Friday, August 31, 2012

Running for autism

A lot of people have been complaining since I deactivated my facebook account recently.  While it touches me that so many people are sad to miss out on connecting with me that way, I have to say that I have not regretted the decision in the least.  That is, until tonight.  There are a few reasons I decided to be done with facebook for awhile, the biggest being that I was a little sick of networking aka stalking people from my lonely, little hut in Apex.  I have a lot of time on my hands, folks.  Isaac is in school six hours every day, five days a week.  That's a lot of time to be living.

When we moved to North Carolina in April, I told myself that there were three things I wanted to do when Isaac started kindergarten: be more disciplined with exercise, writing, and keeping up on housework.  It's Friday night and my laundry and dishes are caught up, my dog is walked, and I'm currently writing a blog post to all of you.  Oh, and I accidentally ran four miles today.  Accidentally.  Ran.  Four.  Miles.  I had no idea until I mapped my route on the computer this evening.  Which brings me to why I'm slightly regretting having deleted my facebook account.

I have signed up to run the 2012 Triangle Run/Walk for Autism on October 13th and I have a goal of raising at least $75 to benefit the Autism Society of North Carolina.  I would love to surpass that goal. Facebook would be a great way to rally some sponsors, but I'm just too stubborn to give in this soon. Hey, you would be, too, had you accidentally ran four miles today in your free time.  So I'm posting the link for pledges here, in my other online community in case anyone is feeling so inclined to help me reach my goal.

The first and only other 5k race I've run was the Lap for LAP Repite in Lansing- a care center offering services to families with children or adults with special needs like autism.  I think it brought us some good karma for when Isaac was diagnosed with PDD-NOS about one year later.  I'm really grateful for the services we received to help Isaac on our journey.  I just want to pay it forward with something a little more active than a facebook post.  3.2 miles and $75 should do it.

If you would like to learn more about where the money goes, you can visit the Autism Society of North Carolina's webpage.

Thanks, friends!

Monday, August 27, 2012


Isaac turned five today.  I know it's cliche to say, but I really can't believe he's five already.  I know this would be an appropriate time to get misty about how fast life is flying by with this very special boy, but the only thing I'm sad about is how much closer I'm getting to thirty. Ha!  In all honesty, Isaac just keeps getting better with age.  His little personality is getting bigger.  His sense of humor is impeccable.  And he's just a lot more fun than that baby and toddler that didn't sleep through the night or talk or even look at me a lot of the time.  He gets stuff.  Isaac over heard Andrew and I talking about Neil Armstrong's death the other day, so today while Skyping with his grandparents he decided to start a conversation on that topic.  "Did you hear about that space guy who died?  That was sad."  I kid you not, that came out of my five year old's mouth.

Also, I'm really glad that I can finally buy toys that have no purpose other than being toys for his birthday.  I am no longer constantly thinking about sensory input, learning skills, etc.  Here he is playing with the new cement mixer truck we got him for his birthday.  (Ignore the blinds ruined by our very naughty dog.)  Pinto beans from the bean box double as concrete to be churned and pushed down the chute.  He doesn't need a whole sensory room anymore and all of his toys have been downsized to fit into his bedroom.  Life is simpler at five, and for that we're all grateful.

Don't get me wrong.  There are still plenty of things we are working on.  A mainstream kindergarten class of 19 has proved a challenge for Isaac.  There is currently a packet sitting on my coffee table waiting for me to finish filling it out so that Isaac can be evaluated for ADD.  Hey- we knew this day was coming.  I'm realizing how much we're used to his quirks and compensate for them.  Just the other night he was getting ready for bed and I told him to go pee and get in bed.  He pulled down his pants, stood in front of the toilet, looked up at the lights above the sink and said "Oooh! Let's count those lights!"  and totally forgot what he was supposed to be doing.  The fact that I was still standing there after I told him to go pee proves that I had a feeling he might get distracted and need a reminder.  Compensating is automatic for mothers.  I think he'll grow out of it, because Andrew and I were a lot like this as kids, but our great special ed service lady just wants more info on the best way to help him function and get the most out of school right now.  Fair enough.  I'll take it.  PDD-NOS, ADD, or whatever else gets slapped on a paper about my kid for school purposes has very little to do with who and what he is in our lives.  The word for that is: Everything.  We love you, little man.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

On Bullying

It is no surprise to me that Isaac is sometimes, and will probably be in the future, the target of bullying.  I've seen him be singled out on the play ground by other kids- whether they sense something is different about him or not is immaterial.  It happens.  It shouldn't.  End of story.

For the past week or two I've noticed that Isaac has come home with red marks on his cheek every so often.  Today he came home with red cheeks and a scratch on his neck.  I asked him what happened and he told me that a certain classmate has been hitting him.  I asked him if he was playing or if he was doing it to be mean.  He said he was doing it to be mean.  I asked him why this kid has been hitting him- if he had hit him first or back.  Isaac told me that he doesn't do anything to him except say "no thank you" and walk away.  I asked if he had told his teacher that so and so has been hitting him and he said no.  Trust me, I think he handled it perfectly on his own, however, if this keeps happening like it has been, the teacher needs to know.  Little Mr. I Think It's Ok To Hit Other Kids isn't going to learn that it's NOT ok without some guidance.  One time occurrences are bound to happen and don't need to be tattled.  Repeated offenses are an issue and a symptom of something more.  Bullying.

There is a new parenting trend out right now that I find interesting.  It's the "let them work it out on their own" trend.  While I think this has some merit, I think using this as the only means to have your kid learn socially appropriate behavior is negligent at best.  Because guess what guys?  At the end of the day, whether our kids turn out like little ass holes or compassionate citizens is on us.  It's. On. Us.  I'm not saying that every parent with a bullying kid has learned that model directly from their parents, but I am saying that if you have a five year old and they are already showing consistent bullying tendencies toward their peers, it's because you let them.  I don't think it would be fair to say this about toddlers.  Toddlers have a lot of stuff going on.  But by kindergarten...

Yes, kids do need to learn to problem solve on their own and not be little tattle tales, but they also need some guidance in order to do that.  Never looking up from your book or your conversation at the play ground is probably not enough guidance.  Not having consistent conversations about how to treat friends and classmates is, again, not enough guidance.  I am no super mom, and Isaac is not perfect, but with a little effort we've managed to raise a mostly sweet kid.  Not a kid who goes up to other kids at recess and starts punching them for no reason at the age of five.  Five.  Get that through your head.  What is sixteen going to look like for that little boy or girl if this is how they interact with kids at the age of five?

I'll tell you.  He's going to look like the 18 year old who thought it was appropriate to put his hand on my leg and say sexual things to me as an elementary school kid just to make his friends laugh.  She's going to look like the high school girl who pulled my hair until my head almost bled just because I was fat and she assumed my parents made more money than hers.  He's going to look like the kid other parents don't want their teen to hang out with.

It's on us, friends.  It's on us.  The "boys will be boys" attitude doesn't sit well when you're the mom of a kid with special needs who's getting hit on the play ground several days a week.  Sits with me like oil and water.  Are you raising a bully?  You might be.  Pay attention.