Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year's Resolution.

While I would definitely like to lose weight (about 30 pounds to be exact), and I would like to exercise more, eat better, drink more water, etc, none of these will be new year's resolutions. This year, my new year's resolution is to spend more time with my friends. With everything going on this past year (like say, having a baby and Max's Autism diagnosis), I have let some relationships slide. It's understandable, but it really is about time I make a concerted effort to get out with my friends and be social. I already have plans to go to my friend Alana's on the 3rd, and to have lunch with my friend Rhonda on the 9th, as well as plans to go to our friends Ellisa and James' birthday party. I have scheduled a call to Vera on February 1st to schedule coffee (she is in Thailand right now). I need to see my friend Christine in a big way, and there are a bunch of ladies in Burlington that I owe a visit to. I'm hoping my friend Jennifer will make it out this way too, because it is hard to leave Max right now for any length of time. And if I'm really lucky, I'll get to go to my college reunion in July and room with my friend Michelle. I also have a group of new friends I have made this past year. These are ladies I have met in the area who also have children with ASD and other serious health issues. They are incredible women that have reached out to me and supported me in a way that nobody else could. In a lot of ways it is easier to talk with them than friends I have known my whole life, because they know what to say, they know what not to say, and they can truly commiserate with me. They are their family's rocks, and they understand what it is to be a mother to a child who needs more. I guess I have Max to thank for knowing them. Sometimes blessings come in strange packages. So ladies, let's go out for coffee, lunch, dinner, a movie, a walk, a whatever. Let's have inappropriate conversations and gossip. This is one resolution I think I can keep.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Cameron Elizabeth: 8 months old.

My dearest baby Cameron,

You are 8 months old tomorrow! My gawd how time flies. I must apologize once again for not writing you a 7 month update - your mommy has had her hands full to say the least.
In the past 2 months you have been busy. You went from being a little wobbly baby who needed her boppy pillow to sit up, to a sturdy baby who not only can sit up on her own, but is on the move. You are still working on crawling, but I have a feeling you are only days away from figuring it out. You are working on your downward dog pose, and have mastered scooting backwards as a means of getting around. You are very pleased with yourself when you manage to get from one end of your blanket to another. But you aren't so pleased when you bonk your head on the floor (we try to keep this to a minimum, but sometimes you are too quick for us to catch).
Cameron, you are girl who is full of smiles (and you have two teeth to show off!). You and your brother laugh when mommy and daddy chant "ticka ticka ticka ticka tee-tee-tah, I've got a rhythm, gonna share it with yaaaaaaaaaaaaaah" from your favourite show "Four Square". You always smile back when we smile at you and you are quick to flirt with anyone new. On the flip side, when you are displeased or a "disgrunt-buggly", you are also quick to howl in frustration. You like to be held up high (the higher the better), so daddy is the preferred carrier when you are sad. The thing is, you are no longer the wee little baby we brought home from the hospital, you are getting big, so we get tired of carrying you after about 10 minutes. When we try to put you down, you seem to know the minute you get lowered even an inch, and you let us know this isn't okay.

This past month you caught the whopper of colds that single handedly brought our house to its knees. We can thank your brother for bringing home this lovely bug from daycare. He got sick first and then passed it to you, me, and daddy. You got a double ear infection and you were miserable. You also got a horrible cough and your eyes got goopy. Our hearts broke for you because there wasn't much we could do for you. You didn't want to eat your rice cereal - all you wanted was booby. Now that you are feeling better your appetite is better and we are trying to get you back to some semblance of a schedule.
Cameron, you are a little lady with a lot to say. I keep suggesting "mommy" to you as a potential first word, but right now you seem to be sticking to "ahhhhhhhhhh ahhhhhh". That's okay, but if you say "daddy" first I will be a little bitter. I mean, you pretty much only want to be held by me, and you squawk whenever I leave the room, so I figure I have earned it.
You are still sleeping with mommy and daddy at night. Most nights you want to party a bit longer, even when we are ready to go to sleep. You roll over and push yourself up (we call this the "groundhog" move). You reach out and tug at our noses and poke us to see if you can get us to play. We have to roll over and turn our backs to you to get you to fall asleep. You like to pull on my hair until you eventually conk out. Even though we are in a queen size bed, and you are tiny, you somehow manage to push us both to the edge. I have explained to you that it works better if we all sleep with our heads pointing to the top of the bed and our feet pointing to the bottom, but you think it is more cozy to lay your head on daddy and stick your feet into mommy (it kind of looks like an "H" when you do this). I have a feeling that you will be moving to your crib soon if this continues.
Cameron, you are the sweetest, smartest, cutest, sassiest baby that ever there was. Your dad and I remind ourselves every day how blessed we are to have you. We are having so much fun getting to know you as your personality blossoms. You are loved by everyone who meets you (and your brother is even coming around to the fact that you seem to be staying put).


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Swimming in Germy Soup.

The past two weeks have been challenging to say the least. We are all sick. All four of us. It started with Max, and then quickly spread to Scott, Cameron and myself. It is the kind of sick that makes you want to lay down and die. I mean, I don't really want to die, but I would maybe like to find a cold slab somewhere quiet, and if someone would tuck me in and close the drawer for a while so I could get some rest, I wouldn't even mind if they stuck one of those tags on my toe.

Kidding aside, when a kid with autism gets sick, it is about ten times worse than a normal kid. Max's only way to tell us he feels like a bag of ass, is to act out. And wow, is he ever good at that (hour long tantrums in the middle of the night, refusing to eat, etc). He is also showing a lot of progress, which is amazing - he is now taking us by the hand and demanding that we come with him so he can show us what he wants. This is huge, because it means that he is starting to realize that we can help meet his needs, and all he has to do is tell us what he wants. It is also really frustrating for Max as his parents don't always catch on right away. As Max is being pushed outside of his comfort zone more and more, he is also communicating to us that he is not thrilled with the new demands being put on him. He shows us this by acting out, and laying down the law the only way he can - by giving us a run for our money when it comes to eating, sleeping, and well, anything he can think of to get attention (mostly negative). According to our Behaviour Consultant, this is normal. It will take some time for Max to adjust and in the meantime, we just need to give him a lot of positive support, hugs, and let him know that his environment is secure. All this while we are sick as dogs. Oi.

I'm not feeling sorry for myself here, I am just praying we all get better in time for Christmas. The only thing I have managed to do this year is send out cards. I don't have any decorations up yet, haven't baked cookies, and still have some shopping left to do. With everything that is going on, I guess that is to be expected. We are so very blessed - I am reminded of this on a daily basis. This morning, as I left to take Max to daycare, I saw that our neighbour had shoveled our walkway for us. Our neighbour, who's husband had a heart attack last month and has a daughter with Down Syndrome, reached out to us and helped us, and brought tears to my eyes with her kindness. And for that, I am thankful.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Poker Queen.

In an effort to lighten things up around here, we had our friends Alana and Jay over to play some poker last night. Alana and Jay are very good poker players. Scott is also a very good poker player. I am a novice, at best, but I am at the very least, smart about when I fold (which is a lot). But you know who won the pot last night? You got it - little ol' ME. Woot! I was not a graceful winner at all. I probably would have danced on the table if I had thought of it. (Let's all be glad I kept my feet firmly planted on the ground.)

After a week that pretty much kicked my ass, it was great to just hang out, relax, surf funny videos on Youtube, have some beverages and be silly. Alana is a pun-master, and Jay, well Jay is just awesome. Laughing really is the best therapy. A solid night's sleep would be good too, but that might be pushing it.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Diagnosis For Max.

Finally. We finally have a diagnosis for Max. And as much as we knew our little boy is Autistic, it was still hard to hear. It was hard to call Scott at work and tell him. And I couldn't tell my father-in-law, I just told him I couldn't talk about it yet.

I am relieved, and numb, and happy about the services that Max can now get because we have an official diagnosis. I am pissed off at our doctor who I have been begging to help us for a year and a half. I am pissed off at myself for not forcing him to refer us to this pediatrician sooner. I am overwhelmed with the word "Autism". And I am saying "I" a lot, when really, it isn't about me, it is about Max, and what is best for him. And what he needs. Now that we know, we can get him more focused therapy. We can get training in IBI therapy. There is no more putting my hands over my ears and chanting "I can't hear you" when people say the "A" word. We have to tackle this problem head on. Shit, I'm good at that. In fact, I am GREAT at that. Autism watch out, I'm about to kick yo ass.

This beautiful boy will not fall prey to you, Autism. No way, no how. We will pull him from your clutches and beat the crap out of you. Hands off our son, you wicked beast. Here comes Momma, and you ain't never seen a Momma Bear like me. So, watch out, I'm coming to get you. Consider yourself warned.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Busy...and a bit overwhelmed.

Things have been a bit nuts here over the past three weeks. With Max in therapy three afternoons a week, I'm spending the majority of my days to-ing and fro-ing with him. Not that I mind, it just doesn't leave a lot of time to get things done around the house, or, shower.

Max is showing some real progress at CIP. We are seeing a lot more appropriate play, interaction with other children (like, taking their toys away from them), and a lot more requesting at home. He even said the words "apple", "apple sauce" and "hide and seek" this past week. Along with the progress comes a lot of acting out. From what the Behaviour Consultant at the program tells us, this is normal. He is being forced outside his comfort zone, so with that comes more tantrums, problems sleeping, and a harder time in transitions.

One of the things I am most surprised about is how hard watching the therapy sessions is. By the end of the week, I am emotionally spent. Since I am a mere observer, I get to see Max's wins, Max's challenges, and his moments of being completely overwhelmed. But I can't come over and give him a hug, I just have to watch and deal with it. Some days I have to leave the observation room for a little while to regroup and collect myself. The other parents don't seem to be facing the same challenges as me - I guess I'm just a softy. But I wouldn't have it any other way.