Regression

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Memory is a funny thing. We tend to forget, push away and even change what’s happened to us and the way we keep those memories in our minds.

It’s been 3 years since we moved from Pennsylvania to Texas, and it’s been 2 years since we moved from the apartment into the house.

Twice, since the boys were diagnosed with Autism, we’ve had MAJOR changes for the boys to the point where there was regression. So, I knew it was going to be hard moving from the house into an apartment, but I knew I could deal with it, just like I have in the past… and besides… it’s one step closer to us being able to move to Colorado.

I remembered little things, like the boys having a hard time sleeping.
Being upset because of change in routine and not knowing what’s going on…
I remember being tired.
Remembered Justin having belly issues…
I remember fearing regression.
I mean, who wants to work REALLY hard, just to lose it all?
I remember crying to doctors asking them to find another way to treat my children because I was scared they’d regress because it would be such a shock to their systems > like having 6 people holding them down while they’re screaming bloody murder trying to draw blood…

It’s ironic just how much I forgot or pushed away until it all happened again, until I started seeing the changes and remembering why I was so scared. Maybe I pushed it away… maybe I chose to forget. Maybe it’s my underactive thyroid, stealing pieces of my life, my memory… gone unless I took pictures or something triggers the memories again.

So it’s no wonder why people who have never lived with someone who has regression or dealt with it personally, would shrug it off and say something like “he’ll almost definitely regress… but regression is better than death”. Which, don’t get me wrong… it is… but regression isn’t something to sneeze at either.

It’s anxiety over not knowing where you are or why you’re here.
It’s being scared because things are new and have changed and your routine, the thing that kept you safe and understanding and knowing of what’s to come so you could finally breath, is gone and you don’t know when it’s coming back.
It’s shaking… trying to figure out what’s going on, and not being able to sleep for days or even weeks because it’s not your room…

It doesn’t look the same.

It doesn’t smell the same…
…sound the same.
It’s not eating…
It’s getting stomach issues because you don’t feel comfortable going to the bathroom in a new place.
It’s losing language because your body and brain can’t focus on speaking when it’s so focused on it’s fight or flight instincts.

It’s crying at night, asking to “go home”.
It’s grinding your teeth and never being able to just be still… because you’re not comfortable in this new place that isn’t your home.

It’s not understanding the new rules or forgetting them… so instead of staying inside with your mom, you find a way out… and not know how to get back or ask for help or even realize what you’re doing is wrong or dangerous… and your neighbors find you, call the cops. Your mom, barely able to breath, crying her eyes out, scared to death and panicking, that she’d find you hit by a car. Looking everywhere for you because you don’t have any “usual spots” or “typical routes” to even start looking in, finally sees you and can bring you back home… collapses on the floor… sobbing… living through another of her worst nightmares.

It’s a Mom, sitting on the floor outside of their child’s room… bawling her eyes out.
Praying her kids will calm down and go to sleep… because she hasn’t slept in days and she’s exhausted.
Hoping that they stop screaming…
That the kid who was here just a couple weeks ago, would come back to her.
Dreading how much work it’ll take to get them back to where they were…
Where her kids listened and didn’t run away from her… They understood, stayed safe… and knew how to behave because of repetition and understanding of expectations.
Where she could breathe… could allow herself to drop her guard for a few minutes throughout a day because she knew they were safe.
Instead of living in constant fear… having heart attacks when she can’t see all three of her kids right away…. Slipping into a panic attack, thinking they got out of the apt again.. And this would be the time CPS would take them away or she would find them at the bottom of the pool, taken or hit by a car.

Regression isn’t just needing to relearn a few words or “two steps forward, one step back”… it’s like a reset button. And you never know exactly what it’s going to reset. It’s anxiety and fear. It’s sleepless nights and crying… lots and lots of crying.
It’s everything and anything that isn’t health or safety getting put on the back burner.

And it’s what we’re dealing with right now…

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‘Wait’

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‘Wait’

Until tonight, I didn’t know if Justin actually understood that word.

There are a lot of words I say that I’m not sure Justin actually understands, or between my gestures/body language and tone that he just assumes.
Or if I’m yelling for him to wait, that he turns to look just to see what I’m yelling about. lol

But tonight, we went for a walk around our block to look at the lights and talk about them on his AAC device.

We came up to a house with a projector.
It was making these little green lights show up on their house, lawn and trees.

I stopped because Justin stopped.
I figured he was just waiting for Tyler and I to catch up.

“Alright Justin. Let’s go?”
I held up his device so he could tell me let’s go.

But instead, he said: ‘Wait.’

I figured it was an accident… I had JUST added that word yesterday and only showed him when to use it a few times during our walk last night.

“Wait?”

He turned away from me and stood looking at the house.
He wasn’t leaving, so we waited.
After 20-30 seconds he picked up his device and said ‘Let’s go.’

And we continued our walk.

The Kreed Foundation is giving me moments like these.
Moments that I get to understand my son a little bit more.
Understand his likes.
Dislikes.
His understanding of words and actions.

Moments I might not have had, if it were left up to the school, for many years to come. When they said he was “ready”.

Moments that may seem so incredibly small.
But are truly huge for me and my son.

#JustinsVoice
#AAC
#Nonverbal
#TobiiDynavoxCompass
#TheKreedFoundation

Holiday Shopping List 2016

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It can be really hard to know what to get someone.
Let alone a child/teen/adult on the Autism spectrum, Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD or with Special Needs.

Use this list to find something perfect for your family member, friend or even yourself… and if you don’t find anything, maybe it’ll give you an idea.
Feel free to comment with your own awesome finds below, you might help someone else out! (Add links if you can! 😀 )

1: Weighted Blankets by Maddy’s Closet
She has more than just blankets… like vests, belts, stuffed animals and lap pads!
Her work is very neat and clean.
She’s an incredibly sweet woman with a very sweet little girl on the spectrum.
Check out her website:
http://www.memecloset.bigcartel.com/
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2: Therapy Swings by InYard.
They’ve got more than just Therapy Swings too now!
They have “snuggle huggles”, weighted blankets and chewie jewelry!
All three of my boys love our therapy swing. It helps with vestibular senses and helps calm their bodies providing a little hug around them.
Check out their website:
https://inyardproducts.com/
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3:  Personalized products Vinyl Expressions.
T-shirts, plates, ornaments, bows, wine glasses > for any holiday… and this is just the beginning!
Just ask and they’ll probably be able to customize.
Check out their website:
https://vinylexpressions.squarespace.com/
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4: Children’s Wallet Cards.
Educational, non-toxic and extremely durable plastic card sets for kids.
Numbers, letters, colors, facial expressions, transit and fake money.
I can attest to the fact that theses are very sturdy little cards.
Jaxson is a chewer and LOVES mouthing them.
They’ve held up much longer than any other product similar to them.
They’re bright and vibrant.
They’re cheap considering!
Great for therapists too.
Check out their website:
http://www.youguysaresoawesome.com/#home
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5: Autism awareness products by Journey to Jacob’s Ladder.
A Mom created a business for her son Jacob, who has autism, that will provide him with purposeful employment after he ages out of the school system.
He learns how to help make, prepare, ship and keep track of the products.
You should see his smile on payday!
Check out their Etsy store:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/Journey2JacobsLadder?ref=hdr_shop_menu
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6: Web ID for those who may wander from If I Need Help.
They’re a non-profit organization that provides Web ID and information for people who may be disoriented or lost when they’re alone or away from their care providers.
They come in patches, shoe tags, ID cards, dog tags, pins, clips and more.
When you buy any of those, you get a free member web ID so that if your child/teen/adult gets lost, the person who finds them will be able to contact you.
Check out their website:
https://ifineedhelp.org/
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7: Chewies and teethers from Chewigem USA.
Safe, non-toxic chewable jewelry that is designed to discreetly hide a need to chew. Great for oral/sensory seekers who need that input… much better than pens, straws or other things that weren’t designed to be chewed.
They’ve got pendants, tubes, rings, tags, bangles, cups, pillows, shoe laces and more.
Check out their website:
https://www.chewigemusa.com/
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8: Therapy tools from ARK Therapeutic.
Along with chewies, ARK also makes a lot of tools for speech, feeding, sensory, fine motor, and more. I’ve got a list of things I want to get from them to help Tyler. Specifically their Z-Vibe! But they have spoons, straws, chewie jewelry, cups and more.
Check out their website:
http://www.arktherapeutic.com/
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9: Soft headphones from Cozyphones
Super comfy headband headphones for sleep, sports and fun. It’s also washable!! These are the only headphones that Justin will leave on. They have a few different styles, and the speakers on the inside of the headband can be adjusted. Plus the cord, short of getting a pair of scissors out, are virtually indestructible.
Check out their website:
https://www.cozyphones.com/
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10: Fidget toy by FidgetWorks.
Fidgets to help cope with ADHD, ADD, Anxiety, Autism, Stress and more.
Check out their website at:
https://fidgetworks.com/
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11: Spinners by Fidget This.
Custom fidget spinners.
Check out their Etsy store here:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/FidgetThis#items
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12: Fidgieblocs.
Handmade fidget and focus toys for kids and adults.
Check out their Etsy shop at:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/Fidgieblocs
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13: Fidget Cube.
High-quality desk toy designed to help you focus. Fidget at work, in class, and at home in style. Fidget Cube has six sides. Each side features something to fidget with: Click. Glide. Flip. Breathe. Roll. Spin.
Buy one here:
Fidget Cube
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14: Fiddle links. 
Developed by hand therapists. Interlocking, rotating links that are excellent for building fine finger dexterity and exercising finger joints. Calming fidget stress toy is especially nice for teens-adults.
Get them here:
https://www.therapyshoppe.com/category/P1008-fiddlelinks-fidgeter
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15: NeoBalls.
>Not for children< If they mouth or chew, definitely not for them. I’d say these are more for adults and teens. But I want them, pretty badly! lol
Snap, pull, mold, squeeze, and construct an endless variety of shapes.
Buy them here:
NeoBalls – Incredibly Addicting Super Magnets
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16: Haircuts with Calming Clipper.
Sometimes practical gifts are the best gifts.
Haircuts can be challenging for someone with sensory sensitivities. Vibration and sound from an electric clipper can be too much to handle. These are a quiet alternative to the electric clipper!
Find them here:
http://calmingclipper.com/
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17: Calming Clothing Company.
Snug fitting cotton garment supplies the child with the much-needed sensory feedback.  That reassurance and body awareness, in turn, creates a calming effect.
Check them out here:
http://www.calmingclothingcompany.com/
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18: Weighted compression vests by Fun and Function.
Comfy, easy to use and helps kids quickly calm and focus.
Find them here:
https://funandfunction.com/weighted-compression-vest.html
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19: Autism Awareness by Ausome Artists
Handmade art keychains, bracelets, and magnets made by two Autistic little boys, with help from their Mom.
Check out our page here:
Facebook.com/AusomeArtists 
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20: Growing Up Aspie – A Comic By Nathan McConnell
A comic about the struggles/benefits of growing up with Aspergers in a neurotypical world.
Buy a copy here:
http://www.indyplanet.us/product/143702/
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21: Fidget Tangle toys.
Find them on amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Set-Tangle-Jr-Original-Fidget/dp/B0034EKP8Q/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1481211529&sr=8-2&keywords=tangle+toy
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22: Yoga ball
Great for Physical and Occupational Therapy or just for fun.
Helps build muscle and strengthen for people who have low muscle tone or for those who have too much energy and need to bounce on something. 😉
Find it on amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Anti-Burst-Slip-Resistant-Yoga/dp/B01GTB4MZ2/ref=sr_1_3?s=exercise-and-fitness&ie=UTF8&qid=1481211552&sr=1-3-spons&keywords=yoga+ball&psc=1
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23: Stability Wobble Cushion.
Great for core strengthening. Also great for people to sit on while doing work… it helps keep their bodies calm while their minds are active.
Find it on amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Stability-Cushion-Diameter-Balance-Included/dp/B007LX6MPG/ref=sr_1_3?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1481211593&sr=1-3&keywords=balance+disc
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24: EZ-PZ placemats.
Silicone placemat + plate/bowls that suction to the surface! Anyone with kids could use one of these.
http://ezpzfun.com/
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25: Uplifting Autism book from Autistic Not Weird.
Chris asked 150 autistic children and teenagers from all over the world one question: “what do you love most about life?”

Their answers are insightful, uplifting, and a beautiful window into the minds of young people who think differently (as well as helping to fight negative autism stereotypes!). This book could be the perfect gift for anyone pessimistic about autism or struggling with a diagnosis, or for anyone who’s interested in knowing how awesome the world is from an autistic perspective.”
Message their page for your copy!
https://www.facebook.com/autisticnotweird/

26: Autism Awareness by Autism Awareness Shop.
100% of profits are used to “Put Autism to Work”, their focus is vocational training and gainful employment for those with autism. Find things like car stickers, clothing, pens, jewelry, accessories and more.
Check out their website:
https://autismawarenessshop.org/
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27: Children’s book by Little Monkey, Be You.
A heartwarming story about being yourself
and knowing you are loved unconditionally.
Check out their website:
http://www.beyoukidsbooks.com/
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Or maybe you’re a group of adults who would rather give to a good cause instead of exchanging gifts.

1: The Kreed Foundation.
After their son passed away, Erin started the non-profit foundation to provide children, teens, and adults education and technology to those who don’t have a voice and need one. They’re raising money to help supply families with an AAC device AND help the family, therapists, teachers, etc learn and understand how to use it.
Because of them, my son Justin finally has a voice and is learning how to use it.
Check out their website:
http://www.thekreedfoundation.org/
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2: Special Books by Special Kids.
He travels the world creating videos with neurodiverse humans in hopes of promoting inclusion and acceptance.
His videos are absolutely amazing. He’s helping people and showing us all that no matter what we look like, what our “diagnosis” is or how we’re portrayed to the rest of the world, we’re really not all that different.
Check out his website:
http://www.specialbooksbyspecialkids.org/
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Thank you for checking out our #Holiday shopping list!
What did I miss?
What would you add?
What do your or your child/teen have on your wish/want list that you didn’t see here?
Do you have a friend who makes something you think would be a great addition?
Add it in the comments!

I HATE that phrase…

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Can I just get all of the boys doctors all in one room and everyone can tell me how to raise and feed my kids all at one time?
Being told over and over and over from different people who don’t actually KNOW my kids is getting EXTREMELY overwhelming… and annoying.

*sigh*
So, I blew up on one of the doctors at the Pediatrician’s office we go to today. They have many Doctors/Nurse Practitioners there… and he wasn’t the one we normally see, but was the one whom they set us up with to do his Health and Physical to be cleared for his Sedation Hearing test in two days.

I didn’t mean to.
I didn’t want to.
I tried to hold it in as much as I possibly could… but as soon as he said that phrase… I just couldn’t hold it in any more.

So he walks in.
Says hi… starts typing.
“And what are we seeing you guys for today?”

I explained.
He finished typing, grabbed some gloves and walked over to Jax.
He starts listening to his chest and the first thing he says… before asking me questions about how he eats or how often… he asks if he has been tested for >>whatever<<… I said no, I don’t know what that is.

“It’s >blah blah blah< when they can’t stop eating. They just eat and eat and eat.”

I was like… seriously?!
“He doesn’t eat a lot… or every often”
“Huh”
*keeps examining*
He asks me very vague questions about his eating… I explain he really only snacks.. Mostly crunchy carbs… cereal and veggie straws.

And again… without asking me why… without asking me what I’ve tried… without asking me if he has any actual issues with anything… he starts telling me about this little girl…

Who was “quite big” and only two.
And I’m just staring at him… NOT smiling… because I was pissed.
This was NOT why I was here… and I JUST got to listen to all this crap two weeks ago at his Eval.

He’s going on and on about eating… and all I can think was, Jax has been barely holding it together by this point. He just wants to leave…
Then he started explaining how you start with meat, and once they eat that THEN they get fruit… then they get juice or a cereal…. And you do that all day… and that little girl didn’t eat the whole day… (In my head I’m telling myself… stay calm… stay calm…. Don’t freak out. You’re almost out of here… just keep nodding).

Then he smiled at me… like he was trying to reassure me… and said “They’ll eat when they’re hungry. Don’t worry. He won’t starve!”

That phrase… THAT FREAKING PHRASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sure… some kids WILL eat if you hold out… they’ve been shown from an early age that they don’t “have” to eat what they don’t want to.

But for kids like mine… who will literally starve before eating something that they just can’t stand… it’s not going to happen. It doesn’t mean I don’t try and offer new foods… but forcing them… doing the whole “you’ll eat when you’re hungry” makes it worse… and makes them have an even worse attitude towards food. And it’s down right dangerous to offer that advice when you don’t know the kid. AT. FREAKING. ALL!!!

I couldn’t… I lasted as long as I could, and I blew up… I cried…

“I’ve tried that! I’ve got three Autistic kids with food aversions and sensory issues and I’ve tried that! It doesn’t work. What I’ve been doing has been working… when I tried that… it made it worse! I’m tired of getting crapped on about his weight every time I go to a doctor’s appointment!!”

Totally shocked… he back peddles “I’m not being harsh… I’m just trying to ask questions and find out… I don’t know anything about you guys… I’m just telling you what’s worked… trying to help.”

I wanted to yell: But you’re NOT asking… you’re TELLING!!!!

“I can’t feed him anything different until I know what’s wrong with him. He’s had issues since birth!! I’m trying my best!”

I explained more… Explained the tests we’ve done. Explained how I think he might have Celiac… that he gets severe diarrhea… that he screams when I give him different foods.

He stopped talking… finished the eval…
Jax and I both calmed down.

Then he starts telling me to not worry… that kids like this get better.
That kids on the spectrum just need positive parenting… and goes on about how to parent a child like him.

I internally rolled my eyes so hard.
FREAKING KIDDING ME!?!?! Is this the visit from hell????
NOW… NOW we’re not only telling me how to feed my child… you’re telling me how to raise him… without asking me how I do it…
UGHHHH

“I’ve got two other, older Autistic kids… I know what I’m doing.”
“You have two other Autistic kids? That’s uncommon.”

(soooooooooo you weren’t actually listening to me when I was upset… when I said I had three Autistic kids… do you think I was just kidding?!)

He finally left…
And I bawled my eyes out…
It’s been an hour and I’m still freaking crying over this crap.

I obsess…
I worry…
I stress…
I FREAK THE CRAP OUT about making sure I’m being the best possible parent for my kids… in all aspects. Teaching them, loving them, caring for them, disciplining them, feeding them, therapy, exercise….

And some guy… who hasn’t seen my son in 2 ½ years (he saw him at 2 weeks old), and for maybe 5 minutes, is giving me parenting advice.

I criticize myself enough on my own… I don’t need anyone else to do it for me.

Everyone is telling me what I need to do.
School tells me to work on this… therapists tell me to work on the areas they’re focused on… doctors tell me to focus on feeding and exercise…

What you all want me to do… and expect of me… is all “advice”…
I’m the parent!!!
I get to FREAKING choose for my children what is most important right now.
Plus…
I’ve got THREE Autistic kids who all have therapists and doctors telling me what they all need me to be focusing on…
There’s only one me… and I’m doing the best I can.

Especially considering I’ve got my own mental and physical health I’m trying to deal with.

*sigh*

I just needed to vent this out or I’d end up crying about it all day.
I planned on coming back to our page soon… but with all these doctors apts where I’m being beaten down… I don’t know when I’ll ever be mentally ready to come back… These migraines are killing me.

Anyway…  
I Love and appreciate you guys. ❤

Weight advice from a skinny chick

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Something I didn’t talk about when I posted about Jaxson’s evaluation was what the doctors had said about his weight.

Because I knew if I talked about it, I would have gotten upset and I wanted to be able to devote enough time to really write about it as I could.

After they asked about his learning, understanding, words, sensory, they asked about his eating habits.
And I’m sure that they look at him, chubby and look at me, Very Much overweight, and think that it’s obviously just me not having a healthy lifestyle.

“How’s his eating?”
*juggling Jaxson while trying to answer questions*

“It’s bad”

“Oh, he eats a lot?”

“No.” I said it like I had a bad taste in my mouth.

“He doesn’t eat a lot really, but his food preferences are very limited.”
I explained…

She responded,
“Because his height and weight is as high as it can go on the chart” > Looking disapprovingly.

“I know, but he’s also going to be 6’8’’… we don’t really go by charts that were made for people who were probably only going to get up to 6 foot. He’s going to grow differently.”

“Yes, but whether or not he’s going to be 6’8’’, he’s still a very big kid.”

That’s when I got upset.
There are two versions of me when I get upset… well, there’s starting to be a third now that I’ve been learning to help control my emotions and let go of issues…

But really… there are two.
There’s me telling you off in your face (that one was more me in my teenage years).

And there’s me crying.
Because it’s overwhelming… and It’s hard for me to express everything I want to say, and it’s hard to defend myself when I can’t remember everything or when I feel like I’m being personally attacked or someone I love is being attacked.  <–also when I have put myself in someone else’s shoes and feel they’re being attacked. Lol I cry a lot… which is why I guard myself and only allow people around me to be people who won’t hurt me or make me cry. I’m very selective of my friends. Which is why I have so very few.

So right then, I felt like my parenting choices and my child’s weight was being attacked.
Without asking me if I’d been to a GI or Nutritionist (which I have) or if I have gotten tests done (which I have) or WHY his diet is so limited… Or if I’ve tried feeding therapy (which I have) or tried tackling his sensory issues around his food issues (which I have)… she starts telling me that I need to watch his weight because essentially, he’s fat and he shouldn’t be.

So I started crying.
“I’m trying the best I can! He’s constantly moving. I keep him as active as I can and feed him as healthy as his diet allows me to!”

“I’m sorry! It’s just we get parents in here with big kids and they can’t control them, and I don’t want to see that wi…”

“My kids listen to me! I’m very strict and even if they don’t understand why I’m telling them to do something, they do it because they know they need to listen to me!”

“I’m just worried that he’s going to get stuck in this rut and not want to eat anything besides what he’s eating now. It’s a lot harder for them to expand their food preferences the older they get.”

>>
I calmed back down… we talked… and I went back to my nodding and smiling and playing along.
Because I HATE crying.
And I finally got back to the state I was able to keep control of my emotions again.

It just makes me SO angry when people look at me… then look at my kids… and assume we have a very unhealthy lifestyle because of our weight.
Despite having a negative perception of myself, I ALWAYS preach “as long as we’re active, and eating healthy, then our weight shouldn’t matter”.
It shouldn’t matter especially to anyone besides ourselves.

I’ve got medical reasons why I’m as heavy as I am… but that doesn’t mean I don’t walk a mile every day, plus exercise and try to eat as well as I can.

Oh, and I’m on the spectrum with food issues… my eating habits have actually improved since I was a kid so, maybe you shouldn’t generalize about something when everyone on the spectrum and everyone with SPD are different. I’m not a first-time mom let alone a first time Autism mom… I know better.

My heavier set two, are the ones who are constantly moving and walking around. I almost never see Justin sitting.
Tyler, the skinny one, who no one EVER gives me any crap about, is actually the least active and his eating is even worse than the other two. But because he “looks” healthy, no one cares… and I catch all kinds of crap about Justin and Jax because they’re fat.

You can be skinny and unhealthy.
You can be fat but healthy.

“You cannot be healthy and weigh that much.”
That’s funny because my blood sugar, blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol… hint otherwise.

Do I want to be fat? No.
Do I want my kids to be fat? No.

But I grew up in a “it’s okay, we’ll diet” type of environment.
Diets aren’t great for long term.
It’s also given me a horrible self image.
I hate the way I look.
Even when everything else is going good… I can look at myself and fall back into depression.
“Then why don’t you do something about it?”

I am.
Every day, I’m doing something about it.
Change doesn’t happen overnight.

And believe it or not, having other people tell me I’m fat won’t hurry that process along any. If anything, it makes it harder for me to lose weight because I get upset and sad. Kind of hard to work on yourself when you’re depressed.

And I’m DONE trying to lose weight quickly so I can finally love myself.
Because when I was at my thinnest, I hated myself then too.
I’m trying to love myself despite my weight.

I’ve learned that what you look like shouldn’t matter.
Your health is what matters.
Being active.
Eating as healthy as you can with whatever your issues with food are.
Drinking water…

Slow, steady, continuous progress is what’s going to give me a healthy life.
Not diets or (diet)pills or self loathing.

And you know what else?
I’m going to pound that in my childrens heads…
I’m going to fight and cry through every. freaking. appointment we have that they tell me that my kids are fat and need to lose weight.
Fight for them to understand that they are amazing the way they are… that as long as they’re doing the best they can, that’s all that FREAKING matters.

Because I don’t EVER want them to feel the way I do every time I look at myself in the mirror.

#FuckYourBeautyStandards

Don’t Pity Me

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Eye contact is not really a requirement in our house. At least not constantly, or even while I’m talking to them.
 
I do request it at times… usually I ask for it as a sign of acknowledgement or a show of love.
 
Usually the way I request it (or teach it to the boys), is the way I show it. If I tell the boys I love them or give them a kiss, I pick up their face to look at me first, smile and then give kisses or say “I love you”.
 
Or if the boys want something from me, if I’m busy I don’t look at them… (and I try not to make them wait for more than 30 seconds to a minute because then they just think I’m ignoring them and start pulling on me lol) then look at them in acknowledgement that I see their needs and that I’ll help them or get them what they’re asking for (Jax isn’t quite there yet, he just starts pulling lol)
 
It’s cute because Jax, who is my least eye contact giver will turn my face to look at him. Like “mom! pay attention to me!”
 
So with Jax, if we’re playing a finger song or an activity, I make sure that I stop singing or playing until he’s looking at me again.
 
If the older boys want something, they have to ask for it with PECs or with the AAC, then they look at me, it’s like them saying “please” or if I give it to them, they look at me after as a “thank you”.
 
I love this “language” we’ve created with each other… out of mutual respect and understanding (that and a LOT of process of elimination). Don’t get me wrong, I’m only human and don’t handle every situation well, and they’re still kids and don’t always listen to me.
 
But Justin was busy running around, doing his own thing… very serious… I stopped him, put his face in my hands and had him look at me. He’s got his serious face on… I smile huge and he can’t help but give me a huge smile too. Then I give him a kiss and he knows he’s done, so he can go off running again, but thsi time giggling and smiling.
 
I don’t know what my life would be like if I had “typical” kids… and as hard as our lives are sometimes with the lack of verbal communication or understanding… the GI issues, the aggression, regression, learning delays, whatever… as hard as it is for all of us some days… I have admit, sometimes I wonder if I would have this type of relationship, this closeness, this bond with them, if they didn’t rely on me so much. If they didn’t look to me as their interpreter (to help them understand others and for others to understand them)… Because we really do speak a different language than the rest of the world. One really, only we truly understand (most of the time lol).
 
I think about how many times people have given me the “pity” eyes because I have three non-verbal, Autistic boys… but sometimes, I think I’m the lucky one. My boys are loving, kind, friends with everyone, silly, goofy… don’t have a malicious bone in their body… they’re not prideful… they’re not greedy or envious… they don’t hurt others (intentionally) or make fun of others…
 
They’re generally happy and content.
They’re a little crazy, and a lot of work sometimes… life can be frustrating and difficult… but I mean, considering… I have been insanely blessed to have the children that I have. 🙂
 
#Grateful
#Autism
#ProudAutismMom
#DontPityMe

About Us

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940837_10204878306707019_8798256172160932114_n Hi! I’m Jenna. I’m a stay at home Mom. I went to school to be a cosmetologist but moved out of state very shortly after I got my license, so… I can’t actually work in a salon until I get my license for this state. But I like to try to do hair on the side at my house.

I diagnosed myself as an Aspie with ADHD after a lot of research, tests online and talking to other women on the spectrum. I’m also not great at organizing my thoughts so, excuse me if this is a little chaotic.
I also have Fibromyalgia, Migraines, Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, Depression and Anxiety.
I LOVE movies, books, photography, writing (really I collect hobbies) and I prefer being the goofball of any group.

We moved to Texas two and a half years ago from Pennsylvania, soon after their Dad got into a REALLY bad car accident (he was hit by a drunk driver). If you want to read about how it happened from both of our perspectives, you can read that here.

>>Update<< We’ll hopefully be moving to Colorado within the next two years because of  better Autism services/health coverage for me.

IMG_2489 Justin is 8 years old and is in a 2nd grade, Special-Education classroom. He LOVES his class and his teacher.

He was diagnosed with Hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s in July of 2016 (and we’re now working on getting him Gluten free), Type 1 Diabetes in August of 2013, and was diagnosed with Severe/Regressive/Nonverbal Autism in November of 2011.

Justin is completely non-verbal but has recently been given an AAC device from The Kreed Foundation and has been learning how to use his new voice!
He loves to wander… he can walk for hours on end. He LOVES being outside, playing with rocks, and water. Recently he’s been picking leaves off of trees.
He doesn’t really play with toys much at all, but loves to take his tablet (which gives him a LOT of comfort and joy) wherever he goes.
He is VERY sensory seeking. Loves weird textures, tight compressions, and heavy weights. He loves kids and babies but doesn’t quite understand how to play with them.
He also likes to line things up and rip paper.
He just started learning to mold plastic and he’s started to like to paint with his fingers again. 🙂

He CAN throw a ball like a champ, but he’ll only play “catch” for a couple minutes and then gets bored.
Justin is generally always happy and really chill.
He’s very rarely upset and usually is off doing his own thing.

IMG_1430Tyler is 7 years old. I pulled him out of public school to homeschool him at the end of Kindergarten because of anxiety, meltdowns, aggression and he completely stopped eating. He’s in 1st grade and may never go back to public school, but if he does, it’ll be when HE’S ready.

He was diagnosed with ADHD in July of 2014 and was diagnosed with Severe/Regressive/Nonverbal Autism in November of 2011.

Tyler finally started to mimic and script starting around 4. Just a word here and there. Mostly it was babbling.
It wasn’t until the last couple of weeks that he’s been mimicking and scripting like CRAZY. He’s even been able to label objects correctly by pointing and saying their name when shown the object or it’s picture. Which he hasn’t been able to do a LOT of until recently.
But, as much as he “talks”, he still can’t tell me what his needs and wants are verbally if it’s not on a PEC card or if he has a script to explain.
However, with his new AAC device from The Kreed Foundation, he’s learning how to use his new voice to be able to convey wants and needs instead of just repeating what someone else has said!
Tyler likes being inside.
As much as he loves being able to go outside, unlike Justin, Tyler isn’t much of a wanderer. He has to have a goal/purpose for doing something. He has a hard time going to a park and just playing. He likes knowing what he’s supposed to do in every situation rather than just winging it.
Tyler is my little collector. He collects all kinds of things and carries them around or lines them up in random places. Like Bananas.
In the last 8 months or so he’s started to fall in love with books and those are the things he’s collecting and lining up.

Tyler is a ball of energy that literally bounces all over the house. Actually, the only time I can tell he isn’t feeling well is when he’s holding still for too long. Tyler isn’t too into his brothers but I’m slowly working on helping him figure out how to play and interact with them, but he isn’t there quite yet.
Ty LOVES learning and his devices… he’s also my sensitive little dude.
He is extremely loving and affectionate, but can also be overwhelmed or upset easily. He seems to have anxiety… and when he gets upset, he gets aggressive, self-harms and hits his head off of things. Tyler also used to be my runner. But he’s gotten a lot better about learning how to handle situations and doesn’t bolt anymore (or at least very seldomly).

Tyler is also mostly sensory seeking with needing input… but he’s also very sensory sensitive. He doesn’t like to wear clothes or shoes and has severe food aversions.

Lastly, he also got glasses. He does not like wearing them, but we’re working on it.

IMG_1765 Jaxson is 2 1/2 years old… and was officially diagnosed with Moderate, Nonverbal Autism, and Global Developmental Delay in November of 2016.
He has a LOT of sensory needs and issues with foods and in general textures.
We’ve been battling GI issues almost since birth. He was on 6 different formulas, 3 different milks, swallow studies, has had CT scans and allergy tests, probiotics… but I still don’t know why he wakes up screaming at night if we feed him the wrong thing or too much of something. Or why he has diarrhea and yeast infections. I eventually figured out that he has a severe sensitivity to Gluten. Now gluten free, dairy free, on a good probiotic, he’s finally able to sleep through the night without screaming in pain. As long as he doesn’t get a hold of brother’s food with gluten in it.

He’s absolutely hilarious and a complete klutz like his Mom. Poor kid is always falling or hurting himself somehow. He is getting better though. He’s learning to take him time when he walks and to actually walk – rather than just RUN everywhere.
He’s like Tyler – he never walked – he runs!

He loves Daniel Tiger, Little Einsteins, Dora, The Backyardigans, Team Umizoomi – we have TV going in the background about 70% of the day…. that’s actually how Tyler learned to start mimicking. I use it as an educational tool, rather than just TV.

He loves mouthing and chewing on things.
Absolutely LOVES water, spinning and jumping!!
He’s a VERY sensory seeking little guy.
He’s just started getting into puzzles and books.
But Jax prefers to be running around outside like Justin.

I just got him a really cheap and very simplistic AAC app for $7 and within three days he’s been able to tell me he needs help! So he’s doing amazing already!

13620306_872509906188417_3772524328601734256_n This is Daisy. We got her in April of 2016, and I THINK she was about 2-3 months old. We’re not sure what she is… We rescued her from an abusive home. She was covered in fleas and ticks… Afraid of everything and anyone.
She’s come a LONG way in just a couple of months.
But she still has anxiety and she’s been harder to train because of it.
Eventually, once she calms down a bit and stops trying to jump up and chew on the kids, she’ll be their Emotional Support Animal.

I can tell the boys WANT to like her… but she’s just too spastic right now

She’s incredibly sweet and loving, but she just needs a little more time and patience.

We’re working on finding her a trainer to help her learn, but with her anxiety and abuse from her previous owners, I’m just not qualified to train her the way that she needs to be trained.

14881183_677867052379503_905370874_o Last but not least, this is Amelia. Our newest addition to our family and our emotional support animal. I decided to find a very calm and chill cat while we’re working on training Daisy. Two months after I decided to adopt a kitty we found her. After only 2 weeks, the boys have really warmed up to her and allowed her to get a lot closer to them than they have with Daisy. Because she so still in very calm around them.  They’re still not completely comfortable with her yet. But with the amount of progress they’ve made in the last few months, I have really high hopes that they’ll all be best friends eventually. 🙂