Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Thirty Four Days Ago

I type up blogposts on my iPad ... And they never make it to the blog. I am trying to get this stuff on here! This was thirty four days ago ... And I am trying to post this via the blogger app, so forgive me for the weird pic placement or randomness of my thought train. ;)

I am not one to share too much personal stuff on places like this since i have had really bad experiences with a group of "women" from an old social networking site. But hey ... i gotta figure, its a new year, I have a new set of friends and a whole new outlook on life. Share away...

For those of you who don't know, I have three kids. Well, I birthed three, gained a few by marriage and became a godmother. All of my kids are awesome, but I'd like to share one of my littles stories. Maybe later I will share more ... But here is Marcos' story.

Marcos is four. He turns five in March. He is light skinned and blue eyed with dirty blonde hair. He's the spitting image of his Mommy as a kid ... only with shorter hair and longer lashes. He has three grandmas: Abuelita, Grandma Cheri & Mema. He calls his Grandpa "papa" and his Tio Juan "Grandpa." He loves to go to the park and swing. His favorite cartoon is My Little Pony. He can watch Transformers, XMen and pretty much any classic cartoon for hours on end. He loves playing Angry Birds (Space) and Cut The Rope on his tablet. He eats chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers and berries (blueberries especially). He hates having his nails cut, his hair washed and his tags itchy. He can't stand gardeners, too much bass, or fire trucks.

This is my son. And He has Autism. And it's not as bad as it could be, but it's definitely there. In our household, I handle therapy (of which he has extensive hours). I am a stay at home mom, and this is a big part of my day, therapy. I know sometimes people see stay-at-home-moms as like less than working moms, or somehow less competent or ready to deal with the work place. Here's my thing, I work just as much as, if not more than, a working mom. I just don't get paid like they do. Let me share a little of his week with you:

Everyday, my son has a two hour block of intensive therapy with myself and a behavior interventionist (BI) in our house. It pretty much boils down to making a visual schedule for those two hours, and breaking everything he does into the smallest details. See, I don't tell my son "go to the bathroom" unless i want to wonder what exactly this is i am scrubbing off the wall. Ok, so its not THAT drastic all the time, but i am telling you ... its happened. In ABA ...we go step by step. "Turn on the light, lift the seat, pull your pants down (don't take them off), sit down, stay still while you go, ask for help wiping, stand up, pull up pants, flush toilet, put lid down." Then we wash hands. Again, its not just "wash your hands." Its all step by step. Sometimes he gets mad, and refuses to do it, tantrums, or screams. It's difficult. Difficult to do, difficult to watch, difficult to predict. There are a lot of programs he works on, and he learns different things in each one. in self help, he learns to use the restroom, wash/dry hands, brush teeth, and get boogers out. in circle time, he learns to focus, sit still and point out objects when asked. in independent work, he learns to figure things out independently, and theres a little time management aspect to it. In work with teacher, he learns to ask for help, use eye contact and verbalize his requests. In play, he learns to take turns, use eye contact, and use social phrases. He has "mastered" a lot of stuff, and come such a long way ... But there is always something new.

On Thursdays, he has a two-three hour Social Group. I love social group. Basically, we take him into the office, with about ten other kids, and they have a play date where they work on social skills with another BI. It's a way for them to talk and play with kids their own ages, and for us moms to gab about God knows what. I have learned more in talking to this group of women, than in any waiting room on Earth. One is a college professor, one's husband works for a huge theater out in LA ... And there I am. For some reason, I have never given anyone my number, or email address for play dates outside of session. Weird, but these women are a major part of my week. Gossip, vents, frustrations ... Yeah. They get it. No judgements, at all.

It's crazy how much stuff doesn't even cross your mind when you're pregnant. I never really pictured my life as being therapy, driving and all this paperwork. That's how it goes. You don't like hope your kid is "normal." You just kind of assume. Assume your baby will be a big football star, cheer captain, mathelete, science prodigy ... whatever you want, right? but sometimes, it doesnt happen. Sometimes, you clap your ass off and throw a big party because your four year old tolerated the sound of the toilet flushing without flipping out. Sometimes you are soo grateful for to hug your own kid that you don't even care if its interrupts a business conversation. Such is my life.

But you know what, I don't need your pity. I am glad. My son teaches me stuff every friggen day, and I am amazingly close to this amazing little boy ... MY little boy.

If you are struggling, I gotta tell ya ... It will work out. Not because you are a supermom, or have special powers ... but because you love that baby. Sometimes, you will cry, and feel hopeless ... but its temporary. I promise. Those hopeless moments (and horrible days) are overshadowed by the amazingly fantastic moment of eye contact, or laughter, or loving gesture. I promise. And it does work out ... you just gotta have faith. Not necessarily faith in a higher power, but faith in your kid.

Faith in yourself.

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