Sigh.  I am thrilled to report that Christian is no longer staying up past midnight, but he has still been up ’til 11pm.  I’m pretty tired.  Actually, I’m VERY tired.  However, I am, again, thankful that the Olympics are on.  He seems to have taken a liking to “skate” = speedskating and “down” = skiing.  🙂  Perfect.  Some of my favorite events to watch!!!  😉

We are still seeing more aggression than usual.  More hitting and kicking me, especially when getting changed.  More spontaneous shoving of Olivia.  More tantruming and screaming when he doesn’t want to do something.  Sigh.  I really hope THIS part, in particular, goes away soon!

He has also been avoiding his therapists a lot, too, and clinging to me instead.  One night I had to actually lock myself in our bedroom, so that Christian would work with his therapist.  And major parts of his communication skills are still missing — like if asked a question, he will not even acknowledge you standing 6-inches away from his face.  That is heart-breaking. 

Also heart-breaking, watching him go back to dragging his forehead across a room on the carpet.  We have seen him do that maybe 3 times in the last 3 years (since we pulled gluten from his diet).

Sigh.  It’s amazing how much damage TWO pieces of toast can do…

(…and I’m praying that the rest of it leaves his system soon!)

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OK.  We are a week into the second raw cheese experiment.  Here’s what we have noticed this time around…

  • Eye contact is good, without prompting.  So good that a couple of therapists mentioned this before I told them that we were doing something different.  🙂
  • Screaming is SO MUCH louder!  Ear deafening at times.  I would like a pair of earplugs.  😦  (If you don’t believe me, come visit.)
  • His aggression is not as bad as it was with our last experiment.  However, yesterday morning he really kicked the snot out of me as I was trying to get him dressed.  😦  Sigh.  But, really, it is much better than last time.
  • We are hearing more language at times.  Definitely NOT consistently.  Like when he wants something I REALLY have to get in his face to get his attention and possibly get him to actually tell me what he wants.  And sometimes he just talks nonstop — like when he doesn’t need or want anything from us but is just running stories through his head. 

So, I’m still on the fence as to whether the raw milk cheese is a helpful or a hurtful food for Christian.  Hmm…I think I see more experiments with this cheese in the near future as we try to figure it all out.

Seriously.  I promise.  I have not fallen off the edge of the earth.  😉

A couple of weeks ago, Brian and I decided to try some raw milk cheese with Christian.  I had been reading about the benefits of raw milk even on people who normally can’t tolerate casein (milk protein).  (As the casein is different in raw milk because it has not gone thru the pasteurization process and is MUCH easier (and safer) to digest.) 

It took a little finesse on my part to even get Christian to lick the cheese.  The cheese is white.  All of the cheese that he has had in the last few years has been orange.  This was a challenge, but once he licked the cheese, he liked the cheese, and then he was actually requesting the cheese.  🙂  Hurray!

So, here is what was noticed in the week that he was eating the raw milk cheese — his communication increased.  Enough that we noticed it.  And he seemed to be looking us in the eye more often all on his own.  I mean, how cool is that?!?  Awesome, right?  But! welcome back aggression.  We’re talking serious hitting anytime he was in the least bit frustrated or angry. Sigh.  😦  It made me want to cry.

I was hoping that things would be super good or super bad so that we could easily say, “Hey, this is totally helping him!” or “Hey, this is NOT good!”  Instead we got BOTH — good to have the GREAT communication :), bad to have the HORRIBLE aggression 😦 .

So then the question becomes, do we live with the aggression in order to have the communication, or do we lose the communication because of the aggression???  I wish there was a simple solution.

Until we figure it out, the raw milk cheese experiment is on suspension.

So, this week is cruising right along, but I’m feeling sort of blah.  Not really sure why.  Just tired.  Unmotivated.  But still needing to get things accomplished.

I have been needing to wrestle Christian into his clothes every morning this week.  This morning it literally took me a half-hour to find a shirt that he would even remotely tolerate and then help him into his pants, socks, shoes, coat, etc.  Sigh.  At least, the other mornings weren’t quite as bad.  And tomorrow, if he REALLY wants to, he can spend all day in his jammies because there is no school Thursday/Friday (teachers’ conferences) and we only have home therapy scheduled.  Perhaps this will be less of an issue by next week.  (One can dream, right???)

And then there has been the bus issue this week…  Christian’s regular driver has been out sick all week.  There has been a different sub on the bus every morning.  Um, yeah, Christian has NOT been thrilled about this and has dropped to the ground every morning in protest.  Sigh.  So, I wrestle him into his harness and then clip him into his seat.  Except, yesterday, he was SO worked up (and having major sinus congestion) that I think he gagged himself in his anger and threw-up on the bus.  They called me as soon as he got to school and I had to go pick him up.  By the time I got there, he was running laps in the classroom and laughing.  Once we got home he ran up and down the hallway and stairs and ate and climbed and jumped and danced all day (just like usual).  (Oh, and during one of his “Christian dances” he was mumbling to himself and I listened real closely and he was saying “I’m dancing.  I’m dancing.”  TOO cute!!  😉  )  So, after wrestle-fest this morning, I walked him out to the bus to find another new sub and a bus assistant.  Apparently his harness was still getting sanitized from the pukes, so they wanted him to sit with a seatbelt on in a different seat than normal.  Um, yeah, that didn’t go over very well.  Actually, it didn’t go over at all.  After personally wrestling him into a seat for a couple of minutes, they said that they can’t wrestle him all the way to school.  Sigh.  So, I drove him in.  (He gets to spend an extra 45-minutes at home that way.)  Unfortunately, me driving him to school only throws off his whole school day, because in his mind Mommy is only at school to take him home, so as soon as we got to the classroom and saw me in his classroom, he wanted to go home.  Yes, another “wet noodle” episode.  Then he got aggressive with Olivia for holding my hand while in his classroom and pushed her right over pretty hard.  So then they were both crying.  😦  Not the best start to the day…

…which actually started at 3:30am when Christian decided that he was done sleeping for the night.  (Why???)  I tried my hardest to convince him to go back to sleep (or at least lay back down and stop jumping on the bed), but it didn’t work.  By 4:30 he was in the basement, spelling with his letter blocks and monkeying with the DVD player (and needing my help every couple of minutes).  Sigh.  No more sleep for me.  I had plenty of time to pick out his “costume” for school today, though.  (He went as a train engineer because he has to wear overalls.  (His choice, not mine.)  It was either that or a hunter because he has some camo shirts and overalls, too.)  Unfortunately, I hadn’t been able to get him to bed before 10-ish last night.  Then Olivia got up ten minutes later, so I got her back to sleep in the next 1/2-hour only to have her wake a couple hours later because she “peed.”  Sigh.  So changed her, cleaned that up, got her back to sleep, got myself finally back to sleep when — sigh — Christian woke for the day.  Bummer.  But I am counting on better sleep tonight because he pooed.  That’s right, he pooed.  A monstrous poo.  And on days when he needs to poo and doesn’t do so before bed, he gets up in the middle of the night and has a hard time going back to sleep.  Well, he pooed a week’s worth this afternoon, so I’m counting on there being sleep tonight.  (Well, at least for him.  😉 )

And Monday, I started a major project that I have been meaning to do for a while and just wasn’t sure where to start, so just kept putting it off.  De-cluttering our bedroom.  It has been pretty bad since we moved into this house about a year ago.  There were boxes that hadn’t been gone through since we moved back from Florida (over two years ago).  Kids clothes all over the place, as I keep taking clothes that don’t fit out of the kids’ closets and somehow it all just piles in our room.  Along with the curtain rods that were taken down so that they wouldn’t be constantly pulled down, and suitcases from our vacation this summer that just never made it back to the basement, etc.  We are hosting a party here in a couple of weeks and I know that we are going to need a place to stash everyone’s coats/purses/etc.  I know that place is going to end up being our room, so the proverbial fire has been lit under by butt and I’m going to get it done.  It actually looks SO MUCH BETTER in there already.  I’m excited to see what it will look like when it is totally done.  (And then I’m hoping that I can keep it looking that nice all of the time!!! 😉 )

So, anyway, the weeks keep right on going, whether I’m ready or not.  It’s hard to believe that Sunday is November already!!!  And we are left with the next two days without school.  (Which always throws Christian for a loop.  At least the therapists have added an extra shift each day!!  Thanks, guys! 🙂 )

I am looking forward to Sunday, though.  Brian and I were asked to be godparents for new nephew, LARB.  I’m extra excited because this will be the first time that I will be a godmommy and actually get to be at the baptism!  Hurray!  (Now to see how Christian handles Mommy and Daddy both being in the front of church for 5-ish minutes.  Help!)  But, I’m excited.  🙂  Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. — Matthew 19:14

Have you ever seen the episode of Seinfeld where George is trying to stay calmer by repeating the affirmation, “Serenity now,” in a calm voice during stressful situations and by the end of the show he is screaming, “SERENITY NOW!!!” If you know that episode, you would understand how I felt a couple of hours ago. Brian was at a rezoning meeting for some land that we are hoping to build on, so I was watching the kids. Things were going along and we hit the seven o’clock hour. Christian was getting pretty tired since he didn’t sleep so well last night and had some of his melatonin already, but he just started throwing things at me (like his shoes, full bottles of juice, books, etc.) all because I wouldn’t let him stand in the refrigerator and continuously rearrange everything inside. So, I was just trying to remain calm and give him a big bear hug, hoping the pressure would be relaxing to him. Not so much. Once I let him go, because he kept slapping me in the face, he ran around the table knocking over all of the chairs and making this VERY strange frustrated sound. I’ve never heard him make that noise before. Then he ran over and just plowed Olivia into the floor and when she started crying, pushed her down again. Ahh!!! So I comforted her and sat down on the floor between the two. Then the hitting of the mama started again, so back to the bear hug, which seemed to help for a few minutes, until Brian walked in and bam! – started right in with the slapping on the face. I put him in his room for a couple of minutes to give both of us a break. He was mad that he was in there, but seemed to calm down, so after the minutes were up I opened the door to find him running around with his pants off and piles of poop all over the floor again! (He did this same thing a week ago and yesterday pooped in the tub.) Ack! At least Brian was home, so he put Christian on the toilet to finish and then get cleaned up, while I armed myself with household cleaners, gloves, and a trash bag to clean his room. Yuck! (But I have to say that it was not nearly as bad as the last one in his room, which took two loads of laundry to clean up; and not nearly as bad as when he used to shmear it all over everything, including his mouth!!!) Now I know why he was acting out. He always gets a little more hard-to-handle before he has to have a big poop. He was hungry then and polished off two pieces of toast while falling asleep on the couch. What a night!!! (And yes, the first part of the rezoing passed. I guess that there is a second meeting in two weeks for a final voting.) I hope that everyone sleeps well tonight and that we don’t have any big poop mishaps tomorrow!

Yesterday was Olivia’s 2nd birthday already! It’s hard to believe it’s been that long already! She was very excited about her balloons and cake (i.e. she wanted cake for breakfast this morning). We had the special treat of pizza last night for supper. Both of the kids were talking about it all afternoon. It was quite yummy for something different! (Christian & Olivia both liked Christian’s special GFCF pizza – Olivia actually liked it better than the reg. pizza!) Overall she had a good birthday and seemed to enjoy her pink ball and purple beanbag chair.

Brian & I had a meeting with one of the guys from our modular home place this morning. That was pretty exciting! We were going through the catalogs and putting together our “dream” home. (Any bells and whistles we may like to price out even if we don’t get them.) It was pretty fun to pick out carpet, countertop, vinyl, cabinet, siding, shingles, etc. coloring and start to get an idea of what this home could possibly look like all pulled together. My head is trying to not let my heart become too optimistic about the whole thing, but what a relief it would be to be in a place of our own!!!

April is Autism Awareness Month – it has been interesting to watch all of the coverage on autism this week. (Like CNN devoted a whole day to it.) It is so interesting to me to watch all of this coverage now. I watch it hoping that I will learn about something new that I haven’t heard about before that we could try. I watch hoping to better understand what it is like to actually be the person with autism – just how scary and confusing the world must be to navigate through! I only wish that I could be in Christian’s head for a day so that I could understand things from his point of view once! It is so easy for me to pity myself and the things that I must go through everyday in dealing with his autism, but how one thousand times harder it must be for him! I was thinking to myself the other day, in the middle of him continually hitting me in the face because I wouldn’t let him hit Olivia because she was crying, anyway, I was thinking of the words that Jesus spoke about “turning the other cheek” and how that is just so applicable to that situation. Lots of times Christian’s frustration comes from a communication barrier or sensory overload. He is not just a brat who is looking for trouble. He just doesn’t know how to handle that situation in a way that most other people can. I struggle. It’s hard to know how to help him. How hard to push him. And how much is too much and how much of that is just way that God wishes him to be? I would love to have a future for him where he can live independently, but I don’t know for sure that will happen for him. That’s OK. I’d be happy for him either way. All I want is to be able to understand him better. To know what life is like for him, from his point-of-view. He is so fascinated by all of the things that the rest of us are too busy to notice in our daily lives. Yet he is also so frustrated that the people who love him the most can’t understand him and why things like reading that new book is so upsetting, why Olivia is crying is so loud, why a voice inflection in a certain manner starts an all-out hitting, screaming, kicking tantaum. I only wish that I could understand so that I could help him to learn to defuse these “horrible” situations before they come “the end of the world!”

I wish I knew too where all the other families in our church body were. I mean with autism happening in 1 out of 150 kids, there has to be so many other families affected by this disorder. How do they handle church? Do they go to church functions? Do their children go to Sunday School and how does that work out for them? What are different WELS churches doing to help our member who are struggling day-by-day with so many challenges that rip so many families apart? I’m just curious.

Anyway, just pondering these things today. Now another load of wash must be done!

My Sweet Baby,

What a rough day we’ve had!  My dear child, it pained me so much to really see you bleed for the first time tonight!  You were carrying around a regulation size volleyball in Daddy’s classroom tonight and walked right into one of the desks — hitting it face first with your nose and mouth.  You screamed and bled!  The noise of you hitting that desk still makes me squirm and the sound of your cry made my heart ache wanting to take away your pain.  I hope that you will feel better tomorrow and not have a big bruise on your face.  (There is quite a red mark under your nose right now!)

You were a bit of a bully at playgroup today — hitting, pushing, and throwing mini-tantrums when you couldn’t get what you wanted.  I hope that we can work on that and get you over it soon, especially your aggression towards others.  I’d hate to see that in you when you’re older.  You’re already too strong for your own good!  (I’ve noticed you’re more aggressive and whiny when you are tired.)

Sleep well, my child.  May God bless you as you sleep tonight!

All my love, Mommy