Friday, August 26, 2016

"How Did You Know What To Do"

"How did you know what to do?"

I hear this phrase a lot from people when I tell them Mason is autistic, and have recently.

So...I figured I would post my thoughts about this question.

I am pretty open about him being autistic. I would rather people know that I am aware of his challenges than have them make their own assumptions that I don't notice things that are going on with him. PLUS...there is nothing wrong with being autistic, and it should not be this awkward topic.

Some people are autistic, some are not.

Insert Kanye Shrug

He is really great most of the time. I am pretty sure he is considered on the "mild" end of the autism spectrum but before this year, I really had no clue.

I really could not be happier with his development-I mean as far as what I could ever want for him at 5 years old, his developmental outcome going into kindergarten  is what I would have considered 2 years ago a "best case scenario".

He speaks really well, potty trained, he has interests, he seems to be cognitively almost age level.

He does still have a lot of challenges, but I try not to be negative and always really try to focus on the positive

He has worked so hard the last 3 years.

2 years old I enrolled him in an autism nursery school where he attended 8-5 every day. He has been at that school since then, graduating to Pre-K and now on to  kindergarten.

That whole time was not a full school day, he did get before and after care because both myself and his dad work full time.

But still...that is a long day for any child. And he also got pulled out of class for ABA therapy 20 hours a week and also had the ABA therapist come to our home 6 hours a week. Not to mention when he was 16 months old until 3 years old,  he qualified for Early Intervention which was separate from his autism school,  so he also had a developmental therapist and a speech therapist an additional 2 hours a week.

Anyway...people ask me all the time "How did you know what to do?'

I really didn't know what to do. It is just like...you figure it out.

I mean, having a kid in general does anyone really know what to do?

People THINK they know what to do,  but as soon as you have that baby, all of your preconceived notions you had just because you had nieces and nephews or baby sat your friends kids go out the window.

Every single new parent just doesn't know shit.

But you just figure it out.

Having a child with a disability is the same thing.

I just kind of felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants.

One of the biggest mistakes I made early on was focusing on "curing" Mason.

I guess when he was about 3.5 when it was 2 years into my journey as a parent to an autistic little boy, it kind of hit me that it was ok that he was autistic and I needed to focus on helping, not curing. And I needed to stop focusing on the WHY.

And once I came to that realization, it helped me cope so much more.

So to answer the questions "How did you know what to do" or the statement "I could never do it"...well...you just figure it out like any regular parent does with their kids. You have initial opinions and responses to things, you grow and you change.

As as far as "I could never do it"...unless you totally are a crappy sucky person...you would be able to do it because you really have no choice.

Just like any parent-you go in protective mode.

I remember when I was 12, this dumb bitch who was 14  pulled me underwater at our community swimming pool and everyone laughed, and I was at home crying about it because I was so embarrassed,  and my crazy Italian 31 year old mom literally drove to the pool and got in her face and busted up her party. At the time of course, I was mortified, however looking back, I totally get it.

You want to keep your kids in a bubble and protect them from anything harmful.

I am pretty sure I take after my mom in the don't-fuck-with-my-kid department.

I figured out what to do because I want Mason to have every chance possible he can to have an easy life.

Just like everyone wants for their children.

You just figure it out.

And that is that!






Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My Kid is Really Good Looking ;)

Lets see, so far I have killed two fish and now a hermit crab. I seriously think if my head was not attached I would not have a head.

Mason keeps asking me all about his dead pets and where they are, and I am saying they missed their moms and had to go home. Then he is asking me about their moms and what do their moms look like, what are their names, can we visit them, etc..

AHHHHHH

I win the Olympic Gold Medal in killing small pets.

On a side note, I am actually totally obsessed with watching the Olympics.

It is so inspiring to watch the athletes as I sit on my sofa and stuff my face.

HA!

Anyway I just really wanted to write a quick entry to share this pic of Mason which I LOVE.

I know I am his mom but I think he is the most beautiful child I have ever seen in my life!

I am also pretty sure every mom thinks that about their kid hahahaha.


This past weekend, Mason went on an airplane, rode a jet ski, and went on a boat. I had to miss it all since he was with his dad, and that was seriously heartbreaking but at the same time, I am glad he is able to enjoy these things without any trouble.

I took him on a big ass adult roller coaster when we went to the Poconos...so there!

He is starting Kindergarten in a few weeks and I cannot believe it! This will be his last year at the private school for kids on the autism spectrum that he has attended since he was 2.

I am so sad that this is his last year.

That being said, in September I will be contacting our public school to start the process of transitioning him there as a student, finding out what their special needs program is like and start the process of his evaluations for an IEP for next school year.

This is all totally new territory for me and I have begun doing a lot of research to find out what his rights are and what he actually is entitled to.

What I would like is for him to be mainstreamed in a regular classroom, have his own 1:1 aide, and also  receive Speech and ABA and maybe OT during the week (he is really having trouble with holding a pencil and writing).

So I will have a lot to write about in the next few months!




Monday, August 8, 2016

Vacation


Mason and I went to the Poconos for a 4 day vacation and it was so much fun!

My family has gone the 2 previous years and I have skipped it, basically because Mason was too hard for me to manage by myself. I just didn't want to put him in a situation where a new environment was too much for him and therefore, trying to keep him calm would be too much for me.

This year now that his communication is great and he is potty trained and he understands when we go on vacation, I knew I could take him and have a good time.

We had some challenges (he swallowed a quarter-I cannot even write about it. I don't think I will ever be able to. I thought he was going to choke to death in the Poconos) but overall the vacation was a success.

The kids LOVED the slow motion feature on my phone and I think we did about 500000 slow motion videos.

I personally love all of them but for the sake of not being repetitive, I will post two!

Jumping

Running Down a Hill

Also here are a few pictures.

It was a great vacation (aside from the quarter)
Mason and Georgia in the "Snowflake" chair and "Sunshine" chair (as Mason called them)
Having fun at Knobles

My sister and I tried for 20 minutes to take a cute beach pic. Kids photobombed every one but this one!



My oldest nephews Rocco and Leo. Professional photobombers

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Airplanes and Banners

Mason and I went down the shore this past weekend and we had so much fun! This is my new favorite picture of him...looking at an airplane with a banner, of course



As I think everyone knows, Mason LOVES airplanes with banners. He owns about 40 different airplanes and he always creates little banners for them.

I actually got him a new decal for his room, and I didn't even notice his name was spelled wrong until Mason pointed out that there were "two M's"


Uh yeah-I put it on the wall and didn't even notice. DUH. Total Mom fail. Oh well. I am too lazy to order another so Masom is staying on the wall. Mason't thinks it is hilarious and every day when he comes home from school, he runs to his room to look at it. So...maybe not a mom fail after all.


This is my favorite airplane and banner he made when he was about 3. I called it "Mason Banner" (He could spell his name when he was 1 so I did not help him with this)


He still does this today. He is always watching videos of airplanes and banners on youtube and videos of when the airplane actually picks up the banner.

He even watches commercials on youtube for aerial advertisement for your company. hehhehehe.

He talks about airplanes and banners too-all the time. A few weeks ago, he made up a knock knock joke.

"Knock Knock"
"Who is there"
"Airplane and banner"
"Airplane and banner who"
"Airplane and banner flying! HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHA"

Ok...so maybe not the funniest joke but I personally thought it was hilarious.

He is going on his first airplane with his dad next week and I have to say I am a little bit said that I am going to miss this experience, but I have asked his dad to take some videos of his reaction so hopefully he does, and I can post them on here.

Anyway-he was seriously in his glory watching the airplanes and banners fly by when we were on the beach. Every one that flew by was like the first one he saw.

It was so cute seeing him enjoy something that..well...was just no big deal to me before.

Now I love airplanes and banners!

So next time you see an airplane and banner get happy...think of Mason!!



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Mini Me?

 I had to go look back in my blog to see if I had written about this (sometimes I forget what I have written about lol) and I did not...so I want to post to say I AM SOOOO EXCITED!!!

Mason is signed up for Fall Soccer!!!

I seriously am so excited I cannot see straight. I had wanted to sign him up for basketball but could not find any league for kids younger than 6.

So...we start with soccer.

I played soccer until I was 16, and his dad played throughout high school so I am thinking he should be pretty good.

Actually watching him, he already seems like he has some skills.

He doesn't really stand out to me in the way he plays basketball however he can punt the ball which I think is pretty impressive, and his dribbling is pretty good.

I personally think he would be a great goalie (SHOUT OUT TO AUNT TT)
mean-the kid could catch and throw at 15 months old....like...better than some 5 year olds I see.

Anyway- I am so so so excited however I am super competitive myself when it comes to sports so I am kind of worried and also envisioning myself as one of those weird sports moms. So...sorry in advance if that is who I actually am.

HA!!

When we found out Mason was autistic when he was 21 months, the thought of sports literally just left my brain.

It just goes to show you just really don't know with these kids, and they will always surprise us parents who apparently have preconceived notions.

I mean-I really thought he wouldn't play sports because his pediatrician told me that.

Now I am like WTF why did he even say that to me?

Ah whatever-I am super excited to go my soccer cleats (OMG THEY WILL BE SO CUTE LOOKING EEEEK!!!) and I am so excited for him to wear his soccer uniform.

I realize I am acting like he is going to the Olympics but whateves.

It is such a wonderful feeling to be excited about something that other parents of kids his age are excited about too. And I really hope he loves it.

I am so proud of this kid and am so happy I am his mom.

Mason brings a light into my life that I don't ever think I can explain to anyone.

Anyway-hopefully you won't see me on the soccer field this fall beating up other 5 year olds.

PUNTING THE SOCCER BALL


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Autism Clothing

So I saw this shirt on the internet, and I think it is really stupid. It is the word AUTISM and then has descriptions for each letter.

Always
Unique
Totally
Interesting
Sometimes
Mysterious.

I saw it on some Facebook autism page, and all these parents were commenting on how much they loved it, and I just really really think it is fucking dumb.

I like the "Always Unique" part. But then the rest of it is like someone couldn't figure out the rest and just picked words.

Totally? Sometimes?

Dumb

And I don't think autistic people are "mysterious". That just seems like a really weird adjective to pick also. I mean, I know it "implies mystery"....and there is the whole symbol of autism being a puzzle piece

But when I think of "mysterious" I think of...like ancient tunnels that lead to mummies or some shit. Or a tall dark handsome man sitting alone wearing a hat and coat , drinking a martini at the end of a bar when there are no other patrons. During a rain storm. Suddenly, another car pulls up and the mysterious man in the hat quickly flees...leaving only his olive in his drink.

Mysterious....

Or..something,

People like that are mysterious.

As a side note, I just want everyone to know that every time I am typing mysterious, I am picturing it being said the same way as Whoopi Goldberg and Cheech Marin keep saying "Mufasa" in the Lion King when they are talking to Scar.

Does anyone even know what the fuck I am talking about?

Anyway-I don't think autistic people are mysterious

Ooooo. Say it again.

heheh ok I will stop. I am cracking myself up and probably no one things this is funny.

Mason has many behaviors that I do not understand. I could go on and on and on about it.

But...I am neurotypical.

He is not.

Mystery solved.

So...that is my opinion on that particular shirt.

Which leads me to my next topic-autism  paraphernalia.

So...I have a magnet on my car of a ribbon with the puzzle pieces and it says "Autism Acceptance" and honestly I am not a big fan of the puzzle piece logo but it is really hard to find anything that does not have the puzzle, and I do think it is important to promote autism acceptance.

Anyway-I am sure there are parents who don't like the puzzle ribbon in the same way I don't like the shirt I described. So...I just want to say I am not saying that I am right and other people are wrong, this is just my opinion.

Also I realize I have a blog and I know there are autistic adults who feel that parents who blog about their autistic child are big assholes, however I have always tried to represent my blog as MY journey. It is about ME and how I came to grow into the person I have become in the last 4 years and honestly if you read through my blog, I think there is a lot of growth on my perspective regarding autistic people.

When I write I do keep in mind that Mason might read my blog one day.

I did not do that in the beginning and I am pretty ashamed of it.

There are actually some really old entries that I have thought about deleting but ultimately I left them up because I think a really important part of this journey is my own personal growth.

It wasn't that I didn't want him to be my child or I didn't want to deal with it. The ignorance was fear of the unknown. Because I really didn't know shit and when I read from a few years ago, there is a lot of ignorance and I will admit that.

Hopefully if he ever reads this, he will understand.

Not that this is the same thing, but I remember at one point in my life it just dawned on me that my family was probably not excited that I was going to be born when my mom first found out she was pregnant...being 18 and all.

It was hard to think of family being upset because of me. But ultimately, I understood that it was because my mom was so young and they were all just scared for her.

So if one day it dawns on Mason that we were probably not happy finding out he was autistic, I hope he understands why and I will do my best to explain it to him.

I am like going off into another world here when I really just want to write about how I think autism shirts are dumb.

The other shirts I really don't like are any that reference "Autism Moms"

For some reason, the term "Autism Mom" or "Special Needs Mom" really kind of bothers me.

So..I am not a mom of autism or I am not autism's mom. I am Mason's mom.

OR if I am writing I will sometimes say "Mom of a special needs child"

But "Autism Mom"...I just think it is worded so that the parent looks like some big hero or something. When really, we are all just parents.

The second reason those shirts bother me is because they usually include the term "warrior" or some type of battle reference which I mean I GET but I sort of feel like having that terminology about your own child on a shirt for everyone to see is kind of fucked up.

HEY YOOO HOOO!!! LOOK AT ME!!! MY KID MAKES MY LIFE REEEAAALLLLLYYYYY HARD!!!

Like...does everyone shopping at Target have to know that your kid makes your life difficult?

When I see these shirts, I try to think of what Mason would think if he knew I wore them, so that is why I don't like the ones with war/battle type references.

Obviously there are days that do feel like that and I am very aware that mine are few and far between compared to other parents.

But I think if I had a disability and I saw my mom wearing a shirt all around town letting everyone know how difficult it was to be my mom, my feelings would be hurt.

I have never actually seen anyone wear them, so maybe a lot of people agree with me. But I do see them all over the internet so I guess people buy them.

As a side note, I am fully aware that maybe someone thinks something similar about me because of the topic of my blog, and I am probably being very hypocritical.

I realize everyone copes in their own way, and I would never judge anyone who likes those shirts if they make them feel good.

They just really are not for me.

Now I do know some parents who have shirts or bracelets for their children that make reference to autism which I actually think is a good idea if the child really struggles in public.

Also there are shirts that say "Proud Mom" with the puzzle piece and I would never wear that either, but I think that shirt is fine because there is no battle reference.  It is just like "Hey, I am proud of my kid"

So...now I am surfing the internet looking at autism clothing.

I found one shirt I like

"Keep Calm. Stim On"

MAYBE I would wear that one.

I also saw a sweatshirt that says "Normal People Scare Me."

HA!

ummmm so lets see...

Autism Awareness Month Colorful Puzzle Piece Men's G-String Underwear

It's $15.99 Ya'll!

Well on that note, I am out!














Thursday, July 7, 2016

Just A Funny Story

Mason walked up to me and put his head on my lap.

"Mommy I am hungry"

"Ok what do you want?"

"Hugs!"

Not the answer I was expecting...but was excited to get hugs

"Ok lets hug"

Mason sniffed me, and walked away.

Alrighty then!