I’m Back

Standard

It’s been a long time since I updated, thanks mostly to my chromebook keyboard suddenly ceasing to work properly. I don’t know what happened, it just stopped working one day. Then a few weeks later, half the keys worked but there was no real pattern to it. So I finally got a wireless USB keyboard and mouse from my dad, and now I can use my chromebook again! YAY!

ji2So anyway, kindergarten started off great. The first day was, in JI’s words, “Absolutely perfect”. I cried for about twenty minutes when he got home. Day two… shit hit the fan. My son JI was sent to the peak aka behaviour room. Day three, okay. Day four, his behaviour was so bad that I had to pick him up early and he was asked to not return. They wrote on the report that he assaulted a teacher. He’s five. He kicked her because she got too close. JI was off for the next week as we tried to find a spot in an ED classroom rather than the general SpEd/Autism room he was in the first week. We got a spot at a different school, and he attended half days at the original school for a week until the transportation was figured out.

He’s been at the new school for a full week, three days, plus Monday and Tuesday. Monday was his first rough day, but he got himself under control. Yesterday after lunch/recess, I guess he started melting down and couldn’t stop. The teacher called me at 2:45pm, and I could hear JI screaming. He said JI was throwing chairs, trying to bite/hit/kick, took off his socks and shoes and threw them, etc. He wouldn’t or couldn’t calm down. It wasn’t until they told him I wouldn’t be coming that he calmed down to get on line for the bus.

jiThe problem is that he doesn’t act like this at home. He doesn’t get violent or aggressive towards me or any other people – and to be clear, he wasn’t at school either, not towards any kids or adults until the adults attempted to get close to him. If he and I have a disagreement, I either remind him of his choices or I tell him the consequences of not doing what he’s told. I’m frustrated because I’m not the special education teacher, I’m not the expert, but they expect me to tell them what to do. I don’t know what to do because he does not do this around me! There was a short period of time when he did, but we suffered through it and moved on. I merely held my ground.

Is JI trying to feel them out? Is there something about school that changes a kid’s personality? Will this eventually pass, or is my high functioning, highly intelligent, super cute, loving autistic child doomed to end up in juvenile detention or some kind of home?! I know it’s the first incident but the way things went at the last school, I’m really nervous. We had a conversation last night and this morning about how he should act when he’s upset or angry, and I hope it sticks.

Life Changes… Again…

Standard

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!

72 Fun Ideas for Summer!

Standard

wpid-20150610_161622.jpg

Outdoor Water Fun

  1. Backyard Waterpark – Set up a slide into the kiddie pool and turn on the sprinkler, hang a sprinkler from a tree and drive cars through it, your imagination is the limit!
  2. Driveway water darts – Draw a bullseye on your driveway with chalk and use wet sponges as the darts
  3. Waterballoon or water gun fight – Once you get hit, you’re out! Team with the last man standing wins!
  4. Ice block – Fill a container (I use a plastic shoebox sized one from the dollar store) with water, food coloring, and trinkets like dinosaurs or cars or whatever tiny things you have lying around. Freeze and let the kids go at it until all the tiny things are free!
  5. Amp up the slip’n’slide – Dish soap, shaving cream, no oil!
  6. Car wash – Do a real car wash with your neighborhood, or set up a kids’ car wash with sprinklers/hoses and dish soap.

Outdoor Fun

  1. Plant seeds – You can get a packet of seeds for less than $1 in some places; plant in a clear cup to see how the roots grow!
  2. Play ice cream – Empty a can of shaving cream into a container and freeze until hard. It melts quickly and has a weird texture. You can add colored rice to be the sprinkles! Give the kids scoops, bowls, etc. Not for consumption!
  3. Salt sculptures – Combine 3c salt + 3T water, mix until every grain of salt has gotten damp (add more water if necessary), dry for at least 18 hours. Use sand castle molds, deep bowls, etc. to build shapes.
  4. Find a new playground – Pick a random park from the map, or stop at one that you always drive by but have never visited.
  5. Picnic – Pack sandwiches, tea, and cookies. Find a cozy spot away from the ants.
  6. Bonfire – Roast hot dogs, make s’mores, tell stories, and enjoy the evening.
  7. Yard sale – Gather up all the stuff you haven’t touched in the past year (or longer!) and sell it at low-low prices. Buy something for the family with the proceeds! Donate everything that doesn’t sell – once it’s outta the house, don’t let it back in!
  8. Lemonade stand – Make homemade lemonade and give the proceeds to a children’s charity.
  9. Feed the ducksBut don’t feed them bread! Get some duck food from your local pet store, or opt for veggie trimmings, cracked corn, rice, oats, or thawed frozen peas.
  10. Go camping in the backyard – Build a tent from branches and a sheet, or just rough it under the stars.
  11. Backyard obstacle course – Jump over the rock! Go through the sprinkler! Hop on one foot down the path! The possibilities are endless.
  12. Draw roads on the driveway with chalk – Make a huge street for bikes and trikes, or make tiny streets for toy cars.
  13. Flashlight tag – My version: Everyone has a flashlight. One person is IT, and has their light on – everyone else has theirs off. IT counts to 50 or 100. Everyone else hides. IT has to find each person and shine the light on them. Once you have been found, you join the IT team and turn your light on, and you find the rest of the people. Last person to be found is the next IT.
  14. ABC treasure hunt – Make an alphabetical list of things to find in nature or in the house or backyard.
  15. Texture/nature rubbings (please, no gravestones) – All you need is paper and a few old crayons!
  16. See the fireworks – Lots of towns have them near the 4th of July, and you could easily see fireworks every day for a week!
  17. See a concert in the park – Many places offer free or very cheap concerts in the evening or on weekend afternoons.
  18. DIY projector for outside movie night – Add popcorn, a blanket, and some wine for the parents!

In the Kitchen

  1. Bake cookies and make ice cream sandwiches – Homemade chocolate chip + vanilla ice cream.
  2. Learn a new recipe – Let the kids go through your cookbooks and pick something fun.
  3. Make popsicles – You can simply put juice in a popsicle mold, or get a little funkier with fresh fruit combos!
  4. Homemade pizza – Buy a premade shell or dough to cook, or make your own. Top with anything you can think of.
  5. Homemade Ice Cream – It’s way easier than you think, and healthier than the store bought stuff (even if you make it with candies and chocolate and all that stuff!)
  6. Visit an ethnic grocery store – Make dinner from the interesting things you find there.
  7. Make smoothies – Take all your fruit, mix it up with milk and yogurt, and bam! Smoothies.
  8. Root beer floats – A classic summer treat! Invite your grandparents over and have them tell you stories about their childhood while you sip on a brown cow.

Places to Go

  1. Summer reading club – Most local libraries have a program for school-age kids and grown-ups too.
  2. Museum – Art, History, Science, etc.
  3. Visit farmer’s market – Usually on weekend mornings, Google “your town name + farmer’s markets”
  4. State Fair – The Ohio State Fair is HUGE and super family friendly! Check out a county fair if the state one is too far away.
  5. Zoo – If you have a large family and no membership, it can be pricey. Try to make it less expensive by packing snacks and drinks for everyone, and make sure you wear good shoes!
  6. Mini golf – Winner gets an ice cream sundae! Losers get ice cream cones! Hehehe 🙂
  7. Amusement park – The cheaper, the better! We have a few tiny parks here in Ohio, and in some places those carnivals in parking lots still show up from time to time.
  8. Waterpark – This can be an investment, just like the zoo. Once again, bring everything you need (towels, snacks, etc.) and try to resist all the souvenirs and extras!
  9. Local pool – Our parks & rec has a system of pools that only costs $1/person admission. Check your local community boards to see if there’s anything similar in your area! Sometimes the local pool is only $3-6/person, which isn’t too bad anyway.
  10. State park – There are so many parks to visit in our country. Try to see all the ones close to you!
  11. 200 mile road trip – For us, this would be Columbus to Cleveland or Columbus to Cincinnati, or Columbus to Pittsburgh. Go for a day or overnight, and check out how the other half lives!
  12. Camping in nature – As in real nature, not the backyard 😉 Get a cabin, rent an RV, pitch a tent at a campground.
  13. Do a kids’ workshop or class – Lowe’s, Home Depot, and local rec centers always have interesting things happening for people of all ages.
  14. Go to a baseball game – Minor League, Major League, Little League, Geezer League… tons of baseball in the summer!
  15. Go to the dollar theater – See that movie you wanted to see back in January!
  16. Go bowling – Especially good for a rainy day.

Bring Your Friends

  1. Talent show – Everyone can showcase their special or hidden talents.
  2. Visit residents at a nursing home – Put on a show with karaoke, play the piano or another instrument if you know how, or just sit and visit and let them enjoy your company.
  3. Wii Sports Challenge – Who in the family is best at Wii bowling? Which one of your friends can kick butt at Wii Tennis?
  4. Scary story scare-off (or silly stories for little ones!) – Tell the scariest or silliest story you can think of! Or, one person can start the story and each person adds two lines. Go around the circle until someone says “BOO!”
  5. Ice Cream Social – Invite your friends and have everyone bring one ingredient to make sundaes. Syrups, berries, sprinkles, jimmies, nuts (if you can), cones, waffles, anything you can think that might be good with ice cream!
  6. Volunteer – At an animal shelter, soup kitchen, YMCA/YWCA, food pantry, etc.
  7. Friends parade – Get everyone together and decorate your bikes, trikes, and other ride-on toys. Go through the neighborhood playing music on your mp3 player (back in my day, I had an FM radio on blast!)

Indoor Fun

  1. Funny dice – Make two large dice out of styrofoam blocks (get them at a craft or hobby store). On one die write verb phrases such as “play like”, “dance like”, “jump like”, etc. and on the other die write silly nouns like “a dog”, “an alien”, “a purple people eater”, etc.
  2. Streets on the carpet – Use painter’s tape to map out a city on the rug for your toy cars.
  3. Fingerpainting in the tub – Buy soap paint, or make your own with liquid food coloring and white liquid soap (add a few drops of coloring, stir up, enjoy!)
  4. Learn a skill – Bike riding, rollerskating, tying shoes, etc.
  5. Learn sign language – It is easier than you think! There are tons of videos on YouTube, or check out some books from the library.
  6. Build a bird house – Out of scrap wood, or popsicle sticks, or half a 2-litre, or any crazy thing you can find online!
  7. Sock puppets – Make them the kind that eat dust! Use old socks and draw on faces – if you want to get fancy you can add yarn hair and googly eyes.
  8. Write a book (or comic strip!) – Make your family the stars of your book.
  9. Castle/playhouse/fort out of cardboard boxes – The sky is the limit on this one. Give the kids all the art supplies and let their imaginations run wild.
  10. Pirate Day – Talk, dress, eat, and otherwise act just like a pirate all day. Rum for the parents after your little mateys hit the hay.
  11. Make bird feeders – Use pine cones, peanut butter, and birdseed. Hang them near the windows so you can watch your new feathered friends feast!
  12. Establish family game night – Pick a night and time that everyone can come together. Make a special snack, and get those old board games out of the closet!
  13. Yarn lasers – String yarn between four chairs or down the hallway in a laser pattern. Touch the yarn and you have to go back to the starting line!
  14. Giant board game (could also be an outdoor activity!) – Make letter tiles out of cut up boxes and play Scrabble, spray paint Twister on your lawn, make a huge hopscotch with painter’s tape, etc.
  15. Dance party – Kids are sitting are BORED, turn on the music and start busting out those moves!
  16. Life size paper dolls – Have the kids lie on large sheets of newsprint or butcher paper and trace around them. They get to color in their faces, clothing, hair, etc.
  17. Pet rocks – Collect the craziest looking rocks from outside. Paint them and decorate them, then name them!