessed with wallets and adding muscle growth to his obsession list.

That's enough to overwhelm anyone. And not having Internet to blog and vent is killing me.

Well, I should be getting my Internet restored on the November 17, so mark your calendars, I'll be back and hopefully with more energy to write.

Thanks for hanging around and waiting on me.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Handle with care

It looks like we may be hanging out at my sister’s for a few more days. I just got the quote for the new unit I need to purchase…ugh! So with that said, it means more cold cereal breakfasts and dinners, yummy. It’s not bothering Puppy though. He was next door on Monday and came back to ask for permission to go to Whataburger with his cousins, so I gave him money and sent him to have a warm meal with some good company. He came back with a full stomach and happy, and was ready to comply with instructions for shower time followed by bedtime.

My little boy is growing up.  I love when he wants to go places, without me. I don’t mean it in a bad way; I just didn’t think I would be letting him go anywhere alone on account of him having so many mood swings. I worry for him and also the person(s) he’s with.  How would they handle a tantrum or meltdown? Would it be so terrible and unfamiliar to others that they may call the police? So many questions run through my mind at all hours of the day; mostly when he’s away from me.  But, I need to let him grow up and I realize the importance of giving him independence.  I just wish I could put a sign on him that says “handle with care”. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back to a routine, sort of...

The new school year has begun and we were both more than ready to get going. I was more than eager to get Puppy back into a routine, but mostly back to a structured classroom setting and the reminder of rules.

But as I'm sure you know, sometimes life throws some bumps on the road. Our air conditioning has been out for two weeks now. We are fortunate to be able to camp out at my sister's home, with A/C, DirecTV, and a washer and dryer. Did I mention my washer has been broken for almost three months now? Probably not since I hadn't been blogging.

But these little bumps on the road have sort of gotten me into a blah state of mind and I have only been able to focus on the present. I try to take it one day at a time and don't expect much so I won't be disappointed. The setbacks on with the A/C have been unpredictable and I just want to go home. As for Puppy, he mentioned he misses home, but he's liking the fact that he goes next door to play with his cousins in the evenings. It's not easy keeping an only child entertained at home.

Speaking of, I better go pick him up from daycare.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday (2)

Puppy's self injury, again

After cleaning the wound
Puppy opened door with enough force to crack the doorknob stop

Monday, August 6, 2012

I've been away

I know it's been a while since my last posting, and I apologize. I'm not even sure I know what happened that made me stop writing. I do know it wasn't one specific reason, but rather several things were going on at home and at work that simply created this overwhelming feeling within that made me take a few steps back and get myself reorganized, clear my thoughts, evaluate the present, and take hold of the roller coaster ride Puppy has been on and focus on "us" (Puppy and me).

I will admit that I missed writing. It serves as therapy for me to vent and to think through some of the experiences I write about. In fact, funny thing happened this weekend; my support group manager handed out composition notebooks to all the parents present. She and I had spoken earlier in the week and she noticed how I was unloading some of my worries and concerns on her and vice versa. So she asked for us to try keeping a journal by writing anything and everything we wanted, it could be private or to be shared at the next monthly meeting. I thought to myself, I already do this but having the notebook handy I did begin writing. I'm even thinking it might help me keep tabs on subjects or events that happen for posting whenever I can get to a computer. Like I said, I hope I can stop the roller coaster ride and maybe find a ride that takes us on a slow moving boat, calming all senses as we coast along on the river for a few miles turning into days and weeks. I can dream, can't I?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday (1)

I’ve read several blogs and have seen this before; I just hadn’t done it myself. I decided to do my first “Wordless Wednesday.” I think the pictures speak for themselves and the rough days Puppy and I, and Ms. H have been going through for about three weeks.