Saturday, April 28, 2012

That darn wallet

I started my routine for Friday morning as I usually do on any given weekday. Nothing special was going on. After breakfast and watching the news headlines; I went to wake up Puppy so that he could also begin moving. He starts his weekdays by calling my sister Margie. She gives him a pep talk to jump out of bed, listen to his mom and to have a good day at school. He hangs up and returns the cell phone to me before going to get himself dressed. 

I was actually surprised he did not hesitate in completing his regular daily tasks, but I found him rather quiet so I looked and found him in his bedroom. He was there sitting on the edge of the bed staring at his wallet in hand. He was spooked by me walking in at first, but then started to explain that he fixed it and it’s just the way he wanted it. I asked to look at his wallet. Puppy had taken some of those 3M wall hooks (around six of them). He applied the double-sided pieces to create tape needed to attach a pocket or sleeve for credit cards on a section of the wallet that had none. I took a long deep sigh. He started to say, “Its okay, I want it like this.” And as I opened it further, I saw he had cut the only two pockets the wallet had on the inside flap. He told me that was because he wanted the cards to slide in sideways and not upright. 

He looked at me and was searching for approval. The damage was done and there was no need to argue or give him a lecture, especially this early in the day. The wallet is his and that’s how he feels it needs to be, so I just asked him if that was how he liked it, and he agreed. I did tell him that next time he should ask me for help so I can make the cuts straight and maybe save the pockets instead of removing them. He apologized but said that he was happy anyway.

So this was just another episode from the adventures of “The Wallet.”

Friday, April 27, 2012

Another Doctor's Visit

Puppy and I made our scheduled quarterly doctor's visit on April 24, 150 miles away just so we can see a doctor who will take the time to listen and understands my son.  We had company on our trip this time; my older sister also had her doctor's appointment just down the street from ours so we carpooled.

After driving around the Medical Center district of San Antonio and grabbing lunch, then taking my sister to her appointment, waiting until she was done, then heading out to my niece's apartment for a brief rest and leaving my sister there; Puppy and I headed out again to make our 4:30 p.m. appointment.

The place was packed with limited sitting space. But there are several psychiatrists at this center and each one has their own patients waiting in the same lobby. So in various increments the place was packed and then it was emptied again, and repeated. We didn't get in until 5 p.m., but this was not the norm as we are usually in within 10 minutes after arrival. I didn't mind though because we were almost 30 minutes early to begin with. Besides, it's always a pleasant visit when the psychiatrist takes her time to start with reviewing Puppy's file and notes taken, begins asking questions and listens to both of us while showing interest. Puppy has allowed himself to interact with her more often and it makes me feel better. Even though he might not understand what the doctor or I are saying, we are talking about him; and he tries to explain why he did things or tells her that he's keeping his hands together and being really quiet. I suppose I don't remind myself often enough that he hears everything and is understanding that our talks are mostly about his behaviors.

Our conversation took us to discussions about some of the behaviors Puppy has been expressing. I was trying to describe anxiety and nervousness, but she in return gave me examples of the both behaviors and we agreed that what I thought was anxiety, wasn't. Afterwards, we decided to make a minor change in his medications and I will monitor him. 

I started him on the new dose yesterday. I sent a text to his teacher to inform her of the change and she told me he was in a very happy mood, talkative and complying with all his work requests. I sighed and crossed my heart that this continues and this change is all he needed.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Puppy's weekend

Here we go, just like I said, I blog whenever something happens…and it did.

Our weekend was going rather smoothly with the usual small tantrums or rather, some small rebellious tactics from Puppy whenever he didn’t like the answer I gave him. But I'll go over our weekend in a little more detail.

Puppy did well at my parents’ after school on Friday.  I decided to withdraw him from daycare on Fridays, and he'll be left off by the bus at my parents' unless I see that there are problems arising from this new routine. But he generally loves being outdoors as much as possible; and this is the perfect place for him to do just that. We also hung around at my parents’ to attend a small birthday party for my nephew with family and friends that evening.  Everything was fine then, too. It was a long day for all of us. Once we got home he fussed about taking a shower so I allowed it for the following morning.  

Then Saturday came with an early rise since he had to shower before going to the orthodontist for an 8:30 a.m. appointment.  Thankfully, this also went off without a hitch and we were out the door by 8:00. We didn’t even wait 10 minutes before Puppy was called in and seated. Although it took a little while for the doctor to actually get to us, it was worth it. I was told that because a wire was not placed on his braces back in February when the dental appliance was first put on, there was no change to his upper teeth. However, since he had the upper appliance since February (See Dental Visits), I was able to plea with the doctor to remove it until further notice when we are ready to start another procedure. Puppy will now be able to speak more clearly and eat with ease instead of having his food always getting stuck between his upper palette and the dental appliance.  He was certainly a happy camper about this and gave a huge smile when it was off. We will be back in a month to see what’s next on the schedule.

Once we hit the streets, I texted my brother and asked if he had breakfast ready. My sister-in-law had put two “lenguas” (cow tongues) in the slow-cooker overnight and I was looking forward to having some that morning. I picked up a 12-pak of Dr. Pepper and headed over with Puppy. It was delicious! We had a nice visit and then headed home to begin chores with Ms. H. Even this went all right. Puppy helped by vacuuming his bedroom as promised a few days earlier. And he stayed out of the way until we called upon him for hangers and such.

When all the laundry and chores were done, he was just itching to leave because our neighbor from across the street had been working on a project in his backyard all afternoon and I wouldn’t allow Puppy to go over. I’ve stopped allowing Puppy go over to this neighbor’s house because this older man smokes. Cigarettes are Puppy’s second obsession. It consumes him just as badly as wallets do; and that’s too much for Puppy to handle. He will want to make pretend paper cigarettes or paper boxes, all from just watching someone else smoking. But we were able to escape without further mention of the neighbor and headed over to my parents’ house.

That afternoon and evening went very well with Puppy having a good time with family. When we got home at around 10:00 p.m., I saw the backyard gate to the neighbor across the street was open; and he was still working on some carpentry. Puppy also saw this and debated with me for what seemed like an eternity, but really it was about 15-20 minutes and still longer than I wanted a debate to take, but ignoring him was not working. I suppose he finally realized I was not changing my mind and lastly gave in to staying put and going to bed. It’s on nights like these when he is so determined to get his way, I’m so exhausted from the mind games that I can’t fall asleep for fear that he will get up after I’m in bed. It’s not amusing but I was thankful it was Saturday. 

Sunday started like most, early to rise. Puppy was ready before me and went downstairs to fix himself a bowl of cereal. He was done by the time I came down.  And then it began again. “Can I go across the street?” “He’s outside in the backyard.” I asked him if the gate was open and he told me it was. I know I shouldn’t have let him go, but the man would be busy and hopefully not smoking so early. I gave in and whispered only for a little while. 

I proceeded in preparing my breakfast and turned on the laptop for some morning reading. I remember having finished eating when Puppy came back inside and said, “Mom, the police wants to talk to you.” I was confused and wondered why would he say that? Duh, because there was a police car parked in front of our house. I was still in pjs but I met the officer outside as he approached the door. I asked if I could help him, and with Puppy standing next to me, he asked if this was my son. I said, “Yes, why, what is the problem?” He asked, “Is he okay?” I answered, “Yes, he has autism, but he’s fine.” He said, “Oh, well I found him trying to open the gate to the house across the street.” I turned to ask Puppy, “Why were you doing that if you told me it was open and the man was outside?” Puppy lifted his shoulders. I asked him, “Why did you lie to mom?” And he replied, “I’m sorry.” With that, the officer just told me to keep a close watch on him and left. Puppy was so nervous so we went inside and sat down to talk about this incident. I tried to explain that the neighbor probably called the police himself because he doesn’t like kids hanging around his house, especially when he’s working. He's just a grumpy old man and Puppy should not be there because he smokes. My innocent Puppy promised never to ask to go across the street. Sadly he was shaken up a bit with the police visit. I found out days later that the officer questioned him before asking him to get his mom. I'm guessing we won't have any more problems with "that" neighbor, we will be staying on our side of the street.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Trying our best

As I watch the hours on the clock, the days seem to be going by slowly. And yet, I see that April 5 was the last posting I have 15 days ago.  

Take it as a good sign. For the most part, if things are going badly, I’m usually trying to put my thoughts down and give a run through of what happened on that day; after all, I blog about the incidents and experiences related to my son’s autism. 

In my last post Those Awful Scars, Puppy had his last meltdown. His teacher and aides have been working with him by reinforcing the idea that he controls his own emotions and actions. Whenever he is feeling tense or upset, he is suppose to walk to a quiet chair away from others and count as high as he can. He’s practiced this only a few times. But he has not had another meltdown. Sure, he’s had his moments of anger when he raises his hand to his mouth and threatens to bite himself. He’s done this with me about 4 times since the last meltdown. But guess what? He doesn’t follow through. And I could not tell you why he hasn’t. I have replied with, “Don’t hurt yourself”,”that will make me sad”, “go ahead”, and for whatever reason, he did not bite himself to any of those responses. I can say that it is more often than not attention seeking tactics. 

But as the years go by I have learned that there is no right or wrong answer.  He controls his emotions and actions. It all relies on how he interprets what he hears. And because he’s wired differently and takes words literally, there’s no telling how he interprets words or what he hears for that matter. We simply try our best to remain calm in all situations. Puppy, we will take it one day at a time.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Those Awful Scars

Oh, Puppy. Tuesday was quite a day for you.
Lately, I’ve been talking about how Puppy is showing signs of alertness and even debating with me more of the time over these last 7-9 months.  But with this comes a down side.  He seems to be causing himself more anxieties, many of which are unnecessary. 

So on Tuesday, when he was in a mental state of anxiety, he escalated into a meltdown at school between 9 and 10 A.M.  The incident was reported to me by the teacher with a text.  We then got on the phone so she could explain in more detail the events.  My heart just sank. It was such a minor thing, or at least to us, but was it to him? His teacher couldn’t guess what caused it other than the fact that he had forgotten his homework assignment in the classroom the day before and probably thought he was going to be in trouble for leaving it behind and not studying. 

He had started with a cry and when he was actually given attention to calm him, it blew up into episodes of biting his hand and arm, scratching his face, punching his face, getting down on the floor to bang his head, and repeatedly screaming and using foul language. I can't wrap my mind around the reasoning of self-injury. I wish I had all the answers he needs to hear so to prevent it from happening. And on this day, so did everyone around him.

Once it was over, the remainder of his day was fine. He cleaned himself up, calmed down and complied with his school work without further incident. After school, the bus took him to the TA’s house and all was still good.

It came time to pick him up. I was not prepared for what I saw. His face, his handsome innocent face…was scarred once again. There was ointment all over his right side. What an awful reminder for him to have to see over and over. How does one hurt himself this way? He’s just a child? 

Autism is a horrifying and unpredictable enemy.  Autism is not our friend.

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day!

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day!  Are you lighting it up blue?

If I ever learn how to post pictures, I'll post them of my blue lights.

Sorry for not posting much these days, but I feel like I've been going in circles day in, and day out. We are still trying to wrap around this new after school routine. Puppy seems to like it as a whole. And if it weren't for all the driving, I think I like it, too.

I had a post started last week on the driving - driving me crazy, but the thought of repeating the events just gave me a headache. So I may or may not finish it. Only time will tell.  But because we have plans tonight to light up the grounds at our city's civic center, this is all you get today.  More to come soon, promise.