Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Completely Content :)

When Austin was around 10 months old, he was sitting on the floor playing by himself.  My mother just happened to be over that day and said "I have never seen a baby so content to play all alone like that."  I remember stopping and turning my head towards Austin and looking at him, with his toys, playing and smiling.  I didn't think anything was wrong by the way he was playing.  Although, the fact that my mother had been around a lot of children and had said this, should have made my hair stand up on my neck like a startled porcupine!  (It does today when I look back.)  Of course, I told her, which was the truth, I rarely played with Austin because my mother in-law would give me a hard time.  She would say, he was happy playing alone and to leave him be, over and over again.  (You see, her son, my husband, was a needy baby to her.  She always had to play with him, it made him happy.  Funny how children can be that way! lol!)  I blamed myself when Austin's social skills started to be questioned later on and I figured if I had played with him more, he would have interacted better with other children.  I sobbed telling Austin's first speech therapist this one day.  It was tough.  I really thought it was all my fault.

I think of my mother saying what she did to me that day.  I can still see the look on her face, just like it was yesterday.  It will never go away.  I didn't pay the attention I should have then, even though I thought it was an odd thing for her to say.  I was a first time mother, and of course, I dismissed things easily.  Right Tink? ;)

Stay tuned, more time warp posts to come!  *HUGS*


Max said...

Ok so here goes the water works again from me!!! I relate so well to you and your uniquely wonderful Austin! I have had the same heart sobbing feeling and thoughts and wondered the same thing for a long time. I too was told to let him play on his own because he was content, and what did I know he WAS being good and I WAS a new Mommy. Everyone in the family was amazed that he could look at books for hours by himself at just 14 months old. I thought, hmm I must be raising a scholar. Then as he got older and started having other kids around at family gatherings and such, I noticed well he doesn't really want to play with the other kids, or even attempt to do the things they are doing. That was a big reality check. I started to blame myself. I mean I had tried to play with him and I did read to him and play active games, but direct social connection games he just wasn't interested in so I didn't push him. Affter many meetings with Ethan's therapists and pyschologists I finally learned that it's NOT ANYONES Fault. It really doesn't matter how many times you hear that it's not your fault, as a mommy you still feel some tinge of guilt over it. The important thing is that we are tenacious when it comes to addressing the issues they face today and demand better therapy to help them become all they can be. Who knows with their extrodinary sensory issues they could becaome the next famous artist or in my little one's case singer, because he truely feels the music in everything he does :)

You're a wonderful and extrodinary mother and Austin is so lucky to have you fighting for him everyday. Keep up the great job you are doing with him!!

Best Wishes!! Happy Holidays,


Mommie That Gets It said...

Dear Becky,

I cannot believe how similar our experiences are when it comes to our wonderful little boys. :)

I tried all different things too. My son would "parallel play". (A term that I came to dread!) He would play with children later on but not the same as the other kids, you know what I mean ... ;)

Sounds to me like Ethan is an awesome little boy! He has a wonderful Mommy from what I can see. Good for you hon! I am so proud of you. I know that it is not easy. You are doing a great job! *HUGS*

Yes, tears filled my eyes as I read your story. It is like we have walked the exact same road. I appreciate all your understanding and support!

Thank you so much for all your kind words Becky. I think you are wonderful. :) Keep up the great job too (I know you will.)


Victoria said...

I'm trying to slow down on my commenting as I read through because I'm sure by now you're tired of me and my "Oh my gosh! I can relate!" comments. But, one more: Oh my gosh, I can relate! In all seriousness, I could have written this one. Little Froggy was the same way and everyone said it was a good thing, that she was just independent and was content with her own company. Then, one day it hit me that she just wasn't interested in other kids and the guilt hit me. I had let her play alone and it was all my fault. Then the language delay became obvious and I blamed myself for that too. If only I'd talked to her more... My sweet husband reminded me over and over that I talked plenty to her when she came to me wanting attention but that it served no purpose to talk to her when she wanted time alone--she would have simply ignored me. Hard, hard times to think back on. And we're still not completely gone from them.

I have two questions for you: Since you've made it clear that time out doesn't work with him, what do you do? We're in the same boat (time out makes her hysterical) and have found no solutions. Also, does he tell you what's bothering him when he gets upset? That's something we're battling with and it really has my husband down.

Mommie that Gets It said...

Hi Victoria,

No need to slow down. I love your comments and invite you to keep them coming. Thank you so very much for commenting and sharing your experiences! I really appreciate it very, very much! *HUGS* :)

We certainly have a lot in common! I totally feel you, it is tough looking back and as Mothers, we blame ourselves even though we shouldn't. Your a wonderful Mother Victoria. You put Little Froggy first and want to help her as much as you can, I think your TERRIFIC! *BIG HUGS* for you because I know there are days or nights you probably sob uncontrollably from the pain that you feel you could have done something different. You could not, you have and are doing your best and that is all we can do. It is very hard, very hard and brings me to tears as I type this to you to as I remember and feel the guilt that I did and still do somedays. Placing fault on myself, I just did not know that there was an issue. Sometimes that "Mommie Guilt" still sets in ... *HUGS* for you! It will be okay, it will. :)

Okay, "currency" is what works for me. I got this tip from my friend "Tink". Whatever she likes to play with the most, with Austin, it is his Wii or iPad now but at 4 years old, it would have been his Leapster. If she can understand that the toy will be taken away, I would go that route. A 1, 2, 3 count is what I use for Austin and at 3, the Wii or iPad will be taken for a day or two. Rarely to I ever make it to 3 these days but there are some where he is much more argumentative (that is part of his development, a good sign but you need a lot of patience to deal with it) so the more he argues he gets a warning. If his Wii is taken for a day and he continues to yell at me or argue, the days increase, he eventually stops ... the average take-away time these days is about 3 days. The good news is, at around 4 to 5 years old, he rarely argued and usually only lost his toy or game for a day.

Boy, that's a tough one. Austin still doesn't express his emotions 100% and some days it is a challenge to know what he means. This is when the meltdowns surface. Like French class, it took hours of crying and hysterics (off and on) before he finally told me what was going on. I know it is so, so tough. You have to have lots and lots of patience and stay really calm. We had another issue the other day when he told me a "mean boy" pushed him and hit him (he came home with scratches and a bruise on him). The school brought it to my attention but they did not know how it happened. I found out on the next school day that 3 boys had pushed him down the slide and were punished for it. One of the other aides saw it happen but did not relate the story to anyone. So you see, Austin's story and what happened vary. It is a challenge we still face too. The thing I can tell you is, as she gets older and develops more, the less this will happen. I totally understand your husband, my husband can get down about this behaviour to. Reassure him that things will get better.

Can I ask you a question, do you find she reacts to certain foods?

All the best!

*HUGS* :) Heather

Victoria said...

Thank you SO MUCH for this advice. I'm going to relay it to her daddy. Actually, I'm tempted to tie him to the chair and make him read through your whole blog too. I think your discipline advice will really help us out.

It's so comforting to hear that it does get better. As an example for us right now, she hasn't wanted to sleep in her room at night for a while now. Each time we think we figure it out something about it changes. For a while she would pull the covers over her head, pull her froggies under with her, and turn on her flash light. She wouldn't tell us what she was scared of but her daddy figured it out once she invited him into her "Charlotte House" and answered his question ("What are you afraid of?") by flicking her flashlight on and off. He figured out she's afraid of the dark, so we addressed that. And now I think it's a separation thing. You know at the beginning of Finding Nemo, where Marlin "falls asleep" and when he wakes up, Coral is gone? Charlotte has really taken that to heart. We think it's why she won't sleep without one of us. But there's so many times where something is upsetting her or she wants something and she just won't tell us what's going on. It really gets to me but her daddy... I think it just breaks his heart.

Thank you so much again. I can't tell you how much better it makes me feel to hear that it DOES get better and that this is just one step in the process. It's one thing to read it in some article by an expert but it's so much more real to hear it from another parent.

Victoria said...

Oh, and I forgot to add... I'm still fairly new to this so until you mentioned it I'd never considered that some foods might make her act a certain way. I mean, I watch the sugar and caffeine (she and her daddy think I don't notice those sips from his Coke cup) but it never really occurred to me that some might be problematic (beyond allergies, of course). Can you give an example?

Mommie that Gets It said...

Hi Victoria,

You are so welcome! :) I hope that it helps. :)

I do not want to promote this but I do it myself, if Austin is having a really hard time, I give him a cuddle in my bed and then we can move him into his once he is asleep. The choice is yours and I know people say it is not a "good thing to do" but they are usually parents to typical kids and I think all kids are different, typical or not and they each need something different from us. You can try or not, just a suggestion and more like a last resort option. Good luck! :)

OMG! That is a GREAT sign she gets the part about Marlin! WONDERFUL! Not that she is scared, don't get me wrong, but an excellent sign of development. My daughter, before she was even 2 years old, used to cry during Toy Story 2 when Jessie's owner left her under the bed and she had no one to play with her ... she was "alone" and "lonely". This made my daughter very "sad" and she would cry. I could not believe it because Austin is just starting to grasp this stuff now and does not always get it. So it is a good sign that she tunes into these things.

Have you looked into flash cards and things like that for kids on the spectrum? They have all sorts of visual things that can help until Little Froggy develops enough to tell you herself.

I totally understand and I am so sorry for both of you. *HUGS*

You're very welcome and thank you again! I have a picture of Austin's drawings that I will send to you. You will see the dramatic change in just one year! It is inspiring, promise!

So happy you are finding the blog helpful. :)

All the best!

*HUGS* :) Heather

Mommie that Gets It said...

Hi Victoria,

I know that Austin reacts to certain dyes and sugar. I can let him have Lucky Charms but not Fruit Loops. I can give him natural peanut butter but not regular store bought peanut butter. Apple juice makes him bounce off the walls but not orange juice. Cheesies are a big "No-No" for him as well. Certain foods, I cannot explain it, (some people think it is the dyes and preservatives in the foods) make him really wound up! You'll see over time and soon she will be able to tell you what she reacts to and what she doesn't. Austin has only recently been able to do this. (Mind you, he still begs me to let him eat Fruit Loops! LOL!)

I know people have tried a gluten-free and casein-free diet with their spectrum children and have had success with it. I have read that 40% of spectrum children have improved behaviour, sensory and verbal skills on this diet. I have not tried it with Austin (he barely eats anything and is just starting to try more foods, so I have not tried it myself). Does Little Froggy have any allergies that you know of?

All the best!

*HUGS* :) Heather