Thursday, April 30, 2009
I have been waiting to hear "mama" for three years. Max does not say "mama". I hadn't realized just how badly I needed to hear that one word. After Cameron said it, I blinked back tears and said "Yes! That's right! Mama!" and I clapped for her. And then she clapped back, and that's when I lost it. You probably aren't supposed to cry on your birthday, but it was warranted. The other wonderful gift I got was Cameron's daycare pictures. Daycare pictures! She actually sat and smiled for them. We haven't been able to get Max to sit for them, so these are my first official school pics and I love 'em. I think I'm going to order the bottom one, but Scott's folks like the middle one. Couldn't you just eat her she's so cute?
This afternoon I'm taking Max to his big Autism Wait List assessment at Erin Oak where I suspect they will poke him with a stick and make him completely miserable to prove once again that he is Autistic. Then I'll get to bring him home and try to settle him down after being tortured for the second time this week. Poor kid. Considering what he has been through in the past month, I can't blame him for being cranky with us, I would be too. Wish us luck! And vodka!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I am not afraid to call it like I see it.
I am okay with people not liking me.
I know who loves me.
I know who my friends are.
I know I'm not perfect, and I'm okay with that.
I know I'm a good person, flaws and all.
I can install toilets, ceiling fans, taps, electrical outlets and lighting fixtures, by my own damn self.
I can also make quilts (I just don't have time).
I have a wonderful singing voice.
I have beautiful green eyes.
I ask for a lot because I give a lot.
I am not afraid to tell the universe what I want.
I love my children with the ferociousness of a mother bear.
I love my husband more today than the day we got married.
I love my curves.
I love myself.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Don't get me wrong, I like glass-is-half-full/solution-oriented type people, but this woman was just ridiculous. I swear to dog, you could literally serve her up a sh!t sandwich and she would eat it with a smile, all the while telling you what an excellent chef you were. I tried to like her, but because she was never real, I didn't trust her. Plus, she was a horrible manager and left her team to wade through the muck of an organization that requires a lot of escalating, maneuvering and sweet talking to get anything done. The worst thing was that upper management LOVED her, so there was no escaping.
Every 2 weeks, MFP had a status meeting with me. I dreaded these meetings because they were a complete waste of time and I always left them more confused about what I was supposed to be doing than I had been before the meeting. I started daydreaming during these meetings, tuning MFP out as she droned on. I started imagining what her face would look like if I just reached over and ever so casually tipped my coffee over into her lap. Would the Cheshire cat smile leave her face even for a moment? Would the facade crack and give me a peak into her happy-happy-joy-joy soul? Maybe my dumping coffee on her would be the straw that broke the camel's back, and she would jump over the table and beat the tar out of me. One can always hope.
It got to the point that every time I met with her, all I could think about was how badly I wanted to pour my coffee on her. I was obsessed. At first it was amusing, but I started to worry. What if I actually did it? The devil on my shoulder had my ear, and I was concerned that he was going to talk me into doing something that I really shouldn't do. I really didn't trust myself to behave so I did the unthinkable. I stopped drinking coffee, or any kind of beverage, at our 9am meetings. That was the only way I could absolutely guarantee that I wouldn't dump anything into MFP's lap.
I knew I had to quit when my thoughts ventured over to her coffee, and I realized all I would have to do is stretch my arm out a little further and...well, you get the idea. Needless to say, I got over the fixation of wanting to dump coffee on my manager's lap. But if you are ever out with me, and I decide to skip my usual cup of java, you've been given fair warning, and I suggest you keep a tight hold on your own beverage.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Monday am: Take Max to Joseph Brant Hospital for baseline bloodwork
Monday pm: Go to Ellisa's mom's funeral
Tuesday am: Introduce Max's IBI therapist to daycare staff (Brian's 1st day working with Max at daycare)
Tuesday pm: Get Max and myself new healthcards (ours expire on Thursday)
Tuesday night: Go to Autism coaching class (3.5 hour session)
Wednesday am: Coffee with friend
Wednesday pm: Take Max to therapy
Thursday am: My birthday! Cam's birthday
Thursday pm: Take Max to Erinoak for his Autism wait list assessment (try not to lose it as yet another team of "experts" poke him with a stick to prove once again that he is Autistic)
Friday am: One last trip to mall to get work clothes
Friday pm: Take Max to therapy and have visit from Halton Support Services to help me fill out their mountain of paperwork so I can get on the 2 year wait list for Special Services at Home funding.
Saturday: Get my hair done maybe? Laundry!
Sunday: Try to get everything organized for my first week back.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Scott and I decided that since Max and Cameron play with the same toys, we would get them joint gifts. I ordered a bead table and wall crab from Hot Toads out in New Brunswick. We had all of the grandparents chip in, which made the cost manageable. I also got them some sandbox toys, a play tunnel, and a parachute. The last thing we need in this house is more plastic crap, so I'm happy to have avoided this for the most part.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
On Thursday she had her 12-month checkup at the Early Autism Study:
Friday, April 24, 2009
Cameron had her 1 year checkup at McMaster for the Early Autism Study, and as I was driving back from Hamilton, I had a "why me, why Max?" moment. I was dreading taking Max to his paediatrician appointment that afternoon, knowing it would be stressful on him, on me. I was thinking to myself, how many moms spend their mornings taking one child to an Autism study, and their afternoons taking their other child to the doctor to discuss getting blood work done that will require him to be sedated in the hospital because he won't let us take blood?
But then I thought, you know what? How many mothers with an Autistic child would just say "forget it, I'm done" and give up. Probably a lot, and trust me, there is no judgement coming from me on that, I get it. I understand the desire to tell God how big your storm is, and the need to pray for some respite from the howling rain. My personal storm is Autism, and my God may not be the typical Christian God, or Jewish God, or whatever God that the majority pray to, but I do have faith. Faith in myself, faith that I will not give up on this child, and faith that I am myself a force to be reckoned with, someone who does not accept failure. Sometimes when the storm is howling around my head, I question this faith, but inevitably, it comes roaring back and pushes the storm clouds away.
I have had this underlying feeling lately that the tide is about to turn, something big is about to happen for me, for my family, for Max. I have no idea what it is, but I am keeping an open mind and an open heart. You may think it is foolish optimism, but you just watch, the clouds are about to break.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Little dude, you are 3 years old today! This has been quite a year for you, and I am so proud of you. Last year on your birthday, you still had your parents all to yourself, now you have to share with your little sister. It has taken you a while to warm up to her, but I have to say, you are doing pretty well and you don't seem to mind sharing your toys with her (too much).
Max, if one day when you are older, you actually read my blog (your dad says neither you or Cam will give a crap about my blog and I am flattering myself), I want you to know two things. First is that there is not a little boy on this earth who is loved more than you. Second is that you are a very happy little boy and your smile could light the earth. You work so hard, and you are such a good sport about all of the things we ask you to do and all of the different people who come to play with you. I know that you find things very challenging right now, and that all of the changes are very stressful for you. But you are doing awesome, and your dad and I are so excited to see how fast you are learning.
We are going to have a little birthday party on Sunday. I hope you don't mind, but it is going to be a party for you, your dad, your sister and for me as well. You see, you and your dad share a birthday, and your sister and I share a birthday just one week later. So it will be a birthday-palooza (but all of the presents will be for you and your sister). Not to worry, when you are older you can have your very own party, I promise.
Max's "Birth" day | Max's 1st Birthday | Max's 2nd Birthday
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
After committing to getting off the sugar train, I got a not so lovely visit from my Aunt Florenza this past week. She was nice enough to arrive with a big basket of chocolate in hand, along with a bottle of vodka and a pack of smokes. Well, I don't smoke, so I let her keep those to herself. And according to my friend Jennifer, vodka has no sugar in it, so we're all good, me and the vodka. I held off on the chocolate until Saturday night. But The Dude, with his "Hey, careful, man, there's a beverage here! " mantra, broke my willpower and I had a bit of chocolate. Not a lot, and it was dark, and damn, was it ever good. The Fickle Feline abides.
I see that my friend Raye hasn't blogged in quite a while about her weight loss efforts. I'm wondering if this means she is just to busy to blog or has fallen off the wagon? She's coming to town in May, so I'll be able to get a look for myself. Giddy up Raye, I'm catching up to you! Another mom who is blogging about getting back into shape post baby is my friend Rakhi. I love that she is so candid - and she takes pictures too (Biggest Loser style, not like my lame-o head shots).
10 Weeks until my reunion and I have 15 lbs to go...that's 1.5 lbs a week. Yikes, better get moving, eh?
Week 1 Weight: 170.8 lbs
Current Weight: 165 lbs
Ladytown Status: slightly cloudy, chance of rain
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Adam Lambert - If I Can't Have You: Adam is the only contestant where I actually get excited to see what he is going to do with the arrangement. Instead of singing an upbeat song, he took a risk and sang a ballad, and wow, did he ever sing the pants off this song. His pitch is rock solid, he's in the pocket, and he is an amazing performer. While I still haven't forgiven him for how he sang Ring of Fire, I have to give the guy props, he has "it".
Anoop Desai - Dim All the Lights: Another ballad. The first two lines felt disjointed. The transition into the upbeat section was awkward. Even worse, he sang over the upbeat section as if he was still singing a ballad. He needed to have more punch in his voice and he needed to sing more rhythmically. Last note was embarrassing.
My prediction for Bottom 3:
Anoop Desai, Lil Rounds, Matt Giraud
Going home: Lil & Anoop
I am one of the "lucky" ladies that doesn't get monthly visits while breastfeeding. While I have been actively trying to wean Cameron (she no longer gets the boob during the day, only at night), I hadn't realized that I had weaned her that much. With Max, I had him completely weaned before dear Aunt Florenza decided it was time to reunite. This time, she decided it was time to catch up a little sooner.
It seems that everything is gradually coming back into alignment. My figure is returning to its lovely curvy self, my time is becoming more my own, my brain is starting to sharpen, my creative juices are flowing, and most of all, my body is being returned to me. I think the only thing that bothered me about Aunt Florenza's return was this meant I had ovulated, and with that, comes the risk of getting pregnant again which I find extremely undesirable. We are still debating what the best solution is to avoid baby #3. Because of this, I have defaulted to the pill, which I didn't want to do. But it seems a lot better than getting knocked up again...so while we continue "discussing" best next steps, I get to remember one more thing, the penalty of forgetting being pretty steep.
Monday, April 20, 2009
I have also decided to bump up Max's IBI hours by 50%, from 8 hours to 12 hours per week. His therapist from Blue Balloon will be working with him at daycare twice a week, which will help Max transfer some of the skills they have been working on to daycare, and also allow Brian to work on different goals with him. I'm also hoping that Max's daycare teachers will be able to learn from Brian and ask him questions regarding how to work with Max and deal with some of his challenging behaviour. Poor kid gets no breaks - he's going to be in IBI therapy Monday through Friday now. While I'm really not sure where I'll find the money for this, I feel good about putting him in more therapy. The window for being able to essentially rewire an Autistic child's brain is between the ages of 2 and 5. Max turns 3 this Thursday, so I am feeling anxious as the window for us to really help him gets smaller. How sad is it that he won't get funding for IBI until he is at least 5? Welcome to Onterrible.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
As I got Cameron dressed this morning, I pulled out some random clothes for her, not really paying attention. It wasn't until we came back from our walk that I realized I had dressed her all in purple. Purple for Maddie. Tears welled up in my eyes, and I knew then that it didn't matter that I hadn't figured out the perfect, eloquent words I had been searching for to pay tribute to this beautiful, smart little girl.
I decided that our typical Law & Order fare was too heavy (even with all the "You know what I heard about Dick Wolf?" jokes and mad scrambling to figure out what real life incident the show is based on when that "This show is complete fiction yadayadayada" blurb comes up). Instead, we opted for probably the best movie ever, "The Big Lebowski". As you can see, we got right into the Dude spirit and donned our bathrobes for the event. This movie gets better every time we watch it. Whether it is John Goodman's constant tales of Vietnam or "Shut the fuck up Donny!", or the Dude driving off the road because he dropped a joint in his lap and put it out with his beer, I find myself laughing out loud (a rarity these days) and forgetting for an hour or so, just how full my plate is. Perhaps my new mantra should be "Fuck it, Dude, let's go bowling".
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I tried to smooth things over by serenading her (always works on me, so I figured it was worth a shot). Negative. She continued giving me the silent treatment. I may have to break down and offer her the boob to get her talking. Nobody can resist booby.
Max is also a gift, but in a different way. He has opened my eyes up to a community that I was barely aware of, opened up my mind, and changed the path my life will take (or maybe he is my guide, and was given to me to show me the direction I was always meant to take). Cameron is the balm that heals my heart after it has been pulled in too many directions, the child that will give me the chance to experience those things that I won't be able to do with Max. They are both my blessings.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Well meaning person: "Hey, how are you doing?"
Me: "Good, good. How are you?"
I can count on one hand the number of people that I would respond to differently, and actually admit I was having a hard day. If you're one of those five people, thank you for being one of the few people I can be honest with, that can hold my pain. If you aren't, don't take it personally, trust me, you don't really want me to tell you the truth.
People ask how others are doing all the time. It's really just a form of greeting, an extended hello. Rarely do people even hear your response (which they assume will be fine/good/great) before they launch into talking about their own sh!t. I lie to myself most of the time too, tell myself that I'm okay and doing just fine. In reality, I'm probably just barely coping. My mantra is to take things a day at a time, and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. I tried to explain it to a friend of mine by saying "my day-to-day life is a roller coaster, my lows are lower than you can probably understand, my highs are centered around minuscule milestones that the average person wouldn't think twice about".
The only people that can truly understand what I am going through are other parents of Autistic kids, or parents of children with disabilities that render them incapable of communicating, functioning appropriately, and acting "normal". And that's okay, I don't expect other people to get it, how could you? Three years ago, if you had said I would be hugging a shrieking child tightly to my chest, stroking his hair and telling him "it's alright", trying to keep him from hurting himself, all because he is upset that his baby sister is crying, I would have thought you were nuts. But those are my days.
Today's high was Max tearing off little pieces of toast to chew instead of jamming the entire slice into his mouth. The low (so far) was getting a call from his daycare and hearing him screaming bloody murder in the background, having them tell me that he had been doing this for over and hour and that they didn't know what to do. I took the picture posted above right after I got off the phone. See, I'm fine. Really.
Since I appear to be at a stalemate regarding shopping for garments, I decided that shoes were likely my safest bet. The only shoes I have purchased in the last 4 years are ones that would fit my poor, tired, working-hard-to-support-extra-baby-pounds feet. I fantasized about the sexy heels I would buy that would make my butt look fantastic and my calves shapely. Would I want an open toe shoe since summer is coming? Something flirty perhaps?
And then I woke up. Who am I kidding? The days of sexy heals, like the ones (in the top left corner of the picture of red sexy shoes above) that my friend Lulu got me for my celebratory "Grown & Sexy" party, are long gone, at least when it comes to work. I need a pair of shoes that I can walk 5 city blocks in without destroying my feet. I need a pair of shoes that will last me until I can afford to buy another pair. I need a pair of shoes that I can wear with a skirt or pants. I need a pair of shoes that are - and I hate to say this - sensible. I settled on a pair of black patent leather, low healed, pumps. I tried them on this morning and modeled them in various poses, hoping to find a stance that would give them some sex appeal. No dice. But they are comfortable.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I called my trusty ladytown expert, Jennifer, and we discussed my "issues". She confirmed my suspicions that I needed to cut out all forms of processed sugar. That includes wine flavoured water (argh!), sugar in my morning coffee, and animal cracker crumbs. Also, time to start popping the acidophilus again, three times a day. I upped the ante and decided to get strict about my "no carbs after 5pm" rule as well. Jennifer also passed along some ladytown expertise from Megan, and that was if I really wanted to lay down the ladytown law, I could even (*gasp*) insert a capsule of acidophilus in ladytown when I went to bed. Shoot...this is turning into a TMI Tuesday post...
Anyway, I'm happy to report that getting off the sugar train was just what my body needed. I dropped 2 pounds this week! Funny how I'm able to eat healthy if my ladytown demands it, but am not necessarily motivated for the purpose of weight loss. Whatever works, eh? Maybe I should start labelling these posts "Ladytown Wednesdays".
Week 1 Weight: 170.8 lbs
Current Weight: 166 lbs
Ladytown Status: Happy!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Is that asking so much? I know it seems like a lot to ask, and kind of...personal? But once you've had a baby, you'll know what I mean. Once half of the hospital staff (nurses, doctors, students!) have seen your va-jay-jay, checked how dialated you are, and reached inside you to feel your baby's head, you won't feel like it is such a big deal for me see it too.
Where is this coming from, you ask? Well, my friend Jennifer got to be there when Max was born. My friend Christine was there when Cameron was born. They have both seen my va-jay-jay, so I figure turnabout is fair play. The problem is that neither of these ladies are pregnant. While it is likely that they will both eventually bear fruit from their loins (and hopefully invite me to be there), I'm tired of waiting.
I have made a list of women I know who are due to give birth in the coming months:
Coworker - due this month (but probably unprofessional for me to ask her, eh?)
Julie - c-section (and I think they only let one person in the operating room - bummer!)
Jen M. - due in June
Stace - in British Columbia, but did share her 1st child's birth in a beautiful slide show
Stephanie - due in August, possible c-section
Nicole - due in August
I know it's a big request, and not something one asks to be included in, so after this post I'll drop it. But ladies, if you need someone to feed you ice chips, hold your barf bowl, and chase down the anesthesiologist for your epidural, I'm your gal.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Part of the transition is getting Cameron used to daycare. We lucked out and a spot opened up for her at Max's daycare. Good thing too because I didn't bother getting her on the wait list anywhere else. I didn't have the emotional energy to deal with yet another childcare centre, and I just had faith that it would all work out. I mean, something has to go our way now and again, right?
Since today was Cam's first day, I opted to just visit with her and not leave her. Everyone was outside when we got there, so I plopped her in the sandbox and chatted with her new teachers. Cameron, ever the lady, promptly took the other child's shovel and pail away from him. I guess after months of having Max take her toys away from her, she figured it was payback time. Max was also outside in the Toddler playground during my visit, and he wasn't quite sure what to make of the fact that I was in the Baby playground.
Tomorrow will be the true test as I'm going to leave Cameron (gasp) and go run errands for a few hours. I suspect after tearing my heart out with her wails of desperation upon my leaving she'll be just fine. In fact, I'm willing to bet she'll be all smiles until I return, when she'll promptly turn on the waterworks for my benefit. That's my girl.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
There were a few people that I studied alongside in college that I was 100% confident would end up being successful working musicians, and Brian was one of them. The minute he graduated, he was whisked off to Vegas to join the Four Freshman, and I don't think he has stopped working in music since. You could say he was lucky, but only if you define luck as a lot of hard work and talent meeting up with opportunity. Plus, Brian was one of those guys who wasn't phased by anything, was always calm and collected, and dated the prettiest girl in the state. He had his sh!t together, all before he was 20.
When I found out he was releasing a new album, I was stoked to check it out. Brian has a voice that would make Sting weep. He writes songs that would make Lennon/McCartney proud, and has a pop sensibility that has you singing along the second time you hear the chorus on the first listen. I hoped his recording would reflect all of this, and I have to say, not only was I not disappointed, I was blown away. I'd describe this album as Sting meets Maroon Five, but Maroon Five couldn't carry Brian's luggage, let alone merit a comparison. The maturity of the lyrics (with a bit of humour thrown in), the quality of the recording, and the overall musicianship motivated me to buy not one, but two cds. Yeah, I'm oldschool like that, I like to have the actual physical cd in my hot little hand.
The good news, is that while I'm waiting for my cds to arrive via snail mail, I was able to download his album from his website. Brian has made it available for free for a limited time. I encourage you to download it and check it out. While it is available for free, it would be terrific if you showed Brian some love and paid the small sum of $5 to download it. Or, if you're like me, you could go ahead and order a cd or two for you and for someone you like, in my case, my musician friend Alana.
While the album is fantastic in its entirety, my favourite songs so far are "When You're Gone", "Pocket Superman", and "If You Were Mine". Now go check it out and let me know what your favourite song is. Also, go ahead and follow EiCH FiVE on Facebook.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Cameron also had a good time at the park. She wasn't too sure what she thought of the swing, but I think that was because it was a bit too windy out for her liking.
After warming up on the little kid slide, Max decided to give the big kid slide a go. As you can see, he completely kicked that slide's ass. Nice going, Max.
Cameron decided that if Max got to run around, she was going to do her fair share of exploring as well. Some random kid named Jacob decided to chat with me, so I gave him the lowdown on life, technology, and girls, you know.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Read the rest of this post on Autism Sucks.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
You can bet that Cameron turned on the charm and had smiles for miles (she shows well) during our visit. I put this picture up so that all of the folks at work can see that she isn't always all sugar and spice. I have three more weeks until I'm back in the office. Three more weeks of running around from doctor's appointment to therapy session to daycare to therapy session to doctor's appointment...you get the drift. While I will miss aspects of my time "off", I really think it is best for everyone (especially me) that I am getting back to work. I admire stay-at-home moms and dads, but I am not cut out for it as a full time job. I may be eating those words in a few weeks, but for now, the grass really is greener on the other side, for me anyway.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Danny Gokey - 1980 - Stand By Me: I didn't hear the melody once (this is a HUGE pet peeve of mine). The song Stand By Me was originally released in 1961, so I don't understand how this qualifies as a song from the year you were born. Unless Danny is a lot older than he looks? Anyway, the arrangement was completely over the top and the song was lost. People seem to like him though, so I doubt he will be in the bottom three.
Kris Allen - 1985 - All She Wants To Dance: Pretty good, not great. The vibe was different than what he has done before, I think he was trying to channel some Jamiroquai (unsuccessfully). Hate the pencil mustache. Gross.
Lil Rounds - 1984 - What's Love Got To Do With It: Finally a song that should be in her wheelhouse, but I agreed with Paula that she didn't make it her own. I wonder why she keeps picking songs that she can't put her mark on? Someone needs to help this girl out.
Anoop Desai - 1986 - True Colours: Risky...doing a chick song. Nice arrangement, but he changed the melody too much, and missed some of the key notes in doing so. Overall this was alright, but he doesn't seem to be able to find a balance between "party all the time" type songs and serious ballads. Might be time for Anoop to pack his bags.
Scott MacIntyre - 1985 - The Search Is Over: Another shmoopy love song. Playing electric guitar...interesting. Glad someone finally gave him a good haircut, but I am really, really, tired of listening to his sharp-ass voice.
Allison Iraheta - 1992 - I Can't Make You Love Me: I think this song is too old for her - I would have liked to hear her do something that rocked. This was a little cruise singerish for me, but the judges all loved it. Scott hipped me this video of Allison singing in a Spanish singing contest a few years ago. She has improved quite a bit since then.
Matt Giraud - 1985 - Part Time Lover: Why do people insist on trying to sing Stevie Wonder? This wasn't in the pocket, and he was all over the place rhythmically...the whole thing just didn't work for me. The judges loved it, I think they just want him to stick around and are trying to sway the vote. America, don't fall for it!
Adam Lambert - 1982 - Mad World: If you taped the show last night, you probably missed Adam's performance. I had to search for it online this morning and I'm glad I did. If this guy doesn't win, I'll be shocked. If he ends up in the bottom 3 because nobody saw his performance, the judges will absolutely save him. I mean, Simon gave him a standing ovation. SIMON! I know, unbelievable. Prior to this week, I wasn't completely sold on Adam, but he won me over this week. If you missed his performance, you can check it out here.
My predictions for tonight:
Bottom 3: Matt Giraud, Kris Allen, Anoop Desai
Going Home: Matt Giraud
I was discussing my laundry issue with a friend yesterday, telling him that I had been put in the no win situation of a) doing laundry or b) going commando, because I had let the mountain of dirty clothes grow so high that I was literally out of underwear. He told me that he actually likes doing laundry (and dishes...but that's a whole other blog post). My first thought was that he should get his ass over to my house and get to work, but then I realized that he really has no idea what he is talking about as his kids are no longer babies, and I am willing to bet that he has forgotten just how impossible it is to stay on top of the ever growing laundry heap that kids feed incessantly.
So, let this be a PSA to all the young women out there who are just starting to cohabitate. Get your partner helping with the laundry NOW. It doesn't matter if his or her folded towels look like crumpled newspapers, and the odd load of whites ending up slightly pink is not the end of the world. Trust me, you'll appreciate not having to deal with a mountain of laundry that could be mistaken for an amusement park ride in mommy blog hell.
Monday, April 06, 2009
Earlier this year, my husband Scott was kind enough to help me get the vote out with his readers on RaptorBlog, asking them to vote for my blog in the Mabel's Labels BlogHer '09 Contest. Thanks in (a big) part to his readers, I won the contest which includes an all inclusive trip to Chicago plus I get to be Mabel's Labels Official Correspondent at the BlogHer convention . As part of the deal, Scott asked that in return for his help, I write a guest post on RaptorBlog. I finally fulfilled on my end of the bargain: I will admit that I raised an eyebrow when I saw the headline "Raptor Bosh a deadbeat dad, lawsuit says" in the Toronto Star a few weeks ago. I was surprised, partly because Chris Bosh has a reputation for being a stand-up guy, and also, because I had the impression that he was fairly intelligent. Without even reading the article I started making judgement calls. Sheesh, isn't he smart enough to wrap it up? Doesn't he know that there are women out there looking to get knocked up by NBA stars so they can collect an easy paycheque every month? My gripe with Bosh was more that he was stupid than that he might be a deadbeat dad — though deep down, I had a hard time believing either.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Saturday, April 04, 2009
Friday, April 03, 2009
For the most part, our experiences with receiving support from Halton have been positive. The only place where it really fell down was the intake process. I had called the Halton head office in August 2007, asking about their DEIPP (Developmental Early Identification Prevention Program) Clinic, and if there were any other dates available to get Max assessed. He was 16 months old at this point, and we knew in our hearts that something was really not right with him. Because he was so young, we were able to get an appointment to get him assessed. There are two key dates I remember very clearly when it comes to Max, (besides his birthday).The day we got the official diagnosis of Autism is one and the other is October 3, 2007, the day of his assessment by Valerie S. at the Halton Region Social & Community Services Department. She was very friendly, and took us into a little play room so she could meet Max and determine if we were correct in our suspicions regarding his development. Max ran around the room exploring, but did not gravitate towards any of the toys she had put out. He sat down and banged his head on the wall for a bit, and then went back to running around. She tried to engage him in appropriate play, attempted to get him to do some imitation, and asked me questions about his medical background. She seemed very disturbed by his behaviour, and to me, it felt like she had never seen a child with developmental delays before, like he had two heads or something.
At the end of the session, she showed me how Max had scored. He was severely behind in every area of development that she had tested him on. You'd think that with results like that, he would get immediate attention, that we would be told how to help our little boy, what to do. Sadly, when I asked "so what do we do now?", Valerie's response was that we would be referred to ErinOak, and a Developmental Consultant would be assigned to him, but the wait list for each was upwards of 8 months. I was too numb to ask follow-up questions, so I packed Max up, and left. I held my tears in until I got to the parking lot, and then I completely lost it. I felt like she had basically told me my kid was retarded (horrible word, I know, but that's how I felt), and pushed me out the door with no guidance as to how we were to proceed.
In retrospect, I know that she was just doing her job and using the resources available to her. But she could have told me about private options like Blue Balloon, where we ultimately ended up taking Max for a speech assessment a few months later. I also know that she likely knew he was Autistic, but was not allowed to voice this because she is not technically qualified to give such a diagnosis. Imagine if she had though? It would have been tough to swallow, but think how wonderful it would have been for Max if he truly had received early intervention from the age of 18 months old. The only support we received was a letter from Halton Children's Services a few months later letting us know about parent support groups we could go to while we waited for services. I think I lit the letter on fire and threw it in the sink. What a paltry offering and piss-poor substitute for what was really needed - immediate therapy for our Max.
Once services started coming through for Max, things got a lot better. We slowly learned "the system" and how to navigate it. We're still learning how to navigate it, how to milk the most out of the services available to us and to Max. I have attended focus groups for Halton, and you can rest assured that I highlighted the issues with the intake process, loud and clear. We're still waiting for the one service that Max truly needs, and that is publicly funded IBI therapy. This will come through by January 2011 at the earliest. In a perfect world, he would have started receiving it in October 2007. In a perfect world...
Thursday, April 02, 2009
EVERY DAY is World Autism Awareness Day in my house. Every, Freakin', Day. Not a morning goes by that I am not rudely reminded that my son is not normal. Today he woke up, and slid down the stairs on his belly instead of walking (a new behaviour). He screams and throws himself on the floor when his baby sister makes any sort of a sound (I can't wait until she really starts talking...that will be good times), and he acts like I'm trying to kill him when I brush his teeth. And that was all before 9am. So, excuse me if I don't get all excited about today. Today I will be pissed off and grumpy. I will bite your head off if you tell me that Jenny McCarthy says that if I take my Autistic child off of wheat and dairy products, he will be cured. My god - if it were that easy, don't you think that every parent of an Autistic child would change their diets in the blink of an eye? The media only tells one side of Jenny McCarthy's story - the sexy/easy solution. They don't talk about the thousands of hours of ABA therapy her son has received, and how hard she has worked to "heal" him from Autism.
What I would like to direct you towards is a pretty cool story about a 13-year-old Autistic girl named Carly Fleischman. Carly is completely non-verbal, but is able to communicate quite articulately by spelling out her thoughts on a computer. You can follow her on twitter, and she has been featured on both CTV and ABC if you want to read about her inspiring story. Most importantly, I hope you will go sign her petition to get her onto the Larry King show. While I think he is a horrible interviewer, there is no denying that her being on his show will certainly help the cause of Autism as a whole.
So, for what it's worth, Happy World Autism Awareness Day from the Carefoot family.