Monday, December 21, 2015

Tonka

We adopted this sweet little kitten from a local cat rescue.  He arrived last month and Austin and Kaleigh are completely in love with him!  The lady from the rescue named him Tonka and we thought it suited him, so here is our adorable kitten, Tonka!  






Friday, November 13, 2015

The Anti-bullying Blockade!

Two weeks ago, I got an email from the special needs technician at Austin's school.  When something occurs, the phone call or email always starts off with "Austin is okay but ...". This one was about a scare Austin had at the hands of another student.

If you have read this blog previously, you will know that Austin is TERRIFIED of spiders! The school has it documented in his IEP, that's how serious it is, no joke!  One of the girl's in his class had a book of spiders and was tormenting Austin with it.  He got so upset, he ran to an empty locker and tried to hide inside of it.  The girl continued to torment Austin outside the locker.  A bunch of other children rallied around the outside of the locker and tried to keep the girl from getting near Austin who was hysterically crying at this point! One of the boy's ran to get help and a woman from the office came out to resolve the situation.  Austin was taken by Ms. D (the lady who works in the office) to the special needs technician (Ms. L) to calm him down.  The girl was dealt with, she was removed from school for the remainder of the day, well deserved I thought.  I couldn't believe this story and was very upset!  When Austin gets this upset, I have to go into school and get him to settle him down. This time, thanks to the fantastic support system he has at his school, Ms. D and Ms. L were able to calm him and he was fine within minutes.  I called and spoke to Ms. D and she assured me Austin was fine.  I told her to call me if anything changed and I would race to get him from work.  Thankfully, he was calm and able to proceed with his school day without anymore upset or incidents.

When I spoke to Ms. D, I asked her to tell all the children who rallied around Austin to protect him, THANK YOU!  I was so impressed that these children stood up to the girl and supported Austin.  The girl was upset that these children were displeased at her behaviour towards Austin and took his side but children are smart, they know when something is wrong.  What she did was wrong.  She was given her consequence and I can only pray she won't target Austin again and all the children will get along well!

Once again, my heart was touched by the children who stood up for Austin and I am so grateful to all of them!  Each one of them a HERO to me!

All the best! *HUGS*

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Schooled by the Spectrum

I started working at a school last year supervising over the noon-hour, this year I was hired by their daycare.  I have found that my experiences with Austin has helped me a lot with understanding and being proactive with some of the children at the school who face their own challenges.  I don't claim to be an expert on autism at all, I am not.  I am still learning everyday.  I am happy though that I have learned somethings that I am able to apply to help other children who on their own journey.  Some have a much more challenging time than Austin did and are more sensitive.  There are children too that have challenges I have never experienced and the staff I work with are fantastic on helping me become more educated on how to handle situations and always there when I need it.  I am very grateful to all of them!

Yesterday, I brought my iPod with a movie on it for one of the boy's at school who has sensory issues.  He doesn't like loud things and we were to show a movie in the afternoon for all the children.  I thought that if he had his own little movie to watch in another room, with our supervisor, it would really help him, and it did!  My supervisor, who goes above and beyond to help all the children, asked for the iPod and he was on his way to a supervised, quiet room, until his parents came to get him at the pick up time.  I was thanked and it made me feel humbled because I just reacted from my experience with Austin.  I didn't think I did anything special and all the staff at the school I work at help to accommodate all the children as much as possible.

I look back on how lost and how much I didn't know when Austin was younger.  He has progressed very well and continues to.  As he does, new challenges arise and we address them as they happen.  It is a long road, a journey, a step each day into an unknown.  I am comforted to know that my journey with Austin has given me a little bit of knowledge that may help someone else and make their road a little sunnier to travel.

All the best!  *HUGS*

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Transgender Talk

I have wanted to do a post about this topic for a while.  Not that I have any in depth knowledge on the subject, but Austin has discussed it with me since he watches "I am Jazz" and I explained to him about Caitlyn Jenner.  He understood it quite well and had a lot to say and ask questions about a child  that is a transgender female who he knew before transitioning.  (That is a post for another day.)

Tonight we were driving into town to pick up dinner.  My husband is away fishing with the guys so I thought, I deserve a break, Chinese food it is!  While I am driving, I hear Austin talking to Kaleigh about transgendered individuals.  Kaleigh is enlightening Austin with her knowledge of how someone transitions from a male to a female.  What changes and what doesn't (she doesn't go too in-depth, to her, you take pills and you can change gender).  Austin verbalizing back what his understanding is about transgendered females and males.  It is really interesting to hear a 7 year old and a 10 year old discussing this subject.  There is no prejudice or judging, just a very innocent conversation back and forth.  At the end of their conversation, Kaleigh said to me "Mom, I wish I was transgender, then I could be the brother Austin always wanted!"  "Gotcha Kaleigh!"  You would have to meet this little girl, she is wise beyond her years and anyone who meets her, agrees!

I have always taught my children to accept people for who they are and everyone is different in their own way.  They have asked a lot of questions in the last year about transgendered individuals and I have done my best to answer them.  It is important to me that Austin and Kaleigh continue to keep an open mind and loving heart!  They are both very sweet children.  I can only pray that they will continue to mature with the same attitudes and acceptance that I encourage.

All the best! *HUGS*

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Bullying Aftermath

I was talking to Austin after school the other day and asked how is day went, I do this everyday.  He said that everything was "good".  After last year, I ask more questions to ensure he is not being bullied again.  I asked who he played with at recess.  He said that he plays alone to "stay out of trouble".  I asked what he meant by that, and he said that he won't be targetted again if he is alone.  My heart broke!  I don't want him to be wondering around alone or off by himself all the time.  I was so sad!  He doesn't seem fazed by being alone but I am not letting it go at that.  I contacted the Psychologist and I am going to take him into see her to see if she can help him overcome this fear.   Even though this boy that bullied Austin last year is gone from the school, he left scars!  Poor Austin!

When I spoke to Austin, another day during the past week, he told me about a girl this time, who took both of his tennis balls and smashed them against the wall.  I can't believe this poor child is such a target!  What possesses these children to go after Austin?  He is so non-confrontational, it is very scary to me!  He wants to stay out of trouble as much as possible but this is crazy!  He did tell the noon hour supervisor and she dealt with the situation.  I contacted Austin's teacher to let him know what happened.  I don't want a repeat of last year and the years before and Austin shouldn't have to endure this treatment.  I am praying that no one will bother him and bringing him in for some help with give him some tools to deal with situations that arise.  I long for the day that there will be no more bullying stories to blog about and Austin would have a few friends to play with at school.

I am so PROUD of Austin and I will not stop fighting to help him and protect him with all my might! I am determined to get him tools to protect himself too, enough is enough!

All the best! *HUGS*

Monday, September 7, 2015

Queen, AC/DC, Rival Sons, Ike & Tina and the List Goes On

We bought an iPod shuffle for Austin for his Birthday this summer.  He LOVES music!  All kinds of music, a lot like me.  My Dad was always playing all kinds of music as I grew up and I loved it!  (Okay, not Willie Nelson, sorry Dad.)  Austin has the same love of music! I think it is great!

He loaded his iPod the other day and played it in my truck.  I dropped him off at school and let it continue to play.  Ike & Tina, Rival Sons, AC/DC and Queen (Austin's favourite) all playing in the truck.  AWESOME!  He also likes The Who, Aretha Franklin, Elvis and various new artists, except Justin Bieber, he is not a fan.  I am so happy to see Austin loving music so much and he is always open to listen to new things I play for him.  He has no problem saying what he likes and what he doesn't.  Austin smiling and singing along to the music, without a care in the world, it is a beautiful sight to see! :)

All the best!  *HUGS*

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Teacher Touchdown!

Austin's first day of school went very well!  YAY!  He really likes his teacher!  I am so relieved!  I have spoken to the teacher and he seems very nice!  I have been told he is very structured and mathematical.  I told this to Austin and he said he thought that the teacher was a great match for him! I am hoping all will go well and Austin seems to be adjusting easily!  YIPPEE!!!

All the best! *HUGS*

Monday, August 31, 2015

First Day Disappointment

This is the first day of Grade 5 for Austin.  I dropped him off after taking Kaleigh to school this morning.  We didn't know who his teacher would be.  We were hoping that he would get his teacher he had in the second grade but he didn't.   (She is also teaching Grade 5 this year.)  He has a male teacher for the first time and I pray that it will all go well.  He does respond better to females and I know he is heartbroken that he doesn't have his teacher that he adored so much!  My heart sank when I saw the look on his face and I couldn't believe that he didn't get Miss J.  She was super supportive and knows Austin well.  The Principal must have his reasons for putting him with the male teacher.  I pray all will go well today and that Austin's friend he is hoping to be with, was placed in the same class.

As left the school this morning, sad for Austin, I prayed that all would be well and that there are reasons for everything.  Let's hope he likes this teacher and he is happy today!

All the best!  *HUGS*

Monday, August 24, 2015

Good Mythical Morning

Austin and Kaleigh LOVE Good Mythical Morning!  If you have not seen it, I can pretty much guarantee your kids will love it too!  The show can be found on YouTube hosted by two men called Rhett and Link. They perform some pretty interesting taste tests and various fun experiments that turn out to be quite entertaining.  Even my husband sits and watches it with Austin and Kaleigh. Laughter can be heard in abundance when it is playing.

Thank you to Rhett and Link who have put smiles on my little ones' faces and laughter in my house all summer long!

All the best! *HUGS*

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Peer Paranoia

The other day we went to the splash pad, usually there are mostly little ones, that day it was just four boys.  They were older than Austin, not by much, a year or so. He was taller than them and he is mistaken for an older boy a lot since he is quite tall for just turning 10, over 5 feet!

While we were there, I watched as Austin ran around these boys and tried to keep him in my sights. Trust is not big with me, I have seen the teasing and tormenting that Austin has endured in the past on a playground.  I watched as the leader of the boys (there is always one, right?) walked over to Austin and looked him up and down and all around. Like Austin was on display or something.  I felt like telling the boy, "My son is not a museum piece!" but as long as he did not linger or make a comment to Austin, I decided I would wait and see.  Austin did not notice the boy looking at him, trying to figure out why Austin was reacting the way he was, so excited and oblivious to his presence.  The boy had a look and off he went back to his gang of buddies.  Austin went on to play, for a while anyway.

Austin, playing by himself, and with Kaleigh periodically, became very interested in what the group of boys were doing.  He stood on the side of the park staring at them and smiling.  You could tell he would like nothing more than to join in and play but shyness gets the best of him and he will not approach them.  They did not even take notice of him standing there watching them.  Austin bored quickly and took off playing again, the boys never approached him to play.

I watched the boys as they ran past, up and down the splash pad and they were pretty good actually.  They never said anything to Austin and weren't confrontational.  I was a little nervous when it came to the leader though, but he kept his distance.  You could see in his face when he looked at Austin initially, he knew something wasn't quite typical about him and headed off back to his friends.  I watch other kids like a hawk!  I don't trust Austin's peers at all!  Paranoid? Probably, but I have good reason to be!  Poor Austin, he has been bullied so much and now he is bigger, it is even scarier!   Austin is starting Grade 5 and I feel it is time he took some kind of defensive training.  My husband and I have decided to put him in Judo.  I pray that it will give him more confidence and training for self protection.

It is so hard to for me to trust others when I have seen what has happened in the past.  Looking suspiciously at anyone who comes to have a closer look at Austin is like a defence mechanism.  I am cautious and careful when it involves Austin, that has not changed.  It breaks my heart to know that he endures such bullying and comments.  I have been known to give a few looks here and there when I hear anyone say something nasty about or to him!  One day, my friend reacted before I even knew what was happening.  Oh my!  She put the bullies in their place, immediately!  The hurt and upset stays with you and when I was watching "I am Jazz" the other night, I felt the same feeling come over me.  Jazz was sitting with her Mom outside at a cafe and some boys walked past and called her a name!  Her Mom asked Jazz what was said and Jazz confirmed the comment.  She told her Mom it was okay and not to worry but you could see the hurt and anguish in her face.  My heart broke for both of them!  I think this girl and her family are all very strong and exceptional people!  Good for her Mom for staying seated, I would have probably run after the guy and had a few choice words for him myself!

Wishing you all the best! *HUGS*

Friday, July 17, 2015

What Lurks in the Shadows

I watch Austin as he tries to be brave enough to walk down the dark hall way to his room, the fear that overtakes this boy is like watching something out of a horror film.  He is terrified!  I tell him not to be frightened and run ahead to turn on the lights so he can go ahead without being scared.  He is still hesitant.  I go with him to his room and tuck him in bed, trying to calm him.  I put on his desk light, I try to sooth him by speaking softly and distracting him by talking about his video games.  He eventually calms but explains he is still very afraid of the dark.  We have discussed this subject many times and it seems that at 10, it is worse now than ever.

I explained to Austin that I used to be afraid of the dark but (my parents were not so understanding) I got used to sleeping in the dark.  There were no lights or night lights in my room when I was little.  A terrible way to deal with a fear so intense, I could not move.  I would watch the walls in my room and pray nothing would move outside to cast a shadow.  I was genuinely terrified!  I completely understand where Austin is coming from and I am doing my best to help him. Sometimes I bring him out to the couch to watch a bit of TV and he falls asleep quickly so I get him up and walk him to his room, he goes right back to sleep with no problem at all.

It is not easy to see Austin running from a dark room or terrified to walk towards one.  He is afraid of what "lives" in the shadows, what might be lurking there.  His imagination can be vivid and he can come out with some pretty frightening tales but to him, the fear is very real.  I pray that eventually this will pass and he will outgrow this fear.  Watching Austin as frightened as I was once, I am compelled to calm him, so I walk these steps with him.  He is comforted that I am walking beside him, holding him, step by step, together.

All the best! *HUGS*

Monday, July 13, 2015

Standing Out

Austin turned 10 last week.  There have been so many changes in his behaviour since he was a toddler and some that stay with him despite his age or how much he has developed in other ways.

Yesterday, we went to the splash pad/park.  Austin and Kaleigh went off to play and there were other children who came over from the baseball game to play.  It was quite hot here yesterday, so who wouldn't want to run through some refreshing cool water?  There were a couple of girls, around 7 and 8 who came to play.  One came right up to Austin and starting talking to him, she wanted to play.  At times, Austin was not paying attention to her as she spoke and did not answer her.  I had to call him over and tell him, the girl is speaking and you are not listening or responding, I told him he needed to pay closer attention.  I want to help Austin as much as I can with his social skills, it is not easy.

I watched as they all played together, about 5 of them, Austin started directing and telling the others how to build the castle and who's job was what and when to do it.  I do not let this go on as I know this is a huge challenge for Austin, I called him over once again and told him not to direct the others, they know what to do and to relax and have fun.  Oh my!  This is no easy task for Austin.  He just gets so excited!  It is almost like watching him at 2 and not 10!  All the other kids are playing and walking and talking quietly and Austin is up on his toes running around and arms are flying everywhere.  He is so excited he can't contain it.  I can see him trying to keep on flat feet and bring his arms down.  I think he is more aware of it than the others are, they do not seem to really react to his behaviours.  Interesting to me.  Do they just think he is hyperactive?  Do they think anything at all?

I sat and looked around at the park as all the children played.  Needless to say, I did not get much of my Nicholas Sparks book read as I want to watch Austin when other children are around him.  Sometimes he can lack focus and I did not want him to knock over one of the little ones, not that it happens much but the potential is there when he is excited.  As I watched all the children building the sand castle, the only one that stood out was Austin.  He still does not play or engage like typical children.  He is much calmer than he used to be but still, the excitement and sensory stimulation is overwhelming.  He is playing happily, and I am happy to see him having so much fun but I can't help to think that there is a lot more of that 2 year old boy just trying to get out!  Is Austin trying hard to suppress the excitement he feels?  At 10,  he has much more control than he did at 2 but sitting and watching yesterday, he stills stands out amongst the typical children.  Will this always be such a challenge for him?  Will he calm down as he gets older?  Will he be able to control his excitement so he is not running and jumping all around?  He is so calm and laid back most of the time, add any social excitement and he is almost a completely different person, still a very adorable and sweet person mind you.

I am trying my best to help Austin every step of the way and I know the social game is only going to become more and more important.  Austin is going into Grade 5, I can't believe it!  I know the social dynamic is only going to get more complex.  Scary to me!  All these changes for Austin, my baby!  He is almost as tall as me and talks about gaming and girls!  Oh my!  How quickly they change and grow but your baby, they will always be, not matter how big, or how old.

All the best!  *HUGS*

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Bullying Break

School has been out for just over a week, Austin is having a great time on summer vacation so far.  He gets to play video games, go to the park and splash pad, read, play outside, go for bike rides and bounce on the trampoline ... a lot!  The best part about being out of school is no bullies!  Summer is stress free in that department, of course if Austin goes to a party or something like that, I get a little worried but it is usually incident free.

After "the boy" (that I blogged about previously) left the school Austin attends, we only had a few minor incidents of bullying, nothing as major as what "the boy" had put Austin though.  I was so grateful for all the help the school gave us to ensure Austin remained safe, I am very pleased with all their support.  It was fantastic to pick Austin up at school everyday and he was smiling again.  He was anxious to go to school, he was excited again, just like he was prior to "the boy" targetting and harming him.  I am so grateful that peace has returned for Austin.  He is a great boy and deserves to be able to go to school and not be hit, punched, kicked, thrown to the ground, called names ... you get the picture.

I can't express how great it is to see Austin smiling and laughing all the time and now for the next few weeks, we do not have to think about what he endured in school and he is in a bully-free zone for the next couple of months.  We can only pray that Grade 5 will be easier than Grade 4 was for him.  He did so well in his studies and we are so PROUD of him!  How many children could achieve such high academic scores with someone haunting them everyday?  I pray I will not ask the same question next session.

Wishing you all the best! *HUGS*

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day

Austin's Granddad and Nana came over for a spontaneous visit this morning.  I had called my Dad to wish him a Happy Father's Day and figured he would be golfing (he usually tries to on Father's Day), which he was just finishing when I called.  I spoke to him on the phone and he and my Mum came over.  I was very happy to see them both as I do not get to see them enough.

On this Father's Day, I got a special treat, to see my Dad, who I adore, who I miss, who I love dearly and who I wish I got to see more!  I treasure and love my Mum for she has always been there for me when my own Mother was not, and when, and since, she walked away from my life almost 8 years ago, my Mum has helped with that loss and pain a lot!  I am very blessed to have my parents and Austin and Kaleigh are blessed to have them for Grandparents!

Happy Father's Day to you Dad!  Love you very much!

All the best! *HUGS*

Monday, June 15, 2015

Donuts, Tractors and Strawberry Pie!

Yesterday morning, Austin came with me to go shopping and get coffee at our local Timmy's (that's Tim Horton's, our most loved coffee shop by us Canadians).  He asked if he could go in and get his donuts by himself.  Oh my!  You know me, I am a little overprotective ... okay, okay, A LOT overprotective!  Austin pleaded his case and said "I need to start doing things on my own Mom!"  It is true.  He needs some independence and slowly he has to be able to do stuff by himself.  So I started, I would let him go but if someone asked "Where's your Mother or Father, tell them I am right outside in the car, they can see me from the cash."  Poor Austin, he sighed at me but agreed.  He got out and I warned him to look before he crossed the parking lot, he does not always think of that, part of the reason I keep him close to me.  He looked, and crossed safely, thank goodness!  I waited for Mr. Cadillac to leave and pulled up next to the class windows so I could see Austin, he did GREAT! Such a PROUD Mama!  He jumped into the car and I asked how it went, he said it was a piece of cake!  He was smiling and happy!  He was thrilled to go on his own and so proud of himself.  Austin came home and told his Dad what he had done. Dad was pretty impressed that all went well.  Well done Dude!  Mom and Dad are very PROUD of you!  We LOVE you!

Later in the morning, my husband decided to get Austin to try the tractor.  He wants him to learn how to ride it so he can cut the lawn and I am all for it.  Austin was on the tractor, listening to Dad's commands, he did pretty well.  (I was outside filming him!  How could I resist!)  All of a sudden, Kaleigh found out what was happening ... oh my!  Kaleigh is a motorcycle, four wheeler, tractor, anything with a motor, enthusiast.  She gets it from her Dad and Grandpa.  She was crying and crying!  My husband got her on the tractor and gave her a turn.  Goodness!  I thought Austin was happy!  I am surprised we could get her off of it!  Round and round she went, happy as a clam!  Warms my heart and make me smile to see my little ones so happy and having fun!  What a day for Austin and Kaleigh!

There was a special request for the day from Austin, a fresh strawberry pie!  I couldn't refuse my favourite little guy in the entire world!  Needless to say, he couldn't wait for it to cool and there was another big smile on his face yesterday!

There are so many changes happening with Austin now.  Everyday seems to be something new.  I am so blessed to have both my little ones and am grateful everyday!


All the best! *HUGS*



Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Birds & The Bees

The time has come and someone is very curious about sex!  Yes!  S-E-X!  Oh goodness!  I had a talk about sex with my ex-boyfriend's boys when they started to ask questions.  I was not a their parent so they found it easy to talk to me.  One of them even thanked me years later for being so open and supportive.  He said it helped him a lot.  That made me feel pretty good, that they had someone who they could talk to about something so sensitive to them.  I have to say, it was easier with them, than with Austin.

I know that he knows a lot more than he is willing to discuss but I will not push the issue.  I have found him trying to look up things on puberty, I will not go into details but I am sure you get the picture.  I talked to him last night and explained to him that he can ask me anything.  He does not need to be shy, or if he prefers to talk to his Dad, that's okay too.  We are only here to help him understand something that happens to everyone and there is no need to be embarrassed.  He did sit and talk to me a little bit and we did make some progress but he is not willing to talk to me about what he knows entirely.  I think that Dad might have better success.  Fingers crossed!

Everything seems to happen so fast!  Why do children have to grow up so quickly?  I feel like it was just yesterday I was changing Austin's diaper, now he is almost the same height as me and he is girl crazy!  I know all of you get it!

All the best!  *HUGS*

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A New Kind of "Development"

I picked up Austin at school yesterday, just like everyday, except the topic of discussion was not a typical one, oh boy!

Austin got into the car and started to talk about the Grade 5 and 6 girls.  He said he noticed that they were "developing" in a certain area, the chest region, and asked why was this happening.  Allllllrighty then!  I explained that they are starting puberty (Austin knows this word and some of the things that go along with puberty) and girls start to develop once they start puberty.  He wanted to know why this happened and I told him because of hormones.  A light bulb went off and he seemed to get it as soon as I said it.

I figured I would take the opportunity to ask him, "Does the situation with the girls make you feel uncomfortable or have any questions you want to ask me?"  "You can talk to Dad too."  "No", Austin replied, he said he was fine and understood and that Dad had spoken to him about girls a little bit when they were out the other day.  Austin has no filter and no secrets from Mom, he said Dad told him that there was lots of "eye candy" out and about the other day they were shopping.  I explained to Austin that I do not use that term and preferred "pretty girls" or "beautiful girls".  I said I guessed that it must be more of a guy thing to say "eye candy".

Needless to say, my husband got a bit of a discussion about his trip out with Austin the other day and needless to say, Mama Bear was not impressed!  I would like my son to respect women and this boy has no bro code, Mama trumps everyone, sorry Dad!

All the best! *HUGS*

Friday, May 15, 2015

Homework Helper

Every week I help Kaleigh do homework.  Yesterday, she asked if Austin could help her.  It was a set of Math worksheets.  Austin was more than happy to help her.

I stayed close by to ensure that there was no upset, they do like to bicker at times, okay, a lot of the time!  Sigh ...  Much to my surprise, everything went really well. Kaleigh is a born perfectionist (she gets it from my Mother) and really gives my husband and I a hard time if we explain how to do something and she does not get it right away.  When Austin explained how to do it his way, there was very little resistance.  Only once did she get upset when he told her how and where to write something, it touched the line for the answer and calculations should be to the side of the paper, as per Austin's rules!

I was really impressed with how helpful Austin was with Kaleigh's homework.  He does very well academically and I thought it was really nice to see her happy to do her work.  Austin has a lot of patience for Kaleigh, where she has a very short fuse. Complete opposite personalities but worked well together and happily so ... for the most part anyway!

I am very thankful to Austin for offering to help and being so patient with Kaleigh.  Mommie LOVES YOU both so much!

All the best!  *HUGS*

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Popcorn Pickpocket

At certain times during the year, they sell popcorn on Fridays to raise funds at Austin's school.  I have been purchasing popcorn since he started there in Grade 1. It is $2.00/bag and I usually buy no less than 2 bags and up to 6 at a time.  It is for a good cause and my children look forward to popcorn and a movie on the Friday night.  Sad that my husband does not want to send anymore money to school for Austin to purchase popcorn.  I am frustrated myself due to the situation.

A couple of weeks ago, I sent Austin with $6.00 to purchase three bags of popcorn. I picked him up from school and went through his bag, removing his lunch box and papers from school.  I only found one bag, strange.  I asked him how many he bought, he said "three".  Okay, where are the other two?  He said "In my bag."  No, they were not.  So I started asking, "Did you drop them in the hallway?" "No", Austin replied.  "Did you leave them in your locker?"  "No", again.  "Did they possibly fall out of your bag by your locker and you did not notice?"  "No."  Okay, so I contacted his teacher and she to ask her if she had any idea what might have happened.  I was very concerned and thought, someone stole them from his bag in his locker.  The lockers are not locked.  The teacher was concerned too and she would look into it.

The next week, I sent Austin again with money, this time $4.00 for two bags.  The first thing he said when I picked him up was that they had changed the time to purchase popcorn.  They usually sell it in the morning and this time, it was the afternoon recess.  Austin said he rushed there and bought two bags and put them in his backpack in his locker and raced outside to play.  Okay, good.  I opened his bag, no popcorn.  I asked him "Where is the popcorn?"  He replied "In my bag."  "No it is not."  Oh boy, Austin became upset and concerned. What had happened?  I asked if it could have fallen out in his locker and he said no again.  Okay, now, I am upset!!! What is going on?  Is someone watching him and targetting him?  Austin can be oblivious to things around him.  If someone was watching and waiting, it would not be likely Austin would pick up on it.  Austin had one thing on his mind, getting outside to play!  I could not believe this happened again!  I emailed my husband and Austin's teacher.

My husband was fed up and said, "No more money for popcorn."  He is DONE after this year.  It has been a very tough year and now, Austin was being targetted in another way.  It is really heartbreaking!  I feel badly for the kids at school who are counting on the popcorn for fundraising but we do not want Austin to be someone's target and how heartless can people be?  I just want my son to be able to go to school and not have someone do something to upset him! I mean really, come on!  I am not sure if I agree with not giving anymore money for the popcorn.  I do feel like what is the point?  It is just upsetting and why would someone continue to do this to Austin?

Austin's teacher was concerned and looked into the matter.  She did question some of the other children and said Austin did buy popcorn and put it in his locker on top of his backpack but did not close the locker door.  This is Austin true to form.  He forgets to close things, shut things off, lock things, you name it, if he wants outside, or has something else in mind, it takes priority.  The teacher was very supportive and said even if the door was not shut, no one has the right to take anything from someone else. Very true!  She offered to keep Austin's popcorn in her desk when he purchases it which is very understanding and supportive of her.  How sad is it though that Austin cannot even buy some popcorn to help out the other children at school without it being stolen?  I am hopeful with his teachers help, the popcorn pickpocket will be discovered or won't have anymore popcorn available to steal.

I wish we could find out who stole Austin's popcorn.  I am not sure how the teacher will take the news that my husband does not want to send anymore money to school.  For four years we have supported fundraising at the school and it makes me sad that someone is not only taking something from my son but now from his schoolmates too.

All the best!

*HUGS*

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Little Gentleman

The other morning I was dropping Austin off at school (just like every other day) it was raining so all the children were going inside for morning recess.  I saw that there were already a few children heading for the door just like Austin.  The only difference is Austin was running to keep out of the rain.  I saw him run past all the other children and ring the bell to get the door to open.  The door opened and Austin went in first, I was not pleased since I did not think he was being polite. Social skills are very challenging for Austin.  I decided to address the matter when I picked him up that afternoon.

I picked Austin up that day and told him I saw him run past the other children to get to the door first, then open the door and enter before anyone else including ... the girls!  I explained to Austin that I was not impressed with this and said I would like him to be raised a gentlemen and a gentleman would never run past a girl and go in before her, leaving her in the rain no less!   Also, if there were other boys there first, not to run or try to get in front of them in line, it is really not polite at all.  I told Austin, if there was a girl at the door, he should hold the door for her allowing her to enter first.  He just looked at me and said "okay".  We would see if my lesson stuck.

This morning, it is raining again, sigh ...  anyway, I dropped Austin off and he ran to the door again.  A girl was walking up to the door about 15 feet behind him.  Austin had rang the bell and the door opened.  Austin held open the door and waited patiently for the girl to finish coming up the walk way and held the door for her so she could enter the school and he then followed behind her.  I was so proud of him! I know that socially Austin struggles so much but that does not mean I will not keep working with him to help him develop and I think he did great this morning!  I just LOVE my boy!

All the best!

*HUGS*

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Embarrassed!

Poor Austin!  The other day his Dad and I were home in the morning getting ready to go to a meeting at Austin's school when the phone rang, it was Austin.  He was crying when my husband picked up the phone and Austin said that he had fallen in the mud and water at school.  He was beside himself so his Dad left to go and pick him up at school.  Austin hates to be wet or dirty (I have blogged about it before) and is inconsolable until he is dried and changed.  He normally has a change of clothes at school but must have used them without me knowing and were not replaced, either way, he was so upset his Dad went to get him right away.

He came through the door and started to cry again when he saw me.  I told him not to worry, I had already packed up another pair of clothes to take back to school for his locker and had a change of clothes waiting for him.  He was soaked!  His coat, splash pants, rubber boots, pants, etc., just soaked!  He got changed but he was still crying.  No amount of comfort would calm him.  It usually takes a few minutes but he wasn't settling.  I closed the door so it was just him and I and asked what was wrong?  He replied he could not return to school and face the students because he was embarrassed.  What?  Oh my!  First, he is shy, now embarrassed.  All news to me when it comes to  Austin, he is so laid back and everything rolls off of this boy, seriously.  Okay, so I told him not to worry, it happens to everyone.  I told him I lost my shoes in the mud once and fell over and over and was covered in mud from head to toe!  It happened in front of all my friends and one boy was sweet enough to go and fish out my shoes in all that mud!  Austin laughed and said he could not believe that happened to me.  It was enough to make him smile and understand we all fall but we get right back up and do not let it get us down.

We brought Austin back to school with us and made it to the meeting on time to discuss the revisions to his IEP.  The principal was in the meeting and told us that he explained to Austin earlier not to be embarrassed and people fall in the mud all the time.  His teacher sat across from me and she knew I was going to say that Austin does not get embarrassed and she even could see it in his face when he came in the school.  He tried to hide his face near his locker.  Austin does have great support at his school and we are very grateful to them.

Austin is okay and has gotten over the fall and embarrassment (which is great) but boy, do you ever see some social changes happening!

All the best!

*HUGS*

The Response

I finally got to ask Kaleigh what she thought autism looked like to her.  Anyone who knows Kaleigh knows how sassy and spirited she can be at times, so you need to know when to bring something up for discussion.  When I asked her the question she just stared at me with no response.  I asked the question again but she replied "I don't know.".   I did not pursue the issue any farther.  I think that she may not really know how to reply because to Kaleigh answers must be precise.  She loves Austin and to her, he is her brother and she loves him dearly.  So what if they drive each other crazy at times?  What are siblings for anyway? :)

All the best!

*HUGS*


Monday, April 6, 2015

What Does Autism Look Like To You?

The day before Autism Awareness Day, my daughter was talking to her teacher about autism privately in the class as they had been discussing wearing blue for autism awareness the next day.  She told her teacher, "My brother has autism, but he doesn't look like he does."  Her teacher is aware that Austin is on the autism spectrum and they have met as well.  I was surprised when she told me this story, I did not know that she thought autism had a certain "look".  I have explained that people on the spectrum have all sorts of strengths and challenges.  I did address it quickly asking her what that was supposed to mean but my husband told me to let it go and discuss it another time, I was reluctant, but I did.

The next day I started to think of where Kaleigh would get this idea from since she complains a lot about Austin's behaviours.  Just a few are:  "Why does Austin always make noise?"  "Why does Austin want to be alone so much?"  "Why is Austin such a picky eater?"  "Why does Austin always want to talk about facts?"  "Why does Austin hum a lot?"  "Why does Austin get bullied so much?"  The one that really hurt my heart, she asked once (not her fault at all that it hurt because, well, kids are honest), and it still shakes me, "Why doesn't Austin have any friends?"  (Tough, that was a tough one.  I do have to say, even though Austin is not the social bee Kaleigh is, he does have a few friends.  One lives down the street and they play more and more each day as they are the same age and like some of the same games. YIPPEE!  It makes me happy to see Austin interact and have fun!)

Another situation was Kaleigh's party we had a little while ago.  We all went bowling, and of course, Austin gets too excited and annoys Kaleigh easily.  The lady that was working at the bowling alley that day gave Austin his own lane to play in at no extra charge.  Even though we offered to pay, she would not take the money.  She could see he was struggling amongst the other children and wanted everyone to have a good time at the party.  Austin went on to play happily and Kaleigh stopped asking me "Why does Austin have to act so weird all the time?"  He was over stimulated and frustrated that the other children did not want to follow the rules of the game, they just wanted to roll the balls down the lane, no points, no winner, just for fun!  Why not?  It is a party after all!  Austin, does not see it that way, ever!

I am still a little shocked that Kaleigh said this to her teacher.  I am not sure what she thinks autism looks like.  She sees Austin as her brother and even though she gets annoyed by some of his behaviours, he in turn gets annoyed by her behaviours too!  Sounds pretty much like most siblings!  I have quite a few, so I get it!

I am curious to see if Kaleigh really understands about autism and Austin's behaviours, so I am going to sit down and ask her, "What does autism look like to you?".  I am very interested to hear her answer.  I am sure you know, there will be a post about it!

All the best!

*HUGS*

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Casual Conversations

Austin loves to talk!  He comes by that honestly, I am a bit chatty myself. :D  When he gets up in the morning, he is always in good humour and wants to talk with me; we do this everyday.  Austin's conversations include such topics as radioactive isotopes, hydrophobic vs. hydrophilic, building circuits, cell structure and function, the period table of elements, the list is long but you get the idea.  I cannot believe that he has such and an interest in these topics.  A good thing I studied Chemistry! All of these discussions occur before I even have coffee in the morning!  My poor brain!

I must say that I am so proud of Austin and I always have a smile on my face starting my day with him!  I am truly grateful!

All the best!

*HUGS*

Thursday, March 26, 2015

"I'm Shy"

There are two words Austin said to me yesterday that took me by surprise, "I'm shy."  What?  Not Austin, the child with no fear, and not to mention, no filter! Wow!

I am seeing changes in Austin's social behaviour.  He has never been a shy kid, passive and intimidated by other kids, but shy, no.  We were discussing the name calling that has been going on at school and was trying to come up with a way for him to tell someone right away so we can deal with it when it happens.  I know he is afraid of being labelled a tattle tale, we established that but when I said he could talk to his teacher one on one (even in the hallway away from the other children) he said he can't.  I asked why not?  He replied "I'm shy".  Okay.  So, a new dynamic to Austin's personality, he is shy.

I found a resolution that I hope will work, if he is too shy to talk to someone about this teasing and name calling verbally, I told him to document it in his daily school agenda.  I am hopeful if he can address what is happening this way, we can pinpoint who it is and what is being said to him.  This poor kid has had such a rough year, rougher than previous years and he has always been the target of some bully.  I just want him to have some peace and be happy to be at school.  This is a boy who loves school and thrives in that setting.  After I dropped him off this morning, I felt sick, nervous, upset, scared ... I pray he has a good day and he has fun with the children that do care for him, even if they are few, they are precious.

All the best!

*HUGS*

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Everyone Hates Me!"

I picked Austin up from school yesterday and just like everyday, I ask him how his day went.  He said "okay" but I saw the look on his face, trouble!  He complained he hurt his foot and could not return to school the next day, red flag!  We got in the car and I asked him, "Okay, what happened today?  I know something is wrong."  Out of his mouth came "Everyone hates me!!!"  Oh no!   What happened now?

I proceeded to calm Austin and ask him what had happened to make him so upset.  He explained that he was being teased for a certain behaviour (I will not state exactly what since I do not want to embarrass him) which stopped a long time ago but he is still being teased about it by everyone in his class.  I asked him when it was occurring and did he tell the teacher.  No, he did not tell.  I continue to explain to Austin that he is to tell someone.  He did settle down after a while, thank goodness!

This morning, Austin woke up and told me he could not go to school because of his hurt foot.  Both my husband and I checked his foot, it is fine.  He was using the excuse of a sore stomach to get out of school when "the boy" was bullying him, so my husband I and knew he was very upset if he was trying to get out of going.  I spoke to Austin and he proceeded to tell me that the kids are teasing him all the time about the fact that I will not allow him to have a Facebook account or a Twitter account.  Really?  They are not allowed to have these accounts!  Minimum age for Facebook is 13 and my son is 9!  Even at 13, I think Facebook and Twitter open a door I would like to keep closed, cyberbullying!  Not to mention other dangers for children!

Austin sat on the couch crying and telling me that he is teased and called names everyday by his classmates with the exception of 1 or 2.  He does not want to return to school, period!  This is too much!  I had already emailed his teacher the previous day and now I decided, I am going in to see the Principal.  I called and emailed him.  He did reply to my email very quickly since he was out at meetings for the day but assured me he would address the situation as soon as possible as did his teacher.  I have to say, they do take it seriously and do respond quickly.  They did resolve the situation with "the boy" and I do believe they are genuinely concerned for the student body.

When I questioned Austin to why he will not tell someone these things are happening, he is afraid he will be further teased as a tattle tale.  Really?  I feel like he is trapped.  He feels he cannot not zig or zag.  What I am to do?  This is crazy!  I am frustrated, upset and actually disappointed in how these other children behave towards my son who is sensitive, sweet and very easy going.  What is wrong?  How do I fix this?  Do I change schools and try a fresh start?  Will the same thing occur?  I am praying I will find some answers.

All the best!

*HUGS*

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015

Only to be brought to tears again ....

The day of my last post, I picked Austin up from school.  He was not even out of the front lobby when he broke down and told me he saw "the boy" at school that very morning, in the office!  I could not believe my ears!  After the school had assured me this child was no longer a threat to my son and would be attending another program at another school, there he was!  What was happening?

I questioned Austin about what he knew or had heard at school.  (This was after almost an hour of crying by Austin.  It broke my heart!)  Austin told me he heard "the boy" would be attending daycare at the school. WHAT?!  Why?  Okay, so off I go to figure out what was happening.  I placed a call to the school Principal in hopes that I could get a confirmation if this child was in the school or not.  To be told one thing and then another to happen, well that was unsettling to say the least.  Poor Austin was beside himself with anxiety.

I received a call from the school and it was confirmed that the child would be attending daycare at the school and to be transported to another school for his program.  I was assured that he would not have contact with Austin.  Well, the two of them in the office at the same time, I consider contact.  So, I told Austin what the situation was and that he should not bring down attendance in the morning as to avoid "the boy".  Also, Austin does go to the PD daycare days occasionally when there is an outing or  a "mad science" themed day.  I told him that he will not be attending anymore days since "the boy" would be at the daycare.  Now, I do have sporadic daycare for Austin in case I have to work an afternoon, I guess those days will have to have the child isolated from Austin or I will have to get my in-laws to help take care of him.  I will not subject my son to this child as I know he will only go after Austin again.  That, is not acceptable.

All the best!  *HUGS*

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Directing the Delighted

There is a reason I have not been blogging for the last few months, we have been dealing with a very trying situation at school with Austin.  He has been bullied by another boy for months!  It was so tough to find out that once again, Austin was the target of bullying.  This child kicked Austin, more than once in the private area, so hard that he had pain and could not urinate without discomfort.  We treated his symptoms and he was fine but the thought of it happening was a nightmare!  This is how we found out he was a target of bullying ... again!  What does being "delighted" have to do with this post?  Continue to read on and you will see!

After Austin had been injured, I was upset, as was his Father, that he was being targetted pretty much everyday for months.  A push here, a punch there, a kick, a shove, name calling and knocking to the ground.  My mind raced for nights on end!  I could not sleep!  I was so concerned that Austin was being hurt and did not tell us what was going on; we found out why he did not tell us.  When I questioned him, and it took a lot of questioning before he told me why he did not confide in us, he just looked at me and said, "No witnesses, no proof."  Just like that.  I am not kidding when I say, my head almost blew off!  Where on earth would he hear something like that?  Then, in an instant, I knew.

This boy went after Austin so much that he was finally suspended for a few days.  Austin and all of us felt a sigh of relief that he could go to school and be happy for a while.  The day the boy returned, he got up in the middle of the class and went to the board and punched Austin as he did his work.  Again, the child was suspended, this time for a week.  When was this going to end?

Yesterday, I picked Austin up from school, he told me that he heard the boy had been "expelled".  Austin was content that the boy was no longer going to school and quiet frankly, I was very relieved that I did not have to worry about Austin being hit anymore.  He did not seem outlandishly happy but seemed pleased.

If the child was indeed expelled, I needed to confirm this with the school. (They have been very supportive of Austin during this situation and I am very grateful to them.)  I contacted them and found out that the child was not formally expelled but has moved to another program at another school.  I was also informed that Austin was very happy about this and had no bones about expressing this to the other children in his class.  This did not go over well and Austin was spoken to about it.  He did apologize and I did speak to him about it.  I told him that is not the way to react and it is not a dignified way to behave.  Austin struggles a lot with social issues and all he could think about was how delighted he was not to have to endure being the target of this child.  I can totally relate to how he feels but he has to learn that expressing certain things that way can hurt someone's feelings.  He knows that there is a certain expectation of being understanding, since we do not know the status of this other boy.  I am sure he has his own challenges he is trying to deal with and I know it will not be easy for him or his family.  I do feel for them since we have our own challenges to deal with everyday.  They may not be the same, but they are still challenges.

I am hopeful that the rest of the school year will be easier for Austin now that he does not have to be afraid to go to school everyday.  Honestly, it broke my heart to have my son so fearful, he did not want to go to school.  He LOVES school!  Today, I sit optimistic that the past few months will fade and his excitement to go to school will return!

All the best!  *HUGS*

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Vaccine Debate

I do not usually post about things like this, but lately, I just cannot take it!  I can barely go on Facebook with all these people posting about how vaccinations do not cause autism so everyone should vaccinate their children; "Vaccines do not cause autism!" they say.  I do not care to debate this myself but I am so tired of people who do not have a child with autism posting about vaccines and autism, not once but a dozen times!  Really?  I do not think anyone should tell anyone else what they should or should not do with their child.  If someone does not want a child who is not vaccinated around their children, take it up with the parents but do not push your beliefs on someone else.

A short rant but, whew, I feel a bit better!

All the best! *HUGS*