. With Love, From The Mother 'Hood: What I Know for Sure

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What I Know for Sure

"Cocoon" by Max, age 7

Here we go again.... Phone calls made, Early Intervention (EI) has done their intake interview (for the second time - Sam didn't qualify the first go 'round last year, because there wasn't enough of a delay) and now we are set up for another in-home Speech/Development evaluation in April. I am not freaking out over this - probably because I have been through it all before and it was so much worse with Max - we couldn't leave our house at this age with him (well, we could, but I often chose not to because of how difficult it all was - see previous blogs about that one - there is a reason I jokingly refer to him as "Linda Blair" in my writing), and because I have had suspicions that something was up for a long time with Sam, so it isn't as if I was blindsided. There are still hard days with Max, and although right now I don't know if we are looking at the dreaded "A" word with the baby, it is a strong possibility and at the very least we are looking at a speech delay (most of his communication is signing right now). Siblings of kids on the autism spectrum, as well as boys, have a higher chance of being diagnosed, so Sam has two checks against him. Add in the fact that two of our other children are diagnosed AD/HD and it is a no-brainer he will likely end up diagnosed with something. There have been some "soft" signs here and there, and some things are not on an autism checklist,.... things that make you go hmmmmm.....maybe.... - parents who have been through this know what I mean - later milestones, odd behaviors like staring at lights and windows, the sometimes blank stare, the way he has always done this thing with his thumb on my arm, or the newest - crawling on the floor with his head pressed to the ground (Max used to do this, too), and some signs that are harder to ignore - like his loss of the few words he had, and the fact that at 18 months he has no solid words, and usually only attempts words when I prompt him. This isn't meant to be a woe is me piece - There are things much worse than autism in this world (believe me, I am not saying it doesn't suck or make me sad to think of my baby boy being diagnosed, just that there are far more horrible things we could be dealing with), and I try to remind myself of that when I start feeling overwhelmed. The hubs often says to me, "This shouldn't be so hard", referring to all the shtuff with the kiddos - AD/HD, Autism, delays, depression, other health issues, and the piles of paperwork that comes with it all..... and he is right - it shouldn't be this hard - no couple sets out to have children thinking about these things, anticipating children who come with more paper work than a major corporation, but it is what it is, and our life is what we choose to make of it. We try to make it light and fun whenever possible and Marc is great at making me laugh (the zoloft doesn't hurt either).

To add to the fun, we recently adopted "Sushi", a Siamese/Snowshoe mix kitten into our family - A "Sweet Sixteen" gift to our oldest (hey, she has been asking for one for months and it was waaayyy cheaper than a car). Sushi is another strong personality, alternately affectionate and feisty (she fits right in with this crowd). In the past, we have not had good luck with cats - I have owned three others in my adult life, two of them with the hubs; the first two were pure evil and the third turned nasty when we moved to this house. Sushi, so far, is a love bug chatter box that acts part cat, part dog and part baby - she stands on her hind legs to get my attention, comes when I call her, follows me, tells me when she wants food, likes being held on her back and right now is snuggled on my chest as I write. The ultimate test - which she passes every time with flying colors - she doesn't make a peep when the baby grabs her and carries her around like a rag doll. This is a good cat. I know some think "Are you crazy?", adding to the chaos that is our life, but I always say it is a "good crazy". We are adding a puppy to the mix in a few weeks as well - I was hoping for a Boston Terrier, then was leaning towards a Pug after meeting my neighbor's sweet trio outside with our kids. They are a "sturdy breed" and "Good family dogs" from what I have read. "Sturdy" fits the bill in this household, but the hubs wasn't thrilled with the idea of a snorty, smushed face pooch (he gets major points because he would have let me get one anyway) and I want us both to be happy with our choice. We found an ad for West Highland White Terrier puppies, and he was a goner - he had one growing up, and after meeting the sweet mama of our puppy, I was hooked too. Names are still floating around for our little puppy girl (Lily and Sidney are at the top of our list) but I bet she will fit right in no matter her name along with "Swimmy, a.k.a. Lucky Bob" the fish that begs for food like a dog, "Patches O'Hoolihan" the hamster, "Stell-A!" the 10 year old golden retriever that thinks she is still a puppy, and "Sushi" the cat that isn't sure if she is cat, dog or baby.

So, here is what I know for sure - I love my life, and as hard as it all is I know the struggles my children bring to it have made me a better mom and person. AD/HD and Autism don't define my kids - my kids are each a tiny, different definition of what these challenges can look like, and it is only one small part of who they are as people. I have tried to stop asking "Why?" and try to ask "How?" - "How can I bring about positive change and make a difference?" Raising awareness and educating others is one thing I strive to do - Hopefully this blog is one small step in that direction as I share our view of life with autism . This life isn't always what we envisioned all those years ago before five kids, but from where I am sitting, it looks pretty good and I think I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I want to leave you with a link to a piece by Cammie McGovern called " A Different Kind of Happy Ending"

1 comment:

  1. I really love the painting and I completely love how you framed it. I swear it could sell in a gallery.

    I know what you mean when you say that you know there "there are far more horrible things we could be dealing with". I say that to myself every single day.

    It just doesn't make me feel better. I wish it did, because there is far worse we COULD be dealing with.


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