Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Some days are hard, others just suck

    I try, so very hard, not to let life get me down. We have been dealt a hard hand, but we persevere. It's life, and that's what you do. But I would be lying if I didn't admit there are days that kick me in the gut. Steal my breath, and stop my heart.

    I give you the good, the bad and the ugly. I don't sugar coat. I won't. I will respect my son, and his privacy as much as I can, while still trying to share our struggle, his struggle, so that others know they aren't alone. And so I don't lose my mind by bottling it up inside.

    Not long ago I spoke of his psychiatrist upping his medications (about 2 months ago) and how that wasn't kosher. It had adverse effects and he needed to be dropped back down to the lower dose. The wait list was hell, and until that time I took him off. I had too. It was either have a hyper, loud, stimmy child, or a child that was either crying or aggressive. I chose "normal" Liam.

    After 2 weeks, we saw the psych and he dropped it back down to the first dose. He asked me if I wanted to take him off completely. I thought that seemed odd, since Liam did so well on the low dose. So I told him no, just the lower one.

   That was over a week ago. The low dose is now affecting him like the higher dose was. Dr. S said this could happen with a dual diagnosis of autism and bipolar (and ADHD, and then some.) He said that sometimes treating one will make the other worse.

    He was right. So I took him off. I won't let him live that way. When your 8 year old BEGS you NOT to take his meds because, "They make me feel bad momma," you stop, and you listen.

    As I sit here tonight, and I see him sitting on the couch, I am broken hearted. He's not playing. He's not talking. He doesn't want anyone to bother him. He is refusing to play with his older brother. (who isn't here often, (he's 18 and how dare he have a life ;) )) and when he is here, Liam NEVER leaves him alone.) He is merely a shell of the boy that I once knew.

    It's not fair. It's not right. He is EIGHT years old. Why in the world does he have to deal with this? Why does his life have to be so hard? I always try to see the positive in life, but today I see none of that. Today I see a little boy who has more on his plate than those three times his age.

    Yes, I'm thankful for my son. For our lives, and for waking up to his beautiful face every morning. But I am pissed that this life has to be so hard for him. For me. For his father. Being a parent is tough. Being a parent that has no control over your child's life is even tougher. I can't make the Bipolar go away. I can't take away the pain. I can't make the cycles stop. Autism has nothing on Bipolar. Bipolar is evil and it robs my son of the happy life he deserves.

   Today I'm wallowing. Tomorrow I will get up and I will kick Bipolar's arse. For my son. Because nothing else matters, and he deserves to be happy.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

You're raising a bully.....

    If you follow our page or my blog, you know that where we live sucks. No bones about it. We are surrounded by children who bully our child, and parents who could care less.

    Matter of fact, here's a great example. Last fall Liam was outside playing with his old bike. It's beat up, it's too small for him, and it needs to be junked. You know as well as I do, that our kiddos don't part easily with certain things.  Anyway, he was playing with his bike, his father was in the yard preparing it for winter.

    Out of nowhere Pita heard, "Hey Liam! The baby called, he wants his bike back!" You see, two neighbor kids were outside, but they didn't know Liam's dad was too. So there they were in the road, behind our car, taunting my son.

    Pita came out from around the car. The kid who said that almost peed his pants. Hubby yelled, "I'm sick of you bullying my kid! Who do you think you are?" The other kid that was there (who has bullied Liam several times himself) quickly spoke up. "I didn't say nothing Pat! He told me to get Liam's attention. But I didn't say nothing, I swear!"

    The kid who did, hung his head. He knew he had been caught. He also knew that he blew it. He used to play here a lot with Liam. As time went on, he would beat on him, or pick on him when other kids were around. He would knock on our house and run away, and Liam would sit inside crying because all he wanted was a friend to play with.

    Now before you say anything, we did go to the parents. MANY times. We all know that kids are often a product of their parents, and this time was no different. The father will just scream and cuss and the mother will swear her child does no wrong.

    So, long story short, Pat told this kid he was never welcome here again. He told him Liam needed REAL friends, not bullies. Kid never came back around.  Until yesterday. My friend's son whom lives out of town with his dad, came to spend the night with Liam. Bully kid saw him here. He stayed on the outskirts of our yard and told N, "I can't come there, because Liam and I had a fight."

    N told me, and I quickly corrected his info and told him what really happened. He just shook his head. Not long after that, bully kid's mom messages Pita. "***** wants to come apologize to Liam, but he's afraid to come over to your house." (name omitted for privacy)

    Pita was pissed. He quickly informed the mother of why he had words with her son. He told her he doesn't need to be afraid to come over here. That he is only saying that because he was caught being a bully and was called out on it. Pita informed her of all the other times he bullied Liam and told her that we are done. We don't want Liam to be around kids like that.  Her reply.....

                                    "Kids will be kids!"

Really? So because he's a "kid" it's okay for him to verbally harass my child? When he is playing in my yard, minding his own business, it's okay for your child to tease him? It was okay when your son called me a "fat b word," when I reprimanded him for punching Liam in the stomach. It was okay for your son to steal from mine, and blame it on someone else. When you were given proof, you denied it and said, "my son would never steal."

   Do you realize you're raising a bully? Let me define that for you, because I have heard you say, "my kid isn't a bully!"



a person who teases, threatens, or hurts smaller or weaker persons <officials were warned that if they wished to avoid a school shooting, they had to deal with the local bullies>
Synonyms bullyboyhectorintimidator

(definition from Merriam Webster)

   So, by saying, "kids will be kids," you're making an excuse for your child's behavior. You're making it OKAY in his eyes, because it's okay in your eyes. Your husband was quoted as calling my son an "autistic retard," and in turn, your son has called him that many times. You see nothing wrong with that. You make me sad.

   I feel terribly that I have to keep children away from my child. After all, in one sense, you're right. They are just kids. BUT, as a parent it's YOUR job to tell you child when they have done wrong. It's YOUR job to raise them to respect adults. To treat others how they want to be treated. To be kind to those who are different.

    Please, for the rest of us, don't raise a bully. Raise a kind, caring, loving child. Leave the world with a good person, not someone who will bring others down.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Things Not All Parents Need to do....

Parenting is a hard gig — special needs or otherwise.
I went into this gig with outlandish expectations. If you follow any social media platform, you probably see many articles on child rearing or pictures of how things “should be done.”
I’ve learned that a lot of that stuff is a bust. Here’s a list of parenting “essentials” that I believe you shouldn’t feel guilty about skipping as a parent.
1. Expensive monthly, then yearly, professional pics of your kiddo.
We’ve all seen them. Although gorgeous and so memorable, can you imagine the cabbage that costs? I learned I could drape a nice blanket over my couch and get amazing baby shots of my son. I learned how to use the timer on my camera to get some pretty good family pics too. I learned that as he got older, getting him to sit and pose would prove to be a nightmare similar to entering a battle. I learned I can take some pretty good pics of him and get them printed for a quarter the cost and without much of a fight.
2. The fancy holiday outfit.
Each year my Facebook news feed is filled with people’s kidlets in their fancy holiday attire. If money is tight, why would I want to spend 30 bucks on an outfit my kid only wears once? Add in autism and good luck finding fancy schmancy clothes your kid can tolerate. I’m lucky to keep him in more than underpants when we’re at home. Getting him into dress clothes, has happened one time in his life. They were hand-me-downs, and it was a tee with a sweater vest. It stayed on him no more than 20 minutes.
3. A nightly three-course meal
Can you hear me laughing to myself over the mere thought of this one? I was raised with one meal with three or more food groups, and you ate it or you went hungry. Then came my son, Liam. Even my parents will admit this is a joke in my house. I often make two or three meals, never with more than two food groups. If I get Liam to eat two food groups in one sitting, I feel like I won the lottery.
 4. A sit down family meal at the dinner table
When you have a child who can’t tolerate various food smells, you quickly learn this is an unreal expectation. The alternative is vomit on your plate. Trust me, let them eat in a different room if that’s what they need to do. If we do sit down to eat together, it’s in the living room, at separate ends. But hey, we’re together. He’s happy, he’s eating, so it’s a win-win for me.
5. Eight to ten hours of sleep a night
OK, I may have peed a little laughing over this one. As a special needs mom, I learned I can function on little to no sleep. Thank God for coffee. My kid requires barely any sleep; therefore, I don’t get much either.
6. A “no co-sleeping” rule
Many people have varying opinions on this subject. Don’t listen to them. I was totally opposed to it from the beginning. And then I had a baby. A baby that was upevery hour, on the hour. Feed, change, repeat. I don’t think I slept more than 20 minutes at a time for the first year of his life. No joke. He didn’t sleep through the night until he was a year old, and even then it was spotty. Add in night terrors. Add in a child with separation anxiety. We started co-sleeping so we could get some sleep. My son’s now 8. He sleeps in his own bed, next to my bed. Yes, you read that right. We share a room. It works for us. Special needs parenting is hardcore.
I could probably think of a ton more, but my child is demanding my attention. I know… how dare he? Bottom line — never feel like you have to do certain things as a parent. Do what you feel is right for you and your child.
Besides, half of us are winging it anyway.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Multiple Miscarriages and a Miracle Baby

    So the Mighty has asked their readers what their greatest gift has been. I could say the laptop from my parents that I am typing this on. I could say my awesome phone generously provided by my inlaws. I could say a roof over my head and my family and friends.

    While they are all AMAZING gifts, I have to say the best is my son. Yeah yeah, I know. You've probably all heard that before, but wait. My story is different.

    I have been through 7 miscarriages. Yes, you read that right. SEVEN. The first one was about 16 weeks along. The other 6 were before 11 weeks. Spontaneous Abortions is how Doctors refer to them. I hate that term. I didn't CHOOSE to lose those babies. My body did, and it ripped my heart out every.single.time.

   It got to the point where my doctor told me, I may never be able to carry a child to term. I was diagnosed with ovarian cysts at the age of 13 and struggled with them, but other than that, they couldn't find anything medically wrong with me.

    Until Liam. Liam was conceived during Hurricane Katrina. Yep, you read that right too. No power for days, equals bored people! I found out on my brother's birthday that I was pregnant. I was scared to death.

    I made an appointment to see an OB/Gyn. As soon as I told them of my previous miscarriages, I was scheduled to see a high risk OB/Gyn. I had every test under the sun. While we waited on results, I was told to take it easy. At 9 weeks I started to bleed and was rushed to the ER.

   My husband and my best friend in tow, we waited for what seemed like hours, when it was merely one. They brought in an ultrasound machine. Here I am, feet in stirrups, a Doctor, a nurse, the US tech, my hubby and best friend at my feet. The Dr. is talking all hush hush. I can feel panic start to course through my body. My hubby and my best friend are standing there with their mouths agape. NO ONE IS TELLING ME WHAT'S GOING ON.....

    Then I hear one of the most beautiful sounds in the world. I hear his heart beat. It sounds like a train roaring down the tracks. I am sent home on bed rest, and after going over all my testing, they tell me I have a clotting disorder. They send hubby to the pharmacy for aspirin and tell me to take it every morning until 32 weeks.

    Aspirin! Aspirin saved my pregnancy! I went to a high risk OB/GYN weekly through my pregnancy.  Hubby rented me a hospital grade dopplar, so I could check the baby's heart beat every day. I was on bed rest, and if I wasn't throwing up, I was chilling out.

    When we moved from Alabama back to Pa, I had to find a new Dr. By this time I was 20 weeks in. The new high risk was quite a drive, as we live in a very rural area. So I only saw him every other week. Long story short, I delivered around 36 weeks. I became pre eclamptic and had to be induced. But other than that, it was a normal delivery and I had a beautiful baby boy to be thankful for.

    He wasn't a Christmas gift though, he was actually my mother's day gift that year, as I had him just 2 days before. (Though we moved home in December and we drew a bow on my tummy and presented it as our gift to our parents.) I bawled like a baby when they laid his little body on my chest. I silently thanked God for this miracle.

    So now you know my story, or at least part of it. If you follow us on facebook, you know my boy is autistic, struggles with biploar disorder, SPD, ADHD, OCD, ODD, and anxiety. You also know I embrace him and all his quirkiness. This is why!

     I don't care if he's autistic. I don't care that he struggles with all these labels. (I mean, I do, but I don't love him any less.) I care that he is mine.

     So when I hear people say they hate that their child is autistic, I get angry. Not because I don't think you have valid feelings. Let's face it, your journey is different than mine. I hate it, because I know there are other women and men out there who want nothing more than a child to love. We have that. We were given that blessing. Even though our journeys are hard, we still have them. We have something they long to have. We have something to be thankful for.

    You see, my greatest gift didn't come from a store. It isn't a thing. My greatest gift is my son, and I will always treasure him. Through the good, the bad and the ugly days of autism and bipolar. He is my "Miracle Man!"