Thursday, October 27, 2011


I've been wanting to tell you about GL's transition to the public school, but I haven't had much time to write. One thing we insisted on in his IEP was that he start out with one class period per day and gradually work up to a full day. I'm sure he's capable of a full day, but he's not capable of making such a big transition all at once. He is now up to about a half day, but because of scheduling complications, he starts school at a different time every day of the week.

On top of that, his school has numerous late starts and early dismissals built into their calendar. There's a minimum of one late start and one early dismissal per month, but most months have more. October has many more. A late start can be a two hour delay or a three hour delay. A scheduled early dismissal is a half day. There was an unscheduled early dismissal in early October so students could pay their respects to a teacher who had been killed in a motorcycle accident. IIRC, school let out an hour and a half early that day. On the days they have a late start or early dismissal, all classes still meet, but the class periods are shortened. I have three pages of charts to read to figure out what time to take him to school and what time to pick him up each day.

Today, I misread the schedule. On Thursdays, he has only one class, which meets second period. We arrived at the same time as all the other students. I checked and found out that today was a two hour delay. There was no place we could hang out for an hour, so we had to walk back home, wait half an hour, and walk back to school. Naturally, this did not sit well with GL. He handled it admirably, but I'm sure we'll pay for it later.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall Cleaning

October is nearly over, and I hadn't started my Fall Cleaning yet. I always start with the windows because that's the task I dread most, and it has to be done before it gets too cold out. I did the big window in the living room today. That's the hardest one. All the other windows tilt in, so you can clean them from inside.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Sleep What?

I will be the first to admit that I've done some "odd" things in my sleep. Such as talking, laughing and waking Papa Bear to go check the baby (when we had not had a baby in years. Our youngest at the time was 8!). But last night takes the cake. I was having a very real & vivid dream about changing clothes in a very small department store dressing room. I was struggling to change blouses in a room so small I kept hitting the wall with my hand. It was too real, I found this out when I woke to go to the restroom & found myself just as God made me! O.K. laugh, I did. Now I want you to rat yourself or your mate out! Post in the comments the oddest thing you or someone in your family has done in their sleep. I can't wait to see if anyone can out "odd" the dressing room dream.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Oh, Happy Day!

Tonight Papa Bear & I will get the night off! A good friend of the family is coming over to give us a night of respite. I can't wait! We have been in need of some time off. We get 20 precious hours. We leave at 5:01 PM but I'm not counting the hours(5) or anything. Have a great day, we will.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

If I'd Only Known it Was This Easy!

Sunday, October 9, 2011


GL has always liked girls. And not just because many of the people, both professionals and volunteers, who assist him in enjoyable activities happen to be female. He has said about more than one therapist, "I like her because she's pretty."

I can't count the number of times one or more young ladies (who may not know him from Adam) have seen him looking sad or worried or distressed and come to his aid. But he is fourteen, and has the feelings common to teenage boys. After meeting with his teacher at Parent-Teacher Conferences (I'll blog about that later) we stopped by the office to pick up school pictures. The office was crowded, so I waited in the hall while GL and MB stood in line. A girl in line behind them recognized GL and tried to introduce him to two of her friends. I can't get over how friendly and polite the students from his school are. If I'm walking down the sidewalk on Main Street and a high school student I don't know is passing the other way, he or she will invariably offer a friendly greeting. He glanced at them, ran away, and stood in the corner. MB told him he didn't have to talk with them if he was uncomfortable; he could just say, "No thank you. I don't want to talk." and he did not have to stand in the corner. 

He came back, glanced at them again, and said, "No thank you. I don't want to talk." MB got the pictures and they left. 

A few days later, when he was relaxed enough to talk about it, he asked MB, "Remember when we got those pictures?"

She said, "Yes, were those girls making you uncomfortable?" 

He said, "They were trying to be nice to me, but all I could think about was boobies!"

He wanted to go to the Homecoming Dance last week. He had never been to a dance before, and I didn't know how he would handle the noise, the dim light possibly combined with flashing and/or colored lights, the crowd of students, or the social complexities, all in the unfamiliar gymnasium (he hasn't had P.E. yet) with hundreds of students he doesn't know, and possibly no one there he does know. I asked if anyone from his class were attending, and at that point, no one was.

My attitude toward new activities is to encourage him to try them if he is interested and to help him participate as fully as he can, but have an escape plan ready in case he needs it. I talked to the administration, and they said I could wait in the cafeteria so if he needed to leave, he wouldn't have to wait for a ride, we could just go. We bought him a ticket.

MB was worried about how he might respond if the dance were too much for him. She was also concerned that he might insist on dancing with someone without asking first, or even if she (or he) said no. In the next few days, he asked several times what he would do at the dance, and we told him there would be music, it would be very loud, but he could leave if it bothered him, he could dance to the music, and he could dance with someone, but only if they asked first. 

The dance was scheduled to start at GL's usual bedtime. His behaviors tend to come out if his meds are late, but his bedtime meds put him to sleep. MB was concerned that sensory overload might trigger a meltdown. Lately most of his meltdowns have been less physically intense; he mostly yells at people, but he keeps getting louder and more belligerent, and absolutely does not calm down without the right intervention. I pointed out that if he started yelling, no one would be able to hear him anyway, and if he started pounding on walls or slamming doors as he usually does when he begins to spiral out of control, I could still get him to the car pretty quickly, then medicate him and put him to bed. But in a new situation, you can never be 100% certain what GL will do. What if he pushed or hit someone? So I gave him his bedtime meds just as we headed out the door, but kept his PRN in reserve. 

I had made him change his clothes because, as usual, the ones he was wearing were covered with peanut butter. He selected his dinosaur shirt, the one he wore the first day of school, and a pair of jeans. When we got to the dance, I explained at the ticket table that this was his first dance, and I wasn't sure how he would handle it, but I would be waiting in the cafeteria if he needed me. He handed over his ticket and got a wristband, which I helped him put on. Then I showed him the cafeteria, told him he could come there and get me if he needed me, and sent him down the hall to the gym. My heart left my body and walked away from me.

I sat at a cafeteria table with my book and my earplugs. Even without the earplugs, I couldn't hear the music, but I could hear the beat. I was glad for my earplugs, not because of the music, but because of the noise the students were making in the cafeteria. The music in the gym was too loud to allow conversation, so whenever anyone had something to say, they would grab their friends and run down the hall and through the cafeteria doorway. The girls would all shriek, "I'm having such a good time!" and hug each other. The boys would goof around a bit, and they would all run out the other cafeteria doorway, and up the other hall to the gym. 

I managed to read a few pages. After fifteen minutes, I became uneasy. I hadn't expected him to last this long. Was he panicking somewhere? Would he stay for the whole dance? Almost exactly half an hour after we arrived, he returned to the cafeteria between two young ladies.

He looked dazed. They said they had found him standing in the corner by himself, looking worried. I asked him if he was having a good time. He said it was okay. I asked him if he wanted to dance some more. He said it was too loud. I asked him if he wanted to go home. He said he did. Both girls offered to dance with him. He didn't answer. I asked him if he'd like to dance with the girls. He said no, he was tired and wanted to go home. I thanked the girls, and we left.

As we passed the ticket table, I told the woman I'd talked to earlier that he had lasted half an hour, and that that was longer than I'd expected. I was just sharing the good news, but she offered a refund. Feeling a little awkward, I said she didn't have to, but it would be fine if she wanted to. She said it was only fair because he only got to stay half an hour, and handed me the door price. I told her we'd only paid the advance price, so I handed the money back. She ran back to the table, got the proper change, and refunded the advance price. I thanked her, and we walked out to the car. On the way home, GL said, "It was two times too loud."

I asked him if he would like to try going to another dance sometime if we could protect his ears. He thought he would, if he weren't so tired. I asked if he'd like to have some ice cream at home. He said he would. When we got home, he told MB, "It was too loud, I was too tired, and I thought Daddy was lost."

He went straight to bed, apparently forgetting all about the ice cream. And that's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all of the women are strong, all of the men are good-looking, and all of the children are above average.

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Another Example

Another example of uneven development: Yesterday GL was in his high school's Homecoming Parade. The first thing he wanted to do this morning was watch the stack of Baby Einstein DVDs he checked out from the library. Tonight, he's going to the Homecoming Dance.

He loves getting DVDs from the library, especially Disney, which I can understand. He also likes quite a few of the titles aimed at toddlers and preschoolers: Baby Einstein, Sesame Street (especially those featuring The Most Annoying Muppet Ever), Dora the Explorer, Bob the Builder, Caillou, Barney, ad nauseam. He likes comics and books about comics and cartoons, ranging from Mickey Mouse to Spider-Man, to Scooby-Doo, to politcal cartoons. Lately he has returned to board books. He has also developed an interest in books and videos about potty training, which I find odd, because this hasn't been an issue for him in years. Maybe it's his idea of bathroom humor?

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Friday, October 7, 2011


People on the Autism Spectrum tend to have uneven development. They may excel far beyond their peers in one area, yet lag far behind their general developmental level in another, while a skill you would assume they would have, given their development in other areas, may be missing entirely. These "holes" or "gaps" can give results on cognitive and social developmental tests that have been compared to Swiss cheese.

Before enrolling GL at the local high school this fall, we took him to his doctor for a checkup and to get the immunizations recommended for a high school freshman. In the exam room, a nurse set out a copy of the same developmental questionnaire we answer at all his checkups, the one for typically-developing 0-6 year olds. GL picked it up and began reading the questions aloud. The nurse said, "Maybe I should get the 6-12 year old form."

GL answered, "No, I still can't cross the street by myself."

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Prince came & it was sloppy.

Goldilocks likes to tell Mama to "be the Princess", which means to pretend to sleep so he can kiss me on the cheek to wake me up. We play this game all the time, but today he said "be the Princess", I laid down closed my eyes & waited. Then it happened he hit me with the biggest, wettest raspberry kiss I've ever had. My Prince is sloppy.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tru dat.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Goldilocks Relaxes after a Rough Day at School