An Argument

Most parents hate arguing with their kids. I know I do. I don’t like to argue with my daughter about whether she should clean out the litter box because she knows it is her responsibility. But she will argue. She hates cleaning the litter box but, hey, who doesn’t? She’s not nasty about her arguments, just very passive aggressive. I can tell her to do it and then I have to check to see if she has done it. Generally, this can go on for a bit because she takes advantage of my distractions (washing the dishes, writing, editing, helping her brothers’ with homework) and hopes I’ll forget or not notice.

The one person I have never argued with is Peter. Peter’s autism makes it difficult for him to sustain a conversation so I have never expected an argument from him– but he surprised me recently.

I needed to run errands but Peter wanted to stay home. He was hiding out in his room and I went upstairs to get him dressed. (Like many autistic kids, he doesn’t like to stay dressed. He will, fortunately, keep his underwear on while home.) When I told him we were leaving to do errands, the conversation went something like this:

Me: Peter, we have to get you dressed. Mommy needs to go to the store.

Peter: I’m gonna stay here.

Me: No, you have to come with me. I can’t leave you here by yourself.

Peter: No, I’m gonna stay here.

Me: No, Peter, you’re going to get dressed and come with me.

Peter: We’re going to get in the car, drive around and come back here.

Me: No (laugh), we’re going to go to the store.

We went around like this for a couple of minutes until I finally convinced him that he needed to get dressed. My daughter wanted to bribe him with cotton candy from the dollar store but I don’t like bribing Peter to get him to do things. He needs to learn that he has to do things because he needs to not because he will get a reward afterward. He will not always be rewarded for what he has to do and I don’t want him to think otherwise.

It was funny. I never thought I would get into an argument with Peter. Or if I did, it would be after years more of therapy.

You never know.

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An Interesting Summer

Oh, Boy. Just when you think you have a handle on all things autism, you discover the joys of parenting a pre-teen with autism.

Wow.

Let’s just say, I’m glad my older son is only 10 and keeps his underwear on even in the house. Let’s also note that he will not stay 10 forever 😦

I’ll post more about this later but I can foresee an interesting number of events during Peter’s teen years.

I’m Gonna Write a Book!

Seriously. I am.

I keep saying this but, this year, I am going to sit down over the summer and work on a book. Chapter titles include:

Peter, Get the Pencil Out of the Apple

It’s a Phone, Not a Gaming System

Nathan, Where are Your Glasses?

You Guys are not Old Enough for Such Smelly Feet!

Peter, You do not Wipe Poop on Your Belly!

Oh, No! My Coat, My Jacket, My Phone, etc.! (Pick One)

And other wonderful titles. You get the picture. My hope is that other parents will take heart from my crazy stories. We all have them. Most of the time, the stories become funny over time but it helps to know what others have been through. I tell you, most days are great and funny–some days, not so much.  😛

Finally!!

I managed to lock myself out of this account and have been unsuccessful in breaking in until tonight. Argh!! How frustrating! There has been so much to write about and not having the ability to talk about some of the new developments with the boys has been difficult.

Peter is still speaking on the level of a 1 1/2 or 2 year old–well, that description is probably too simple and unfair to Peter.

He is speaking more and using complete sentences with adjectives and prepositional phrases. But he doesn’t speak constantly, it’s usually only when he needs something.

Nathan may “graduate” from occupational therapy this year. Part of me is excited and part of me is sad. He has had the same OT for his therapist almost since he was diagnosed. It will be difficult to let Abby go! Seriously, I am very proud of Nathan. His last goal is to ride a bicycle. If he can do this, he will have achieved all of his OT goals. Wow! So hard to believe!

Summer is Coming to a Close

Summer is ending and as with all good things there are some regrets and some things to look forward to.

I started my master’s degree and got an “A” in one class and a “B” in another and learned a great deal over the summer. This was a good thing.

Regret: I wish I had anticipated how much time it would take to get into the swing of things with the different style guides. I need to give myself more time to deal with stylistic differences and creative aspects of writing. I’m used to writing in extremes: I either write in a colloquial style for my blog or a more formal manner for articles for a newspaper. The writing I had to do for my Creative Writing class was completely different and something I had not done for a while.

Good thing: Peter has been talking in complete sentences for a little while now but we’re working on getting him to put two or more sentences together and that’s going to be a continuing challenge. Nathan received a Nintendo DS Lite for his birthday and he has taken to it like a duck to water. He loves it and it makes him feel like a big boy to have his own. He’s been pretending all summer and has a new friend in the neighborhood who is a little younger but has quite the imagination too.

Regret: Peter has been very attached to the computer this summer and it’s been very, very difficult to pull him away from it unless we leave the house.

Good thing: We were able to get some home improvement projects completed–including replacing both toilets.

Peter clogged the one upstairs and we never did get it completely unclogged so we had to replace it. The downstairs toilet was clogged by one of the kids (Peter?) with something other than toilet paper (toy car?) and my husband broke the toilet trying to take the tank off of the seat. So two new toilets were installed (by me).

Good thing: We finally painted my daughter’s room. (My husband did most of the painting). It’s really very pretty and she likes it a lot. The color turned out to be a very pink purple or a very purple pink. Either way, she likes it and it works.

Regret: In cleaning up and putting things away, my husband was in the attic and accidentally put his foot through the ceiling in the hallway upstairs but it all worked out–the hole was right outside a hall closet and one side broke cleanly from the next piece of sheetrock. We put a 1 X 4 between the rafters and placed a new piece of sheetrock over the hole and used drywall screws to put it in place so it’s all good.

[My husband is almost as good as Peter at making messes :)]

Future projects involve my back yard flower bed, replacing the sink and vanity in the downstairs bathroom, painting the stairwell and painting the boys’ room.

We’re running out of summer.

The Things Kids Do…

Yesterday, I was wearing a new pair of sunglasses and Peter stopped what he was doing, touched my face and said, “Mommy, you’re cool!” He cracks me up with his random observations.

Nathan won a science achievement award from school. He’s my budding scientist. He has already tried to reverse-engineer a calculator. I keep expecting to see something bigger taken apart.

Today, I turned on the oven to make biscuits. After the oven heated, I opened the door to put the tray of biscuits in and discovered  plastic toy from the dollar store was melted across one of the oven racks. That was Peter’s doing. I just purchased the toy for him on Saturday. I never know if he does things like this in protest because he doesn’t like something or if he puts things in hiding places to keep others from taking them.

Destruction and Autism

You would think I would be use to it by now–the idea that destruction and autism go hand in hand. But…I don’t know if I will ever accustom myself to the idea that everything I own can be shredded, painted, broken or ruined in some way.

*Sigh*

To back up a little, Christmas 2009, my husband and I were responsible for the Christmas play at our church. For one of the characters, I had to create a beard so I ordered crepe wool and liquid latex from a theatrical make-up company, made the beard and afterward stored the leftover materials in a cabinet. Fast forward to Friday, I was upstairs on my laptop paying bills when my husband walked through the door. Almost immediately, he hollered up the stairs, “Hey, Laura, what’s your good coat doing on the floor of the kitchen?” Now, understand, this coat is nice. My dad got it for me for Christmas several years ago and I love it. It was an expensive dress coat and made of a very nice wool. My dad is getting older too and I know he won’t be around forever so there is some sentimentality to the coat as well.

I’m sure by now you can guess what happened. Peter (these stories do seem to involve him a lot, don’t they?) found the liquid latex and spilled some on the floor. He grabbed the biggest, handiest thing he could find, which was my coat, and used it to mop up the floor.

There is liquid latex dried all over my good coat. It’s on the collar, the cuffs, the back, the lining–*sigh*– I’ve concluded that nice things need to be hidden (my china is stored in a closet–likely never to see the light of day) or I need to resign myself to their possible destruction.

I’m going to drop my coat off at the dry cleaners and tell them what happened. I’m hopeful dry cleaning solvent can get the latex out.

On the bright side, I ordered two jackets that were on clearance from a department store and I went by GoodWill and bought two really nice coats (one appears to be a brand new London Fog raincoat) for only $9.00 each.

Even at nine dollars, I’ll likely cry if something happens to the London Fog.