Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The End of Summer

This is the final week of summer vacation for the boys (and me!). Next Tuesday, Hutton goes to first grade, and Harrison starts his pre-K class Wednesday. This week, I've been doing my best to sleep in, as I realize these lazy sleeping-in weekdays will be over soon.

Hutton turned SEVEN on Saturday! I can't believe I have a child that old. Well, then again, I just turned SOME AGE OVER 30 two Saturdays ago, so it's possible. Just amazing how time flies.

Monday, we went to see Wall-E again with my BFF and her kids. I really do love that movie.

Today, we headed to the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe. Yeehaw! Before hand, I got my name down on a wait-list to rent a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. The phone rang as I was walking out the door, and it was the hyperbaric rental folks! Yes, I convinced Hubby that we needed this, and he agreed. He didn't offer to buy one, however. He said, "OK, rent one for a month and we'll see how it goes." Hey, that's pretty good for Mr. Cynical. So, in October, we're supposed to have a chamber headed our way. Another Yeehaw!

We started our fair day out in a bad way, however. The boys had to use the bathroom as soon as we entered the fair gates. The women's room line was out the door, of course, and Harrison was grabbing his crotch and dancing. Hmm. I very, very stupidly told the boys to go together into the men's room, and then to "Come right out!" after peeing, and we'd wash hands in the women's room. I waited by the door, anxiously, as I started thinking, "Bad idea!" as soon as they boys walked into the men's room without me. Can you guess how that could have possibly gone wrong?

Of course, there was a back door to the bathrooms. Of course, Hutton went out the back door, Harrison went out the front, and when Hutton wasn't with him, I said, "Where's Hutton?" Hmm. My friend's husband went into the men's room. No Hutton. CRAP.

My friend went to the lost kids tent, while I grabbed Harrison's hand and started crying, thinking, "Why do I even bother to try to be normal? What the hell was I thinking that my boys could possibly go to the bathroom without something horrible happening?" Sigh.

A few minutes, that seemed like years, later, my friend received a call on her cell phone. They had Hutton in the lost kids tent. Phew.

When we got there, Hutton was happy to see us, and laughingly told me how he got lost. Glad someone enjoyed it!

Afterward, the rest of the day went well. We spent too much money riding kiddie rides, though the boys and I also went on the Ferris Wheel, which was the highlight of the day for me. We saw some dogs being shown, and toured the barns of various livestock. We ate crappy food, and the boys won some crappy little stuffed animals, but they enjoyed themselves, and we managed to leave with the same number of people as we arrived with, barely.

So, a little reminder to myself that Hutton is not at the stage yet where he can be trusted in a public restroom by himself. It was very stupid of me to believe he was there yet, but lesson learned. However, this time he didn't run off, like he did the last time I lost him (spring of '07 at a birthday party). He simply went out the wrong door, probably following someone else out. Eh. I guess that's some progress.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What a Great Idea!

And for once, I'm not being sarcastic!

Surf on over to Lend 4 Health, a site where you can loan a family money to help them cover the costs of various autism treatments!

I'm going to loan money, but first I have to try to get Hubby to agree to loan me "our money" to buy a hyperbaric chamber so we can start HBOT treatment with Hutton. Think he'll go for it?! I brought it up over dinner (and wine) Saturday, when Hubby once again said that Hutton has brain damage from birth, not autism. (OK, sure sweetie. All of those doctors and therapists are wrong. It looks like a duck and walks like a duck, but it's really a...platypus?) I pointed out that HBOT is a promising new treatment for autism, as well as for, uh, brain damage from birth. We'll see. When I saw the numbers, I realized a hyperbaric chamber ain't exactly something I'm going to cover with a couple of coffee mystery shops, though. Hubby doesn't really drive his car much these days. He usually takes the bus. I'd much rather have a hyperbaric chamber, I think! Somehow I don't think Hubby would agree. We shall see...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Slacker Blogger

Yes, once again, I've let several weeks go by without blogging. Oh well.

Let's see, Harrison has had his second session of swim lessons the past two weeks. Hutton wasn't able to repeat his class, as there wasn't an opening, so instead he went to the playground with me instead of clinging tightly to his swim instructor. Yeah, Hutton wasn't willing to float in the water during his lessons. Needless to say, there will be private lessons in his future.

Last month, during the second week of classes, Harrison got a report card, saying that he was doing fine in the class, but wouldn't bob his head under the water, and in order to move up to the preschool 2 class, he had to bob his head three times. I told him this, and he was quite indignant, claiming he had bobbed his head under twice, and could do it three times. OK, great! So, when we received the report card from this month's classes, guess what it said? If you said, "Harrison didn't do the bobs again!" you're correct! Arrgh. I asked him about it after class, and this time he didn't bother with false indignation, and just said, "I don't want to get water up my nose." All right.

Later, while watching some Olympic swimming, I pointed out to Harrison that all of the swimmers were putting their heads under the water. Hmm. I pointed out to Hutton that all of the swimmers could probably float in the water before they learned to swim, too. Well, we have more swim lessons in our future, I guess, if I want one of my boys to be the next Michael Phelps. Ha.


On Monday, after leaving the pool after Harrison's class, I drove by this bear statue in downtown Kirkland. The sun was shining down through the open sunroof of the car, and I just got this feeling of...not really enlightenment, but along those lines. It was a sense that everything would be all right with Hutton. He's had a pretty good summer. He and Harrison have been playing very well together, though of course, they have their "brotherly moments" meaning there's is violent fighting over Xbox controllers, etc.

But, Tuesday, my sense of not-really-enlightenment was tempered a bit when Hubby and I took the boys to the UW to participate in a scientific study on Autism. Now, I don't really feel that "Science" has given us too much in the autism world, so far. At least mainstream science, or the scientists who seem to believe that autism is solely caused by genetics. But, this study was interesting, in that it involves families with one child affected by autism, and one or more children without autism, as well as neurotypical parents. So, since my family fits that mold, and I saw the poster about the study at the UW, I figured, what the heck. (Plus, the fact that they were going to pay us $250 for a few hours of our time and a little blood didn't hurt!) But really, I figured I'll do my part for science, but didn't expect much from science in return.

When I filled out the paperwork, there was a clear statement that by participating in this study, there really was not anything that would be offered for your child with autism, but this was to help future generations. Hmm. We'll see.

So, I entered the study with my normal degree of skepticism. We showed up at the UW and soon were being weighed and photographed, as well as having our heads measured. Then, we split up. Hubby and Harrison went to get blood samples drawn, and were then free to entertain themselves for the next two hours, whereas I went off to answer questions about Hutton's social, speech, and motor skills, and autistic behaviors for two hours, and Hutton got to play various games and answer questions for two hours. I finished my questions early, and went to sit in and watch Hutton on a monitor for the last twenty minutes or so of his interview.

Let me say, this was just odd. I know from previous testing done by a school psychologist that Hutton doesn't do well in these interview situations. He gets bored, and doesn't really enjoy answering questions or chatting for two hours. I watched him, as the interviewer asked him to tell her a story based on some pictures, show her how to wash his face at the imaginary sink she showed him on the table in front of him, then asked him questions about his friends, family and school.

Question: "Who are your friends, Hutton?" Answer: "Mommy, Daddy and Harrison!"
Question: "Do you have a girlfriend?" WTF? He's 6, and has autism!
Answer: "Amy!" Hey, pretty good!
"Is Amy in your class?"
"She's in my pony class!" She's my friend's daughter, but they did, in fact take a pony class together.
"Do you want to marry Amy?" Again, WTF? He's 6! I don't think he even knows what marry means.
"Yeah." I noticed Hutton answered yes or yeah to many things that I didn't think he understood.
"What do you think is good about being married?" Super duper WTF!
No answer. "What do you think is hard about being married?" Again, no answer, or yeah. Can't remember.
Finally moving beyond marriage questions for the almost 7-year-old boy, who of course, is highly marriage focused. What 7-year-old boy isn't?
"Are you bullied at school?" Yeah, I'm really sure Hutton has any idea of what bullying is.
"Yeah." Call CPS, stat!
"Do people make fun of you?"
"Yeah." Hutton has never hear the terms bully from me, and I've talked about being mean, but not "making fun of."
"What makes you angry?"
"I'm happy!"
"What does it feel like when you're angry?"
No answer.
"What does you feel like inside your body when you're angry?"
"My brain is inside my body!"
"What makes you sad?"
"Be happy!"
"What does it feel like inside your body when you're sad?"

You get the idea. Oh, and throw in Hutton asking what time they were going to turn off the lights every other question, and looking at the various video cameras and asking when they were going to turn them off. At one point, another researcher mentioned that because of Hutton's high vocabulary, they gave him the questionnaire for older kids. OK, you can see how well that worked. I have no idea what the first hour and a half were like, but based on what I saw, he may as well have answered, "I like tacos!" to every question.

Afterwards, Hutton and I left together, and he asked again when they were going to turn off the lights, and I figured out it was because they were overhead florescent lights, and those tend to annoy Hutton, and he hadn't spent a lot of time under florescent lighting all summer.

We then went for the blood draw. Hutton has had blood drawn before for medical tests, but this time he wasn't going for it. They managed to get the three vials, and he got a lovely SpongeBob bandage, plus a big doggie sticker, and some juice. He looked pale and sweaty, though, so we waited a few minutes before leaving, and I told Hutton how strong and brave he was.

So, that was our contribution to science.

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