Autism Watch: 2007

Vrrroooooooooooom

Posted on: February 24, 2009

That’s the pace of life lately. It just keeps speeding by!

Pardon the race metaphors, we spent Weds night through Sunday night stalking drivers or watching a pre-race activity or race at Autoclubspeedway.com here in Southern California. If you’re not a fan, we live so close that you better stock your house and hole up inside the entire weekend, or grow to appreciate the sound of cars from your front yard.

Some late updates:

The IEP went wonderfully. No surprises, all good, agreed-upon things. We’ll be meeting with ds’s new teacher in August, the week before class starts so I can fill her in on All Things Barnacle Boy. Giving a teacher of list of autism symptoms/signs is one thing, but giving a rundown on all the signs your individual child may/will exhibit is on a different level of helping her to become aware. I’m also considering giving her a book on autism, an easy read, but one that mentions traditional helps/treatments in additional to biomedical. I’m open to recommendations!

After the vaccine court ruling, here’s an interesting read: Vaccines and Autism: It’s Not Us vs. Them. Let me know  what you think of it. (The blog, that is, not the ruling. I think I already know where most of us stand!)

I know most of us moms tend to really struggle to find time for ourselves. We have things on our “What I’d Do If I Had  Spare Five Minutes” list that are so old, we’ve forgotten what they are or why we put them there. It’s a battle at times to use the restroom without interruption, meltdown or fit of some sort. I speak from total experience. At the end of the day, sometimes I can be so stressed at the 24/7-ness of my little guy that I’m thankful dh is there to take over for a while. (And I do realize how blessed I am to be one of the 15% of marriages that has survived this diagnosis. I won’t say it’s been without issues, but we’re here, we’re happy, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.) I took up running back in July when we bought a treadmill, but I didn’t really get serious about it until October. Without a treadmill, this would have been impossible. I start work at 6:00-6:30am, and dh has this thing about me running outside before then when it’s dark-ish outside. It’s hard to squeeze in treadmill time on many days, but I’ve learned that I’m better if I make it happen. It’s not always fun, and I get on it, groaning, many days, but wow do I feel better. I can’t say I’ve seen a drastic weight loss, not that I needed one but still, I’m female, I have outlandish dreams of looking 18 again. I run 4-5 days a week now, 35-50 minutes a shot. Not only do my clothes fit better (there’s that vanity again) but almost most importantly, I have energy. I can keep up with Barnacle Boy. I can run up the stairs to calm him at the speed of light, without being winded. I sleep better. I have those 35-50 minutes where I’m focused on something I want to do: relaxing myself (as much as you can be running 8mph), getting in shape, getting healthier, reading a magazine or watching a show I’ve Tivo’d. Or, minus the Tivo’d show, I turn on the Food Network and get inspired. My family has benefitted: I’m more relaxed so I have more patience and get frustrated less easily, I will be around a lot longer to take care of them, and I’ve learned a heck of a lot of awesome recipes that they really enjoy.

I also try to set aside time to keep on top of homework from bible study. That’s hard — my best brain cells are fried during a typical day at work, and I can’t concentrate between the “Mom, I can’t figure out this math problem” and “Can you sign this permission slip” and “Can xxx come over tomorrow?” from all the kids. Having my faith has not only gotten us through life on a day-to-day basis, it’s brought us closer together as a family and gotten us through my son’s autism diagnosis and my daughter’s bout with epilepsy. (She is now a year seizure-free, can you say rah???!!!)

I love to scrapbook. With high hopes, I bought a Cricut machine this week. I hope it doesn’t sit dusty, unused, in its box, like its counterpart, the Cuttlebug has sat for the last year. Seriously. I make jewelry, but that’s also an end-of-the-day hobby, because it takes time and focus and I’m not as creative at the end of the day. I also can’t see. I’m old, my eyes get tired, and I refuse still to give in and buy whatever it takes to see up close better, especially if I have contacts in.

I also love to bake, cook, and read. All nice things, yes, but time is at a premium. I go back and forth. Bake one day, read another. Skim through cooking magazines the next day, do yoga that afternoon. Keeping my mind and body sharp, and staying “me” at the most elemental level is extremely important to dealing with everything else in life.

So what’s my point? The last sentence in the above paragraph. It’s really, truly difficult to get time on our own, especially if our child is more severe, having a more severe phase, or we simply can’t sleep. I have those days, too. If ds isn’t sleepwalking or having major nightmares, I still don’t sleep well. I hear him talk in his sleep, and before you know it, I’m thinking of what I need to buy at Target tomorrow or if I should hit up the market that morning or the next.

Find time for yourself. Even if it’s a quick 20-minute bath where you can use some special body gel or a run through a Starbucks drive-thru for a treat. It needn’t cost money, and in today’s economy, it really shouldn’t all the time. One of my favorite splurges anymore? Heading over to the local mall, getting some new library books, and getting my eyebrows threaded for $11. I’m a cheap date.

I know there are days, weeks, months, where this isn’t possible. My son was an out-of-control toddler and preschooler. He’s now a semi-in-control second grader. Life’s still not perfect, but it is getting better. I know most of it is due to therapies, services, training, treatment, all of that, but I know some of it is because I’m becoming a better person. Don’t feel bad for that. Our children need it as much as we do.

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1 Response to "Vrrroooooooooooom"

So glad the IEP went well!

After reading all you do, I really feel like a load now! My treadmill is draped with about a half load of laundry…we actually call it the “sky pit” (since the remaining laundry is on the floor below it).

You are so right, though. We must take better care of ourselves so we can be here to take care of them.

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