Friday, December 16, 2011

FUN FRIDAY! with a side of ABA, restraints and a kick in the gut :)

I know I wanted Friday to be all about FUN Friday.. but last time I multiple posted, Jim got his panties ruffled and so I'm going to compact this all into one entry today! (:P Jim)

So even though Tommy's been quite the teenager lately and pushing my buttons. On the other hand, there are so many good things happening that its hard to keep up with it all!  

First, as predicted.. since its FRIDAY and I said the behavior would be gone by FRIDAY... 2 nights in a row.. no under the tree cry sessions.  Last night as we were heading up to bed, he said- "no crying at the tree?" I replied "nope" and he laughed and ran up the stairs.  Score! Mom-1 Autism-887,998,903,453

Second, there was an issues with his weather radar channel. Every minute, the radar cuts to another view of the radar. There's about 6 different radars that it shows. With repetitive music (the theme to the news channel) playing constantly.  Never any commercials. Just radars.  I know, exciting isn't it? lol Well, one of the screens were black.  Technical difficulties. Anyhow, rather than lose his mind, he asks me to come lay with him (the black made his room dark and he doesn't like the dark)  Well, I figured I'd just fall asleep there and hubs would come get me so "mom doesn't like to sleep with the TV on so lets just shut the tv off. So as we were laying there, we began to converse. We were talking about the day, about Christmas, about Gran coming out etc. This conversation came out of nowhere. He NEVER says the name of his school we pulled him from. We can't even say the name, or certain people there, without him getting upset.  So here you go. 

Him- Are we still all done Monarch School
Me- yes bub. We do home school now 
Him- I do not like the Monarch.
Me- I know bub. That's why we're all done there. We do school at home now.
Him- Monarch is for the angry's and owies.
(i'm not breathing at this point)
Me- I'm sorry bubby. We're not going back there. Only school at home.
Him- Home is for the happy's.
(sobbing in the dark now)
Me- Only the happy's and love bub. Monarch is Junk.
Him- Holding down makes me scared (he said it in his SCARY voice)
Me- The angry's and holding down (restraining) are all gone bubbie. Lets go to sleep now.
............... I laid there thinking of the 11 years of ABA i've been so intense with. He's just told me it hurt him and made him scared.  He's telling me he was scared to go to school.  Oh the crying.  The GUILT!!!!  If you're an ABA family, you know working through behaviors are quite intense.  So of course, since this happened, i've been over analyzing the past 11 years.  Tommy's showed aggressiveness since he was 4ish. It was always tied to the inability to communicate. When PECS was brought in, the behaviors lessened. When communication emerged i really pushed the academics.  He could read, write, do math.. ABA was the connection for his learning.  However, the behaviors, *smh* I still wonder. Did ABA exasperate the behaviors or was this going to happen either way? In my mind, i need this answer. Realistically, I know the answer doesn't matter nor will I ever get it.  I'm working on this right now.  It's a battle in my head.  I am so happy that I was able to have that conversation with him. I am so thrilled that he now feels SAFE enough to be able to communicate that to me.  Even the ABILITY to communicate that to me.  I feel like the past 17 years, I've been trying to MAKE him who he NEEDS to be. Now, I have realized, that I need to HELP him, be all he CAN be.  Tommy can only do, what he's able to do.  It's a realization that has really done a number on me. My wonderful friend Kelly is going through the same sort of epiphany with a much younger child. It's so tough. And, will it ever be easier? I wish I could tell you yes.  I still HOPE that at some point.. maybe in adulthood, that it will be easier.  I think the important thing to remember, is that our definition of "EASIER" is going to constantly change.  Sometimes you have to pick your battles. Sometimes you have to prioritize what the issues in front of you are, and tackle them one at a time. Sometimes, we have to take a step back, and try to listen or UNDERSTAND our kids. Don't ever ever ever give up on trying to UNDERSTAND. Sometimes, that understanding will come.. it may be in the form of -a kick in the gut- but.. I now know. I KNOW how he feels and how he FELT.  We all know.. to have that KNOWING.. means the world.  He'll NEVER set foot on that property again. EVER.

Now.. to FUN FRIDAY!

Listen people.. we don't get out much. We don't have respite. Don't have any family members around to watch Tommy.. so we entertain ourselves.  (um, this was before I lost weight so the fact that we're trying to say CHUBBY BUNNY, is quite... ironic lol)

HAHAAA omg i was giant. Hubs was going through a "i'm going to shave my head" for a hairstyle and Tommy.. was refusing the barber shop lmao.  This is about.. 3 years old



  1. I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever look at bunnies or marshmallows in the same way again. EVER. :)

    And the guilt, oh the guilt. I'm right there with you. HIndsight is 20/20, isn't it? Don't beat yourself up over this. Please. You did what you thought was best at the time. There is no changing that. You are doing what is best for him now and that's all what matters.

    And yeah, I want to throat punch someone at that old school.

  2. You and me both Lizbeth. I'm working on moving on from it all. It was tough. Still is tough.. but he's so happy now.. just seeing that, is worth it all. Everything happens for a reason.. my reason is getting more clear. :)

  3. Okay. . . so first of all, I read the opening and got a little teary. something thing in my eye, i don't know. And then I was all sad face and you were posting something "FUN" and I sorta screwed up my face and thought. . . you really SHOULD break this one into two.

    Because I thought, I'm really not going to get any sort of "fun" out of this in light of what I just read. I'm melancholy.

    "Holding down makes me scared" Are you kidding me?? Waterworks.

    But then your family's general buffoonery did in fact snap me out of it, and by the end of the video, I had a smile stretched from ear to ear as you took turns letting marshmallow fluids drain from your mouth holes on camera. Three years old or not. . . that's good stuff.

    So in hindsight. . . it actually was the PERFECT post. Sad as hell, then funny as hell. . . and I ended it on a good note.

  4. Yeah.. its been quite the week Jim. The kick in the gut puts what it felt like to HEAR that, mildly. I really thought we were doing the right thing. Just as I did with the diet. I hope he forgets those memories though, I doubt he will. From now on.. happy and loves. ALWAYS. No more owies. No more holding down. Happy and loves FOREVER! :)

  5. the buffoonery .. that just comes naturally! Just wait till next week!

  6. I agree with Jim. Sad but then BAM!! Funny and happy! It hurt to read when tommy said holding down makes him scared. But then the marshmellow madness began and it looks like even Tommy thought it was fun!

  7. "I've been trying to MAKE him who he NEEDS to be. Now, I have realized, that I need to HELP him, be all he CAN be." Wow. That's deep stuff. And what a beautiful, safe loving conversation you had with Tommy. I'm so deeply affected by those two sentences that I will be thinking about them often now. Are they really mutually exclusive? Am I doing the right thing by my son? I'm looking to you Rhonda because you've been there and done that and you are so strong (with a great sense of humor!)

    T does not have the aggression that Tommy had (has) but he does manifest that melty upset nature when he is unable to communicate/verbalize or frustrated. I wonder how different or how much the same our ABA is/was...

    I understand the battle you are having in your head but Tommy loves you so much and so clearly that, despite those moments of apprehension, from what I read from you - he does feel safe now and you have to focus on that. This morning I heard someone say that for all of us - the best days are yet to come. I think we have to look at life that way - now and forever. <3

  8. This post is super interesting to me, as the parent of a 4-year-old who seems pretty similar to your description of Tommy at that age. I SO wish there were a manual of exactly what to do, how and when to do it with autism. But, there's not. So, you do exactly what you did- the best you can with the knowledge, strength, and energy that you have. The fact that you and Tommy had that conversation is evidence of how good a job you have done with him! It's so awesome that he feels safe and happy with you at home.

    I kind of like the serious then funny format too. :)

  9. It's so funny how you see me as being strong.. I see me as being one slight breeze from going over the edge all the time. I'm not kidding you when I say we were given a tri-fold pamphlet and given the diagnosis. From that moment on, i need both hands to count the breakdowns and meltdowns of my own. Somehow I am able to take care of business THEN fall apart. Thank you for your kind words. I WISH i could be a manual I so do!! I'd document it all for you!! But, all I can do it tell you MY story. Just as I follow people a few years ahead of Tommy. We all look for guidance. Please don't take our path as YOUR direction. I tell YOU what I wished someone would have told ME. If you ever want gory details I can offer that too but, don't ask questions you're not ready for the answers to.

    I would like to keep up the new format, but not at the expense of having these conversations with Tommy lol

    In all seriousness though.. You guys help me just as much as I help you.. You really ARE my support here. So thank YOU!!! <3 <3

  10. Wow, Rhonda, that conversation with Tommy was both wonderful and heartbreaking, for all the reasons you stated. I can't say much more about it than that.

    I'm glad he's happy now. The importance of "happy" cannot be overestimated.

    And I will never eat marshmallows again. Haha.

  11. Wow, Rhonda! I'm so glad to hear Tommy is verbalizing his feelings about the other place. He and D seem so similar so much that hearing that Tommy is verbalizing makes me see promising things in the future. D ruminates on things for hours, days, weeks, whatever until he can finally verbalize what's bothering him or upsetting him.

    As for the marshmallows, I was cracking up!!!