Monday, August 31, 2009

So Much To Say.

As most of you know, my 3 year old son Max was diagnosed with Autism last December. He has been receiving intensive therapy since January of this year in the form of IBI, Music, Occupational, and Speech therapy at blueballoon. On August 20th 2009, after 2 weeks of participating in a Music & Speech camp in the mornings and IBI in the afternoons, and starting a therapeutic listening program, he had a breakthrough. He was "suddenly" able to imitate language and movement. He said the word "mama". He tapped his head when prompted, even stomped his feet upon request. These are things parents with "normal" kids take for granted. Me and Lionel, we danced on the ceiling.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Beautiful Babies.

Scott on his way to drop Cam off at daycare and head into the office:Cameron finding creative ways to sit in her chair:Max enjoying his favourite snack:Captain Cameron!:My beautiful soul Max:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Max's First Field Trip Stunk. Literally.

The following is a guest post by my husband Scott who works for The Score and writes for his own blog Raptorblog.com. He wants to start writing about his experiences being a dad, specifically the dad of an Autistic child. I thought I'd give him a shot here on Fickle Feline, so let me know if you give him the thumbs up or thumbs down.

I took a vacation day today to accompany Max on a daycare field trip to Bronte Creek Provincial Park. Their website describes it as "a place to unwind and step back in time." If you know anything about me, you'll understand why that didn't sound appealing. Their attractions include "living history demonstrations in an 1890s farmhouse." Great, so you're telling me this place doesn't have modern plumbing, then? I half-expected to see their employees throwing buckets of human sewage out of windows.

We herded the lil' ones onto a school bus at the daycare at around 9:30 and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Max quite enjoyed riding on a bus. He didn't squirm or run up and down the corridor, he just sat next to me and looked around in wonder. At the time, I considered it a good omen for the rest of the day.

Then we arrived at Bronte Creek. I'm sure there are people who appreciate the rare modern experience of gazing at the majestic glory of ducks, goats and pigs, but it so happens that Max and I are not among those people. Aside from the fact that they're boring as hell, they stink much worse than Katrina's dumps -- and that's no small feat (edited by me to add: "what are you talking about Scott? I poop vanilla ice cream!!"). Max quickly expressed his displeasure and after an hour of almost dislocating his shoulder from literally dragging him through various mundane displays and barns, I realized that four more hours of this would be a living hell for both of us and called upon my wonderful father to rescue us from this nightmare.

If I had been more realistic, I would have followed the bus in my car so that I could leave the park whenever I wanted, but I was trying to be optimistic that Max could make it through the day without melting down. I've been trying to work on my inherent pessimism about his Autism and I reasoned that giving myself an "out" was an excuse to bail out of the field trip without giving it a fair shot. In retrospect, I should have known better. I could have gone there by myself and I wouldn't have lasted much longer than Max did.

For example, let's talk about the pigs. Look, I know they're smelly and ugly. My love of pork doesn't disavow me of that notion. But what exactly is the point of taking a bunch of pre-schoolers on a field trip to meet these reprehensible creatures? Perhaps the daycare owners were trying to persuade the kids to swear off delicious bacon by witnessing the filthy swine that provide this magnificent foodstuff. I nearly vomited directly onto one of these creatures and I'm still not regretting the Tim Horton's Bagel B.E.L.T I had for breakfast.

Back at our modern, air-conditioned house, Max and I proceeded to chillaximum to the maximum for the remainder of the afternoon -- which is really the only sensible way for me to spend a vacation day. At the time, I assumed the highlight of my day with Max would be the surprisingly pleasant bus ride, but Max had a treat in store for me during one of our many potty trips.

After a successful pee, Max stumbled while trying to disembark from the toilet and bashed his head off the cupboard door beneath the bathroom counter. Naturally, he started crying. Not so naturally, I started laughing hysterically. Look, I know from experience that the kid inherited my hard head and I knew he wasn't badly hurt. This was funny stuff and I won't apologize for it even though he's my own son. As Mel Brooks once said: "Tragedy is when I stub my toe. Comedy is when you fall into an open manhole."

Max turned to me for sympathy and saw me laughing. He tried to put on a good show of being hurt but his tears quickly became intermingled with laughter from the natural infectious quality of a parent's emotions to his or her child. Within seconds, he was flat-out laughing hysterically right along with me, and I hugged him while he tumbled on the floor pantsless -- his supposed cranial agony completely forgotten.

That was the highlight of my day -- sharing a hearty laugh with my 3-year-old about his head trauma while he was naked from the waist down. Go ahead and judge me. I'll just fall back on that old cliche and insist that you had to be there.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Start 'Em Young.

I gotta get off the sauce. Really. I thought I had kicked this nasty habit. I even blogged about how I was done with it. Little did I know it was waiting to prey on me when I was my most tired, my most vulnerable. I know I'll try to kick it again, I just have to find the strength. It won't be today. Today I had two.

Turns out Cameron has also developed a taste for the stuff, or at least she thinks it's hella fun to shake up the cans and roll them around on the floor. Hmmm...maybe I shouldn't let her play with the enemy. Or maybe it's okay, just so long as I don't let her drink it. I equate it to playing with Barbies. I played with those big-boobed, tiny waisted, gravity defying dolls well into my teens (shut up) and I turned out just fine. Sure I have a fetish for padded bras and corsets, and I am oddly attracted to men who shellack their hair and sport those orange spray tans, but I'm sure that has nothing to do with my 10 year Barbie love affair.

I know I am not alone - there are many others who love them some Diet Coke. And they don't hang their heads in shame either, they embrace it, wave their freak flag high. For now I am going to join in, until I am stronger and don't have such a deep seeded need for caffeine. One day... but not today.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to School: Max's Big Day!

Today was Max's first day of Preschool, and he rocked it. There were a lot of reasons that it went well, and a lot of people involved in setting Max up for success. We pulled Max out of daycare for the three weeks prior to the big move to get him ready. The first week was for potty training (which he has mastered, thank you very much) and the next two weeks were for an intensive therapy block at blueballoon where Max receives all of his Autism therapy. In his three weeks off he was potty trained, participated in a daily 2.5 hour block of music camp (based on speech and music therapy) and had a huge breakthrough - he started imitating movement and words when prompted. I swear his teachers almost fell over when he returned, looking them square in the eyes and said "hi".

I was worried that he would struggle being with a new group of kids, in a new room, with new teachers. I was worried that he would have a huge meltdown when we arrived (after all, he hadn't been to his daycare in almost a month). I didn't need to worry.

The kids in the preschool room all know Max, and for some reason, they seem to really like him. I even heard one little girl yell "Max is back!" when she saw him enter the playground. Max loves the bigger playground, and did a great job of exploring it (a big improvement from the past where he would have just run in a big circle around the perimetre or gone up and down the slide over and over again). Transitioning back in? No biggie. Peeing in the potty at daycare? Aces. Nap time? Not so much, but we're working on it! It seems that in these past few weeks, Max has exhibited progress on a daily basis. With that also comes challenging behaviour, because he is processing a lot, and being pushed outside his comfort zone. But I'll trade a temper tantrum for a poop in the potty any day. And when I hear Max say "Mama", I swear I'm ready to give him the keys to my car. He already has the keys to my heart.

About This Post

It’s back-to-school time, and this year Sprite and TwitterMoms have partnered with bloggers like me to share back-to-school tips and tricks, advice, stories and more! Visit Sprite's back-to-school channel on TwitterMoms to get helpful ideas, learn how to survive the back to school rush, seek out advice from other TwitterMoms and join the conversation. You can learn more about donating your My Coke Rewards Points to support your local school, how to enter for a chance to win some Back to School cash, check out recipes, or even play some fun games. Here's to a successful and stress-free back to school season from Sprite and TwitterMoms!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Time For a Change.

You like? I'm feeling so much lighter since Max has started talking, I wanted to make a change physically that would reflect this. Seriously - I'm sittin' on top of the world - you could not bring me down if you tried.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Breakthrough For Max!!

Today started out like any other day. I was tired, a bit cranky... lots of work to do, not enough time to do it, the whole nine, you know how it is. But when Max came out of his IBI session this afternoon, running down the hall towards me with a smile that could solve the US Healthcare Crisis, I noticed that Brian had a glimmer in his eyes. After Max gave me his SuperHug(TM), Brian proceeded to tell me that Max had done incredibly well in their session today. Max had started imitating all of the vowel sounds upon request and also imitating Brian's movements when prompted. I wasn't sure what to think, and then Brian asked Max to repeat a series of vowels - AH, AY, OO, OH, EE, WHY - and he did it! HE DID IT!!

Talk about the best day ever! EVER!! My boy is starting to really talk! On the way home, I started asking him to say different words - Da-da, Kitty, and best of all, Mama. And he said them all, clear as day. He said Up, Down, Yes, No, Duck, Ribbit...Cheese! Holy Sh!t (that was me, not him)!! I called Scott and got Max to repeat the same words again so Scott could hear. Then I called my Mom so she could hear too. Then when we got home, Max said "Hi" to Scott's parents. Pure joy. And why now of all times? Max is just finishing up his intensive block at blueballoon - mornings of Music and Speech camp, afternoons of IBI, and increased Occupational Therapy time where we have started Therapeutic Listening. I can't think of any better proof that going hard at something for a set period of time works. Max is potty trained and talking, in less than 3 weeks. Excuse me while I go dance for joy in the rain!

Monday, August 17, 2009

7 Days & Counting.

I feel like I've been writing about Max starting Preschool for ages. Wait. I have been! Since March! If you're new to Fickle Feline, you may not understand why Max starting Preschool is such a big deal for me. It's a big deal because Max is Autistic. He will be 40 months old on August 23rd. It's time for him to finally move up into the room that all of the other kids move to at 30 months old.

We've waited to move him for a lot of reasons. The daycare changed ownership in the Spring, so we had to get the new owners up to speed on all that is Max. Then there were new teachers hired for the Preschool room, so they had to get settled in before we threw dealing with Max at them. Of course, it also took some convincing of all parties involved that Max was ready, that in fact, he was bored to tears in the Toddler room. I'll admit to fighting an internal battle about this move. It broke my heart on a monthly basis to read the Toddler Newsletter with farewells to other kids in the Toddler room who were moving up as Max stayed behind. The kids around him kept getting younger and younger, and as he grew, he literally towered over them on the playground. I tried to keep what was best for Max in focus, and not let my desire for him to be "just like the other kids" (because he's not), override doing what was right for him, but I struggled.

But it's finally time. He's ready. There will certainly be challenges. The biggest hurdle will be transitioning him back into daycare after having him out for the past 3 weeks - one week for potty training, and 2 weeks for an intensive therapy block of Therapeutic Listening, Music Camp and IBI (Autism) therapy at blueballoon. We've seen amazing progress in this past month, including Max getting potty training down faster than any neurotypical kid I've ever met, increased requesting, and a slew of new words. That doesn't mean it is going to be easy for him to go back to daycare (it won't be). And it certainly doesn't mean that moving into the Preschool room will be a cake walk. It's going to be hard on him.

To help Max through this big change, we're bringing in his IBI therapists from blueballoon for 3 solid days to make sure he feels secure through the transition, that his needs are looked after, and that the staff is trained in how to work with Max and 100% comfortable in handling his challenging behaviour. For the most part he is a lovely well-behaved little boy, but on his "off" days he can be quite something to manage if you've never dealt with him before. It will hit our wallets pretty hard to pay for his therapists to help him transition, but making sure we get it right the first time is imperative, so it's worth it.

And of course, like every other mom on the first day of school (be it Preschool or Grade 12), I am asking myself the question "Where did my baby go?".About This Post

It’s back-to-school time, and this year Sprite and TwitterMoms have partnered with bloggers like me to share back-to-school tips and tricks, advice, stories and more! Visit Sprite's back-to-school channel on TwitterMoms to get helpful ideas, learn how to survive the back to school rush, seek out advice from other TwitterMoms and join the conversation. You can learn more about donating your My Coke Rewards Points to support your local school, how to enter for a chance to win some Back to School cash, check out recipes, or even play some fun games. Here's to a successful and stress-free back to school season from Sprite and TwitterMoms!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hooray For Titties!

In an effort to lighten the f*ck up, I thought I'd write about one of my favourite topics: boobs. What's not to like about boobs? They are beautiful, soft, curvy, multi-purpose, and fun! Scott hipped me to a new site this week - Why Mommy Drinks Rum (very funny), where I was directed toward my new favourite site, Boob Emancipation. All I can say is "thanks for sharing ladies!". Scott thinks that Why Mommy Drinks Rum looks like Gianna Michaels (an adult film star), except with smaller breasts. This led to all sorts of interesting google searches, conversations and looks of shocked amazement (me not him). I highly recommend you do any internet research regarding Ms.Michaels after your kiddos go to bed, and certainly from home. You can thank me later.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

War.

I am at war.

I am the General.

My enemy never sleeps. He preys on those unable to defend themselves.

Therefore I never sleep, because if I do, he is waiting to strike again.

I've used tactics I never thought I would to bring this enemy down. It is a battle of wills, one fought inch by inch. No truce on Christmas day.

And as I cry out for help to those who could, I find it a waste of valuable energy.

They don't hear.  They don't care.

It isn't their child who is being attacked.  Their baby isn't the 1 in 100 who have been snatched away.

They don't understand.

And so I battle on with no end in sight.  A few trusty soldiers in the trenches beside me.  An army of friends behind me.  

Failure is not an option.  I will fight even if I am the last one standing.  

I will fight.  I will win.  

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Intense.

Max is half way through his first intensive block at blueballoon. He starts his day with Therapeutic Listening, has a morning of Music Camp, and then an afternoon of IBI therapy. No nap unless he sneaks one in during his car ride to and fro. It's hard on him. It's hard on us. I really believe that he is going to come out the other side of this with a tonne of progress. But damn, it's a roller coaster. Today he sang "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in its entirety. Then he came home and threw a king hell tantrum that left me exhausted, and the entire family super stressed out. When Scott got home, Max walked into the bathroom, tried to pull down his underwear on his own, then sat on his potty, and peed. My baby boy is working so hard, he blows me away. I can't wait to see the progress that is bubbling below the surface. I know this is all worth it, we just have to keep the faith.  I believe in Max, we are going to get him through this.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wiggle Less Wednesday: Back to the Gym.

It was inevitable. I could put it off no longer. So once the kids went to bed, I strapped the sisters into my ├╝ber sports bra, put on my workout gear, laced up my sneaks, and headed to the *gasp* gym. I've been thinking about it for a while, putting it off, finding excuses why I couldn't go (I'm tired, I had a long day, I don't want to), but the time had come.

I entered into the gym, punched in my client number into the keypad and my picture came up with a bit "ALERT" warning in red, with a picture of a red stoplight. Wow. I knew it had been a while since I'd been there, but COME ON! That is completely unnecessary humiliation. Geez...way to make a girl feel self-conscious! Turns out there is something messed up with the billing and I'll need to sort that out with the gym manager tomorrow. I talked the girl at the front desk into letting me workout anyway by telling her "you have no idea what it took for me to drag my ass in here". She looked at me, seeing that I clearly needed to be there, and let me enter.

I kept it pretty low key tonight. I did a half hour of cardio (walking on an incline and a fairly bright clip and the elliptical machine to work on my booty).  I want to hit the gym 3 to 4 times a week, and I know I need to ease myself into it.  I got home, feeling pleased with myself, and more relaxed than I've felt in a while. I'm hoping that some regular exercise will help me sleep better, clear my head and get me toned up. As promised, I'm going to do my best to stay off the scale and judge my progress solely based on how my jeans fit and how I feel. We'll see how long I can resist!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Blowing Off Steam.

I should probably be working, or sleeping, but instead Scott and I are hosting Alana and her boyfriend Jay. But you know what? It's good. We needed this. To just relax and laugh and share some Thai food with friends. They brought Max a cabasa and caxixi (they're musicians) and they brought me lots of wine...and Alana drew me an original piece of art too. Love it. Also, Alana brought me 4 used novels (one of which I have already read) that I am not allowed to give back to her. That's the good shit. Now, if I'm tired tomorrow, that's okay, because my soul got a little healing tonight. Plus, Alana and I got to talk calmly, peacefully, and professionally about our Autistic sons while Scott and Jay geeked out watching videos on Youtube, debated the merits of iTunes, and passionately argued about basketball. Now they are talking about glorified telephones and the digital era. Right now Alana is leaning on my shoulder with a full glass of wine...speaking of which, I need a top up.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mental Health Monday: Still Standing.

Potty training damn near killed me. Seriously. Who knew it was such a nightmare (and so exhausting - as shown by Max's siesta on Sunday afternoon)? Well, everyone, actually. I was warned that it is tiring, completely stressful, will drive you to drink, and make you think terrible thoughts about your child. I still had no clue.

We're just shy of the 2 week mark - 13 days to be exact. I am proud to say that Max totally gets the peeing in the potty business. He has it down, pretty much. We take him every 20 to 25 minutes, he sits down on the singing potty, looks thoughtful, looks down, makes the magic happen and then smiles at me like he just laid a golden egg. Then I cheer, and give him a chip. Then he looks at me, pees a little more, and I give him another chip. Wait a minute...I think he's playing me. But who really cares? Point is, kid is peeing in the potty - woo hoo Max!

He still has a few accidents here and there, and pooping in the potty, well, let's not get crazy now. He's done it twice by accident, but prefers to soil his pull-up before we get him up in the morning. I can live with that. I know he'll get it soon enough. I told Scott the other day that a year from now, we could be diaper free (assuming Cameron potty trains around 2 years of age). Think of the bliss! No more diapers. No more spending the equivalent of great concert tickets on landfill waste. No more diaper pail. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Always Someone's Baby.

The older I get, the wiser my mother gets and the more I understand her. As I raise my own children, see them grow, picture them as teens, adults, parents themselves, I start to understand that Max and Cameron will always be my babies. Therefore, I must still be my Mother's baby. Perhaps this is obvious to most, but it wasn't to me. Not the intensity of it, the love and concern of it. I look at my children now and I know that no matter how old they are, they will always be my priority, they will always be at the front of my mind.

I write a lot about the pain I feel, the things I am working through in dealing with being the mother of an Autistic son. I have never stopped to think what it must feel like to be the mother of a woman with an Autistic son, or a grandmother of an Autistic grandson. I have no idea what that feels like. I imagine that there is quite a bit of sadness involved is seeing your own baby worry so much about her baby. Not only do you worry about how your child is coping, but you also grieve for your grandson. At least, that is what I am guessing.

My mother is such a source of strength for me. She gives me hope on days when I am at rock bottom. She tells me she believes in me. She slips me money to go get myself a new pair of shoes and makes me promise not to spend it on diapers. And she sings a message of hope and optimism that lifts me up and gives me strength to continue "fighting the good fight".

Mom, I get it. Thank you for being my mom and I know I will always be your baby.  

Saturday, August 08, 2009

#Starbucks #Wellplayed.

For the first time since I was in university, I am working on Saturday mornings. I figure since I have to bring Max in for therapy, I might as well get some work done while I'm here. As my Saturday morning treat (because I feel if I have to work on the weekend, I certainly deserve something special) I go to Starbucks and get myself a latte and bagel with cream cheese. A bit pricey for my pocketbook, but I only hit Starbucks once a week, so it's manageable.

This morning, as I sipped my blessed lactose-free, no foam, vanilla latte and waited for my bagel and cream cheese, the barrista told me "sorry! we are out of cream cheese!". Sigh. I was too tired to get riled up about it, not that I would anyway, I mean, come on, it's just cream cheese. But I'd already paid... and the alternate toppings didn't seem very appealing. Bagel with butter it is. I didn't have it in me to ask for my 50 cents back, so I got my bagel and was ready to go when I was pleasantly suprised. The barrista handed me my 50 cents and a coupon for a free beverage. Huh. Colour me impressed Starbucks. The coupon stated "A cup should never be half empty. We apologize if your Starbucks experience was anything but wonderful. We want to know how we can make things better and always invite you to share your thoughts with us. The next time we see you, please enjoy a beverage, on us. We hope your next visit is better." And I hadn't even complained! Imagine if I had...maybe then I would have gotten 2 free drinks (kidding). Anyway, #Starbucks #Wellplayed. So nice to see a company figure out how to improve the customer experience.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

September is the New January.

We've all heard the saying "brown is the new black", "Lebron is the new MJ", and "Mojito is the new Martini" (okay I made that one up), but if you are a parent of school age children, "September is the new January". Truly. Why? Because going back to school is the biggest transition a kiddo deals with during the year. For you non-breeders, you can just check out now because I know that all September means to you is that you get to curse as you sit behind school buses, that your commute suddenly gets significantly longer, and you have to listen to your friends with kids complain about how "so-and-so" keeps forgetting his lunch on the school bus.

We are in the very early years of September being the most important month of the year.  In fact, this is the first year that September means anything to us.  Our son Max is 3 years old, and he is starting preschool at the end of August.  I am feeling all sorts of stress about this, which is probably silly.  Technically, he is moving from the Toddler room at his daycare into the Preschool room.  The ratios are much higher (8:1 vs 5:1) and there are a lot more kids in the Preschool room (24 vs. the 10 kids that Max is used to).  To complicate matters, Max is Autistic, so the teachers in his new room have to get up to speed quickly on how to work with Max.  Yeah, no wonder I am stressed.  

I have been pushing for Max to move out of the Toddler room for months.  The maximum age of that room is supposed to be 30 months and Max is now 39 months old.  He towers over the other kids in the Toddler room.  All of the kids he started with have been in the Preschool room for what feels like a lifetime.  The toys in the Toddler room suck, and the activities don't interest him anymore.  He's ready.  Except for one BIG thing.  I'm sure you can guess what it is.  That's right, the whole peeing in the potty deal.  

Boys tend to sort out toilet training later than girls.  Add Autism into the equation and you have a different set of challenges.  If you can believe it, we actually consulted Max's Senior Behaviouralist (the head of his Autism therapy team) on how to best handle this.  Before we started toilet training we charted Max's "eliminations" (pees and poos) down to the minute.  We consulted his daycare teachers.  We pushed back the toilet training start date because I was out of town for a weekend.  And then "P" day came and we put away Max's diapers and put him in underwear.  Everyone had been "briefed", we all knew how we were going to manage toilet training Max.  But I had no idea just how stressful it would be.  Three days in and I was fried.  My husband was fried.  Max was fine, but a bit confused (and smelly).  We ended up having 2 of this therapists spend a day at our house to coach us and to train Max intensively.  A costly solution, but this likely saved my marriage and my sanity.

I'm happy to report that just 9 days into toilet training, Max seems to get it.  He still has accidents, but 2/3's of the time he pees in the potty.  Poop, that's another issue, another blog post.  But peeing...peeing this kid gets.  We have 2 more weeks to get this whole thing sorted out before he moves to the Preschool room.  My floors are sticky, my laundry machine is running 24 hours a day, and my freezer is well stocked with vodka.  Come on September, bring it!

About This Post

It’s back-to-school time, and this year Sprite and TwitterMoms have partnered with bloggers like me to share back-to-school tips and tricks, advice, stories and more! Visit Sprite's back-to-school channel on TwitterMoms to get helpful ideas, learn how to survive the back to school rush, seek out advice from other TwitterMoms and join the conversation. You can learn more about donating your My Coke Rewards Points to support your local school, how to enter for a chance to win some Back to School cash, check out recipes, or even play some fun games. Here's to a successful and stress-free back to school season from Sprite and TwitterMoms!

This Blog Brought To You By The Colour Yellow.

I am currently in potty training hell. Trying to stay calm, cool, collected, all while getting peed on. I think that is what is so hard about this whole thing, trying to appear relaxed when really you want to scream "YOU LITTLE JERK I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU JUST PISSED ALL OVER THE FLOOR WHEN I HAD YOU ON THE POTTY 2 MINUTES AGO! ARGHHHHHHH".

It's actually going pretty well considering the little dude has been sick for the past 3 days. But that doesn't mean it's any fun.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Mental Health Monday: You're Crazy.

I have a friend who is ever so fond of telling me "You're crazy!!". I think he's joking when he says this, but I've started to wonder if in fact I'm not playing with a full deck. Example: I'm actually considering watching Jon & Kate Plus Eight tonight. I know - pack me off to the funny farm now, right? Any sane person ditched that show long ago, but me? I somehow enjoy the torture of watching this completely scripted TLC cross-marketing vehicle being pawned off as "reality" television. I always end up feeling icky after watching it, like I need a shower, so maybe tonight I'll pass. That show is kind of like eating that second piece of chocolate cake. Seems like a good idea at the time, and you may even enjoy it as you eat it, but afterwards you feel gross and you think to yourself "I should know better!".

Anyway, back to my mental health. I don't think I'm crazy. I actually think I'm the sanest person I know. Considering the direction my life has taken me, and how I've managed to somehow keep it together, hold down a job, be a reasonable human being, and remember to put pants on in the morning, I'm doing okay. How do I do it? I try to keep a sense of humour. I use this site as my outlet to express how I'm feeling about pretty much everything. I am real with people, and I don't have time for bullshit. I try my hardest to remember that most people are doing their best, and the person driving the red Subaru hatchback at work who always parks too close to my driver side door making it damn near impossible to get into my car is not doing it to be a jerk, this person is just a really bad driver.

I also think the fact that I'm able to question my sanity probably means I'm not crazy. Do crazy people have the capacity to analyze whether or not they are nuts? Let me know as I'm using this point as a key argument to uphold the greenlight status of my sanity. Did Britney know she was bananas when she started dating the paparazzi and flashing her business? Does Lindsay Lohan know that she is well short of a dozen? And why am I name dropping Britney and Lindsay Lohan like they are my gal pals? Am I too comfortable with feces? Why is it that I don't get upset when I get peed on? Perhaps a trip to the funny farm is in order. Especially if I can get some sleep there!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Highs So High & Lows So Low.

I often wonder how a single day can have such extreme highs that have me soaring next to the sun yet also have lows that threaten to pull me down into a sink hole of despair. It seems unfair. Like a day should get its due as either perfect and unblemished or a shitastic day for the record books. Not both. Days like today pull me in two different directions, making me feel like I am on an emotional roller coaster. 

The high? Max peed in the toilet 8 times today. Outside of one accident this morning right after he woke up, he went 8 for 8. The first 2 trips were tough (a marathon 2.25 hour session in the bathroom followed by a 1 hour session). I knew he had to go, and I figured the best strategy was to just wait him out. The third time I put Max on the potty, he peed right away. And I beamed. He beamed. The world was a happy place. From a peeing perspective, it was smooth sailing for the rest of the day and the little guy went 8 for 8. We gave him a break and let him outside to stretch his legs. After 2 days of intensive potty training, he was very happy to get some fresh air.


But the lows, they are devastating, especially after such a successful day. Max is having a hard time getting to sleep tonight, and he tantrumed for almost an hour when we put him to bed. I thought we were finally in the clear, but he is up again, screaming, and it is breaking my heart. I checked on him to make sure he is okay, which he is. I put him in a dry pull-up, put him back in bed, and told him it is "time for sleep". Didn't work - he is still very upset, and there is nothing I can do except put my headphones on, take a deep breath, and try to focus on the high of going 8 for 8.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Drink Up.

We're on Day 5 of toilet training Max. Part of this process involves pumping him full of liquids so that he has to go to the bathroom a lot. I'm also taking this opportunity to pump myself full of liquids. Take that any way you want. During my 3.5 hour marathon session with Max in the bathroom last night I may or may not have texted Scott to bring me a drink NOW! I'd challenge anyone to hang out with a 3 year old in a 5 x 4 room for the better part of an evening and not make the same request.

The great thing about toilet training is that everyone is full of advice. Dr.Phil can apparently toilet train a kid in 3 days. I invite him to join us Chez Carefoot to show us how. I've been told we should be modeling peeing in the potty for Max. Dudes. We've been doing that since the kid was born. There is no privacy once you have children. There is no peeing without someone trying to crawl in your lap. My kids know about doing the business in the toilet. And just like most things in life, knowing how and following through are two different things altogether.

The thing to keep in mind, is that for the majority of children (regular or special needs), toilet training is hard. Sure there are the brilliant BMers who put on a pair of gaunch and never look back, never have an accident, never wet their beds...these are the same mythical children who slept through the night as babies with nary a peep from the day they came home from the hospital. And you know what I want to say to these parents who think they have cracked the nut on toilet training? GFY. That can mean "Good For You", or something entirely different, you choose.

We are using the Behaviour approach to toilet training. This means that we don't use pull-ups during the day. Max wears only underwear and shorts. We put him on the toilet every 15 minutes, and we keep him on for a minimum of 2 minutes. Then we chart whether or not he was wet, dirty or dry and if he urinated or BM'd during his bathroom visit. If he's wet, we make him touch his wet shorts and underwear so he understands that him peeing made his pants wet, and we tell him "pee goes in the potty".  If he urinates or has a BM, we make a big happy to do about it and reward him with M&Ms.  Then we help him get dressed, wash his hands and try to get him to drink more liquids so we can do it all again in 15 minutes. Yeah it sucks. Yeah it's exhausting. But the kid peed in the potty 5 times today. Not bad for only 5 days into this Potty Training Adventure.

Scott and I are completely wiped out. Our team at blueballoon is providing intensive support right now, and on top of his regular IBI session this morning, two of his therapists spent the day at the house to keep him on track, do some parent coaching, and make sure that he has enough successful trips to the bathroom that he starts to understand how to make the magic happen. They are experts at handling his objections and his tantrums, and they also know how to make going to the potty fun. Seriously, I never would have thought about having a bag full of fun toys that you only get to play with when you are sitting on the potty. Max now wants to go to the bathroom because of all the cool stuff he gets to do while he is parked on the can.  Kind of similar to my Vanity Fair sitting on the back of the toilet for me.

For the next two days, Scott and I are flying solo on the potty training (though we have an emergency blueballoon help line set up to call for advice should we have any problems). Then Tuesday through Friday I will be staying home with Max in the mornings to keep him on track. Our goal is that after 10 days of intensive toilet training he will be able to stay dry between scheduled visits to the bathroom (which will be every 30 to 40 minutes). The increased hours in therapy are costly, but I'm looking at the big picture and thinking that the dollars saved in buying diapers will make it a positive return on investment in a few months. That and one less butt to change won't be a bad thing. Now excuse me while I go top up my beverage...