Monday, May 28, 2012

The toes have it

My last post mentioned something about mimicking, and an older post He hasn't stopped talking since also explains how mimicking is just one of many characteristics autism has given Puppy. 

But putting all that aside, I was thinking we are due for a "cute” mimicking posting.  This is not the first time Puppy does this.  But this weekend, while Ms. H was doing Puppy’s laundry she found this…

Puppy decided it was time to color his toe nails and took the marker to them. I suppose it pretty much has the same effect. 

I wasn't able to get a recent picture to match the socks, but like I said…it’s not the first time he’s used markers on his toes and I knew this posting wouldn't be complete without the follow-up picture. So here’s an older picture from a few months ago. I couldn't resist taking the picture as he slept.

I asked him back then why he had painted his toe nails, and he answered, “Everyone has them colored.” I could only imagine that he sees mine and other women’s toes and hasn’t made the connection that men’s toe nails are not colored. When I tried to explain to him that boys don’t color their toe nails, he just said it was okay and he liked them like that. So be it. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

First baseball practice

So one of the support groups I belong to has decided to create a summer activity for our kids but with the help of a councilman, she has received some funding to make it a citywide event for any and all special needs children between the ages of 3 to 21 years to join. Registration was two weeks ago and I saw about 20-30 children were signed up. Practices are scheduled for late June, but there was discussion about making two practice teams, one for those who live on the North side of the city and one for those on the South side. So to get feedback and a division of children and families, there was a quick meeting Wednesday evening at the park not too far from our subdivision.

Batter up! 
I picked up Puppy from after school care and hurried over to the park. There were already about 15 kids there and one coach.  They had set up and were practicing batting and running. Of course we get there and Puppy is all about not wanting to do anything, just sit on the bench and watch. He was complaining about the heat and too many people being there. Shortly thereafter the kids came off the field to take a water break. At this time I talk to him asking him to go give it a try so he can tell his teacher about it the next day. He finally gives in and goes to try batting, and he did great, ran to first and the rest went equally well and smoothly.

Puppy makes it to First base.
Second base
Third base...

and he makes it home.
Way to go Puppy!
When he was back at the bench he started to get fussy and asking if Ms. H would be coming to meet us at the park. I'm guessing he wanted someone else to see him play to make it valid. I said yes, and all of the sudden he says he can't stand her and doesn't want her there. Don't worry it's not the first time he does this, but it's one of the few times he does it in public. She gets there and he comes close and tells me to ask her to leave and that he's going to have a tantrum if she gets near him. I can't help but roll my eyes because I know this is already escalating into something bigger. Sure enough, he tries to bang his head on the fencing unknowingly that cyclone fencing basically bounces back, so he was disappointed. I looked at him and he started mumbling bad words...and I said, "Let's go."

When he was back at the bench he started to get fussy and asking if Ms. H would be going to meet us at the park. I'm guessing he wanted someone else to see him play to make it valid. I said yes, and all of the sudden he says he can't stand her and doesn't want her there. Don't worry it's not the first time he does this, but it's one of the few times he does it in public. She gets there and he comes close and tells me to ask her to leave and that he's going to have a tantrum if she gets near him. I can't help but roll my eyes because I know this is already escalating into something bigger. Sure enough, he tries to bang his head on the fencing unknowingly that cyclone fencing basically bounces back, so he was disappointed. I looked at him and he started mumbling bad words...and I said, "Let's go."

The entire walk to the truck was just so peachy with him screaming foul language in Spanish. Luckily, no one paid any attention because each parent had their own hands full watching over their own child. Ms. H followed us to the parking lot and we headed home. On route he was still screaming that he didn't want Ms. H to go to our house. The bad words were so colorful with him taking turns in English and Spanish. Then he mentioned he was repeating words another ex-classmate usually says. So I called him by that child's name and he was furious. So now he's banging his fist on the door window, on the dashboard, on the arm rest, and finally it ends with him biting his hand. However, it must have been a really strong bite because he started to cry and yelled it hurt. Keep in mind he has braces and it only makes it easier for him to break skin.

We had made it home. Once he was a little calmer, he looked at me and apologized. He wanted sympathy for his injury. He leaned his head on my shoulder and said he was nervous. What would his teacher say when she sees his hand? What will his consequences be tomorrow? So much goes through his mind in such a short period. I can't imagine the mental struggles he must go through all day.

Of course he then started up again once we got inside the house because Ms. H was now with us. But he just stormed up to his room, closed the door and stayed there talking to himself. This lasted about 30 minutes, but only because I decided to open the door to check on him.  He had been pacing back and forth, nothing more, but he was nervous and he was about to start escalating again. We sat down together and I tried my best to explain that we can't change the past (he doesn't understand past though), so move forward and don't repeat the biting and swearing. He was probably just satisfied with the fact that I did not express anger. Maybe I should have, but everyday teaches me and reminds me that he mimics and he would indeed mimic my anger if he saw it, maybe not today but someday. He politely gave me a kiss on the cheek and started making his way to the shower and began his evening routines, then a sweet "Good night, Ms. H., I love you." and "Good night, mom, I love you."  Another day is now behind us.

Monday, May 21, 2012

We make a deal at Walmart

And so we made it to Walmart yesterday afternoon. Puppy was in search of a wallet that cost $3.22 or less. I knew there was no such price, but telling him this was not registering. He had to see for himself because I’m pretty sure he thought I was lying.

We walk in and he asks if he can go to the wallet section. I told him he had to stay at my side today and we would go together because kids should not be walking around the store alone. He complied and we started filling our basket of items.

Then, he saw we were close enough and says, “Now can I go see?” I tell him its okay and to be careful not to make a mess and to put everything back like he found it. I find him looking and moving wallets this way and the other. He is specifically looking for the Velcro wallets because he already knows they aren’t too expensive; and he going to get a wallet, damn it—even if it’s a cheap one. But as he starts to sift through them, he sees that the price tags read $5.00, $9.00, and $12.00. He is disappointed because he knows we made a deal. The deal was if he had enough money he could buy one, if not enough money then he couldn’t get one. It must have taken him about 10 minutes (which felt like an hour to me) to look at practically each and every wallet at the two sections the store had. And it felt like another hour to get him away from them.

He did a bit of whining, as we continued shopping for groceries. But I asked him to calm down and if he couldn’t we would have to leave the store because tantrums are unacceptable. I grabbed my purse and put it over my shoulder saying, “Let’s go home.”  He took a deep breath and said he would behave and he didn’t want to leave. 

We were basically done when we walk passed the jewelry and sunglasses. He turns and says, “I want a bracelet.” “I have money.” Quickly, my mind brainstorms and I think that if there is an inexpensive bracelet, I should let him buy it so that he could spend his money.  We look and look…and finally come to an agreement.  It cost $5.00 but I would put the difference because this was not a wallet. It would be worn on his arm and not put in his pocket, or so I hope. Time will tell. He’s happy, I’m happy he no longer has money and we go home happy with Puppy sporting a new wristband.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Obsession presssures

We are pretty much back to square one. The pressure of not having a wallet has definitely caught up to him. Puppy has gone back to making paper wallets on a daily basis, then realizing that he shouldn't be using paper, so he rips it up and throws it away. Then he's walking around like a very lost soul who's purpose is missing.

The need, the obsession continues. Notice the rip in his back pocket. He's torn three pairs to get the "look" he needs. Puppy mimics people and actions and words. So he's gone to mimicking my brother and the use of his wallet and the torn jeans.  He tries so much to get through the day. He manages to make it through class and after school, but once he comes home there is a lack of structure and he breaks down. He will hide in his room or at the computer desk and quietly make himself another paper wallet. Once he is able to get his cards into the make believe wallet, he is whole again. He goes to bed with the wallet at his side. I only hope he has peaceful sleeps, but I can imagine him dreaming scenes where he has the prefect wallet in his back pocket and him showing it off to anyone whom will give him the time and attention.


Well, as it goes...Puppy has been standing or sitting next to me all morning asking for me to get dressed and take him to Walmart so that he can go buy a velcro wallet with the $3.22 he has managed to save and/or find in drawers or even the ground (pennies from Heaven). I've sent him away with the intentions of making a trip to Walmart. But only if I can finish watching my Redbox movie that was started last night, as well as getting one more load of laundry done before we can consider going to Walmart. He's content and has walked away to give me a little space.  I'm attaching pictures to give visuals of his paper wallets. Oh Puppy, you put so much effort into them then throw them away. What a simple yet terrible obsession.


Ignore the ID in the wallet. It's my old driver's license. It has come in handy when Puppy has gotten lost at Target and then at Walgreen"s. He has memorized my cellular number and knows that the store personnel can call me to him if he gets lost. But mostly, I'm glad he's learned never to go outside the store without me. Look for me first, because I would never leave him behind.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Understanding long term goals

I don’t know if I’m imagining it, or if Puppy actually understands something about having his ultimate desired prize.  His obsession with having a wallet is taking him to a place that he hadn’t been before. Making decisions that will be permanent or long term has never been a part of his world. Yet, this morning he was talking with me and he was repeating phrases he’s heard a hundred times. But this time he spoke them in with an order and accepting manner.

“Mom, I’m not going to carry anything in my pockets. Those are the rules. I need to concentrate and focus in school. I need to behave and count the days. No more paper wallets. No paper. I will get my wallet on my birthday. It will be the perfect wallet that I want. We will go to Kohl’s and buy it if I have good behavior a lot of days until my birthday. I will keep it for a long time like my uncle and Grandpa. I cannot be changing. I can only have one wallet.”

I have waited for this day to come…and whether he meant it or not, it was music to my ears. He has been listening all this time. I was very proud of him for being able to put those thoughts together. I still caught on that it was part of his 24/7 obsession with wallets and therefore, by talking about wallets he is probably feeding his need in one way or another. He doesn’t have one on him, but it is forever on his mind. What a strong distraction it is. I am even more proud of him for living with the ups and downs that surround his obsession.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Counting again, ugh!

And we’re off again. Nope, it’s not a trip to see the Wonderful Wizard of Oz either. Puppy and I are about to start the counting game again. I’m not looking forward to it, but at least I was able to talk (or rather text) with his teacher and she’s alright with only counting 50 days and not 100 days of good behavior.

And why, you ask are we counting again? Because this past weekend Puppy decided that his wallet was at its worst and he was tired of having to modify it with paper and tape to add pockets for this credit cards. The pockets that had their opening in the wrong direction (vertical, not horizontal) and on the wrong part of the wallet had already been cut and removed by him at one time or another, and now he was just fed up with it and wants to give it up. This happens just about every week. He’ll put it away for a day—or an hour, then pulls it out of his drawer and resets all his cards in it. Then everyone is happy.

But this time he was so upset that he took it upon himself to decide that he did not want to put it away or give it to me to put away, but rather he would throw it in the trashcan outside to make sure it didn’t come back. He wanted the landfill will be its final resting place.  Before I could stop him he was out the door. My first reaction was a sigh of relief. Finally, there was no wallet to distract him. My second reaction was, “WTH!” How was he going to function without it? But it was too late.

I’ll spare you the details of this long, long Saturday and Sunday morning, because by Sunday afternoon he was outside retrieving it from the trash.  And it was “OMG!” The smell was horrendous. I figured it was just the smell from being in the container overnight, so I tried wiping it down with Lysol and stuff. But we didn’t have any luck. It was ready to die, and die we let it. Back into the trashcan it went. Puppy was definitely lost and so confused. He kept repeating how it was his fault and what was he going to do?

His first response was that he would like to have another one…to replace the one he threw away. Um, that’s going back to square one. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Luckily, he has good behavior in school and it’s at home that he tries to manipulate me with total exhaustion of pulling me into a debate of the why and why not’s of getting him a new wallet.

Today is Wednesday, and I’m not sure if I will survive 50 days.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Another bite

On Friday the 4th, Puppy's class had a field day to unwind from the Olympic events. He watched a movie, went to the gym to relax not exercise and was getting ready to go outdoors for some face painting. But something happened and no one could figure out what. Puppy decided he didn’t feel like being in the gym and bit his hand once more. The teacher aide walked him to the classroom where he threatened to do it again. She held his hands down, and told me it didn’t last long. In minutes he was calm and himself again. However, this kind of behavior calls for him to turn in his wallet, and since his hands were being held, the watch had gotten in the way so it was removed from his arm and taken away as well.

I was suppose to get the two items in my hand at the time I picked him up from after school care, but if he knows I have them, he will likely whine and cry or nag until I give into his tactics. I asked that they hide the items in his backpack and I would return them to him over the weekend when I saw he was remorseful of his actions.

When we got home Puppy turned to his usual substitute, cigarettes. It never helps that we see our neighbor across the street is outside smoking. He started to hunt for paper and tape. We don’t have any tape so glue would have to do. He’s pretty good at making paper boxes similar to a cigarette box. Before he could even get started, Ms. H arrived and he was redirected to telling his story of how his day went and he told what happened in school. She was able to show her disappointment and quickly told him to bring down his dirty laundry so that chores could begin. She and I were surprised that he complied and did as he was told.  I even got pictures of him helping to sort the clothes. He caught me with the phone and asked if I would send to his teacher. This was to prove to her that he was having good behavior and listening to mom. He was already thinking ahead about how he needed to prove he deserved his wallet and watch to be returned.

Later, it was shower time and there were no complaints. He marched right up the stairs and even though he took his time about it, he also complied and shower time was in progress. He came downstairs dressed in pjs and with construction paper and glue in his hands. He sat down beside me and said he was thinking too much about cigarettes and he was going to make a box. I reminded him that we had a “no paper rule” but he didn’t care, his thoughts had taken over.

Being the tattletale that I am,...I texted his teacher and explained what was happening. She simply texted back, “NO PAPER…rules are rules.” I showed him the phone and he read the message himself. “Oh-oh, tell teacher I’m throwing it away.” He tore the paper and threw it in the trashcan.

That was the end of it; and then he announced he was tired and going to bed. We kissed good night. And we didn’t hear from him again that night.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Yea, I was so excited to see that the pictures I was posting were actually attaching to the post, I got carried away and added some from Puppy's day of running the 50 meter dash. After I scheduled it, I forgot about it until I went back today for maintenance on the blog that I realized they were mixed in. So, oops, but I hope you enjoy finally having a face to the name...Puppy.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Special Olympics, Day Two

I am so happy to report that day two at the Special Olympics went more smoothly.

It didn’t start off that way though. For obvious reasons, Puppy was nervous. The tantrum he had the night before had left its mark on him. He was wearing a band-aid over his injury and now his teacher and the aides will know he did not have the good behavior we are teaching him. But he had to face the day like any other and managed to calm down enough to get on the bus.

He talked his teacher and explained he had the tantrum and in his mind it was old news and not going to happen again…or so he promised…again.

The events were getting on their way, and I hadn’t mentioned that Puppy’s campus is walking distance from the district’s student activity complex.  In fact, he goes there often throughout the year for walks and runs with his classmates.  But today he was participating in the softball throw.  I remember his first competition in this sport, not so good; so glad he’s improving and focusing on eye-hand-coordination. Here’s a picture another parent sent me. He’s waiting for all the students to arrive and take their turns.

Puppy did pretty well. He placed second and received the Silver Medal for his efforts.

Oh the joy on his face. I’m so thankful for my friends who knew I couldn’t be there, and captured this picture for us. But doesn’t end here, there was a celebration dance! And yes, his teacher sent me a picture of this, too.

This was a sweet end to a much better day.  Congratulations Puppy!

And congratulations to Claire for achieving what seems like an impossible task of inserting images.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Special Olympics 2012, Day One

This year’s Special Olympics has come and gone.

The two day event went a little differently this year. For starters, it was the first year I didn’t get time off from work to watch the competitions. Puppy wasn’t too happy about that and even voiced that he didn’t want to participate, in his words, “I don’t want to go outside today.” I was hoping that after his morning call to my sister on Wednesday, he would get his pep talk and be convinced to get on the bus, go to school and change into his uniform for the events. Luckily, it pretty much happened that way. His teacher wasn’t going to let him sulk or stay in the classroom alone while they all went to the field.

On the first day of the Special Olympics, he did fine at the 50 meter run. In pictures that were taken by another classmate's mom, I see he was grouped with 4 other kids, him being the tallest and biggest. I think those little runners had an advantage over him…just saying. He didn’t place and came in 4th or 5th. 

It was it long day in the sun for Puppy though. His after school routine was changed, too. He was dropped off at my parents’ house after school. My sister was there and asked if I would like her to take him with her to my brother and his wife’s house until I got out from work so I wouldn’t have to deviate further from my route home. I got there and he greeted me like he usually does. He was excited to tell me about his day at the Olympics and how he ran as fast as he could to get his ribbon.

I sat down on the sofa to visit with my sister, my nephews and niece. Puppy on the other hand, was ready to go home. When I told him we’d leave in a while he didn’t like it, but waited. My brother got there, then my sister-in-law, and so I was catching up with them as well. By now Puppy was even more bored and asking to leave again. My sister-in-law asked us to stay for supper, but still…Puppy wanted to leave. When I said to him we’d leave after we ate, he took a deep breath and walked to another room and screamed he was going to bit himself if we didn’t leave. I told him soon, let’s eat first. And he took his hand to mouth and bit down as hard as he could. His braces left a terrible mark and open wounds on the backside of his right-hand. He started yelling, “I bit myself hard!” “It hurts!” I went and found him sitting on the bed crying with his hand in the air. Puppy’s first response was he’s sorry. He knew it wasn’t good behavior and figured I’d be angry. I was, but it was done. My instinct is to comfort him. It may not be the right thing because generally it was giving him attention. But as I saw it, my attention did not reward him and we were not leaving. Instead, I did comfort and his wound was cared for with ointment and a band-aid; and we walked to the kitchen to eat.

I read his face and saw embarrassment. But he tried to make small talk with others just the same. By this time Ms. H had arrived to meet with us for the evening. He sought her undivided attention for a while before asking to go outdoors. He was fine for the remainder of the evening. This was the end of day one.

What caused his tantrum? I will never know. I can take guesses. I can speculate. But Puppy has autism and can’t tell me himself why he turned to self-injury. Something triggered it, but looking for attention was not it, because attention does not take him to another location like he wanted. He wanted to go home and probably wanted some of this day to have routine to it and ultimately…none of this day was familiar or routine to him.

Puppy is doing well now and looks down at his hand. “Why did I do this, mom?” I don’t have an answer.