Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Forces of the Universe

May the force be with you...uh, no.

My husband talks about the forces of the universe often. He's not fond of them. He thinks they're all against him. He's convinced that somehow, every person is notified of what road he's on, and everyone flocks there. Sometimes I laugh because it really seems to be true.
Other times I don't laugh because I think maybe they don't like his wife either...those forces of the universe.

Alllll I wanted today was to get to my exercise class. My car is at the mechanic's, so we only have one car. I've been driving my husband back and forth to work so I can have the car during the day. I was hoping to get to my exercise class by 9. We had everyone fed, lunches made, and got everyone out the door by 7. We got to my husband's job in 45 minutes. I got back to the exit for my son's school in half an hour. And then...

The forces of the universe unkindly intervened.

The traffic stopped. Where I live, sometimes there's only one way to get someplace. You can't take a little detour, you can't go around the block, you just have to sit on the road you're on because it's the only road you can take. There was construction ahead, and only one lane open...and it wasn't my turn to use the lane. So, I waited and waited, and almost five minutes later it was finally my turn. I thought I could still drop off my son and get to my class on time.

Ha ha ha...the forces were not done with me yet.

My son's class wasn't in the classroom. I had to look all over the building until I found them in the gym.


I could still make it to my class just a little bit late.

I drove down the driveway and of course, I was stopped because it wasn't my turn to go yet. Another six minutes would pass before it was finally my turn to go. By now it was much too late to get to class. Sigh. Again. So, I'll go walking or something.

I like going to the class (well, the one time I actually made it I liked going to the class) because I work out much harder than I would by myself, and it's always nice to talk to people over the age of 4.

Alas, it was not to be...the forces of the universe were against me. ;)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Office

I have never seen The Office, and it's supposed to be a great show. However, it made me nauseous watching it, and I couldn't get through more than the first couple of minutes. A number of shows have a camera style where the camera is zooming in and out and going in and out of focus and panning and shaking and moving all over the place and putting the picture off-center, and The Office uses this style. It makes me dizzy and sick, and I find it enormously distracting from the show. So, I guess I won't be watching that anymore. That's a shame.
Is there anyone else who feels this way? Am I the only one? If I ever went to the movies and they used that style, I would have to leave.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Ohhhhh I am so frustrated. I have been trying to get back into the health groove, and it's so difficult. I was all gung ho, and then I got my son's diagnosis, and my mind could focus on nothing else, and I got upset, and I did what I always do...I ate too much. Grrrr. Then I started this great new exercise class, but Friday, I still couldn't move, so I was going to go today, but my car is still not working (it doesn't start unless it's jump-started, so my husband takes it to work where there's always someone around to help him because I've used up my AAA help calls), my son is off from school today, and the double stroller doesn't fit into the Corolla. So, I can not go to the stroller strides class because my son will not just hang out and follow along, he will run away. I will go walking today, at least, and we'll be out at the playground like always, but I'm not expecting any good news at Weight Watchers tomorrow. Well, there's always next week. It's hard not to give up, and when I go through periods like this I feel like I have given up, but I have to drag myself up and keep going...falling down a few stairs is not falling down the whole flight, and anyway, even if you do fall down the whole flight and even keep rolling and wind up down the basement, you've only failed if you've decided not to try again. So, here I go.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

How About a Last-Minute Dinner Party for 300 People?

I couldn't imagine 300 people showing up at my doorstep for dinner, unannounced, nor do I believe that 300 people would fit into my little apartment. I do not have 900 eggs in my refrigerator. However, in the interest of blogging, let's suspend belief. Omelets for all! Bon Appetit!

I've been reading a lot about people being inspired by Julia Child after seeing the movie Julie and Julia. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I have loved Julia Child since...I was a child. I've been reading her autobiographical "My Life in France" and love it.

Some of the things I love most about Julia, besides her exuberance and lust for life, is the fact that she didn't find her true calling until she was in her late 30's (like me), and that she had a wonderful relationship with her husband (like my husband and me). Each one was the other's biggest fan, they worked hard together like a real team, and they were best friends who were deeply in love and had a lot of fun together. It's refreshing.

My own recent cooking inspiration has been omelets. I was watching an old episode of the French Chef where Julia makes an omelet. I found a video clip of it on You Tube. I have been making "silly" omelets for my daughter, which involve me jubilantly shaking the pan while she laughs hysterically. It's a great bonding experience to cook with your children, even if they're under 1 year old. Give it a try!

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Love Autumn!

I'm so excited about all the things there are to do in the autumn in New York State for children. We've participated in the events over the past two years, and are eager to do it again! Apple picking, pumpkin picking, Halloween Parades, Fall Festivals, and hiking. I can't wait!

We have our Halloween costumes all ready too. My daughter is going to be a pink unicorn, and my son is going to be James, one of Thomas' friends. His favorite color is red, and I figured that there wouldn't be too many other kids dressed up like James. It should be lots of fun!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


No, not the kind you eat.

Tonight my son came up to me and blew a raspberry on my leg. I laughed, and then it hit son has NEVER been able to blow anything before in his entire life. My son can not blow a whistle, a harmonica, or bubbles. My son can not blow out his birthday candles. And tonight, he did something absolutely amazing. He blew a raspberry...and then he did it again. It is an incredible breakthrough, and something that his therapists and we have been working on for YEARS.

Well, he got a lot of kisses, hugs, and praise.

Go Boo!!!!!

Our Journey Finally Has a Name

As I wrote at the end of my last post, we went to the neurologist today, and my son has finally received a formal diagnosis of PDD-NOS, which stands for pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. This condition is on the autism "spectrum". That means that it contains many of the features, but not all of the features of classic autism. Although I have suspected for a long time that my son had precisely this, I was surprised to find that I felt very upset when the doctor actually said it, and I felt like crying. It was a relief to hear someone in the medical profession finally confirm what I had suspected, and a formal diagnosis opens up more services to my son and our family. However, I still feel a little shell-shocked and upset. I was a little surprised at this.

However, as an audiologist, I counselled many parents, and always kept in mind that when a parent finds out for the first time that their child has a hearing problem, they go through the stages of mourning. In fact, we often set a separate appointment at a later date to allow the parent to process the information before going through all the information they are going to need to know. So, I assume that I am going through the same thing.

My son has never had a definite, specific diagnosis, although he has been diagnosed with many individual disorders and disabilities including global developmental delays, sensory integration disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyspraxia, and hypotonia. He also has obsessive compulsive tendencies and unusual social behaviors.

All of these things are common findings in children with PDD-NOS. Here is a website that explains it well:

PDD-NOS stands for pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. In essence, it's a diagnosis that means "on the autism spectrum, but not falling within any of the existing specific categories of autism."
To explain more fully, there are five disorders that fall under the category of "pervasive developmental disorders" (PDDs). These include autism, Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, fragile X syndrome, and PDD-NOS. Autism, Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome and fragile X are all specifically described in the DSM-IV -- the manual that practitioners use to diagnose neurological disorders.
Many children have some symptoms of one PDD and some symptoms of another, but not enough of any one of the four specific disorders to receive a diagnosis. Thus, they do have a PDD -- but they do not have Rett syndrome, fragile X, Asperger syndrome, or autism. As a result, they receive the catch-all diagnosis of PDD-NOS.
There is a common belief that the diagnosis PDD-NOS means that a child has, in essence, a touch of autism. In fact, this may be true or untrue. A child may, for example, have only a few mild symptoms of a PDD and still qualify for the PDD-NOS label. On the other hand, he may have very severe delays in language and communication skills, but still not qualify for a specific autism diagnosis.
At present, physicians are not in agreement as to exactly when a child should be diagnosed with PDD-NOS, autism, or Asperger syndrome. As a result, it is very possible for the same child to receive different diagnoses from different physicians while exhibiting exactly the same symptoms.

So, now we have to start visiting more specialists again to look again at genetics, psychiatric issues, gastrointestinal issues, behavioral issues, and metabolic issues. Thank God we have great medical insurance. It's expensive, but we have no copays for doctor visits and don't need any referrals. So, here we go on a new journey...well, the same journey, but now it has a name.


Well, yesterday afternoon was an eventful one. After my son's nap, I took the kids to the playground with the cars (like I do just about every single day). We were there for less than a half hour when my daughter, who is usually all smiles, got very fussy. I tried to feed her, and she started to cry. I thought maybe she needed to teethe, but she didn't want anything in her mouth. She started crying harder, and I thought maybe she had a gas pain, so I walked her in the "colic position" with her tummy down on my arm and her chin cradled in my hand) and bounced her, and patted her. Soon she was screaming, and I couldn't figure out what was wrong. I couldn't find anything poking her, stinging her, any other boo boos, or figure out why she was crying. So, I decided to take her home to give her some Tylenol and maybe gas drops. After about five minutes in the car, she started screaming like she was in horrific pain like I've never heard her cry before, and still the crying escalated. I thought something must be seriously wrong. I've heard crying from gas, but I've never heard anything like this. It was horrifying. So, I took her to the pediatric emergency room instead, thinking maybe she ate something during a one second interval that I didn't have my eyes on her or she had some sort of something somewhere going on that was horrible. They took us in right away, and looked for all sorts of things like a hair tourniquet (kids get a hair wrapped around a finger or toe and it becomes very painful), stings, mulch splinters, something stuck in her mouth or throat, ear infection, corneal abrasion, fever, and found nothing. After awhile, she just stopped crying. We never did figure out what was wrong. Maybe it was just the mother of all gas pains. We'll probably never know. The doctor agreed that the crying was unusually intense. I'd rather be safe than sorry.

While we were there, my husband met us, and took my son outside to play. While walking down the steps, my son missed one and fell, twisting his foot. He started limping pretty badly. We all went home, and put ice on my son's foot, but he started to limp much worse, and just stand on one

We went back to the pediatric emergency room. And guess what? Nothing was wrong. Just a twist and a bruise. Sheesh. A whole lotta drama over nothing.

I got out of cooking dinner anyway. LOL We picked up some excellent Chinese food on the way home.

Later this morning, I'm taking my son to the neurologist. I hope that he will be able to illuminate some way for me to help my son more than I am now.

I'll update my blog after we go to let you know what happened.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stroller Strides...Ouch!

I went to an exercise class today called "Stroller Strides". It was rough, but it was great. The instructor made me feel very comfortable and welcome, and I'm looking forward to going back either Friday or Monday, whenever I can walk again. LOL I have been on hiatus for longer than I would have liked to be from Weight Watchers and the gym, but as of yesterday, I am full gusto again. So, hopefully, I will have a nice negative number to report next Tuesday. The Stroller Strides class I took today is for moms with young children. They meet at either a local park or the mall, depending on the weather. It lasts for one hour, and we began by speed walking around the track at the park. Well, it seemed like speed walking to me...the instructor was in great shape and it was probably a leisurely stroll for her! Then we stopped and did jumping jacks in the grass and some resistance arm work with cords. Then we speed walked halfway around the track, and stopped to do some sort of training I forgot the name of. We ran from one fence to another, did ten jumping jacks, ran back to the first fence, did ten more jumping jacks, side-stepped to the other fence, did five jumping jacks, side-stepped back and did five more, then we walked backwards to each fence with five jumping jacks at each stop. Then we speed walked the other half way around the track...well, my speed walking was becoming more of a limp by now (think Igor) and I was wishing for a break. We stopped to do some more jumping jacks and resistance exercises, and then we walked half way around the track again. We ran from fence to fence again with jumping jacks in between, and then we walked a bit and stopped to do some abdominal exercises and stretches, and then walked the other half of the track to our cars. Three times around the track is one mile. My daughter had a good time being pushed in the stroller and watching silly Mommy jumping and running all over the place looking wetter and wetter.

Then we came home and I had some whey protein (a la the Biggest Loser) and made a "silly" omelet (a la Julia Child). It's silly because my daughter loves to watch me shake the pan all over the place to get the omelet flipped over, and she laughs.

And then I took some Motrin. My entire body is aching...ouch!

But, I thought that getting in some good exercise and making sure I eat well was a good way to celebrate my Dad's birthday today since he passed away just over a year ago from a massive stroke.

Happy Birthday, Daddy. I miss you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

McAfee Warning

I was looking through some of my old posts, and when I clicked on a link, I got the following warning: may try to steal your information.
Why were you redirected to this page? When we visited this site, we found it may be designed to trick you into submitting your financial or personal information to online scammers. This is a serious security threat which could lead to identity theft, financial losses or other dissemination of personal information.

I can assure you that this is completely unfounded and I have no interest in stealing anyone's information, and my site is by no means a phishing site. I am absolutely appalled by this, and I have written to McAfee to have them investigate what is causing this warning and to have my website status changed. Sheesh!

So feel free to read!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Welcome Autumn! It Was a Great Day!

This is a long post because a great day deserves a longer post than a lousy day.

Today was a great day. A GREAT day. It's so nice to be able to say that today was a great day! My daughter slept all night, so I woke up refreshed and chock full of patience. I haven't been singing to my son to wake him up very often, but I did today, and he loves it. "Good morning, good morning! It's nice to see you smile! Good morning, good morning to you! Good morning, good morning, my Boo!" He always looks so handsome when I dress him for school and put spray conditioner in his hair and brush it nicely. He did slap his father in the face when my husband tried to kiss him goodbye. We're still working on the physical. I know he just doesn't want his father to leave, but we're working on right and wrong ways to express our feelings. It's a project. However, I choose not to allow that to be a blemish.

My daughter slept until 8:45...I had to wake her up. I sang to her too, and she loved it. We played, we read books, I played the flute and guitar for her, I sang some more, we played some more, and then she actually took a nap! It wasn't a long nap, but I had a nice peaceful lunch and took a shower. That's a big deal! Then it was time to get Big Brother off the bus! My daughter is always very excited when Big Brother comes home, and when she sees the bus, her little arms and legs kick and swing, and she squeals.

My son had a great day at school, and his physical therapist said that he'd "grown up" a lot over the summer. How nice to read! Then we went to the bank to deposit money (always a good thing), and I had promised my son I would wait for him because the lady in the window always gives him a blue lollipop. Then we went to our favorite place, the playground with the cars. By the time we got there, my son was properly blue and very happy. It was sunny and in the low 70's. My son behaved beautifully, and even opened up the gate for a mother coming through with a stroller...nobody asked him, he just did it. He got hugs, kisses, a high five, and lots of praise. My daughter scooted all over the mulch portion of the playground on her bottom exploring, and left a little trail where she had dragged her bottom through the mulch and exposed the soil. It was so cute. Then Daddy met us at the park, and we went out to eat at a restaurant near the railroad tracks. My son kept calling the trains saying, "Choo-choo, where are you?" How adorable. My son usually eats ketchup and nothing else. Tonight, he wanted cocktail sauce, convinced we were withholding ketchup. I tried to explain that it was hot and spicy, and not ketchup, but ketchup with horseradish. He still wanted it, so we thought, why not let him try. He put a great big spoonful into his mouth, and screamed. He took a big drink of water and then proceeded to wipe off his tongue with his napkin. My son has a great sense of humor, and laughed along with Mommy, Daddy, and Baby Sister after he had put out the fire. I hated to laugh, but I couldn't help myself, and well, we've all been there at one time or another, haven't we? What better lesson to learn than to be able to laugh at yourself?

Then we went home, and did our usual bedtime routine. My son had no nap, so he was pretty wound up. So, I sang "Beautiful Boy" by John Lennon and gave him tickle rubs. His eyes were rolling back in his head. Daddy read "Goodnight Moon", and he fell asleep right away.

Then we went on to my daughter, and we read "Goodnight Moon" to her as well. She pointed to the "two little kittens" and said, "niiiice". Nice is her word for cats. She also has started saying, "Dada", and loves to call Daddy. She's also pointing out all sorts of things wherever we go, and points to things that she wants as well. It's fantastic to watch her. Now that she's sleeping, I can really enjoy her.

And so, it's 10:45 pm, and I am off to bed with both children asleep. After doing the usual nightly hygiene activities, I will spray my pillow with my Bath and Body Works Black Chamomile aromatherapy relaxation pillow spray, put in my ear plugs (I can't hear my husband snore, but I can still hear the baby...go figure), and slip into crisp sheets next to my husband where I will be joined almost immediately by one of my cats. Then I will read a few pages from "My Life in France" by Julia Child and slip off to dreamland. Heaven.

Pretty Good Weekend...

We had a mixed bag this weekend. Mostly, it was a great weekend, with a thing or two that I'm better off just letting go.

The bad news was that my son had a rough day yesterday with a lot of physical outbursts. Besides getting hit and kicked (on Friday he kicked me sideways in the jaw and nearly knocked me out), I had my entire back pulled out. He jumps up in the air and collapses, and he did this from his changing table while I was trying to get him dressed to go to the playground. I didn't expect him to do this, and while I was catching him so he didn't fall off the table, my back got all twisted. It was not nice, and I was not happy with him, and I let him know that he gave Mommy a boo boo and made me angry. He said, "Sorry" in sign language and we kissed and made up. But it made housework tough going because my back was bothering me pretty bad. It feels better today. I know that all he wanted was to stay home and watch the same Elmo video over and over and over again. We let him watch it a few times, but that's it. It was a beautiful day, and he had to get out to get some fresh air and exercise. Besides that, my husband was taking the kids so that I could get some housework done. I am hoping that this behavior decreases as he becomes more verbal. I have tried every suggestion from every professional and expert to stop it, but it continues. It's very hard to deal with.

The good news is that last night my daughter fell asleep in just a few minutes with some stirring and complaining, but no crying. She only got up once during the night to eat, and she fell right back asleep. Woo Hoo!

The other good news is that my son actually spoke to me to give me very important information. I was getting him into his car seat, and he told me, "I want bus. Bus by tree." I almost fell over with joy. I was so proud of him. I went and got him his bus, which was in fact by the tree next to the car, and I smothered him with praise and kisses. I don't know if anyone else would have been able to understand him, but the language is there if the pronunciation isn't...and he's working on it. As a matter of fact, when he asked for Elmo Saturday, he said Elmo as clear as day. It was wonderful.

Then we went to our favorite "playground with the cars" with our neighbor and her adorable daughter. We had a wonderful time. We are blessed with lovely neighbors.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Little Running Man, Screaming Beauty, Summer Update

Screaming Beauty was asleep in less than 1/2 hour tonight! Woo hoo! I feel guilty but happy. Right after I post this, I'm off to dreamland myself.

I had a wonderful day. Screaming Sleeping Beauty and I slept for 9 hours after she finally fell asleep...I don't think I've slept that long in 2 years. I had all the patience in the world today, and had a lot of fun with my kids and next door neighbor. It's so nice to have nice neighbors and to be able to enjoy my children! I'm so grateful!

For some reason, I saved this as a draft instead of posting it, so without further adieu, here it is:
Summer is gone, and my favorite season is beginning. It will soon be time for apple picking and pumpkin picking and watching the leaves change to brilliant colors, painting the mountains. I am very sorry that I haven't updated my blog in ages. The past few weeks have been a little challenging because my daughter doesn't sleep well at all, and my car and my son have been naughty. But, I have been absolutely determined to will patience from the tips of my toes if I have to, no matter how tired I am, and things have been better. Right now, my daughter is playing on the floor next to me, our sliding glass door is open, and the wind is blowing a beautiful tune on our wind chime.

My son has started school again, and of course, as always, is sick again. It only took two days for him to come down with a cold. We finally went to a pediatric ENT, and in October, he will be having his adenoids taken out and tubes put in his ears. This should prevent him from constantly staying sick and help his hearing. One of the reasons he hadn't been listening to me is that the poor guy couldn't hear me.

We're planning our daughter's first birthday party, and are very excited to be able to celebrate such a wonderful occasion. No matter how tiring or stressful raising children can be, it's far more rewarding, and I truly enjoy having the opportunity to spend so much time with my children.
We had a lovely vacation. We drove back and forth to Florida, and coming home took about 30 hours. We stopped in South Carolina to help break up the trip, but since my son doesn't do very well with adjusting to new places, we weren't able to get any rest. Oh well. At least we weren't sitting in the car. We finally arrived home at 5:30 am that Monday. My husband slept for an hour and then went to work. It was brutal.
While we were in Florida, we stayed with my husband's parents, and his mother spoiled us to death. I didn't have to cook or clean all week, although I did make a few special meals on the Friday before we left out of gratitude.
The highlight of our trip was Disney World. We were wondering how it would go because of my son's difficulties with staying in one place for any length of time, and his tendency to not be able to control his limbs (i.e. kicking and hitting). I read online about bringing autistic children to Disney, and I found out that they offer special passes to guests with special needs. This was a day saver! We didn't have to wait very long for any of the rides. It was wonderful. It would have been impossible to stay if we had to wait for the rides. I'm so grateful that pass is available, and the folks down in Disney were extremely accommodating. We were there from when it opened until it closed.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Beautiful Screamer

Our beautiful screamer is keeping me from being a beautiful dreamer. I have decided to become "Mean Mommy" because I absolutely can no longer function on 3-4 hours of sleep. Last night, my daughter actually did sleep, but I was so preoccupied with waiting for her to scream, that I couldn't fall asleep. She doesn't nap. She wants to be held. She will fall asleep in the car or on top of me, but as soon as I try to put her down, she screams. Today I decided that she was going to take a nap. She fell asleep while she was nursing, and I put her down. Immediately, she started to scream. And I just left her there. About a minute ago, everything suddenly got quiet. Could it be??? Could she be napping??? Tonight she's being put to bed at 8, and even if she screams for 3 or 4 hours (which is what she will do if I don't pick her up...I've tried being mean before, but always wimp out after that third hour), stay in bed she will. I'm always afraid I'm neglecting her, that she might have gas or a poop or something that's not taken care of, but I can never figure anything out. She's happy if she's being held, and if she was in any pain, she would still be crying while she's being held. I try to anticipate every need before putting her down, and now she needs to learn to put herself to sleep, and I need to be firm enough to let her. It will be difficult for both of us, but I can't live like a zombie anymore. The rest of the family is suffering because I can't do all the things I need to do because I'm just too tired. Also, I'm sure it's not really safe for me to drive while I'm so tired, but I have to sometimes.
I believe I'm going to take a shower now (all by myself!).
Wish me luck with the sleep training. I just hope my neighbors don't think I'm torturing her because she sounds like she's being murdered when she's left alone. Sigh.

Highlights from Our Vacation

Disney World!
Cinderella's Golden Carousel!


At the ocean in Charleston, SC!
I'll be writing all about it soon!