Saturday, January 30, 2010

Asthma Attack

My son had his first asthma attack yesterday. We were reading Whinnie the Pooh and he started coughing. The coughing got worse and eventually, he couldn't breathe in anymore. It was scary. I was very grateful to God that we had the nebulizer and I gave him an extra treatment, and that helped. Today we went to the doctor and she added a second medication to his nebulizer treatments called Pulmicort in addition to the Xopenex he's already getting. This makes for a very long nebulizer treatment...almost a half hour of my son having to sit. So, we watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but it's still a long time for him. Whatever is helpful.
So long as he can breathe!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Potty Training!

Well, after four attempts, I have finally found a potty that interests my son. He is very excited about going pee pee on the potty! I have pull-up diapers, and I set a timer for ten minutes. Every ten minutes, he sits on the potty and I read a potty story. For the first time, he is actually sitting on the potty for more than a few seconds...a necessity for success.

We've been working on trying to get him to potty train for quite awhile. I didn't try very hard after his sister was born because frankly, I was too tired. So, I have lollipops at the ready for when there's pee pee in the potty, or at least for dessert. :) I keep telling him how proud I am of him and what a good job he's doing sitting on the potty!

My daughter is also interested in the potty and has practiced sitting on it with her clothes on. Maybe she'll be ready to train soon too. We'll see. She's only 15 months old.

I have a lot of patience, and I'll just keep encouraging them.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nebulizer, Nebulizer, Rah, Rah, Rah!

My son gets asthma whenever he gets a cold or cough, so we give him a nebulizer treatment three times a day. A nebulizer is a device that turns a liquid medication into a vapor so that it can be breathed in. My son won't let us put a mask over his face, so we just hold the nebulizer up to his nose and mouth, and it does the trick. In order to get him to sit (well, mostly), we put on a video. I love You Tube because they have videos of things we've been to that other people have filmed and saved on there. Today we watched one of the parades we saw while we were in Disney World over the summer. He loved it.

The only problem we had today was that he got into a fit of the giggles, which caused him to cough and wheeze uncontrollably and probably limited how much medication he was getting into his lungs. I let him pretend to fill up the nebulizer with an empty medicine vial, and for some reason saying, "Put the medicine in the nebulizer" really cracked him up something fierce today (maybe it's genetic...his father thinks the horrifying scene from The Silence of the Lambs where the kidnapper tells Catherine, "Put the lotion in the basket" is funny). My son's other favorite saying is, "Nebulizer, nebulizer, rah, rah, rah!". When it's done, I let him pretend with the nebulizer. He likes to do it himself and do it to his sister. So, I let them play for a few minutes before I put it away. Whatever helps the process.

Here's the video we watched today of the parade we saw over the summer at Disney. It's Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It. It was lots of fun. I love Disney.

Surprise Snowstorm!

My son is feeling much better today. He was actually feeling pretty well yesterday, but I kept him home. I was going to send him in to school today, but the bus never came. We got a surprise snow storm that nobody predicted, and they didn't delay or close any schools until after 9 am.

My husband came home from trying to drive to work just a few minutes after he left because he slid into the intersection while pulling out of our complex...he thanked God for not letting any other cars be there, and then he turned around and came back home. So, I called the bus company and told them I was keeping my son home. Just a few minutes later we got a call from his bus driver saying that she was stuck behind several accidents and that's why she never made it to us. By that time, there still wasn't even a school delay. A friend of my husband's from work picked him up in her SUV. It took them almost 1/2 hour to go 7 minutes away, so they stopped for brunch. They eventually made it to work nearly two hours later.

My Daughter Took a Picture

She had a little bit of help, but my daughter took this picture of our cat, Mickey, sleeping on my husband's shirt. She was very pleased with herself!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Favorite Song Right Now - Magnificent

My cousin thinks that live musical guests on talk shows are horrifically boring...not me! I wish I had seen this one!
This is my current favorite song. I love the music, I love the rhythm, I love the lyrics. I hope you enjoy it too.

Magnificent performed live by U2 on the David Letterman Show.

Oh, oh, magnificent

I was born, I was born
To be with you in this space and time
After that and ever after
I haven't had a clue only to break rhyme
This foolishness can leave a heart black and blue, oh, oh

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar

I was born, I was born to sing for you
I didn't have a choice but to lift you up
And sing whatever song you wanted me to
I give you back my voice from the womb
My first cry, it was a joyful noise, oh, oh

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar
Justified, till we die you and I will magnify, oh, oh
Magnificent, magnificent, oh, oh

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love unites our hearts
Justified, till we die you and I will magnify, oh, oh
Magnificent, magnificent, magnificent


these lyrics are submitted by OarSmaN
these lyrics are last corrected by Katja Olsen

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

First Hug

My son gave his first spontaneous hug today...of course it wasn't to me, it was to my husband, but it didn't make me any less happy!!!!!!

I got a hug after asking for one, but he's never just given a hug before. My husband was putting "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" onto my son's little personal player because my son is not feeling well (again), and my son climbed up onto the chair where my husband was sitting, put his arms around him, put his head down on his shoulder, and gave a big squeeze. It was amazing.

Please never take a hug from your child for granted.

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Princess Chair

My daughter loves her new princess chair. It's perfect for her, and she loves to sit in it and read. Here she's reading a riveting Target coupon book. I guess you can't start savvy shopping too young. :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Never Get Behind ANY Wheel When You've Been Drinking

There's a local radio commercial that absolutely gets under my skin. It's a lawyer talking about how ANYONE can get charged with DWI and that I should program her number into my phone right now because there are some things worth fighting for. Ugh.

NO, not anyone can get charged with DWI. You have to be driving while intoxicated in order to be charged with DWI. One of her examples is that one of her clients was charged after being pulled over for a license plate lamp that was out. So, therefore, it can happen to anyone. No, it can only happen to someone who is driving with their license plate lamp out and is driving after they've been drinking!

Anyway, my husband and I are not big drinkers at all. We have bottles of alcohol that we have literally had for years...some of them I think we've had more than ten years. When we do drink, we don't drink to get drunk. In fact, we try not to get drunk. Lately, we've been under a little more stress than usual, and last night we decided to break out a game and a bottle of wine that we've had for more than a year. It was a bottle of white zinfandel that was brought to a party last year in honor of my father who passed away in 2008 because it was one of his favorite drinks.

I drank more than my husband...I had three glasses and he had one. Three glasses of wine is more than enough to give me a serious case of the giggles...and since they were three eight ounce glasses, I really had five drinks. That would give most anyone the giggles.

We talked about that horrid lawyer, and I said that even though I was drunk, I knew I was drunk, and I wouldn't get behind the wheel. Then I thought I was just silly and I said I couldn't drive, but that I could certainly position myself behind a wheel. So my husband asked if I wanted to go behind the front wheel or the back wheel of the car. So I asked him if he'd be driving backward or forward. He said backward. So I said the front wheel. Well, wasn't I smart? Then I'd only get run over once, wouldn't I? And we laughed harder than we'd laughed in a very long time.
I think I've proven that one should never get behind ANY wheel when he or she has been drinking.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh

This past weekend, my sister gave me a bag full of books that her boys had outgrown. In the bag of books was The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh. I had bought the book for her boys when they were very young and written their names inside the book. Except for the missing dustcover, the book is in pristine condition. I'm not sure if it was ever read, and it's a little sad to think that they didn't like it and wouldn't like to keep it for their children now that they are adults.

However, I absolutely love Winnie the Pooh, and I do not have the book, so I'm happy to have it. If you've never read the book, it would definitely be worth a look. I really enjoyed reading the history of the author and illustrator. I was also surprised to find that the reason why it is the complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh is because it is actually two books...Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner.
I have been reading a chapter a night to my son since Tuesday. I wasn't sure if he would sit and actually listen as it's not really a picture book, and every chapter is seven or eight pages long, which is a long time for him to sit. So, I decided I didn't care if he sat to listen, and I just read as he ran around, knowing that just because he's moving doesn't mean he's not listening. My son is just about the same age as Christopher Robin, and I add that in all the time while I'm reading. It's such a wonderful experience.

He quieted down near the end of the chapter the first day, and then after that, he sat to listen to the chapters. When I finish a chapter, he asks for more Pooh. He loves Winnie the Pooh! I'm so pleased. I've never read the book myself, so it's something wonderful that we're sharing together. My daughter is not interested yet, but I'm sure she will be some day. She loves books like my son does.

After his bedtime story, he threw a tantrum complete with head banging because he could not get his Fisher Price Little People Bus to balance on the bar at the foot of his toddler bed. I told him we'd work on it in the morning because I couldn't figure out a solution just yet...I don't think I ever will. However, this answer at least stopped the tantrum. This happens all the time. He wants things that are unusual or impossible. I'm working on handling his tantrums better, and for today, I'm doing well. It's a tall order for me, but depending on how I look at it, it can either be frustrating, or amusing.
I suppose I can learn a lesson from the relationship between Christopher Robin and Pooh; it's best to smile and say, "Silly old bear."

Bowl Surfing

Well, I've been trying to keep track of what has been causing my son to tantrum lately since his tantrums have been escalating. Last night he threw a major tantrum because he was trying to wear a cereal bowl as a shoe, and it wouldn't stay on his foot. I did not see his vision. I told him that it wasn't possible to wear a bowl on his foot because he's a growing boy and his foot is too big.

I hid the bowl to try to get the tantrum to stop.

Then my husband came home, and he saw the vision.

He pushed my son around with his feet in a bowl, and my son was so happy. He was laughing hysterically.

There is always more than one way to look at things. It can either be very frustrating to try to understand how someone else sees the world when you just don't get it, or you can just do your best to indulge their unusual ideas, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

It's difficult watching my son struggle with so many things. However, it is a blessing and a gift that he sees the world in such a different way. I get to see things I never, ever would have thought of otherwise.

Who knows? Maybe bowl surfing will be the next great sport, or maybe my son will invent something wonderful. He certainly has a very different way of looking at the world, and it's a terrific thing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

With Zenni Optical, it IS Possible to Get Quality Eyeglasses for a Low Cost!

This is a paid post, but I give my honest review.

I have been lucky over the past few years to have vision insurance. However, there were a few years when I did not have any, and my husband and son both wear glasses. I can vouch for the fact that glasses are very expensive, and honestly, even with our vision insurance, we can still wind up paying a hundred dollars or more for special frames or lenses. I am glad that Zenni Optical has been brought to my attention.

Although I have not had any experiences with them yet, I would like to try them. I thought paying $100 instead of $300 for a pair of frames and lenses was a good deal...but through Zenni, a complete pair of glasses can cost as little as $8! If you have a toddler who wears glasses, like I do, you know that the glasses get broken and lost on a regular basis. Also, it's important to protect children's eyes from the sun, but I have not spent the money on sunglasses. Now I can! I can get sunglasses for my husband too, who can now keep a pair at home to use when we go out and a pair to keep exclusively in the car for driving.

There are a few drawbacks, as you might imagine, but I wouldn't expect there not to be for such inexpensive glasses. Of course, you can't try the glasses on first. The glasses are produced in China, so it takes quite awhile for them to come in the mail. As a mother, because of the reputation of products from China, I would also perform a lead test on the frames before putting them on my son, but that is cheap and easy to do.

All in all, in this economy, or for anyone looking to save some money, I think this company is well worth a try.

Check it out for yourself at or here eyeglasses.

Here is a link for a review by someone who has used the service for eight years -and has written what seems to be a fair review with pros and cons.

Myself Belt Giveaway at Autism Learning Felt

When I went to visit a blog I enjoy called Autism Learning Felt, I saw a giveaway for a great product called the Myself Belt...It's a belt that kids who have poor dexterity can open and close...themselves! This would be great for my son with PDD-NOS because he has dyspraxia, which makes planning any muscular movements extremely difficult and is the main reason why he speaks and eats very little and can't ride a tricycle, hop, or blow out his birthday candles. Also, because he can't eat, he's very skinny, and he needs a belt. Some pants have adjustable waistbands, which are nice, but not all pants do, and it would be nice to have a belt he could operate to give him some more confidence and independence.

They even have belts with guitars on son would love that!!!!!

Please check out this giveaway here.

My Daughter Needs Cat Detox

Minnie is a very patient cat.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Adults with Autism

This is a long post because I've been trying to learn about autism from people who have grown up with it, and it's brought up a lot of thoughts.

I got a mix of wonderful and insightful personal experiences and information mixed with "celebrate neurodiversity". I was fascinated but a bit put off by the concept of celebrating neurodiversity. It's a fine idea, but when there's a safety issue, my son is pleading for me to help him but can't tell me what's wrong, and he's hitting his head hard into the wall or the floor or my head or someone else's head, I must admit I don't feel much like celebrating.

I have been off the blogging circuit for some time spending most of my time caring for my kids and home and celebrating the holidays with family and friends. I didn't have any set day to start blogging again. Then I got a comment on my blog from an adult with autism, and it was so fascinating to me to get a glimpse into how my son experiences the world not from "experts", people who have done research, education advocates, therapists, etc...people who so far have been unable to give me much useful information at all, but from someone who has grown up looking at the world through a similar pair of eyes.

I started looking into other adult voices on the web and found some very interesting videos on You Tube by adults with autism.

My main goal is to understand my son so that I can help him as much as possible, and so that I can understand what he is trying to communicate to me as much as possible. Life is hard enough. He has so many extra challenges that make life even harder.

After viewing various videos on You Tube and reading, I gather that, according to some adults with autism's points of view, they do not want to be cured, they do not want to be viewed as a puzzle piece, they do not want to be molded into the form of everyone else in society. They do not appreciate the Autism Speaks movement because of its focus on biomedical research to detect Autism before birth (I suppose so that you can decide whether or not you want the child), and to develop treatments and cures for Autism.

There are apparently no persons with Autism (or Autistics, as they refer to themselves) involved in Autism Speaks. Autism is a part of who they are, and not something that needs to be fixed. They want to celebrate neurodiversity.

As an audiologist, I spent a lot of time learning about Deaf culture, and it is somewhat reminiscent of this argument...they don't want cochlear implants because they view them as an attempt to eradicate Deaf culture, as well as other medical research and treatments. Of course there is no black and white.

My opinion is that to me, my son is a puzzle because I don't understand why he reacts to things the way he does. If he wasn't hurting himself, and me, and others, it might not be such a big deal, but he is. He can't speak. He can't eat. He has trouble learning expressive language no matter what form it is, spoken, sign, or picture, so he has a brain full of thoughts that he can't convey to me no matter how hard he tries. He screams and cries to me in hysterics, "Mamma help!", but can't tell me what he needs help with. If there were some cure for these things to make his life easier, I would love it. I would imagine he would too. It's scary making decisions for a young person, never knowing if you're making the right decisions. Especially when you can't get their input, no matter how much you may want to.

I think EVERY DAY about how what I do will affect him later on in life and hope he doesn't hate me for the decisions I've made and for all the times I've lost my patience and said things I shouldn't have or raised my voice. I always apologize for this, every time it happens because it is wrong for me to yell or say things that are mean, and I can never expect respect from him if I don't show respect myself. But I hate myself every time I fall again into a lack of patience.

I know he can be destructive, loud, and even violent, and fear visiting other people's homes because something may very well be broken, someone may be hit or kicked, or who knows what else might happen. I feel guilty because I don't want to have someone get hurt or have something of theirs broken. The fact is, although I am proud of my son and love him more than words can say, I can not blame someone else for not wanting someone or something to be hurt or damaged. This is also an issue living in an apartment where many other people can hear everything that goes on, and the maintenance company keeps tabs on everything that needs to be repaired and replaced.

I have been blessed by loving and understanding family and friends who take these things in stride and know that my son is not being "bad" and has no malicious intent. I have not had such good experiences everywhere.

I only want the best for my son, and to show him all the love I possibly can.

Head Banging

Since October, my son has missed more than two weeks of school. This added to the holiday vacation days adds up to being home nearly one out of three months. I'm always concerned about regression, but he did not show any signs of regression, even after missing so much school. I was very happy about that.

He has had various viruses, all involving the GI tract. Since he is so underweight, this is always concerning, because he was unable to eat, and we couldn't even get him to drink. Many times we had to force Pedialyte into his mouth with a syringe so that he wouldn't need to be hospitalized for dehydration. He couldn't tell me when he was going to vomit, so I just held him with a towel most of the time. He had a horrible diaper rash from constantly having so much liquid against his skin in his diaper that he developed open sores. I changed his diaper constantly, but it didn't help. We eventually put layers of cloth diapers inside his diaper and mixed hydrocortisone cream, lanolin, and zinc oxide and slathered it all over his bottom. This helped very quickly, and finally, his tummy troubles ended and he healed. It was horrible for him.

Also during this time, he developed the habit of head banging. He did it every once in awhile, but after being sick for so long, every time he is frustrated, or has to do something he doesn't want to do, he bangs his head hard into the wall or floor repeatedly. He bangs his head hard enough to leave a mark. We don't know if it's sensory seeking or attention seeking, so we're trying to find some sort of a balance. We've tried putting on a helmet, but I'm afraid to leave him alone with it on for fear he'll somehow manage to strangle himself with the strap around his neck. I've tried to put down a pillow for him to hit his head against, but I guess he doesn't get the feedback he wants because he keeps moving to another place. I'm trying to get him to call me and ask for help instead of banging his head, but he can't always express what he needs help with, and this is frustrating for both of us. I don't want to encourage tantrums, but I know that he's frustrated because he has more to communicate with me than he can through speech or sign language or pictures.
We are planning to move this summer to get into a better school district for when he starts kindergarten. One of the things I have heard about this district is that they're quick to pay for alternative communication devices for children, which my son needs. He can not talk very well at all, he hasn't been able to pick up much sign language, and he hasn't had much success with picture exchange communication either. He can only communicate the most basic things. So, he's nearly five, and I'm sure he has a lot to say that he simply can't. If we could use some other means of communication, I know that would help a lot. Alternative communication devices are extremely expensive, and our current school district has not approved any for my son. So, we're hopeful that we'll have a better experience and more help in a better school district.
We've heard from parents of children with special needs as well as various therapists and social workers that this is the best school district in the county for special needs children, and so that's where we're going to go. I hate to move, we'll be further away from family, we'll be in a more country setting and further away from amenities, but who cares if my son will get the services he needs.

Hopefully we can find a way to get him to stop hurting himself.


It's hard to go down a snowy slide... My daughter enjoyed opening gifts, but my son was too busy playing his guitar...
The stockings were hung...

The presents were under the tree...three for each child, just like baby Jesus...

My son playing his guitar later on looking all handsome in his shirt and tie...

Our New Year's Eve decorations...

Happy New Year!Celebrating with party hats and balloons...

My son yesterday wearing a very nice hat, which I'm very sorry to say, he somehow later destroyed...

Here are some pictures to catch you up on what we've been up to.
Thank you to everyone who kept dropping cards, posting comments, and reading my blog while I was on hiatus. Both kids have a cold right now, but that's normal in our home. It's nice to be back to some sort of normalcy.

Thanks again!