Category Archives: Mollinator

Good friends, good food, good wine

Sometimes you only need one of the above, and sometimes you need all three. Yesterday was a day I needed all three. I didn’t see my breakdown coming. Usually I do. Usually I’m at the end of my rope, exhausted and it’s been building for days. I was not prepared for today. I’ve really reached a point where I comfortable with who I am and who Molly is. There are definitely days that are harder for others, but I understand her, I’m ok with just her being her.

There is however, the “A” word that hangs over us. Austism. There are times when I don’t need a diagnosis, why would it matter? We have the therapies we need, we have support, but we don’t have closure. It’s hard to gain acceptance for something you don’t have. Earlier this week I spoke with a mother of a child with autism and had a rude awakening. She asked very specific behavior questions all which I answered “yes” to. Never once did she hint that Molly was autistic, but I knew these were the same challenges she faced with her child. That was a hard day. No diagnosis also means I can stick my head in the sand and ignore what is often staring me in the face.

I was up half the night with the kids. First half of the night with Molly, second with Charlie. I’ll admit it, I was tired.

I wasn’t prepared for our playdate. In fact, I was underprepared. We were going to a familiar house, with familiar friends, what could go wrong?? We just went a birthday party and Molly didn’t even notice if I was there, she played happily with her school friends. And that is where I failed and that is why her quirkiness left us sitting in a chair crying. We may have gone to a familiar house but not everyone was familiar and Molly, well, she just couldn’t find her place. It was loud, there was a lot going on, she wasn’t quite old enough for the girls and was too much of a girl for the boys and she felt alone. Her inability to survive in the chaos echoed loud and clear into my heart and I wanted to help her, I wanted her to have fun, I didn’t want to be in the same place we always are and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t bring headphones, I didn’t have a suggestion that was suitable and I couldn’t go bossing around kids to play with her. I hate being in this situation. And while I was trying to hold myself together and figure out what to do next, I had help. I didn’t ask for it, but I got a hug and it was all I needed to break down and start crying. Then I got another pair of arms to hold the crying four year old girl and then I started crying more because it was nice to have help. And it felt great to just be loved.

Then I remembered there was a mom there I had only known for twenty minutes. And then another new mom came through the door. And then I felt slightly silly. They don’t know our struggles, they didn’t realize we had come so far and I was frustrated to be back at the starting point again, but we are all moms and we all struggle so I felt blessed that neither blinked an eye or skipped a beat. We poured ourselves some wine, started munching on some yummy food and I pulled myself together through great conversation.

It warms my heart to know we are both being raised in a community of acceptance and love. (and wine)

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Everything changes

Most of my mom friends can agree that we don’t like change. And by “we” I really mean “our kids”. I live in a house with one child that could care less about changes. School? Whatever. Daylight savings? Bring it on. Christmas break? No problem. Then there is the other one. I recently wrote about a rough week where I had been bitten, punched, scratched, and more. But that post was only the tip of the iceberg. It was a 2 box month. Boxes of wine, that is.

Naturally, the first thing I ask when things go wrong day after day is “what has changed?”. The problem was everything changed. We stopped going to OT, we were discharged from behavioral therapy, it was Christmas, school was canceled, the list of changes never ended. Naturally we waited for school to start up again and our daily routine to kick in, but that didn’t help. We bought a sensory swing, that only somewhat helped. It left me scratching my head. What changed?

Then it hit me. Nothing changed for Molly, things changed for Charlie. Our little Charlie had a monumentous change that actually affected all of us. He stopped napping. Surprisingly Stampy and I loved that change. I never thought I would love the day we lost nap time but I do. I love not being bound down by the clock. No worrying about scheduling things around naptime anymore. We are free! That freedom though took away something special for Molly, her one on one time with us. Everyday when Charlie napped Molly got distraction free attention from us. We read, we played games, we did crafts, she watched TV while I played on Facebook and Pinterest, but it was quiet and down time. She lost that. She lost that special time, she lost that time to herself. Now her whole day revolves around sharing everything from toys to attention.

She didn’t like it. I can’t blame her. I miss my “alone” time too.

10 Things SPD has taught me

While I was pregnant I read a lot of books. Books about pregnancy, books about parenting, about sleeping, about feeding, etc etc etc. Then Molly came and I learned that I wasted a lot of time. Molly doesn’t fit into a mold and she definitely doesn’t care about what the latest experts have to say because she has her own game plan. Of course it would help if she could hand over her user manual, but she won’t, so until then I just watch and learn and hope I’m picking up the right lessons in life.

1. Cereal is appropriate for any meal or snack. Also, surprisingly, you can survive on said diet and have rock hard abs. I might make millions one day from marketing it as the newest diet fad.

2. Surround yourself with people and things that make you happy. Never in my life have I met someone that openly avoids things and people they dislike. I think how much better life would be if adults could have the same kind of freedom.

3. The world is a scary place and there is nothing wrong with carrying someone that needs your help or asking to be carried.

4. Headphones don’t need music attached. Sometimes they just block out the world. Maybe I should just buy ear muffs for her.

5.  Sleep is vital. I actually knew this one and am really happy my children agree and get a good 12 hours a night. I can be kind of bitchy and whiny without sleep.

6. Noises are awful, unless she is making it. Apparently loud banging or high pitched shrieking is okay if you make the noise. Anyone else is unacceptable.

7.Sunglasses inside aren’t just for hangovers

8. Pick your battles. This goes for the kids as well as adults or other parents. Sometimes it really is easier to say “Ok” even when you don’t agree and save your energy for the things that matter.

9. No matter what the weather is outside, clothing is optional inside. .

10. Rules are made to be followed. However, feel free to bend them as much as you can get away with. Never in my life have I met someone that can follow rules so closely but then manipulate her way into breaking them without actually breaking them. I need to learn a few lessons of manipulation from this girl. Case in point, we started a house rule about inappropriate touching. After discussing it Molly asked for a hug and then proudly announced that “My chin touched your boobies!”This girl is clever.

A Week of Thanks

Every November I try to say what I’m thankful for on Facebook on each day of November. I’m not going to lie, we had a tough week this week but I still managed to start out being thankful for my kids today. In the grand scheme of things, they are pretty awesome, quirkiness and all. However, I feel like I had a lot of be thankful for this week and I feel like I should have started out giving thanks earlier than November first. So, I will share here what I was thankful for this week.

1. Yoga. On top of it’s breathing and relaxation techniques, I’m thankful for the flexibility and strength it has given me. Without out, I don’t think I would have been able to wrestle Molly into her car seat, twice, without all that extra bending ability and core stability.

2. Wine. This should go without saying, but I’m extra thankful for the nice people at Bota for putting it in box form. And making that box slightly classier than Franzia.

3. Radio. Nothing drowns out a child kicking and screaming than Top 40. To be honest, I don’t even know what I was listening to, I couldn’t hear it over the screaming.

4. Swedish Fish. I’m thankful to whichever neighbor gave us Swedish Fish in Charlie’s bag on Halloween. That way at every other house when he handed us a Snickers and said “open this” we could give him a fish and subdue him until the next house.

5. Sleep. I cut my coffee intake by half this week and although I feel much better physically and seem to have less brain fog, I can’t sleep. I’m thankful for it and hope it returns soon.

6. Preschool. Especially the aide in Molly’s class that peeled her out of the car kicking and screaming as if it was nothing and she was happy to see her. Let’s face it, we all know she was thinking “oh Jesus” or maybe not since it’s a Christian preschool but I’m sure whatever her thoughts were, they weren’t great. No one could be excited to have that child in that state being handed to them. I’m her mom and I would run the other direction.

So, there you have it. What I am thankful for this week. I wish I could be thankful for Stampy bringing home some food from his happy hour, especially a cheese plate, but I know that won’t happen.

Therapy Thursday: Expect the Unexpected

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Wow… today was a bit of a doozy. For starters we had a field trip to the pumpkin patch where Molly decided that she was terrified of picnic tables and had me hold her for the next twenty minutes. So, after being exhausted from tending to her all morning I decided for a nice quiet time activity. I’m tired and think I’ve hit the jack pot with a pumpkin painting activity so naturally there were tears (mine) and screaming (hers) and a time out (mine).

Anyone else have their 4 year old send them to a “calm down spot”? No? Oh, well, mine does. Honestly, I don’t mind the couple of minutes of quiet where no one bothers you.

I was super psyched that our social worker was coming today. I was having the internal struggle of meeting Molly’s needs and wants and feeling like I was failing big time at everything. Should I have carried her at the pumpkin patch? Did she really need fresh paints when hers mixed? Should I just have ended craft time before losing my temper??? I needed our counselor to talk me through it and keep me out of the wine. She listened then she questioned “what if this isn’t what a 4 year old should be doing?”.

Crickets chirp.

Oh. Even though I was having some concerns with some behavioral shifts, especially toileting and becoming more and more helpless, and the fact that her teacher had made more than one report home about some difficulty I was still telling myself that Molly was 4 years old. I also knew that in a lot of cases she is on par with Charlie emotionally, but it’s something else when it is put out in the universe. That looming question that I don’t have an answer for because I tend to dance around it on a daily basis. Honestly, I still don’t have an answer for it but I do know that what I have always suspected is right on. So I got over my punch in the stomach (which I asked for) and said “what do we do?”. For now we were given 3 options: do nothing and ride out this school year; have her retested through Child Find; or see the psychiatrist through our youth services bureau. I picked option 4: have our counselor talk with the teacher and observe Molly in class so we could make a more informed decision. Mostly because I don’t want to go through Child Find again and have her not qualify. The testing is long and exhausting for everyone and I can’t put us through that again and have the same outcome. It’s ridiculous.

So, that’s where we stand. Waiting. Waiting for an answer of where to go next. I have a feeling we will often be in this limbo with Molly so I should get used to it.

The Lake and The Water Tower

I hate the lake and the water tower. Especially today, after a rough evening home with the kids, I remember why I hate them. The lake and the water tower are 2 things that we pass on the way to OT and these 2 things can make or break our day.

The first time we went to our OT’s office, I had to map to find out where it was. Now, mind you it is a block away from where I worked for 5 years, but I still had to navigate my way there. Of course we went the shortest mileage, but longest time-wise way. It took 3 trips for me to realize there was a faster way. That’s right, 3. 3 trips to realize I was going the wrong way. I obviously need help. In those 3 trips Molly fell in love with a reservoir (the lake) and a water tower that we passed along the way. I suppose in her mind they are significant, but so is a tiny piece of string she finds on the carpet so I try not to actually comprehend her object’s importance. Trip #4 my brain returned and we took the faster, 1/2 mile longer way to therapy and it was a big mistake. HUGE. Molly realized that she hadn’t seen her beloved lake and we were going a different direction and the tears started. Not just any old tears. Full. Blown. Sobbing. She sobbed for 10 minutes then refused to cooperate with her therapist and she persevered about the water tower and the lake. For an hour. A week later for our next appointment she reminded me to go the right way. Now I always go the longer way to OT now and point out like a stark raving lunatic when we see each because God forbid she misses them because she’s distracted by something else.

These 2 things symbolize pretty much everything during our days. The inability to cope with the different and our need to over stress to keep her balanced. Every Monday I have a struggle as we drive our 20 minute drive whether I should point them out or just see what happens. Usually “seeing what happens” means “keeping your cool while your child screams” and a lot of days I just can’t bring myself to do it. After working all morning and having the kids by myself until bedtime, I just can’t add extra stress. Today, I forgot. I actually forgot about them. We were listening to music and I had 50 things running through my mind and I missed the lake. Aaahhhhh…… she didn’t notice! Oh, wait, she did. 2 minutes later she realized that we were passed it and she didn’t see it. The next 10 minutes she bawled. She missed the water tower because she was crying. She cried more. I wondered if I had wine in my purse. I did not.

You can bet on the way home I became that over zealous mom, “LOOK!!! THERE’S THE WATER TOWER!!!!! ARE YOU LOOKING??? LOOK AT THE WATER TOWER!” If I wasn’t seat belted in I probably would’ve done more gesturing and jumping.

And if it’s not a lake, it’s waving to people as they drive away. Or sitting in the exact same spot on the couch. Or brushing teeth before going to the bathroom. Or waiting at the top of the stairs for me to say “good morning” or one of her 10,000 other external rituals that keep her grounded, I have to know them all or face the consequences. I should probably start writing them down. Although chances are, I would never find time to read the list anyway. Instead I’ll just keep dealing with each tantrum and routine as they come in hopes that one day they just might phase out and I can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

Until that day, I will just have to invest in my wine purse.

We Are Supposed To Be Having Fun!

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This weekend was the Fall Festival in our town. We don’t have the standard summer carnival, instead we have a big event for 3 days that includes carnival rides, music, food, crafts and games. It’s a pretty big event for our little city and of course it seems like the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning if you have kids. Or I should say, if you don’t have our kids.

Three reasons why we should stay home:
1. Food Allergies. First and foremost pretty much all delicious carnival food is a no no. All those peanut oils and chocolates and deep fried foods are all a danger to Charlie and being in the air is enough to make me almost insane. Peanuts are one of those great food allergies that become environmental when cooked apparently so there’s the fear that random peanut proteins will jump from the fryer and into Charlie’s mouth, eyes or nose. Plus Charlie thinks ground food is equally if not more edible than normal served at the table food so I’m on extra alert.

2. Motion Sickness. Charlie gets car sick. He has now vomited twice in the car and complained of being sick and hot numerous times while driving. Needless to say, one ride and he was done. I’m honestly amazed he made it on one. It’s the first time he’s been on a carnival ride by himself. And probably the last time.

3. Molly.

I can’t tell you how many times we do things that are “family fun” oriented and end up leaving stressed, tired and with cranky kids. Molly tries her best but when push comes to shove, she can’t regulate that much stimulation so she ends up trying to soothe herself which means she ends up trying to hang from all my limbs or asking to be carried. Have you ever carried a 35 pound 4 year old for a prolonged period of time? I have. More than once. I have carried her through the zoo, I have carried her through the tractor show, I have carried her on walks around the block and I saw myself carrying her from our Fall Fest. It was coming: the whining, the hanging and the carrying. You could see it in her deteriorating behavior and we quickly opted to leave, unused ride tickets and all.

Then there it was…. the playground.

An entire carnival the kids want nothing to do it with but a playground?? Hells yeah! After 10 minutes and Charlie trying to play in a near by dumpster and throwing himself on the mulch face first in a fit, we quickly gathered the kids and headed for home.

I hope the kids remember these times fondly, as we have no real pictures of the kids not enjoying are family fun outings.