Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Interesting Updates

Let's see. I survived my week of solo parenting. I had a meltdown (yes, me, not my three-year-old son or son with autism) Saturday night when Hutton woke up while I was attempting to give him his b12 shot. I'd stayed up too late, and then I really just wanted to go to bed, but had to wait for him to fall asleep. Definite Calgon moment.

Sunday morning, though, I had a breakthrough. I slept late (that's one definite plus to my boys - they actually let me sleep in on weekends, though Hutton will usually come in the room 5 or 6 times to ask what time we're going to have breakfast. Yeah, bad mommy!) and when I got downstairs, Old Fergus had peed on his dog bed. Instead of my normal reaction, cursing and yelling, I started humming an upbeat song as I cleaned up the dog bed, stuffed it in the washing machine (thank you front loader! Best appliance purchase ever!) and wiped pee of the floor. As I hummed, I thought, "I am not going to change the fact that Fergus is old and incontinent by yelling at him. He can't control it, and I slept late, so if I'm going to be mad at anyone, it's myself."

Just thinking that seemed to flip a switch in my head. I realized the obvious, but just saying it to myself made it seem so monumental. I can't control the actions of others, or change things like aging dogs with poor bladder control, or cure autism instantaneously, and my prayers to a god I don't really believe in have not been realized in miracle cures. So, that's life. But, I can control my own attitude. (Well, some of the time.) If I choose to get mad about the life I've been given, that won't change things. It won't make the autism disappear, or make Fergus young again. It will probably just shorten my life, as I swear I feel like my 34-year-old heart it going to give out when I get really angry. (Yes, I'm going to see a doctor and have him check my heart, because I'm paranoid. Well, it's on the list. I have a doctor appointment tomorrow, but it's with Hutton's DAN doctor, so that doesn't really count, I guess!) I've thought before that I should figure out how to control my anger, and learn to walk away, but I usually have to yell a bit first. And feel my heart race.

But Sunday, as I hummed a song that I just made up, I didn't feel my heart race. I didn't feel steam trying to escape from my ears. I just calmly cleaned up the dog pee and got on with life. Calm. No yelling. Not even any angry sighing. What a concept! Who would have thought that I, an adult, could control my own emotions? And, of course, it reminds me of my handy little travel mug my friend Jen gave me: the Don't Worry, Be Happy! cup. I have the perfect thing to hum the next time I end up staying up too late or have to clean up dog pee.

Monday, the boys had "Tiny Tigers" class, their martial arts class. The first two classes, Hutton was not so good in the paying attention area, and anytime during stretches, his toes would end up in his mouth. The past two classes, however, he's done so well! He pays attention most of the time! He attempts the moves the instructor shows him! Last time he even answered when the instructor called roll! Wow!

Monday night, Hubby returned. Hallelujah! I let him give the boys their bath and put them to bed, after he prepared dinner. Aren't I nice to share like that?

Tuesday was soccer day for all of us. First up: Lil' Kickers for Harrison. The Soccer Mom (the non-obnoxious one) I mentioned here told me she'd taken her son in for an evaluation at Kindering Center, the local early intervention center. She said they didn't have the results yet. I nodded, and felt nervous. I really don't want to hear her son has autism. It's possible his behavior is from being a normal, exuberant 3-year-old who hasn't learned enough English yet to follow directions. I hope that's the case. We'll see.

Hutton's soccer class He was a bit better at listening this time (and he didn't put any cones on his head!) but was still quite spacey, and during the scrimmage at the end of the class, he didn't notice when the other team scored against him, twice, while he was standing in goal. Hmm. Maybe martial arts is more suited to him than team sports are.

My soccer game was short-playered, as usual. We had nine, but one player pulled a muscle soon after the game started, so we were down to our regular 8 on 11. The second half we forfeited in order to get the other team to loan us a player. That's fine -- we lose 3 - 0, but actually get to enjoy the second half. Our team motto is: We play for fun and exercise! It's a good motto to have when you win about one game a season. Of course, the games would be a lot more fun if we actually had a full team, but hey, with only eight players, you get a lot more exercise, as you can't sub out. Then again, I don't sprint as much, since I don't want to waste any precious energy. Eh.


Wednesday's interesting update: While making dinner, Harrison and I were chatting with Hubby. (Hutton was playing upstairs.) I mentioned that Hutton had a doctor appointment today, and Hubby asked which doctor it was with. I told him our DAN! doc, and he asked if we should go to a neurologist. I just shrugged and said, "I don't think a neurologist has anything new to offer." Hubby then said something that made it all finally click. All the questions as to why he seems to have lost interest in helping with the big autism issues. He said....drum roll....
"I don't think Hutton has autism."

Well really, it went like this. He said first, "Doesn't he need another evaluation? He hasn't had a neurologist evaluate him in over three years."

I said, "Why does he need another evaluation? He still has autism." And that's why Hubby dropped the, "I don't think Hutton has autism," bomb.

Silence.... as I took in what he said. And thought, that explains so much. Then I asked the next big question. "What do you think he has then?"

"I think his problem is asphyxiation at birth. Being born blue."

"So, brain damage is Hutton's problem."


I nodded and thought about this. I think being born blue, with the cord around his neck, didn't do Hutton any favors. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have autism. I think the blue baby thing loaded the gun, and the Hep B shot he got less than 24 hours later, pulled the trigger and started the chain of reactions to follow that would further push him into the world of autism. The colic, the ear infections, the eczema, the food allergies we discovered that made sense of the colic, ear infections and eczema, and then, the big A. Was it the "well baby" checkup we went to, when Hutton had eczema on his face and an ear infection, yet he was still "well" enough to get all of his shots? I don't know. There was not a definite regression. It was just that Hutton did not gain any more words to the few he spoke, and preferred to sign "more" to learning more words.

Interesting. Hutton doesn't have autism, according to Hubby. And none of his teachers, or speech therapists, or ABA therapists have noticed this. Wouldn't people who deal with children with autism as their career notice something? No, sorry Hubby, but Hutton was diagnosed with autism at 2 1/2, and he still has it. Is there a difference in Hubby's mind between autism and say, mental retardation or developmental delays because of brain damage at birth? Does the label mean anything, really? Aren't we still going to try to do everything possible to help Hutton, whether he has brain damage or has autism?

I don't know. I did mention to Hubby if he thinks that Hutton's problems stem from his birth, we should look into HBOT (hyperbaric oxygen therapy). He didn't shake his head, at least. I'll have to see if my friend who has a hyperbaric chamber will let us try it out. You never know.

Off to get ready for the big doctor appointment! Anyone want to place bets on whether Hutton has yeast? 2 to 1 odds. Just kidding.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

My Special Week

This has been a rough week. Hubby went out of town (to Vegas of all places, on business, of course!) Sunday evening. He came home Thursday night. And left again Friday morning, before any of us woke up. He'll be back on Tuesday, I think.

My beloved, Sirius, my superautomatic espresso machine, developed a leak last week. Well, he's had a slight leak before, but it got worse last week. I started to despair. I called a repair shop, but decided I didn't really want to spend $175 and lose my machine for over a week to have him fixed. More despair. But, then I channeled my late father, the engineer (no, not the train kind), and opened up Sirius. I found the special screw drivers in Hubby's tool box, then found a diagram of Sirius's inner workings online, then figured out he had a loose tube. I fixed it, but he was still leaking. I realized one of his plastic valves was cracked and leaking. I put some duct tape on it, and ordered a metal replacement part.

Let's see, in the meantime, Hubby left town, and I realized how hard it is to be a single mom, for even a few days at a time. Monday was fine. It was the first day of solo parenting. The boys did great in their new martial arts class Monday afternoon. This was the third class. The first two classes, Hutton didn't listen well, and during any stretches, he'd end up with his toes in his mouth, chewing on his toenails. Yeah, that's fun to watch. (Harrison, on the other hand, stood petrified during the first class, but started participating during the second one.) But, this Monday Hutton actually listened and attempted to follow the instructor! I had used the "if you listen in class, and don't chew on your toenails, you can call Daddy!" bribe. It worked! Phew!

However, Tuesday, that didn't work. Hutton had soccer in the afternoon, and didn't listen at all. He spent most of the class putting a cone on his head, then at the end of class stepped on some plastic floor markers after the instructor asked him not to, and Mommy was losing it. He didn't get to call Daddy, and I was annoyed and ready to get away. Fortunately, I got the name of a babysitter from one of my soccer teammates, and she came on Tuesday night so I could go play soccer. The babysitter said the boys were hyper, but fine, and mentioned they both laughed about Hutton's soccer cone experience. Hmm. But, I have a new babysitter! Unfortunately, she's a high school senior, so it's a not a long-term solution.

Wednesday, my new espresso machine valve arrived. I put it on, but forgot to put on a new pin and after I got everything put back together, I ran the hot water on the machine, and a tube came off, spilling water in the machine and causing it to shut off (some ground fault interrupter thing). Grrr. I couldn't get the machine to turn on again (yep, it's gone from "Sirius" to "the machine." See what happens when you mess with me!) I was in despair again.

Thursday, I plugged Sirius in. He powered on! Hallelujah! However, the coffee beans I'd added the day before were preventing me from putting the lid back on correctly, and without the lid on, I couldn't actually make a cup of coffee, so I waited until after getting the boys to school before tackling that issue. I had to dump out the beans, and clean them out of all the little crevices when they spread all over when I tried to dump them out, then put the lid on, then he finally worked. Of course, there are still some issues I need to figure out. His grounds are awfully damp, instead of the nice solid pucks he used to put out. Yeah, it is something I need to fix.

Thursday afternoon, we went to my friend's house and had a nice time in the sun. The sun came out, which was wonderful, after our gray April. The boys and I then went to get a new fish. Finn (really Finn 2, but the boys don't know that) died when I was out of town in Philly, so we got a replacement fish. Harrison calls his Carp. I call him Glub-Glub.

Thursday night Hubby returned. Hallelujah! He brought me all the chocolates that had been left on the pillows of two beds in his hotel room in Vegas, as well as the lovely smelly soap he didn't use from the hotel. What a guy! But then he screwed me (cough, er, cough) by leaving again before dawn on Friday. He's off to see Warren Buffett, along with 25,000 other people. And I get the dentist appointment with both boys. Lucky me.

After the dentist fiasco, we headed to the UW for Hutton's ABA appointment. The boys had a "playdate" which ended with Playdoh. Guess who ate some, after I told him specifically, "Do not put your fingers in your mouth! DO NOT EAT THE PLAYDOH!" Sigh. So, I reiterated to the boys as we left yet another appointment with Mommy in a bad mood, that I really needed the boys to listen to me, as I was barely getting by, and I brought up again how their teeth would fall out because they wouldn't let the dentist look at them, etc. I finished the day by napping on the couch while the boys watched TV. Classic mothering skills on display this week. Then, I made the boys pasta for dinner, while I had potato chips and a chocolate Easter bunny. One nice thing about not having Hubby in town: I don't have to cook for him.

So, I have a whole weekend to keep the boys entertained. Wish me luck!

The Dentist. Sigh.

The title pretty much sums this post up, but I'll elaborate.

I made an appointment for both of the boys to get their teeth cleaned. I thought I made it for Saturday morning (meaning tomorrow), but apparently I'd actually made it for today. So, after sleeping in, then taking a leisurely shower, I ran to get the phone at 10:05 a.m. It was the dentist's office. Were we on our way to the appointment? Uh. Crap.

The boys hadn't eaten breakfast yet, nor had I. They had had some strawberries they found in the fridge, but not real breakfast. Crap. I ran downstairs and made their breakfasts, then ran upstairs and got dressed. We ran out to the car and I sped to the dentist's office, only thirty minutes late! Go, Laura.

Hutton was first. The hygienist attempted to get x-rays of his teeth. Yeah, good luck with that. Hasn't happened yet, and didn't happen again today. Then, the cleaning. Two, yes, two teeth were polished. Then, Hutton started saying, "I want water." He didn't want the little tube, he wanted to drink from a cup. Then he wanted to use the bathroom. He kept grabbing the polishing wand, blah blah blah. Uh, let's try Harrison. He wouldn't get in the chair. The hygienist suggested he sit in my lap. Good idea! He's in my lap. But refuses to open his mouth. All the bribery of a new toothbrushes, balloons, and vending machine crap in the lobby didn't work. I left, dragging my children and their probably cavity-ridden teeth, behind me, and vowing next time their father would bring them.

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