Saturday, January 29, 2011

Give Credit Where "Credits" are Due

Time warp time! :)

Since Austin was an infant, he has loved TV.  Even at a few months old he would sit in his little swing and watch Baby Einstein.  People would say not to let him do that and others encouraged me since he was quiet and content.  Now, we did not plant him there all day or anything but he would happily sit and watch the DVD once or twice.  What harm could it do?  He loved the puppets and music, so I figured, why not?

Once Austin got a little older, he started to watch Pixar movies.  He really liked Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo and Toy Story.  The interesting thing was, he really liked to watch the end credits.  At the time I thought it was the music he liked because he would dance and try to sing.  The older he got, the more he would skip through the movie to get to the end.  Once the credits started, he was captivated.  (Believe it or not, this is how I think he started to read.  Yes, he started to read single words at 3 years old.  Now he can read books!)  I really had no idea at the time why he was so interested in the end credits.  Even when people said to me that they thought it was odd, I really didn't because he did not seem obsessed or anything, just happy to watch the words go buy and expressed which songs he liked and didn't.  Nothing to worry about right?  Well, maybe ... at least in this case.

Sitting where I am now, I truly believe Austin was enticed by all those letters on the screen.  He could decifer the alphabet really early on and love letters and numbers.  I think that the simplicity of it calmed him in someway.  As a toddler, he rarely sat still to watch an entire movie, until the end credits started to roll.  It put a whole new spin on "zoning out" for me.  Once the DVD was finished, he would start it all over again and skip through the movie to get to the credits.  (He never got upset though when we turned it off.)  I guess his favourite part was trying to figure out who was responsible for Woody's hair and make-up ... ;)

*HUGS* to everyone!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Playgroup Pandemonium!

Once again, let's "time warp" ... :)

I used to take Austin to playgroup around the time he was 18 months old.  I met up with another mother and we became chummy.  She introduced me to our local playgroup and we took the kids once a week.  There were maybe five kids and four of them were boys.  The group was pretty small but Austin stood out even then.  He never played with any of the other children, beside yes, but not directly with them.  I remember one of the father's telling me not to worry, his son was pretty independent too ... yeah, but his son would offer my son trucks, food, a hug, you name it!  Austin would look at him like he was from another planet and walk away!  :(

Snack time was worse!  Austin went from eating everything, to eating nothing!  I would have to bring his own snack just so he would eat!  Mind you, that is if I could get him to sit more than 10 seconds ... it was truly discouraging.  I thought that I was not strict enough or my son did not have enough structure ... I was convinced that I had no idea what I was doing.  Looking around and seeing all the other children sitting at the snack table ... happy, eating, patient ... meanwhile, I am doing laps around the table chasing Austin.  Oh, those were the days! 

The doors at playgroup.  They were another issue.  Austin would go out the doors and want to get down the stairs, so we would bolt the doors.  Bolted doors and the other parents arriving could not get in with the kids.  You can't imagine how many times I had to explain to new parents or drop-ins that my son was a Houdini enthusiast! ;)  I mean it, you could not take you eyes off of Austin when he was young ... scary looking back.  I am glad I was so in tune to his behaviour and protected him everywhere we went.  I am so grateful for that.

Playtime was like more like track!  Austin would run up and down the hallways, he would bounce off the walls!  It was nuts!  He would always get sick too.  I decided not to take him anymore, so we took a break for a while.  I returned when Austin was almost a year older (I was pregnant with Kaleigh),  expecting a different reaction, it wasn't so different.  He did play a bit with other children but only the ones that ran or played chase.  He played a lot with one boy who was just like Austin.  His mother said she had never met another boy like her son and was happy Austin was like him.  (If she only knew!)  Anyway, she expressed how the other parents made comments about her son and how it affected her.  We sort of bonded together and let the boys play the way they played ... differently.  Unfortunately, she moved away and I did not get to see her again.  Needless to say, Austin's behaviour kept up so I decided, no more playgroup.  It was a good decision.

When I look back, I know it is because Austin was so stimulated by this environment and just didn't know how to play with other kids ... he is doing so much better today and it is wonderful. :)  I am grateful to the mother who first brought me to playgroup (although we do not see each other anymore) and very grateful to others like the Maven (she always supported Austin even though he was a little different and still does ... thanks hon ox!) and of course, Kit (she was there early on when no one else was and she still stands by my and Austin's side ... thanks sweet girl ox)!

*HUGS* to everyone!  :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Time-out by the Tens!

Since I am such a Rocky Horror fan ... let's "Time Warp" shall we?  Great! :)

When Austin was a toddler, I used to put him in time-out as a method of discipline.  The thing with Austin was, you could put him in time-out, after time-out, after time-out and still get the same result ... nada, nothing ... it would not change his behaviour, frustrating to say the least.  I am still baffled looking back now, how I had the patience to deal with this time and time again.  Oh well, I should not question and just be grateful.

I did not think, at the time, that wearing holes in my carpet hallway from all the walking back and forth to Austin's room was strange.  Back and forth, back and forth ... on, and on, and on it went!  CRAZY!  Eventually, he was distracted by something else and poof, he would stop whatever it was (say running in the house or jumping on the furniture).  He never really did anything out of the ordinary, just typical boy stuff.  I find it interesting that he just stopped on his own ... maybe he got bored?  Who knows, but I should have seen this as a problem.  People told me it was typical behaviour for boys ... yeah right!  Not so, my dear people, not so, at least not in this situation.  It is no wonder I burnt off almost all my baby weight when Austin turned 2! ;)

Now, the reason I am writing about this is because of a "lightbulb moment".  (That's what I call it when I see something in Austin looking back.)  How did I come to this "lightbulb moment"?  Well, when I could put Kaleigh, at 18 months old, for a 2 minute time-out ONCE, I did say ONCE, she would stop the behaviour immediately.  I could not believe it!  I was stunned!  She would go to the bedroom by herself, sit on the bed, wait for me to go and get her and not repeat the behaviour that put her in her room in the first place!  WOW!  Talk about foreign territory!  This was all happening just as we started to have Austin diagnosed.  Like I said before, looking back is not easy because I feel like I failed Austin in a way.  I should have known but I didn't.  He never had tantrums, so I didn't see this as a sign that something might be amiss.  Also, this is a boy who hit every milestone.  Can't you just imagine?

Hope you are all having a wonderful New Year!  *HUGS*


Monday, January 3, 2011

Steel Wills

Now, let's time warp shall we?  Okay ... hang onto your hats, here we go! 

When Austin was about a year old, he started to climb out of his crib.  I thought this was dangerous and he could get hurt, so around the second time we caught him getting out, I told my husband we needed to turn his crib into a toddler bed.  When he got out that night, it was quite late, so we decided he could sleep in his playpen for just that one evening.  That is what we thought ... how wrong were we?  Very!  :(

My husband set up the playpen with blankets and toys and we placed Austin in it.  He got out, we put him back, he got out, we put him back, he got out, we put him back ... over and over and over ... (I get tired just thinking about it).  Now, after this went on for an hour or so, I thought, WOW, this child has a strong will, mine is stronger.  I look at my stubbornness as a great coping mechanism ... patience abound when I am in that mode, and trust me, I needed it that night.  Every few minutes he would climb out and I would put him back.  My husband gave up and went to bed.  I was determined not to back down.  Austin would literally glare at me, get out, and laugh at me.  Seriously, I could not believe the level of sophistication in this child at such a young age.  I sat on a stool, in the kitchen, across from the playpen, picking up Austin and putting him back in for 2 hours!  I did enough exercise for the week in just one night!  I felt I could not give up.  (See what happens when you watch too much "Supernanny"?)  Had I known then, what I know now, I would have just picked him up and brought him to bed with us ...

While this "battle of wills" was going on, I could not believe how much Austin was like me.  His personality, the focus this child had, he was so calm the entire time.  He didn't cry that I can recall, I only remember silence ... he had a goal in mind and was going to achieve it.  At one point, I explained to him that I would sit on the stool all night if I had to ... this is so ridiculous to me looking back now ... what was I thinking?  Did I really think that this child was stubborn like me?  (I was a nightmare for my parents.  I have a will of steel, no doubt about that.)  He was very stubborn, just not nearly as stubborn as me ... thankgoodness!

In hindsight, Austin started to show he was very determined early.  I thought if I could get him to stay in that playpen to sleep (he was on the move a lot) maybe he wouldn't be so stubborn ... believe it or not, this seemed logical to me at the time.  ("Supernanny" again ... sigh ...)  Austin has always had a lot of character.  He never really had tantrums.  He was just energetic and didn't respond to time outs as all the books and advice said he should.  I thought it was a strong will.  Was it?  Now, I think not.  It could have been that maybe he didn't understand why we wanted him to sleep in the playpen.  I also think that maybe that playpen was too open and he didn't feel secure, or the change ... it is all conjecture at this point. 

The next night, his toddler bed was ready.  He popped in it, after having his bottle.  We gave him his pacifier and he didn't fuss at all.  He may have gotten out once or twice but off to la la land he went, he seemed very comfortable and content.  Was it the "standoff" the previous night, or did he just feel better in that small bed?  Whatever the reason, he was happy and I gave up midnight aerobics from that night on as well as the "Supernanny"!  ;)