Archive for December, 2013


Santa Claus is an #Aspie

Read this and I just HAD to re-post it.

Postcards from the edge of the Spectrum

This post was written by a Aspie Kid and was published Christmas 2012.

He has since withdrawn from Social Media.

A tragic loss to the Autism community and the source of continuing sadness to me.

His intellect afforded a profound and masterfully articulate rare insight into the enigma that is Autism and the autistic experience.

This is my first ever guest post, although technically it is a repost/reblog.

He was in contact with me recently and asked me to post this on my blog, as it was one of his favorites and apparently one of the most popular post he ever published.

Seasons Greetings my friend – you are still missed by so many – and the Autism Community is poorer without you.

Your friend………..

Santa Claus is an aspie.

Most people don’t know that about him, but it’s true. He is very reclusive, you know, like so many aspies…

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As you all know I HATE going to the mall with Tantrum Tot. Not for any other reason except that the screaming, hitting, clawing and assaulting he does when he can’t have his way is difficult to go through in public. It’s bad enough that it has to be endured, and it does, I get that, I do….but it’s difficult to have to endure it in public. That’s the simple truth of it.

Well yesterday, because we have no viable babysitters who can handle Tantrum Tot, we had to load him, Aspie Teen, Aspie Teen’s new friend (I forgot to blog about that but I will soon I promise), and my 15 year old niece in the van along with wifey, and head to the mall to finish some shopping.

Well it went pretty damn well for the most part!! First we went to get the Tot a MUCH needed haircut…he actually endured most of it pretty well but wouldn’t let the girl finish his bangs and I had to hold his head straight to let her get as much as she got done, done and then calm him down afterwards…with the judicious use of lollipop bribes….that being done, we headed into the actual mall and of course the first stop was the American Train Company ride so he could get his train addiction satisfied.

Tot B4 haircut

Tot B4 haircut

 

Tot After Haircut

Tot After Haircut

Tantrum Tot has developed a weird fascination (Special Interest?) in trains. And it’s not just Thomas the Train anymore…any train will do!!! He’s is to the point where he now where he watches YouTube videos of kids playing with train sets!!! (As well as other toys in general). He is actually watching videos of kids playing with toys!!! Well we got him to the train ride and he waited SO patiently for the train to come around and let the kids out…about 15 minutes…and he sat still in the carriage waiting so well..this is virtually unheard of for the Tot!!!

Tot in the Train

Tot in the Train

Well he got on the ride and did his minimum 2 rides around.  Then we head over to Barnes & Nobles so that Tot can play with the trains. I had Tot and Chunk A Monk with me, while wifey took my niece shopping and Aspie Teen and his new friend just went to hang. Well I gotta tell you, no lie, we were in B&N playing for at least 5 hours!!!  And the whole time Tantrum Tot had NOT ONE tantrum or meltdown!!! He played on the Thomas the Train table, then at one point he wanted to go to the other side of the kids section, and he spent 20 minutes running from one side to the other…then went back to the table for the rest of the night…

Chunk A Monk behaved like an angel too!! At one point I took him out fo the stroller/car seat and layed him on his changing mat in the corner and gave him some back time…he ate 3 times, I changed his pamper and he took 2 naps. He was awake the whole time, just gooing and gah-ing being happy and flirting with anyone who would look at him!! My wife didn’t come get us till 9:30 and that is when he happy place dissolved of course…

I gotta tell you Tot didn’t flip out till he realized we were leaving the mall and then he flipped out so bad it’s a wonder a cop didn’t tackle me while I was trying to get him out of the store and then strapping him down in the car seat in the parking lot. He threw a fit of EPIC proportions and I swear it must have looked like I was trying to kidnap a kid (if not for the fact that he looks JUST like me! LOL) AND he stopped very soon…and after we got home he went RIGHT TO SLEEP!!!!

This is my Christmas Miracle story. In about 30 minutes we have to take him to Wal-Mart and I’m praying for a repeat of the same.

WHY???

Why did Tantrum Tot wake me up as 7:30 in the morning on a SATURDAY and now had me sitting on the sofa with him while he watches You Tube videos of other children playing with toys on his mom’s iPad? ???

At least he let me up to make some coffee and toast this time. I hope his good mood lasts today.

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Thought this was too funny!! Merry Christmas!!!

Living on the Spectrum: The Connor Chronicles

The Twelve Days of Autistic Christmas

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So I’m in my living room. Wifey just got back from Christmas shopping with Aspie Teen and is proudly showing off the deals she found at the mall, (wifey takes great pride in being the cheapest person on the planet), and is wrapping gifts with Monkey Boy in the living room. While she was gone, I once again baby sat Monkey Boy, Tantrum Tot, and Baby Chunk a Munk. And I am proud to say that Chunk a Munk is sleeping and Tantrum Tot passed out literally 4 seconds before her and Teen got home AND I did it while watching a grown up show instead of Cartoon Network or Dora or Diego! Go Me!!

Anyway wifey is on the living room floor doing some yoga stretches in the middle of the floor amidst the piles of wrapping paper and gifts etc. She stretches in a way that looks like she is bowing, back bent, face to the floor, (ass up), hands stretched out in front of her.

Monkey Boy sees her and says “Mom! Are you BOWING??? What the heck??” Ever the opportunist, I say “She knew I entered the room and just bowed in my presence.” I would have felt good about the point I just scored if not for the immediate LAUGHTER stemming from Monkey Boy, who said “Yeah right who you kidding?”!!!!! Wifey fell out laughing and I wrapped what little shred of my dignity I had left around me and left the room.

I tell you I get no respect!!! Merry Christmas to me!!

Holiday Preparations

Wow it’s been a minute since I posted anything. Quite honestly, I’m not really motivated or inspired to do much anymore. I’m still trying to reintegrate my mind to doing things like my job, and cooking…and I don’t have much motivation to do even that much. It’s been a hard year. One of pain and loss as well as joy and gain, my psyche is still trying to balance them out.

As usual in our household, my Aspie Wife has become the “Christmas Nazi”, a phrase we picked up during one of the many Netflix series marathons that my wife, kids and I get involved in. This phrase came from the TV show Roswell. A cool little series about alien teenagers who got stranded on earth and spend the series learning about themselves, their powers, their home planet and of course hooking up with earthlings.

The sister on this show every year planned out each Christmas activity, scheduled every event, controlled all the wrapping etc. etc. hence the name. This ladies and gentlemen is what happens to my wife every year. The lists come out. The lists of the lists she has to make come out. (No kidding, she really does that). The kids write their letters to Santa, and we run around trying to fill them. Aspie Teen actually picks out his stuff on Amazon and places them on a wishlist and then texts and/or email’s the list to us.  My wife and I will make out lists, complete with pictures, prices and where to buy them information included. My wife usually will go ahead and buy her own gifts and have them shipped to the house. 

This level of control brings a somewhat sense of control and reassurance to my wife and Aspie Teen. They panic at surprise presents. They worry about the unknown and not knowing what to expect. Aspie Teen takes it to the extreme, pestering us and nagging us until the items are ordered and on their way. Only once they get here, and he’s inspected them does he breathe a sigh of relief and moves on to the next thing on his agenda.

But you parents of ASD kids and spouses/partners of ASD adults may want to think about doing this. I spent MANY years trying to anticipate my wife and take notes on things she said she liked during the year to surprise her at Christmas time which usually resulted in things being sent back, or never worn etc. Clothing was especially hard/ridiculous. So to reduce the stress of her receiving things she didn’t want or like, we decided to try just telling each other what we wanted and eventually graduated to buying certain things ourselves. It solved a lot of problems. Talk it over and see how it works. Take a trial run on birthdays or anniversaries. Even if your kid believes in Santa, he can make you a list, or you can help him make a list with pictures so you know EXACTLY what it is he wants. This will cut down on a lot of stress for both you and them. Trust me.

Anyway, my family being the dual cultural family we are, celebrates Christmas once at midnight on Christmas Eve, (this is from her side of the family traditions), and then again on Christmas morning, (this is from my side of the family traditions). On Christmas Eve the kids get the presents from other family members (if applicable) as well as gifts from mom and dad, and on Christmas Day they open gifts that Santa Claus leaves them, (despite my many protestations that my kids own the top two slots on the Naughty List and don’t deserve anything but lumps of coal on Christmas day), (just kidding).

So my wife makes sure the wrapping paper is different, the labels are different, and pre-printed to avoid any possible handwriting comparisons from the kids, the packages are separated, the level of control goes on and on. She is very organized and detail oriented, and she plans so meticulously because she really wants to make Christmas memorable and enjoyable for the kids, but sometimes she WAY over thinks things, and will get SO stressed because of it. Like today she spent hours making pre-printed gift labels only to have Monkey Boy walk in and see them on the bed. Now the entire batch  has to be thrown away and she spent another 2 hours designing new ones. Stress levels were through the roof. To me, the kids will only glance at the labels long enough to see their names and rip through the wrapping, but it doesn’t hurt to be careful. We definitely don’t want Monkey Boy coming to any independent conclusions during this season.

But in preparation for the holidays, a couple of tips you may want to use is to shop online for as much as you can. Most of our shopping is done online to avoid the crowded stores where chaos reigns and will immediately overwhelm my wife and send her into meltdown mode. (BTW quick shameless plug, an Amazon Prime membership costs a one time annual fee of $70 and you get guaranteed 2 day shipping on any Prime eligible item you buy on Amazon). 

Also when we  absolutely HAVE to venture into the stores, we try to go later in the evening and if it’s someplace like Super Walmart where things are open 24 hours, we go during the late/early hours to make sure the store is as empty as possible. This drastically reduces the amount of stress my wife under and helps her keep her focus and her sanity. 

Anyway, I hope your Christmas’/Holiday is enjoyable. 

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Coffee & Cookies@ Barnes & Nobles

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Christmas shopping at the mall when Tantrum Tot announces He wants coffee and cookies!!!

So we’re on our way to N.Y. to attend my brother s funeral…those of you with kids on the spectrum or special needs kids know what hell long trips can turn into even in the best of circumstances. And of course as is typical for my Aspie family circumstances are always less than ideal to say the least.

We found about my brother s passing on Wednesday morning. Thursday I went in to work half a day because there were some things I had to clear up b4i left.

We were determined to leave as early as possible on Friday when we found out that the wake etc. was being scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday!!!

It took all day Friday to run around doing things which needed to be seen to before we left. Packing got held up and of course as you know packing for special needs kids means packing practically everything they own. Not to mention we’re in SC and we’re going to N.Y. and it was 78 degrees yesterday and tomorrow the high will be 30!!!!

We meant to pack the van, get some sleep and jump up before first light so the kids would spend the first half of the trip still sleeping while daddy drove like a madman.

But Tantrum Tot refused to go to sleep till 12:30 a.m…which means I got to sleep at 1:00 a.m. and we don’t get on the road till like 9:30!!!

And to add some more drama to an already horrible situation, my mother who is rapidly deteriorating into the forgetfulness of her twilight years, put her ID away and forgot where so she couldn’t fly up to N.Y. ahead of us. So now because it’s totally unthinkable that she misses her youngest sons’ funeral, we put her in the van and off we go.

Now I have to say that my family, when traveling, make the Griswalds look like high society. First the van gets destroyed with all the chips, cheese doodles, wrappers etc. They make the van look like a family of raccoons live there.

Second, you’ve all read about the extreme dysfunction between Monkey Boy and Tantrum Tot. Well in the van it gets 100 times worse.

To the point that I kid you not the Tot had Monkey Boy by his hair with one hand and was slapping him with the other and Monkey Boy was screaming at the top of his lungs, which of course makes the baby cry…and my mom is sitting there trying to shrink in on herself and of course Aspie Teen is sitting there with his head phones on and ignoring them and my wife is losing it and I’m wishing I had Mr. Fantastic’s super stretchy powers so I could reach back while I’m driving and bang their heads together!!! (All while driving at 80 MPH).

Then we had to stop for the night…which for once didn’t go too badly…until the morning of course…but I don’t have the strength to go into it all.

And of course while we were sleeping it freaking snows!!! It was 75 degrees when I left SC and now it’s snowing!!! So I send Aspie Teen downstairs to warm up the van and when I come down, the van ran out of gas!!!!

Get some gas and finally head out and the roads are so bad we can’t go over 40 MPH. It takes us forever and we don’t get to my brother in laws house till. 12:30 a.m. after several WWE worthy battles of Tot vs. Monkey Boy, wife vs. Teen, and me vs. van.

Tomorrow is the wake. Oh joy oh rapture divine. I’m already emotionally spent I don’t know if I can handle anymore.

Farewell My Brother

Yesterday morning at 2:35 a.m. I received the call that my younger brother finally lost his battle with zarcoidosis and passed in his sleep. He was 35 years old.

He remembered everyone’s birthday and anniversaries even before there was a Facebook to remind him, Every year like clockwork a card came in the mail not only for the kids birthdays, but mine and my wife’s as well.

He took it upon himself to go to Ohio and bring my mother back to NY to stay with him when it became evident she could no longer live alone, even though Mom drove him nuts.

He was the male role model for my nephews…and a major influence in their lives. He kept my sisters from tearing each other apart when necessary.

Everyone loved him. He possessed a dry wit and saw humor in almost everything. One time we went to a comedy club and we had to leave early. The comedian on stage tried to heckle us and my brother heckled him back so bad the room was clapping for my brother by the end of it.

He will be missed so much. I can’t fully comprehend all the holes the lack of his presence will leave behind. I pray I see him again one day in heaven.

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