Thursday, February 11, 2010

Back to your regularly scheduled programming

I have learned a couple things in the hours I have been away from you. First and foremost is: I cannot be trusted with  a very large peanut butter cup Blizzard. Criminy. Second is: while I have been tearing myself apart over my need to be honest regarding the subtle differences between Autism and Asperger's Syndrome, the New York Times thinks I shouldn't bother. The American Psychiatric Association  is changing the DSM, and they're giving Asperger's Syndrome the boot. And you know? I'm secretly pleased. I had the hardest time coming to terms with the idea of Autism. Imagine someone telling you your three year old, your baby is autistic and will never be normal. Gah. Let's just leave it at that. It wasn't until I was sobbing on the phone one day with a very dear friend and she said "Welll... haven't you noticed that J is probably autistic, too?" O.M.G. It was like she punched me in the gut. I was standing out by the garden, and time just stood still. But the truth is: I love J with all my heart. I married him, he is the father of my children. He works a job he loves, he is incredibly brilliant, creative and clever. He is a wonderful father and a caring, listening, if not overly emotional mate. Is it so awful, then, that my child is like him? And that thought, my friends, has gotten me through many rough moments. But to get back on track here, I had to practice saying autism. Autism. autism. AuTiSm. AUTISM. And then "She's a little autistic." and "She's very high functioning." and "She's on the spectrum." And each time these words left my mouth, I felt like a liar. Like because my kid is high functioning, she really shouldn't get to be autistic. She doesn't deserve these services. I'm pretending she's autistic. I tell you, it took me a Looong time to get over it. About three years, in fact. Just in time for them to change the diagnosis. Just in time for me to start worrying about it all over again. "She has Asperger's so that's not really autistic." and "How can I make the big push for services when she's not really autistic." "Maybe she really doesn't deserve these services anymore." and my very favorite, which took up residence when she was not barely three years old, still not saying more than one word at a time, and starting speech therapy: "There are other kids who need these services more than my kid." That one I have never managed to give up. Because it is true. There are other kids who desperately need services. Maybe more than my kid, true. Maybe because I am a parent who gives my everything to make sure she has what she needs and other kids might not have those kinds of parents. But that doesn't make her less deserving. And her not having services won't make it better for other kids. But her having services will allow her to grow up to function well on her own, will help her get along with other people in the long term, and will reserve her place in a productive, happy, healthy future. So don't get me started on early intervention. Her SLP, PT, DT, and OTs all deserve a place in the early intervention hall of fame if you ask me. Because three years ago, she didn't speak more than a word at a time, she howled on the floor, scratched and bit, flapped vacantly around the classroom, where she spent a majority of her time in the time-out chair. Because they didn't know what to do with her. And three years later, she is a creative, enthusiastic, vivacious child who goes to kindergarten without an aide, works hard to be socially correct, is emotional  and caring, and is learning the fine art of empathy. Who could ask for more? Okay, well, maybe I could ask for a working camera, but still.

Did I say "regularly scheduled programming"? I can get really intense about early intervention and the classification of children. Sometimes I think I have come a long way - other times, not so much.

So. A couple days ago when I was just feeling mildly crappy, I whipped out this pair of pants. Blue wore these when she was 4. Then I put them in the scrap bin when she used them for cutting practice.

 There were several holes like this one. Her OT was very pleased with how her fine motor skills were coming along. These were just a pair of $3 pants from Target, so not a huge deal. Of course, they were one of the only pairs of pants she would actually wear, but that is another story. So I cut them up a bit more.

Ah, that's better. Now we can't pretend they can be worn again. My plan was leg warmers for Ivy, then I thought "No! I can still use the tops for shorts!" Go, mama, go.

 But when I ruffled the edges and put them on her, they were a little too revealing. So I lengthened them.

Oh dear. Not so good. So I ripped and tried again. I sewed the cuffs from the pants on. Not too bad, hey? The circumference wasn't an exact fit, so I just fudged it a little. Pinned on four sides and stretched between the pins as I went.

And here we have the legwarmers. What an awful picture. My apologies. Sometimes even a fancy camera doesn't help me. I did have to zigzag over a couple smaller holes, but these are just to keep her chubby little legs warm at gymnastics, so it doesn't really matter.

Now I'm hemming and hawing over what to do with this little guy. Another crapolicious picture that I am too lazy to go back and fix or retake. I'm SICK, people.

Blue just loved this shirt. I did, too. It's just a hand-me-down from Old Navy, but Blue has always loved rainbows. So it was one of our favorites until this happened. Can you see it in that big picture?

I can't be positive, but I am fairly certain it is a bite mark. All the elastic has been snapped in that spot like someone shoved their favorite shirt in their mouth and twisted and twisted. But - bygones. She wore this shirt when she was 4 (though nominally it is a 6/7). I think she would like it reincarnated as... any ideas? I've got a fun, stretchy stocking cap in my head. Kind of like the ones Mia wears to bed sometimes.

Why yes, our children are standing in the bathtub. Mia's stocking caps are actually made of her tights, and they are meant to keep her hair all pretty while she is sleeping, but I thought Blue might like one anyway. I'm not sure, though, and I need to go get another box of tissues since I have (ahem) blown through this one already. Maybe I'll get around to it in another year or two.

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