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Friday, November 9, 2012

Life Sucks!

a letter to my son

Yes, life sucks.
So, now that you know life does indeed suck, what are you going to do about it?
Are you going to to ask why life sucks?
Now, you can be stuck forever asking why  and always looking for the excuses ...er...reasons.
Or you can DO something about it!
  What?!? How am I supposed to figure out what to do?
Here's how:
Look at your life, figure out one part of life that you can do something about and do it.
Perhaps it will be something as small as setting your shoes 2 feet to the left of where you like to take them off, so they are out of the way. It's not much, but it is now one part of your life that does not suck, as much. Now keep looking. Soon you will find things that you can not do anything about... bu that is okay.
Accept that Yes, that does indeed Suck.
Remember ii, acknowledge it, and let go of it.
Keep doing what you can to not trip over your shoes and soon you will find a way to do something about what sucks in life.
and if you keep doing that you just may find life does not suck so much all the time.
**** **** **** ****

The above letter was written to my son after a teenage fit  that ended with the words "Life Sucks!" and a door closing to his bedroom. I figured he needed to hear the truth. Isn't that what being a grown up is? realizing life sucks and then doing something about it?

I find it interesting, in my own reflection, that in the notebook I wrote that letter to him in I had the following entry.... sometimes this is all I can manage. I know others feel like this as well so I am sharing the second entry so they will know they are not alone.

No title
I want to wear clean clothes: decide if you want clean clothes enough to do laundry.
If so how much laundry: 1 load, but no dry.
If I put it in now I can let it run while I sleep and then decide in the morning if it's worth the effort to lay them out to dry or not... if not what are options, what is consequence?
But enough thinking for now... put in laundry.
shut off lights
go to bed.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sleep, please!

Sometimes the kids surprise me with the things they want to know about or the questions they ask. I usually enjoy the moments that the kids make me do a double take over something they ask about. This evening was one of those moments between The Thunderous One and  me. He walked up and not really looking at me, but standing beside me asked, “Mom how did you get me to sleep before I looked at people?”
I was surprised at his choice of words, he has never mentioned that fact that for years, till he was about 5 years old, he didn’t see anyone else. He looked right trough them, and sometimes tried to walk through them too. He started to occasionally notice other people but has never seen them the way most people do.
He caught me off guard.
I am trying to remember… am I blocking out the trying memories?
Probably.

I told him a summary of what I would do and he was disappointed, none of it would really help him now. So, we are looking over it again to see what we can pick out that may help him.

Most of the time I sat by his bed and he held my hair in a death grip and I would sing to him till I was tired of singing… then I would pretend to be falling asleep.. You know, breath slower, let your eyelids droop, head fall… then when he was finally asleep (and I was hopefully not) I would have to take my hair away from him. If he woke up while I was untangling my hair from his fingers we would have to start over.
I learned to slowly take my hair away as he fell asleep so it was easier. He liked to hold a certain amount…so some nights it was a big fight.
We tried a few suggestions from other people, like:
Cut a lock of my hair off and give to him to hold… Painful for me, no dice for him.
Get a soft animal for him to snuggle, a start, but only worked if he fell asleep holding my hair, then I could move his hand to his animal..
Just tell him No. I didn’t sleep for over a week while we tried this one.
Unfortunately, I am not exaggerating.

What finally work was a long process broken down into smaller steps.
Step One: a bed time routine.
Now as anyone with an Autistic child can tell you a routine for them is a different thing then a routine for an average kid. The bed time routine started back at 4 o’clock. Things like watching how much he ate and drank and of what till we figured out what would keep him up. He ended up not being able to drink anything, but water, after 4.
The Routine included things like:
Check calendar (that way he knew what to except),
Lay out your clothes for tomorrow,
Take a bath… I’ll have to get back to that but bath had it’s own check list.
Go to the bathroom,
Brush teeth,
Glass of water,
Story or song,
Lay down.

We added one thing in at a time so as not to overwhelm him … or ME! Our long term goal was for him to be able to go through his routine with little prompting from us. To help him on that we made Routine books for each of the kids.  I loved the Routine Book!

For me they were fun to make, I love the chance to be creative and some times when you have kids you forget to take the time and be creative. Or some times there is no time to be creative!
(To tell you the truth it seems the more I type about what we did the more I remember it!)
We had fun one day… I had to keep looking at it as fun, because he was not good with transitions and making the routine book called for a lot of transitions.  I wrote it on the calendar a few days before we did it., I told him and the girls what we were going to doing… act out getting ready for the day, for bed,  to go, and take pictures of it!
It was mostly fun, there were some trying moments as kids had to wait their turns, but we got through. I didn’t have a photo printer… this was back in the olden days of film getting developed. So we had to wait for them to get developed. Then I cut out them doing what ever was on the check list , cutting out as much of the background as possible so the main focus would be what they were doing. Each of these was glued to a page ,I may add a few stars or hearts to the page with stamps, and the simple phrase of what they were to do.
I put them in the little photo albums that are one picture wide, I think they are called event photo albums.
Each of the kids had their own set.
So now Bedtime routine became, “Go get your book and see what you need to do!”
That helped me a lot. I didn’t have to think about what needed to get done, so there was less stress. Anything to reduce stress!
We got to the point in his bedtime routine, and inability to sleep, where I could not miss any more sleep, I was losing my mind! Sleep deprivation will do that. I was worn out. So we made a deal, I would sit by him and sing, he could hold my hair, but it was only 3 songs total. I would sing one or two by his bed and the other in the door way. I usually ended up singing one in each bedroom and the last one in the hallway so they all could hear. When I left he had to stay in his bed. He didn’t have to sleep, but he could not get out of bed. Most of the time it worked. He began to hold onto the mane of his stuffed lion after I left the room. Sometimes he still wasn’t asleep when the grown ups went to bed, but he wasn’t out of bed so that was good enough for me.
We also found that if he got out of his schedule it was easiest to fix it from the morning side.
If they were going to bed later and later or having more trouble finishing their bedtime routines, we started making sure they were up exactly on time. This way they were tired when it was time for bed, and since bedtime routine makes morning routine go better the routine wasn't ignored.

So here we are years in the future and none of that seems to be what my independent  asperger’s teenage can use so he can fall asleep and get the rest he wants. We still have the rule (even on the weekends and summer) that when the parents go to bed the kids do too. They do not have to sleep but they can not be up walking around the house.
If I look at his problem the way we learned to when he was young it looks like we need to simplify. He gets up every day at 5:30, but lately he has been staying in bed moaning till almost 6:30. So that will be change number one.
Change number two will be thinking up a new and improved bed time routine. But, this time instead of pictures we may just have a check list that he can post on his wall or put in a notebook. He can be in complete control on the formatting of the list, so it will look exactly the way he wants it to. Maybe not as fun for me as the photo album, but this is all him this time.
Change number three will be taking a close look at his after school till bed time activities so we can see if there is anything we can tweak there.

I think the hardest thing will be getting him to stick with this all on his own. He is not excited about this. I pointed out that a check list will make the logical side of his mind happy. He countered that the logical side of his mind is never happy.  So I replied, :”Then let’s aim for Content,.”  I think shrugging and walking out of the room for a glass of water was his way of agreeing.

Do you have anything you do that helps you when you get hit by a spell of insomnia?
I would love to hear more suggestions that I can pass on to him to try!

Friday, September 7, 2012

bait...catches...

I know I know... everyone has been awaiting with barely contained excitement to see it I caught any Muses with my resent baiting expedition.
Well here is what I caught...
 not bad... I had fun with the woodwork on the couch.
I wont except the excuse from anyone anymore that they aren't doing any art because they don't have money for supplies. The paper I used was from a larger drawing pad. It had been stored against an outside wall and had mildew on the lower edges, it was deemed unusable and thrown away. Yes Dad, I was digging in the trash again, LOL! I just cut the page in half and used the top part, untouched by the damage. All the pencils I used to color and draw with were picked up off the floor from the middle school. It was a royal pain with some of them because they were the ones that people tossed because they don't sharpen right and the lead breaks... but I am nothing if not stubborn so I just kept sharpening them... with a pencil sharpener that was also tossed out.

It did stir some creative flow for more pictures.
Now I just have to contend with that ever present "Not enough time for it all" monster.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Setting bait

This has been a pretty rough year. i stopped writing... obviously... and I had stopped drawing as well. I have a bead work piece that I have been stalled on for a few months.
Autumn is upon us and as everyone knows it is a time for finishing. It is time to start tying up all these loose ends and start writing again! I never was a fan of Autumn, no offence dear season. I just prefer Spring! A time to start things!
Obviously that is because I like to start, but have to force myself to finish anything!
This year I will embrace Autumn. i will try to finish some things... write some new things.... feed my shriveled inner spark.
So I set about to get a Muse.

You may wonder how do you get a Muse?
Well, you set bait for them!
Most often they just sneak up on you when you least expect it and POUNCE! They are very unpredictable creatures, you know.  When you are hunting a Muse it is quite another thing.
I decided the best thing I could do was stir things up a little... they are often attracted to you when you are the most busy and just can not take a break from what you are doing to give them the attention your heart drives you to... my, but they are like children in that fashion...

I set the bait by rearranging my entire living room!
I flipped the whole thing while everyone was at work or school. There is nothing quite so fun as rearranging a living room while the OCD people are away and then watching their faces when they come back home. I think Muses enjoy it as well because I just kept getting more and more ideas on how to change the living room as I worked.

Now, when you are stuck and blocked so hard you can't even doodle and you don't recall the pattern of a haiku this may seem a little crazy to try and attempt. Just start with the ordinary. Pick up the stuff that doesn't go there. Once it is out of the way you will start having a little tickle on which pieces to switch. Do it nice and slow and never destroy the whole room at once! Keep it so you have a place to at least sit the whole time you do this, Muses appreciate that. they love to stand just behind you and whisper while you sit and rest and view what you have done and think on what you will do.

So it seems to have worked a bit. It may not be an Inspiration of heavenly levels, but I can write again!
 See?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kitchen Swap Anyone?

As I was puttering around my kitchen this morning at the obscene time of 5:18 a.m. and putting dishes away I recalled a conversation that My Love and I had a day or two ago. He was commenting on how slyly I had slipped Green into the kitchen.... the recent purchase of plastic bowls was green, and the cups... oh look and some plates...

Not My Fault! They were on clearance and the only other color they had was orange!
I was NOT going to buy orange...sorry orange you are not my color for the kitchen.

As I looked around I saw he was right.
I like Green, one might even say it is my favorite color.
The kitchen is the only room that I seem to be decorating in green. Green of every shade! I was noticing the many shades as I was putting things away. And leaves, lots of green leaves. Scattered here and there among my green leaves there are glass red hearts.
It got me thinking, how fun would an exchange be when you bought a box full of kitchen accents in color or theme for someone!

My Sister usually hosts these exchanges so I thought maybe I would ask her how it is done... or have her host one that I can play in! I mean obviously I have been a bit down lately .... and My Sis usually prescribes a shopping trip for just such moods...
So how about it?
Anyone want to do a Kitchen Theme box exchange?
Buy each other spoon rests and dish towels in favorite themes?