It has been raining today. Besides the usual annoyances we are without a car and couldn’t go out to an indoor play place if we wanted to. Caleb has been going NUTS the past few days.
He spent 90% of today watching cartoons in the living room. While watching cartoons he has been jumping up and down, making sound affects, rolling on the floor and in general just acting really, really restless. Its been driving us nuts because our living room is something like 7×10 feet and all four of us are crammed in here along with a couch, 2 chairs, 2 computer desks, a TV, etc. and there isn’t much space for moving and yelling without being in somebody’s face all the time. Also, Caleb has no volume control so he was driving us nuts. As i was in the kitchen trying to get dinner cooked from what i had in my bare cabinets (we really need to bum a ride to the store from somebody soon) and Caleb started yelling in the living room and after repeatedly telling him to stop i walked over and exercised the only control i really had over the situation and shut off all the TV noise. This prompted much outraged noise from Caleb and so i sent him to his room to do whatever he wants. Video games, TV, toys, i really didn’t’ care, so long as he wasn’t making noise in the living room anymore.
He throws a huge fit but he stays in his room. It is blissfully quiet for about 5 minutes and then Caleb’s door opens and he yells out “YOU HAVE A MESSAGE!” I walk over and he peeks out the door and whispers “read it!”
I wish my camera was working because you’re missing the whole effect but this is what it says
“NO budey is a laod to goin myroom sin Caleb”
which translates to: Nobody is allowed to go in my room, signed Caleb.
I stifle a giggle and show it to Daddy. Daddy is not nearly so amused but I’m very impressed with the fact that Caleb is not only trying to communicate with us (he usually shuts down when upset) but is actually practicing his writing! I am a bit ashamed to see such strong evidence that passive aggressiveness is hereditary, but overall I’m still pretty happy with the situation.
Five more minutes go by and Caleb’s door opens again. “You have a message!” he yells. This excites me. I prance over to his room and pick up his second message.
It reads: “Pebol can cumin my room if dae git prmishen”
which translates into: People can come in my room if they get permission
I am amused. I show it to Daddy. Smoke comes out of his ears but i try to sooth his anger. These letters really are impressive for a 7 year old autistic boy.
about 5 more minutes pass by and Caleb’s door opens again “You have another message!” he yells. Daddy yells back, “Stop writing us notes!” I giggle and prance back to the bedroom to get the final message. This one is a plea for us to bargain with him.
It reads “mom and dad if yoube nis to me I will be qieyet”
which translates into: Mom and Dad, if you be nice to me, I will be quiet.
Now that’s just sad. Coincidentally, dinner was done right around then and so i called him out to eat. So far the only noise he has made was several (about 10) promises to be quiet (in less than 5 minutes). Not exactly the silence i was looking for but I’ll take it. At least he thinks we’re nice again.
The elves have been here for a week, and i wanted to explain them.
Normally, we don’t do this kind of thing. We don’t even do Santa here. But these elves, they’re just magic.
On my message board last year i noticed a magic elf thread. I fell in love with them then. The looks on their child’s faces when they woke up in the morning to mischief was just charming. I was charmed myself, i went through the entire thing giggling and i woke up every morning excited about what other ladies were posting. I kept thinking about those elves and how silly they were and funny. What wonderful memories their children would have of these times.
And i wanted that. I wanted my children to have memories like that. And so i was decided. We would have elves visit us.
My plan is to have fun with it, because i’ve tried starting other traditions before, advent, jesse tree, etc. but i got bored half way though and didn’t follow through. Things that involved crafts would frustrate me because i am not as patient with Caleb as i should be, and having mom growling over your shoulder is not the kind of memory i want to have with my kids. I’m excited about the elves, and i look forward to doing activities with them every night.
I like how they lead up to Christmas in a silly way without putting too much pressure on Christmas day itself and pulls more attention away from the gifts part of Christmas. I think they will help with the after Christmas let down as well, as my elves plan on staying until the new year (and possibly coming to visit during the year on special and not so special occasions)
As it gets closer to Christmas they will be doing fun things like decorating the house and doing crafts with Caleb, but they will also be reading from the bible about the Christmas Story and they will be setting up the manger scene in the living room. These elves are giving me an opertunity to share Christ with my child.
I think by seeing them during the day, lifeless as they are, plants enough seed of doubt in his mind that i don’t think he will be devastated when he learns they are not real as some kids do with Santa. When he is mature enough, he will figure it out on his own, and perhaps help me with elf shenanigans for his little brother.
But that is all just hope right now, because in the present we just have these happy little carefree elves in our house, and we are all living in a state of wonder and excitement about what they will do next.
and I’m really glad about it because i was very, very unhappy with his first assessment.
His first assessment with the Regional Center was at 2 1/2 years old. According to the psychologist (honestly i have no idea what she was, some kind of doctor *blush*) who did the assessment the reason why Caleb could not speak or follow directions was because he was of below average intelligence, probably caused by a brain injury he suffered as a baby.
His Speech/Occupational Therapist at the time was NOT happy with the assessment either and did her own (less official) assessment saying that he was of average intelligence but he had a speech and verbal comprehension delay. Every other evaluation that has been done has said the same thing. Last December the school district did a full evaluation of him and he qualified for special education due to “autistic like behaviors” At this point we decided to get another evaluation done at the Regional Center. Due to scheduling conflicts and my hospitalization in April/May we missed his first appointment and he had to be rescheduled in early June.
We still haven’t received the evaluation. I called last month asking about it (it has been 3 months) and the intake worker told me that because of some discrepancies between the two evaluations they haven’t completed their report, and that they were behind at the center for a lot of evaluations and to call back in a few weeks to check up on it again.
So i called again today and was told the same thing but then said that they’re no longer going to just wait for the regional center psychologist to get it done, we’re going to be going in next week (on my birthday, joy) to go talk to both his intake worker and a psychologist to sort out exactly why there were so many discrepancies.
so long story short, on Tuesday we will be getting some answers for him, and i need to do my best to express myself to them to tell them everything about my Caleb <3 and i would really appreciate your prayers
oh oh, and to complicate things, i need a ride up there. I called husband and his boss is taking that day off work and one of the two of them has to be there at all times (very specific job and they’re the only two people who work there that know how to do it) so he probably won’t be able to take me. I called my MIL to ask her and while she says she would love to, my SIL is due to have her baby the day before and if SIL is in labor, MIL can’t take me.
so that’s my pickle, and i really just need it to all work out. I don’t have anyone else in the entire world who can take me up there otherwise and i really, really, really don’t want to have to reschedule. I feel we’ve been waiting way too long for this already.
in a row. without one single dicipline problem.
In fact, he told me today: “somebody put glue on me and i tell on them.”
getting messy things on himself usually freaks him out, but he kept a level head and asked the teacher for help :jawdrop I am so shocked.
last year was such a bad year for him, especially the end of the year with me being in the hospital for 2 weeks and then the baby in the hospital and then learning to live with new baby (honestly the last month was pure torture for everyone involved, he spend a lot of his class time in the office, and was suspended twice)
he didn’t seem excited about school but neither was he afraid to go. it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. He comes home so happy. And in the morning we just get him dressed and we leave, no complaining or whining or saying he doesn’t like school at all. its like night and day.
that i posted that post i said i would. I’ve been avioding this blog (as i seem to do way too often) because i wanted my next post to be about Toby’s NICU stay and then we’d go onto everything else that is happening. But i just can’t do it. Its way too emotional for me right now, the wounds are a bit raw. Everything turned out fine. I have a happy, healthy little boy napping in a bassinet behind me but i still can’t talk about the NICU stay other than to say that it was the longest week of my life and that i’ve been praying for the NICU nurses every single night. I can’t imagine having to LIVE there as they do, every single day.
So lets just pretend i wrote that post and we’re moving on from there. I just can’t do it right now.
The beginning of the day wasn’t really special in anyway. but i was tired. The baby kept us up all night long. I had to re-direct Caleb from the bathroom sink a few times because he insisted that his toys wanted a bath but besides that it was a pretty easy morning. So easy that i decided it would be nice to take a nap with the baby. I checked on Caleb and told him that i was going to go to sleep and if he needed my help to come get me.
2 hours later i wake up to the sounds of Caleb panicking. “mommy! the fish is dead!” So i jump up out of bed to see him coming out of the bathroom with a dead goldfish in his hands. i tell him to go put it back in the tank, hoping it can be saved. on the way to the fish tank i notice the Christmas lights shining in the hallway. Somehow Caleb snuck to the top of the closet and got out the Christmas tree. i have to step over those stupid little Christmas balls on the way to the fishtank to deposit fish (praise the lord i dodged that minefield!) and then open the lid to fish tank and put fishie in there. i asked Caleb what happened to the fish. he says (sadly) that he caught it with his hands and that he is sorry. I wait anxiously for a few seconds hoping it will recover. nope. fishy dead.
that’s when i realize that I’m standing in a pool of water. i look down and the carpet is soaked. about 1/3 of the fish tank water is gone (its a 10 gallon tank) and the tank vacuum is laying there on the floor. This is about the point where my brain starts to misfire. As calmly as i could i told Caleb that he needs to go to his room right now. He runs into his room and i follow him down the hallway to get some towels. There is some water in the hallway but nothing serious. But then i hear squishing sounds coming from Caleb’s room as he runs in there. I look in and there are several gallons of water dumped on the floor in front of his TV. I grab every towel in the closet and put them down. They all get completely soaked through.
I can’t even look at Caleb, much less think of a decent way to dicipline him without screaming or worse. I’m pretty much in a daze right then. i need hubby so i walked to the phone (dodging Christmas junk again) and call hubby. he’s not at his desk. i leave a message and just stand by the phone for a minute. i try to think of something that would soak up the water. i grab kitchen towels and try to soak up the mess in the living room. then i count the fish. there were only 4 live and one dead (we had 6) so i call Caleb in and ask him where the other fish is. he says its in the tank and i count again and yes, there are 5 live fish in there. Caleb says he’s sorry the fish is dead. i tell him to go back to his room. on the way back to the phone i step in peanutbutter.
i call hubby again. he’s still away from his desk. i try to think what else i can do to clean up all the water in Caleb’s room. i remember that our bath mat is all cotton so i grab that (along with the towel that was on the rack) and take it to Caleb’s room to replace the SOAKING wet towels that were on the floor. That’s when i notice that there’s water all over his TV, DVD player, and Nintendo Wii.
The phone rings. Its hubby. I can’t even form complete sentences. I say something like: “Took nap, woke up, water everywhere, fish dead, i need you to come home” and then i start crying. he says “what?!?” and i realize he probably thinks the fish tank got dumped and all the fish are dead. So i try to calm down and tell him that Caleb dumped water everywhere and that he took a fish out of the tank and that its dead. I need him to come home. He says he’ll be here as fast as he could. so i hang up and just stand by the phone waiting for him to show up. Until the baby cries, and i go get him and nurse him in the rocking chair. When hubby gets home i’m still rocking in the chair with the baby, still crying. (this was around 3 o clock)
Hubby takes over at that point. He is awesome. He doesn’t yell at Caleb or anything he just goes about the house and starts to clean up. He finds more towels in the dirty laundry, finds where Caleb dumped the fish tank chemicals (in the bathroom, not in the fish tank, praise the Lord) puts away Christmas trees. asks about where the steam cleaner is (i didn’t even think about using it to suck up the water) its at SIL’s house. So he calls SIL (not home) and his mom to tell her that we’re bringing laundry over. Somewhere in there i post on GCM, i’m pretty sure it was after hubby came home, but i was pretty numb. he gets things situated here and then goes to take the wet towels to MIL’s house (about 5 o clock). On the way back he picks up dinner at taco bell. While he was out i get a call from SIL saying that MIL got a hold of her and told her about the mess and that she’d be bringing the machine into town around 7 o clock. by that time the water had been sitting in the carpet for a good 5 hours though and I’m not sure if it would do any good. i’m certain the padding is ruined
so yeah, the rest of the night was spent trading off baby duties so the other could clean up the disaster area. It was seriously the worst night ever. total mental crash yesterday. it was not a good day.
Caleb is learning manners. But its not going so well…
At school they are teaching him to introduce himself to new friends. In theory, this is a very good idea. Unless your son happens to think that the guy with the 5 inch goatee looks like he would make a good friend. Or that random guy driving in the car next to us on the way up to his intake appointment with the CVRC. He goes through days where he just wants to say hello to everyone he meets. He is rather proud of himself for doing this. some days its cute, as long as he doesn’t introduce himself by his full name, age, and social security number. Okay, i’m exagerating about the social securith number.
the other day we were at Wally World and he was telling everyone hello. Aparently i didn’t see him say hello to a very important person so as i loaded groceries onto the belt he ran up to me and proudly told me “I said hello to that fat man” an then pointed towards an elderly lady. Praise the Lord she didn’t hear him.
Unlike the elderly lady he insulted a couple months ago. he said hello to her and then went on to inform her that she was old because she is not brown. I assume he meant her hair…
His compliments are pretty hit and miss. He tells me nice things a lot. Mostly “i like your hair” but he likes to mix it up. A few months ago a good friend of ours, Jake, came to visit. Caleb was so excited to see him. He ran up to him and gave him a big hug and then ran back to me and told me very proudly that “Jacob is my big BIG fat friend.” All 300lbs of Jacob shook with laughter, and i contemplated melting into the floor.
Also he likes to tell me that he likes my “boots,” that they are big like mountains. And then he pats my chest.
Let’s just stick with complimenting people’s hair, Caleb…
This is gonna be long, just to warn you
As a background, Caleb was originally tested for delays when he was 2 years old. He was diagnosed with poor motor skills and a significant speech delay but nothing else. He has had speech services ever since (1-2x a week) and in the past two years he’s been seeing an occupational therapist as well (once a week). he’s had other evaluations (yearly) but has never been diagnosed with anything except speech delays and low fine and gross motor skills. I always suspected autism but everyone kept saying that his social skills would improve once his language did and they wanted to wait and see (and because they were giving him pretty much the same services he would have gotten with an autism diagnosis, i didn’t push it)
Fast forward to this year (his first year of Kindergarten, we tried for 2 weeks last year but he was NOT ready at all) and he was having some very rough behavioral issues this year in school. He started acting out with spitting (which he has NEVER done, he’s never had an oral fixation) and hitting and basically just having a very very rough time. We had an emergency IEP meeting after he was suspended, and we had a good long talk about his behavior and the school was surprisingly AMAZING about making sure that he wouldn’t be so sensory overwhelmed and tools to help him tell the teacher when he is BEFORE he acts out. Ever since then his behavior has been night and day different (way to go, Little Guy). We decided that it was time for another FULL evaluation.
I was worried he would never get a diagnosis of autism BECAUSE he has improved so much with his speech and occupational therapy. He has a LARGE vocabulary now (even if he doesn’t always use it properly) and he grew out of a lot of his most disturbing behaviors (like hurting himself whenever he got upset)
Last week they had me come down to the school and answer some questions, i was really happy that the lady who was testing him seemed to like him a whole lot (no surprise, he’s such a charmer) and really seemed to GET him. She showed me the results of his intelligence test (he rated average or high average on everything except his verbal skills which was very low) which directly contradicted his first intelligence test which basically said that Caleb’s speech delays were caused by a lower than average intelligence (which really got this Mama bear’s blood boiling)
Anyway, we got his full assessment today, on the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS)
1-3 means not likely autistic
4-6 meaning possibly autistic
and anything above 7 meaning he was likely autistic
he rated a
12/14 on stereotypical behaviors
a 12/14 on Communication
and a 10/14 on social interaction.
His teacher’s assessment lined up exactly with mine.
Long story short, “Scores on the GARS scale indicate that there is a very likely probability that Caleb’s bahaviors are consistent with the diagnosis of autism” and “Caleb is eligible to receive services under the disabling condition of Autistic-Like Behaviors”
I feel like the worst mommy in the world for being so excited over this news. This is what I’ve always suspected and it feels good to have that confirmed, not only that but this opens up so many doors to get help for him (especially during the summer when the schools are closed and he wouldn’t be receiving any therapy)
So now we have an IEP meeting set up for this friday and i have to contact the regional center and our family doctor and let them know about the test results.
I don’t brag on him too often but i wanted to share with you.
Yesterday after diner Caleb jumped up off the couch and told me that he had homework to do. So he gets his backpack and pencil and proceeds to do the entire week’s worth of homework without prompting. He just blew through the entire thing. he would ask for my help in reading the directions but besides that he just did it all by himself.
Yesterday i was on my message board reading and he noticed that a few of the women had baby development tickers. He pointed to the picture of the baby and told me that the baby lives in mommy’s tummy and that its going to get bigger and bigger until it can’t fit anymore and then it will cry. Sometimes i don’t think he really GETS what it means when i tell him we’re going to have a baby but then he’ll go and surprise me with something insightful like that.
Sometimes I’ll pull up my shirt to show him my growing belly and he’ll put his mouth on my belly and blow raspberries. He says that it makes the baby laugh. Then he tells me that i need to make HIS baby laugh and pulls up his shirt.
We don’t do Santa in our house. Its not that i think its wrong to do Santa, i just don’t see the point.
Yes, yes, i can almost hear you now “but its SANTA!” and “The magic!” and i get that, sort of. We grew up with Santa in our home. It was fun. I never had a moment where I discovered the “truth” about Santa and felt horribly betrayed. I know my parents did Santa because it was fun, it made things seem more “magical” and it was fun to pretend (not only that, but it was fun to be IN on the story while you tell it to your kids)
Without bringing in the fact that we are celebrating the miracle of Jesus Christ’s birth, so as not to scare off too many of you *wink* Christmas is perfect the way it is.
There’s all the parades and the lights. There is decorating the house and there are all the visits with family, there is waking up on Christmas morning and opening presents, and all the goodies and snacks that fit into a stocking. All that is wonderful and magical and special all on its own without having to make anything up.
Why tell stories about Santa when there is already so much to marvel at?