Mar 30, 2008

Spring Break '08

I've been trying to get into a mindframe to blog but it's been hard. I've been in a reading mode lately. Currently I am reading: Wicked-- The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. It is really interesting to read the Wicked Witch's viewpoint. It reminds me that there are tons of different viewpoints in the real world. Positive and negative.

We have been on Spring Break. We took the kids to Twin Falls, Idaho for a little getaway. By the second day, I was ready for a break from the break.

We went to an old fashioned soda fountain shop--built in 1925--and ordered some shakes. Hunter was sitting next to me on the stool at the counter and was very puzzled when the shake was placed before him because he couldn't reach the straw. I just observed this incident and thought it humorous until he got so frustrated, I was forced to intervene.

We also tried a new restaurant for us--it was called Gertie's Brick Oven Cookery. It had every pizza flavor/variety known to mankind. I couldn't even make this stuff up! Every few minutes the waiters would come over with a new flavor that just emerged from the oven. My personal favorite was Cheesy Ranch. They also had dessert pizzas like cinnamon bun, oreo, and mudslide. After we were through I felt like a gigantic cheesewheel rolling out to the car.

We took the kids to see Shoshone Falls which is higher than Niagara Falls. The weather was cold and windy so we didn't stay long. There were springs coming out of the sides of the canyon which had frozen. It was interesting to see some different geological formations.

Earlier in the week, we took the boys to the new neurologist in Idaho Falls. It was a welcome break from our last neurologist, aka: drill sergeant. Hunter is weaning off Lamictal, Ryder off L-Carnitine, and more EEG's in 7 weeks. He also would like Bill to be tested for allergies to gluten. (the term escapes me right now).

I saw the documentary that HBO put out recently called Autism the Musical. It was very well done. Hunter saw part of it with me and really thought those kids were funny. He can relate. They were such cute and interesting kids.

On the way home we visited with our bestest buddies: The Budge's in Burley.

Mar 19, 2008

Politically Correct Encounters

I was at the grocery store today grabbing a few items and noticed a bunch of cowboys complete with their black dusters, cowboy hats and boots. Once again, it is rodeo season in Pocatello. Cowboys come from far and wide to participate every March. It got me wondering what the politically correct term for cowboy is. I looked it up. Sure enough--there really is a term: Bovine Control Officers.

Here are a few more I thought were interesting:

A Criminal - unsavory character
Bald - follicularly challenged.
Body Odor - nondiscretionary fragrance.
Bum - Involuntarily Domiciled
Cannibalism - Intra-Species Dining
Corpse - Permanently Static Post-Human Mass
Dirty Old Man - sexually focused chronologically gifted individual
Earthquake - geological correction
Fail - achieve a deficiency.Fat - People of Mass
Fat - person of substance
Full of Crap - fecally plenary
Homeless - residentially flexible
Homelessness - Mortgage-Free Living
Ignorant - factually unencumberedInsane People - Mental Explorers
Insult - Emotional Rape
Lazy - motivationally deficient.
Learning Disability - Self-Paced Cognitive Ability
Loser - Second Place
Loser - uniquely fortuned individual on an alternative career path
Messy - differently organized
Panhandler - Unaffiliated applicant for private-sector funding.
Poor - economically marginalized
Prisoner - client of the correctional system
Prostitute - sex care provider
Redneck - rustically inclined
Refugees - asylum seekers
Serial-Killer - Person with difficult-to-meet needs.
Shoplifter - Cost-of-Living Adjustment Specialist
Ugly - aesthetically challenged
Unemployed - Involuntarily leisured.
Vagrant - Nonspecifically destinationed individual
Vomiting - Unplanned Reexamination of Recent Food Choices

Mar 18, 2008

White slips, fat girls, and off days

I woke up this morning and I could tell it was going to be an "off" day. It's just a feeling I get. I tried to wake Ryder up for school and he looked really out of it. So I decided to let him stay home, thinking that his stomach was upset. He fell back to sleep. He slept until 10, then I tried to wake him up again to make sure that he didn't have a fever, or was sick in some way. His eyes were buggy and he was staring off. I realized he'd had a seizure. He fell asleep again and slept until noon. I got him up and he was pretty cranky. He drank 2 glasses of water and ate a granola bar. At 2pm he went down for a nap and slept until 3pm. He has been very quiet and his sounds are gone. He is not making any of his usual stimmy sounds and he is just laying around. It must have been a bad one. I wonder if he has a headache. I wish he could talk. I feel like I need to be a clairvoyent or something.

Bill called after he picked up Hunter and Mason from school to take them to speech. He told me that Mason got in trouble at school and almost got a "white slip". The politically correct word for this is "disciplinary referral" according to Mercedes. What has this world come to?! That reminds me--on doctor's notes they put that I am a "well-nourished female". Now let me tell you, I would rather be called "fat girl" than "well-nourished female" anyday!!! Being called a "fat girl" is more intimidating than "well-nourished female"! I say to the world--just call it like it is! Ok, back to my, Mason apparently choked a kid in a joking way, but the kid took it seriously, and rightfully so. Then later that day he yelled at some other kid. It's about this age (7) when you begin to notice the PDD-NOS more. I still won't know the full story until parent teacher conference on Friday. Mason won't talk about it.
It seems to me that every year at about this time--kids and teachers are sick of school. It's time for Spring Break.

After 17 hours, Ryder started making sounds again and started sounding back to normal. He was drinking and eating like a horse. It took alot out of him.

Mar 14, 2008

Concussions & Corn

The other day Bill was bending over to pick up some garbage in the pantry, and when he came back up he hit his head on the fire extinguisher. All it takes is a little bonk and he's been really out of it for three days with a concussion. This makes 7 or 8 now. I think it gets worse with each one. He's been sleeping ALOT and it's hard for him to concentrate and form his words correctly. I hope he'll be able to catch up on his schoolwork.

I had an apiphany today. And that is...I don't know how to spell epiphany. Is that better?
Actually, as I was driving along (great time to think) I thought of Hunter and how his behavior gets worse after he eats popcorn. I know it sounds strange, but I bet he has a sensitivity to corn products. He absolutely loves popcorn, corn, and anything with corn syrup in it. Am I onto something here? He had popcorn last night, and this morning he was so wired, hyper, quarrelsome, darting around, squealing, and bothering everyone. I'll have to try an experiment.
Remove all corn products for awhile, then add them back in slowly.

We are getting excited for Spring Break. We are going on a little family trip to see Shoshoni Falls, go to a planetarium, stay in a hotel and go swimming, etc. It's been quite awhile since we went anywhere for fun without combining a dr's appointment with it.

Mar 10, 2008

What's black is black; what's white is white

We were sitting in the foyer at church yesterday since Ryder freaked out when we went into the chapel. Hunter kept asking Bill for some gum. Bill told him to be reverent and then we'll see. So, after 10 minutes, Bill leaned over to Hunter and said, "I smell some gum coming..."
Hunter exclaimed, "It wasn't me!" :0)

I've noticed more and more lately how Hunter takes everything so literal. Everything is either black or white; no gray areas whatsoever. It must be easier to notice since he's almost 9 years old. It wasn't as obvious when he was younger, because little kids think that way anyway. But now, the gap is widening away from his peers. It's sad to see.

Mar 8, 2008

Red = Brown

The other day we met with the psychiatrist and discussed the medications. No changes for now. I will be trying to get a hold of the new neurologist to decrease the Lamictal. (I already have--he's on 50mg am and pm.) He's not so wacked right now. He is still having wetting accidents at night. His OC tic/stim is still present but not as bad.

Ryder had some Swedish fish today. When he woke up from his nap, his face was splotchy and his left ear was red. I forgot about the red dye that he is sensitive to in Swedish fish. He was not hungry for dinner. I gave him a bath and let him play in the water. I then asked Bill if he would get him out of the tub. The next thing I heard Bill ask me was, "Did you do that on purpose?" I didn't know what he was talking about but soon discovered a brown bathtub with brown floaties. Oh Great! Ryder definitely felt better after that.

The article about Mercedes and the community service project came out today in the Family Living issue. It was pretty good. I should have worn all dark clothing for the picture to try and blend into the background, but too late now. :0) I hope alot of people show up. For those of you who are interested: Autism Awareness Luncheon at Golden Corral April 12th at noon, Pocatello, Idaho. Bring anyone who is affected by autism and their families, or anyone interested in supporting us. Should be fun.

Mar 7, 2008


It’s a long road—one travelled by a few, but traveled nonetheless. It starts out being smooth. I enjoy both the scenery and the monotony of it all. Then without warning, the results of a simple routine stop at a doctor’s office changes my life forever and affects not only me, but everyone I come in contact with.

Then what to do? I research, pray and mourn for what might have been. I find that I visit the grief process over and over again: as if it is a local corner market. The road suddenly narrows and becomes dark and isolated. I grieve some more. The road winds around and with similar questions. They are all too familiar: Why didn’t I see it before? What kind of Mother am I? What kind of life will my child live? How will I help my child?

The road takes me forward up the hill. Sometimes I see a clearing and take a mental note that “things will get better, so just push on.” A bridge appears in view. It looks rather rickety, but I know I must cross it. There is no turning back. To my surprise, a construction worker emerges carrying plans. He studies them. He points to others further down the bridge. I see a police officer guiding traffic. Everything is in slow motion. There are others like me wandering around the bridge as they look under it, looking for a different road or path to travel. The currents of the stream underneath are strong and steady. I remember I cannot swim. It is best to stay on the rickety bridge road. I see firemen eager to help within the distance: their faces reflecting interest and concern.

With careful, deliberate steps, I push forward. I am now in the middle of the bridge dodging mini-fires here and there. I’ve even thought about wrestling the construction worker to the ground and shredding the plans. Do I trust that he read the plans correctly?

Suddenly, I have a vague awareness that there are others behind me. I look and there I see my family. My husband who struggles with Aspergers, my wonderful daughter and sons: those beautiful three sons who struggle with Autism. They hold onto each other, grasping one another’s hands and follow me. Me. Why me??

I feel the burden placed upon me. It rests upon my shoulders, perhaps explaining why I love massage therapists so much. I am in the middle of the bridge now looking forward with renewed hope and faith in this less-traveled road. There are others like me. I must find them, for I have a tale to tell, an ear to listen and hearts to mend.

Mar 5, 2008

A Freak Incident?

A new realization for me has been that there are people out in the world that do not have a capacity for understanding. To fully understand someone or something is a talent. Or should I say--a gift. I think there are people that try, but it is beyond their ability to fully comprehend. I suppose that is where the saying "Never judge someone until you've walked in their shoes..." comes from.

I looked in Mason's backpack today and saw a "guided letter of apology" written by a classmate who punched Mason in the back of the neck several weeks ago. It must not have been a big deal, because I didn't hear from the teacher about the incident. Mason, sure as heck, didn't say anything about it. But then again, he doesn't. His expressive language is poor. He's also the type to hold feelings in--until they explode. He also doesn't want to make waves and get "friends" in trouble. I hope this is just a freak occurance and that he is not being targeted by bullies. I will monitor this. Or my name isn't Super-Mom-to-the-rescue!! :)

Mar 4, 2008

The Dreaded School Locker Mystery

Why does an ordinary school locker fill me with dread?

With all of the new and different things a first-time 7th grader goes through when starting a school year, the dreaded school locker should be put at the top of the list. There should be an instructional class for students on how to work the locker without having an anxiety attack.

The Curse of the Locker!

Here lies the story of the dreaded Locker. My own horrible memories are still harbored in the recesses of my mind of unsuccessful attempts at opening my 7th grade locker. . Does the combination lock go left first, or right? How many turns? Is this number right? I can’t get my fingers to move fast enough! Hurry, Hurry, hurry!! There are distractions in the hallway, noises from rambunctious fellow students. Sounds echoing throughout the hall. I cannot be late for Mr. Yazzi’s science class!

My science class was run by a crazed army veteran who had seen too much of Vietnam. His name was Mr. Yazzi. He shaved his head and always wore camouflage—everyday—except for the days when we were having an assembly and he was going to be around other fellow teachers. That is the day he would dress up. His classroom was always cold and sterile. I remember some of his lectures about where chickens came from and how eggs were fertilized. Immediately, I became a vegetarian. During one lecture he showed us slides of constellations in the nighttime sky and he told us that he only slept four hours a night and that was all a person really needed. I was truly frightened by this man.

I remember the hard clomping of his army boots as he marched up and down the aisles. There was one day when he came marching down my aisle (I sat in the very back corner) and with each of his steps, I became more and more panicked. My heart beat in time with his boots calling cadence with the hard tile floor. My breathing was erratic and I thought for sure I was going to scream when all of a sudden he stopped, patted me on my back, and shouted, “How ya doin’ today, Stephanie?” It took all of my strength to keep from screaming. I caught my breath and choked out a timid, “fine thanks”.

The bell rings and once again it is my turn to wrestle with my locker. Then, I had an idea…

Why not carry all of my books to every class just so I wouldn’t have to try to unlock my locker in record time just to beat the tardy bell? I would have extra time at lunch to retrieve the last half of the day’s books. It stressed me out because if I ever messed up, and tried to work the combination lock with my right hand, it never worked. Only my left hand carried the responsibility of releasing the lock. Even though I was right-handed. When I tried with my right hand, I always messed up or completely forgot my combination. I would write my combination down on my hand at the beginning of the day, and try not to wash it off. I had different places of writing it down, just in case.

And so it goes, the anxiety that hovers over the 7th grade hall. From lockers to science teachers, we take it a step at a time, hoping with each new day that passes, we become better at controlling our anxiety.

That was my story.

Mercedes has her own. I found out half way through her 7th grade school year--that she was carrying all of her books with her everywhere instead of using her locker. She would put her coat on top of all of the lockers because she couldn't open her locker. Hmmm...something doesn't seem right.

Any locker stories are invited. Please email me your story @

Mar 2, 2008


Friday, Hunter forgot to take his Concerta and by the end of the day he was out of control. He was obnoxious, fighting, using poor judgment, flying around the house getting into things, you name it. I was in no mood--for at the end of the week, I was tired! Ethan came over to play with Mason and, as always, Hunter didn't know how to fit in, got irritated, then everything escalates. I decided to take him out for a drive. But, before doing so, I quickly grabbed some Melatonin and gave it to him. Then we drove to the car wash and DQ for an ice-cream cone. By the time we got home he had calmed down and was ready for bed. He promptly fell asleep on my bed at 8pm. Just after midnight, Hunter peed the bed--MY BED! He fumbled his way downstairs to his own bed. I was too tired to do anything about it. I was just glad my side wasn't wet. A few hours after that, Bill came to bed. I heard him being sneaky. (He tries not to wake me up) Should I tell him that Hunter wet all over? Ahhhh, come on. No matter, Bill was too tired to notice.
This coming week is the appt with the psychiatrist. I've been slowly decreasing the Lamictal. It's not doing any good, just making things worse. His obsessive-compulsive behavior and tics are unbelievable. Next, we'll work on the Concerta. One thing at a time. He has more bald spots now and a big blue ink spot on his scalp from "rubbing" the pen consistantly in the same place, twirling his hair. We've been trying to redirect him, but to no avail.



Ernie and Oscar learn they like different things-great for kids on the Spectrum!