Dough Boy

Apr. 9th, 2017 09:50 pm
ninanevermore: (Sunset)
After emptying the mixing bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough, I scraped the sides with a silicone spatula and asked my son if he wanted it or if I should throw it away. He took the spatula, nibbled a tiny bit, and said, "We could share." So we did, him taking a small nibble and me taking a small pinch in turn until there was no dough left. Pretty typical mother-son moment, except it wasn't. When he was smaller, at the age when most kids are relishing scraping the bowl, he had no interest in the stuff. It looked mushy, and he did not (and does not) eat foods with a mushy texture. Mashed potatoes? No. Oatmeal? Absolutely not! Cookie dough? Too suspicious looking to consider. But recently, at the age of 12, he has tried it and determined that it is, in his words, "tasty." It's not exactly healthy, but I have hope that as he takes little leaps of faith to try foods that were once off limits that eventually some healthy choices will pass muster. Raising him has been a cycle of not reaching milestones when they were expected, and then him unexpectedly catching up or exceeding those milestones once I give up hope. It's kind of our thing
ninanevermore: (Default)
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I have no faith in doctors. So-called “experts” have no credibility with me. I have no faith in labels and I never saw the point in getting one to stick to my son, Sweet Pea. After all, the school is working with him. I don’t think their diagnosis is on target, and I found the pediatric developmental expert at Texas Children’s to be inept useless in that she asked us a lot of questions but didn’t make very many observation of her own. The fact that she did not put him with other children to observe how he interacted (or like as not, failed to interact) with them to me meant that she did not actually observe much of anything.

My gut instinct is that he has a mild form of autism. A whisper of it. Just enough to cause him to short circuit when his sensory filters prove to be a bit flawed and get overwhelmed. His schoolmate, Jack, has almost identical symptoms to my son’s and he got a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. Jack does not have Sweet Pea’s “rule rigidity” (an insistence that certain things be just so) and he seeks out social connections with his peers, which Sweet Pea does not. Whatever Jack is, Sweet Pea is. Except more so.

Jacks parents could afford to pay for a specialist who charges $1200 out-of-pocket (she does not take insurance) to get a diagnosis. My husband and I are trying to work our way out of debt; we don’t have $1200 lying around to pay out of pocket for a specialist to give us a label I couldn’t see the need for.

Until today, that is. I just needed the right news to shine the light for me, and at last I saw a point a label from a doctor that fits with what my instincts already know. I will start looking for the money.

The news stories read: Use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) by pregnant women may increase the risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their offspring, new research suggests.

That’s about the time my blood started to boil.Semantics )
ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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Lots of little things have been going on in recent weeks. School let out. Sweet Pea has attended birthday parties and done well at them. Things with the babysitter are going well. On a personal level, my father is not doing well and I am not sure how much longer I will have him. And then there is the cruise in July that I should be looking forward to but am dreading. I have plenty to write about, just no time. I’ll start with the end of Kindergarten. I’ll try to take up the other topics in the coming days.

School’s Out For Summer!  )
ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
My son has been drawing pictures and creating stories lately about a special breed of squids that battle evil robots trying to take over the world. Fortunately, the robots have an Achilles heel: squid ink jacks up their circuits and makes them die. Thank goodness.

Here (with subtitles, in case you don't speak fluent Kindergartener), he explains it all.

ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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It was a huge relief to cancel all those interviews with the potential babysitters who were interested in watching my son over the summer. Huge. It’s always a pain to interview people for a job to start with, but there is the whole "full disclosure" part of asking someone watch my son that I dread. Ideally, it’s best to have him along on these interviews, so he can play quietly and look angelic while I tell them about the behaviors that got him thrown out of daycare when he was 4 and that earned him a "special education" classification shortly after he started kindergarten this last year. You can’t just ask someone to watch a child and not warn them that he is capable of throwing screaming, kicking, throw-down tantrums that last for an hour and a half. Perhaps I could have skipped over the part about how the school quit having the kindergarteners hand the ladies in the lunchroom a wooden clothespin with their lunch account number on them after my son tried to stab another child in the eye with his clothespin after the kid bumped into him in the lunch line. We got a note asking us to please help him learn and remember his lunch number after that. Because he likes eating, he learned the number easy enough and the whole clothespin program was disbanded for all of the children.

Everyone wants their child to have an impact and be remembered. My son will be remembered as the reason wooden clothpins are now classified as potentially dangerous weapons that are no longer allowed on his elementary school campus.

You know that kid from The Omen? Well, he’s nowhere nearly as bad as that kid. )
ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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“I need next month’s book club selection,” I told Kristin, the proprietress of my local used book store and the founder and host of the book club I attend. At the last meeting she had made apologies that the selection for the June meeting had not yet come in, so I was here to pick up a copy since she had sent me a message on Facebook that it now was. “And I have a very serious request in regard to children’s literature. Do you have any Captain Underpants books?”

Kristen leaned forward and returned my own serious expression. “I have tons of Captain Underpants books. Tons. Want me to show you where they are?”

“Yes, it’s a Captain Underpants emergency at my house,” I said.

At Least He Likes Books )
ninanevermore: (Bite Me)
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I took my 6-year-old son to see the animated film Rio last weekend. There was one line in the movie that made me laugh to the point that I almost fell out of my seat, but it didn’t strike the rest of the audience as all that funny. When I realized I was the only one laughing, I tried to keep quiet, but my shoulders still shook with silent laughter as I sank down in my seat with my hand clasped tightly over my mouth so that no sound would escape.

Art Imitates Life )
ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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“Where do ninjas learn to be ninjas?” I asked my son.

He was holding a one-inch-tall red ninja warrior made of Legos that had arrived unassembled in Sweet Pea’s Easter basket. Now the tiny assassin had been put together, and it had spent the evening menacing the toy plush gray cat that Sweet Pea does not like and insists that I sleep with so he doesn’t have to (he does not want it hanging out with his other toys).

Lego Ninja


Where Assassins Learn Their ABCs )
ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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I met my son’s fiancée this last Saturday at the party for her 6th birthday. She seems like a nice little girl. A bit goofy looking, but judging by how pretty her mother is, I suspect she will be very attractive once she grows into her features.

“Are you [Sweet Pea’s] mom?” the mother of the birthday girl greeted me, “Mallory talks about him all the time at home. She tells me she’s going to marry him when she grows up.”

“He mentioned that to me,” I told her with a smile. I didn’t mention that he is not yet ready to commit to her daughter. There are so many little girls at his school that he’s not sure which one he will marry, he has confided to me. I told him he doesn’t have to pick one for a couple more decades, and not to rush. There is a good change (say 99.9%) that he will marry someone who he does not go to Kindergarten with. But his world is very small right now, and he has no way to imagine how many people (including girls) he will meet as he makes his way through his life. Right now the dozen or so girls in his class are overwhelming enough to him.

Sweet Pea Syndome )
ninanevermore: (Father and son)
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During his bath the other night my 6-year-old son gave me this lesson on modesty and how civilized people should dress when out in public: "My back is not private. Only my willy and my bottom are private. But not my back or my tummy."

He paused. "Still, it’s nice to wear a shirt."


* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * # * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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Sweet Pea was in the tub the other night, and since he still cannot be trusted to wash himself very well (he rubs the washcloth over himself lightly for all of 30 seconds and says he’s done) I was there to scrub him down. He was lying on his elbows and started to turn himself over and over like a turkey on a spit, so that I was washing the front, then the back, then the front, then the back, then the front of the boy. This inspired me to sing.

“There were ten in the bed and the little one said roll over, roll over, so they all rolled over and one fell out. There were nine in the bed and the little one said…”

“Why did the little one say that?” Sweet Pea interrupted

“To make one of the others fall out so there would be more room for him,” I replied.

Sweet Pea frowned. “Why did he keep saying that?”

“So more of them would fall out.”

“Then what did he say?”

Time for a change of management. )
ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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The report from the Meyer Developmental Center arrived in the mail over the weekend. The doctor there was kind, but she wasn’t much help. She specializes in ADHD and Autism Spectrum disorders. She thinks my 6 year old is more likely just nuts, and referred us to a psychiatrist to drug him into submission.

“I could write you a prescription for an anti psychotic medication, if you like,” she said sweetly, “But I think you would be better off getting it from a psychiatrist who specializes in these types of conditions.” Not that she could say what my son’s condition is. She also offered to write a prescription for an ADHD stimulant-type drug, if I liked that idea better. Her willingness to let me, a person who has never been to medical school, chose whether my son was prescribed a stimulant or an antipsychotic drug made me trust her judgment about as far as I could pick her up and throw her.

Doctor, doctor, there’s a hole inside my head… )
ninanevermore: (Family)
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No one around my house is good at holidays, or anything that requires planning ahead, really. We are good at muddling through at the last moment. We excel at that, and do it better than anyone eles. I am certain that the secret to happiness is setting really low standards, and taking it with a grain of salf when you fail to meet even those.

I would say that today’s half-ass Valentine’s Day was pretty much typical for us, except for the part about the school nurse calling to say Sweet Pea had a fever. Since this is his first year in school, I won’t know until next year if that kind of thing is going to be a new tradition or not. Cards, chocolates, and a lemon tree. )
ninanevermore: (Bite Me)
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Sweet Pea has forgiven his father, and I am glad. Just last night he said he never would, and that he planned to run away and never see his dad again. He was serious. His face was long and flushed like he was trying very hard to be brave and not cry. But can you blame him? What if your father were as cold hearted and cruel as his, and told you that there would be no TV or time on the computer FOR A WHOLE EVENING?

You’d hate that person, too.

But officer, my Behavioral Intervention Plan says I can go up to 19% over the speed limit. )
ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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Sweet Pea was sitting in the bathtub, lounging with his back against the edge and his knees pressed up against the side next to the wall. He is still small enough that this is comfortable for him.

“What if I could make girls’ clothes invisible?” he asked. “That would be embarrassing for them, wouldn’t it?”

No colors for you! )
ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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I was driving Sweet Pea home from school the other night when he started telling me about the family of one of his Kindergarten classmates. The dymanics of this little girl's family are a bit surprising, to say the least.

Read? More. )
ninanevermore: (Bite Me)
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I don’t think the average jerk knows he or she is a jerk, or feels at all like a jerk even at their jerkiest moments. They aren’t trying to be jerks. They aren’t trying to be self righteous or small-minded or hateful. Life just hasn’t handed most of them a mirror and forced them to see themselves for what they are. Last week I was handed just such a mirror, and I'm holding it up just in case anyone else out there needs to take a look in it.

I've discovered that phone calls from my son’s school have a way of changing my viewpoints. I should be thankful for the opportunities to gain these wisdoms and insights, but I’m not: I liked being ignorant. Being a jerk is easy. Being kind and insightful is a lot of work, and the self examination leading up to it is painful, to boot.

Riding the Bus to Wisdom )
ninanevermore: (Christmas)
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I need to boycott any and all events on my side of the family when my stepsister will not be there. When she and her family show up, it is easy to forget that my family is not actually fun. They are good people, mind you, but the kind of good people that bore you to tears.

Let’s take, for example, a typical gathering involving me, my two brothers who do not consider me to be the living dead, and my stepbrother. Mostly, they will all stare the TV watching what ever kind of sport is in season or maybe Fox News (which my dad watches when there is not a game that he cares about being broadcasted). Any conversation that takes place will happen during the commercials, when my father will try to convince me that America is in a state of decline and it is mostly my fault because sometimes I vote for Democrats. I will smile and make a comment about the weather, and my dad will say that no, I need to listen to him because…and then the game will come back on and the conversation will have to be continued during the next commercial.

Hours go by, and the pattern repeats at commercial intervals until I feel I have done my time and I can make an excuse to leave. But when my stepsister is there, the TV may not even be on. Even if it were, you couldn’t hear it over the ruckus. )
ninanevermore: (Christmas)
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We survived Christmas. Well, so far. Christmas is still happening this evening at my father’s house, when my stepsister and her kids come down from Fort Worth. My son will spend the night at his grandparents’ this evening along with all of his cousins, and Jeff will pick him up in the morning. I’m just praying that he doesn’t bite one of my stepsister’s kids this year, as he has each of the past two Christmases. Usually it happens as the kids (who range in age from 5 to 15) start to get energetic around 8 PM and Sweet Pea shorts out a little when someone bumps into him or fails to perceive that he no longer wants them so close. Not that they have time to perceive much of anything, since the moment between “everything is okay” and “I’m going into overload now” is so brief that science has yet to measure it exactly

I just hope he doesn’t bite the youngest child, who is 3 months younger than Sweet Pea. My stepsister’s youngest child is a cancer survivor. Cancer is a scary thing, and biting the kid who had cancer makes Sweet Pea look even worse than he already does. Even though my nephew is tough as nails (meaning he can take it) and has been blessed with a gracious and forgiving demeanor (meaning he won’t hold it against Sweet Pea), I cringe at the idea of hearing that my son has bitten him. The child who could have died is naturally a more sympathetic character than the child that has behavioral problems.

No, if someone must get bit, let it be one of the older children. Or maybe one of the adults. He almost never bites adults, though. Unless they are teachers (he seems to find PE coaches to be particularly tasty).

Should I stay or should I go? )
ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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“Forty five minutes,” my husband, Jeff, said with amazement as he read the report from our son’s school, “How can anyone stay that angry for forty five minutes? I mean, I can go off when I get mad, but…”

“You’re over it in about 10 or 15 minutes,” I said. Our son is not the only one in the house prone to the occasional hissy fit, but Sweet Pea’s last much, much longer. There is a wide array of styles for individual tempers, and our house comes with the variety pack. Jeff has a quick temper that, like a firecracker, goes “pop!” and then dissipates in a little cloud of smoke. My anger is of the charcoal variety; it takes a lot of work to get me hot under the collar, but once I am there my anger will smolder indefinitely. Sweet Pea has a temper like a Molotov cocktail; a quick burning fuse that explodes and leaves a lot of damage in its wake.

Read? More. )

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