The Journey Continues

Back in September we got the provisional diagnosis of Autism for JI. Since that time he went through more evaluations and observations, and earlier this month we received the official diagnosis of ASD level II + Unspecified impulse control & conduct disorder.

School this year was, to put it mildly, horrible. The year started off great, then got really really bad, then it was okay, and then it was just nothing. We agreed to end his school year early because he was basically just sleeping at school every day, and the thing they needed to do with him, socialization, wasn’t being accomplished at all. He only missed nine days, so I don’t care, and the daily fighting was getting to be too much every morning. He’s not even going to participate in the “graduation” because merely mentioning it sends him into a panic. No thank you. I’m so ready for summer and preparing for a new start at a new school.

Because we have the official diagnosis, it was added to his IEP and now we can get the exact services and therapies we need for him. When he starts kindergarten in the fall, he will spend some of the school day in a resource room and some of the day with the NT kids in the regular classroom. He will receive behavioural and speech therapy regularly, and occupational therapy as needed.

The strangest thing about autism is how it is SO different from one child to another. Sure, there are certain signs and symptoms that are shared by all kids on the spectrum, but even those are not always the same. Just because I can parent my autistic child doesn’t mean that I could parent your autistic child. Maybe it would be easier, maybe it would be harder. There are so many differences!

Personally, I have very few problems with JI,  likely because I suspect I am on the spectrum myself (a therapist suggested this years ago, and I definitely fit a lot of the traits) and also because I understand what it is like to be a “weirdo”. All my life my mom told me how weird I am, friends and strangers have called me weird, and I always feel weird. I get why he can’t or won’t do certain things, eat certain things, etc. I know how to talk to him to get him to behave and comprehend what is happening. I’m excited for kindergarten and a new school with all new teachers, if only because I feel that his pre-K had their mind made up about him being the bad kid, the troublemaker. I hope that a whole new environment will mean a good fresh start!

The Year of Me

2015 was a shit year all around for many people that I know, including myself. 2016 hasn’t started out so great, but I am optimistic. One of my best friends told me to make this year the “Year of Me”, and that is what I am doing. It hasn’t been easy by any means, and I keep encountering toxic people and situations that try to hold me down. I will prevail!

wp-1458864780515.jpeg

This year I am doing things that I have always wanted to do, naysayers be damned. I am focusing on straight up ignoring the haters; they only hate because they hate themselves. I am living my life for myself and my children, and not doing it according to anyone else’s rules or ideals. I’ve had enough of feeling bad because of other people’s expectations. There’s the old saying that I cannot control other people, I can only control my reactions to them. Well, I know for a fact that toxic people thrive on reactions, and I’m not going to do it anymore!

I thought about making a sort of bucket list, but really I’ve already got a good sense of what I do and do not want to happen this year. So far I have eliminated two soul-sucking relationships from my life, cut ties with all but two people related to the mothers’ group, come to terms with my horrible marriage and the fact that it wasn’t my fault and he will fthisnever change, and stopped trying to cling to this guy who clearly only had one objective in his mind. I’ve taken charge of my life. I bought myself all new Batman t-shirts because mine didn’t fit anymore, and I finally threw away or donated all the clothes that don’t fit. I joined a hot sauces of the month club. I am doing pretty well sticking to my low-purine diet, which is basically a vegetarian diet. I plan on getting more into juicing, just because it seems interesting to me, and I really want to get back to creative cooking. I am focusing on making JI the best kid he can be, not despite but in conjunction with the autism. I am teaching Squeaks to sign and speak, and I want to learn ASL fluently. I’ve been updating my Instagram on a daily basis and getting lots of followers!

I can’t do this stuff with people barking their negativity at me.

You can speak your mind, but not on my time!

Expensive Being Poor

And the car is off the road but I never had a car. And I pay more for my food ’cause the supermarket’s too far.

It’s expensive being poor because everything costs more, knocking on a closing door, it’s expensive being poor, someone throw me down some crumbs I will eat them off the floor, it’s expensive being poor but I look good when I get desperate.

And the box is on the fritz, it’s a black and white, or was, I tried taking it to bits now the picture’s just a grey fuzz.

It’s expensive being poor because everything costs more, someone pick me off the floor, it’s expensive being poor, how can I live with what I did when the cinema’s six quid? It’s expensive being poor but I look good when I get desperate.

Let the good times roll Into a bottomless hole with job, friends and future my ideal home furniture, let the trumpets sound as my house falls down.

And the dust begins to clear and I’m lying on the ground, and I’m standing on a path in an unknown part of town, and the path leads me away over hills and out of sight, in the blazing sun by day and the hanging moon by night, and I wind up in a place where I never have to count, and I never see the waves as I push my leaking boat out.

It’s expensive being poor because everything hurts more, knocking on a bolted door It’s expensive being poor. Someone throw me down some crumbs I will eat them off the floor, it’s expensive being poor, but I look good when I get desperate.

© TV Smith

Life is What Happens

Seeing people’s year in review posts on Facebook has inspired me to write my own. 2015 sucked. It started out with my husband in the ICU after a suicide attempt, and ended with two of my best friends kissing me and making me feel wonderful.

Horrific and horrible things happened last year, but also I got the best gift that any person could ever ask for; I filled the hole I’d felt my entire life. In April I found my bio mom, and subsequently my bio brothers and sister and family, and those people have absolutely made every shitty moment into a fine, okay, or awesome moment. Finally I have people who love me just because I am part of them. I feel whole, for the first time, despite my recent sadness. And that means a lot.

I lost my husband and eventually my marriage. He didn’t die, but he might as well have, considering the way things turned out. I lost my best friend, who also didn’t die, but simply disappeared from our lives like dust in the wind. I was left with his dog, who I had to rehome, and who is very very happy in her new place with her new owner.

I reconnected with one of my best friends from years ago, and she and her girlfriend are Squeaks’ godmothers. They helped me through the first wave of tough times at the end of my marriage. I successfully started a business from my home, and made enough money to sustain a comfortable lifestyle.

Things didn’t work out with Doc, and though it hurts like hell, I suppose it is for the best. Long distance relationships can be difficult. We’ll still be friends, and we never made things “official”, so that makes it a bit easier. I just hate seeing things crash before they get off the ground. I’m a person who always dwells on what could have been!

We finally got JI’s diagnosis, which has helped immensely in getting treatment. Now that he’s on medication, his behaviour has greatly improved. IF only I could get ahold of someone at the autism center to get this behaviour therapy started…

And, at the end of the year, I received a diagnosis myself – metabolic syndrome. It may be the root of all the mysterious issues I’ve had over the years. I have to switch to a low purine diet, which means no yeast, bread, beer, meat, and other delicious things, but I am allowed to have vegetables, pasta, cheese, and wine! Woo! Unrelated to the diagnosis, I will be having surgery at the end of January for a hernia. Fun times.

Overall, even though 2015 had some terrible moments and had a lost of loss associated with it, last year also had some very excellent and amazing moments.

Oreo Coal for Christmas

This is the easiest thing ever!


Oreo Coal

  • 1 box Oreos
  • 1 bag mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 stick butter

Send the Oreos through the food processor until fine. Melt butter + marshmallows in microwave 1 min + 1 min (2 min in a row will make them puff up over the edge!), then fold the Oreo crumbs into the marshmallows/butter. You can flatten out like a bar, roll into balls, or make into coal shapes!

wp-1450730850872.jpeg

Imagine That.

Poke stopped by to drop off my money today, and things are going swimmingly in his life – his car crapped out and needs a new engine, and he quit his job because $9.50/hr (with no college degree) is insulting. I could have fell over laughing, but it’s rude to do so in someone’s face. He says to me, “My life is falling apart!” Um… sorry dude, you have nobody to blame for that except yourself. You literally had everything that a man could want, and you threw it all away. I don’t feel sorry for you.

Found out too that his mom is upset that I don’t want her seeing the boys. Well, here’s the thing – if you come into my home, tell me that you don’t want my son because he’s “bad” and “uncontrollable” and your apartment is not “equipped to handle him”, you can fuck off and die. Her hurtful words ruined JI. He had been such a good boy after Poke left, and with one fell swoop she undid everything. Why? Why would you be such a cunt to a child?  Her excuses are weak, too. When we went to Akron to visit my bio family, I stayed by myself in a hotel room with both boys for three days and three nights. Alone. But for some reason the two of them can’t handle two nights/one and half days, or even ONE night. Poke says maybe they can take just Squeaks. No, you are not going to favor one child over the other. I mean really? Explains a lot about why Poke turned out the way he did! Shitty mothering, shitty grandmothering.

She’s never been a very present grandmother anyway. My parents love to take JI overnight, they shower him with love and hugs and kisses, and my kids are  their world. To Poke’s mom, it’s like they’re a burden, especially JI. But no worries, my bio mom is more than willing to step up. She already has! They’ll be loved by the people who actually want them instead of hurt by the people who don’t. I really don’t understand how she can be this way; my kids are the only grandchildren she has! Poke’s sister hasn’t had any yet and she’s getting up in years, and his brother doesn’t want kids. These boys might be her only grandchildren ever! Yet she chooses to talk shit. Whatever.

I’m not going to play games, I’m just going to act like she doesn’t exist. It’s been working out well for the past couple months. All these years she was on my side, especially when she saw Poke for the monster he could be, but now she hates me. I’m guessing it’s because she is pissed that I returned the faulty product! HA! She said once that she’s afraid for them being raised by me. Well, I guess if she thinks I’m going to be a single mother the way she was, I’d be scared too! Fortunately for my sons, I’m nothing like her.

Life Changes… Again…

Things have been going very smoothly the past few weeks. We put JI on Clonidine, a blood pressure reducer, and it has GREATLY improved his disposition. He no longer functions at 11, has had all green days at school wpid-20151119_170344.jpg(well, a couple yellow days, but no reds!), and is generally a happy kid. JI used to be so intense, so full of angry energy, so constantly irritated that he was almost impossible to control. It got to the point where I didn’t know if I would have to take him to the ER one day, because I could not get
him to calm down. He was physically and emotionally out of control. Luckily, an exam by his pediatrician combined with my oral reports and the reports from the autism center warranted the doctor to give us the medication for a trial basis. I cannot believe what a difference it made, and how quickly. For the first time in years, JI is truly himself again. It makes me happy.

On the Squeaks front, he’s growing like a weed, per usual. He’s already got six teeth, and two more are about to pop out in the next week. The last two came in between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning! He got an wpid-20151119_090745.jpgexcellent review at his 9 month check up: 21#, 12 oz, 34″ long. He’s in the 90th percentile, much like JI always was. I think Squeaks is going to be a football player (JI wants to play the tuba LOL). He crawls around like a crazy man, super fast, and is standing and cruising along the furniture. JI walked at 11 months, and I’m sure Squeaks will meet or exceed that timeline. If he didn’t have such a big head, he could probably balance better right now! He’s eating real food, doesn’t care for baby food much anymore, and his favorite foods are jalapenos, multi-grain cheerios, and MEAT. ALL THE MEAT.

Poke has seen the boys a few times since his mother pulled her witchy bullshit back in September. He has an actual job now, so he’s back to paying child support (per our agreement, not “legally”), but I wish he would see the kids more often. He says his only day off is Sunday… I don’t know whether to believe him or not. I’m glad that his mom isn’t getting to spend time with them, but I want the boys to know their father, even if he is an asshole to me. Just because he couldn’t handle marriage and family life doesn’t mean he was or is a terrible father. He was always a good dad until his mental health and substance abuse issues got in the way. It’s sad. What’s even more sad is that JI still asks about Seanatello, but rarely asks about his dad or his grandmother. Of course Honey & Poppy, my parents, are always #1 in JI’s mind! My bio mom and the rest of my bio family have been getting more involved in our lives as well, which will be wonderful for the boys as they get older

I was trying to get into the dating scene, as it is quite lonely and barren out here for a single mother. I am surrounded by at least two children 24/7. My only real life adult contact is when the parents drop off their kids in the morning and pick them up at night, when I see adults at the preschool, and when I go to the grocery store. I am desperate for adult human contact. The problem is, either the market is tapped out or my standards have gotten WAY more stringent than they were in the past. There’s nothing here for me, there’s nobody here that I’m remotely interested in, and actually, that’s fine. I’ve been talking with good friend of mine who lives out east, we’ll call him Doc, and things are going in a pleasing direction. We’re not going to commit, or rush, or whatever. Just take it nice and slow, and I like that. We’ve been friends for about 10 years, withwpid-received_10153767078034801.jpg some rough spots in between thanks to my relationship with Poke, but I’ve always had feelings for him in my heart. I always thought about him, but pushed it aside because I was married and that was supposed to be forever. Well, we all see how that worked out! So now I’m free to pursue what could be, and I’m excited. He seems to be genuinely interested in the boys, and JI talks about him at least a few times a day, even though they’ve never met. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!