Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Eye update

Well, my eye is a little bit better... I can open it now at least.

We spent an hour last night right before bedtime in a frantic search for Jaymes beloved stuffed Horsey, and his buddy Blankie. He gets very upset if he doesn't have them, but he stashed them places during the day... So he was running around yelling "horseeeeyyyyyy! Blankieeeeee!" and we looked all over.Finally found Horsey in Sierra's room, and Blankie in the back yard under the kiddy pool, covered in ants. Shook em off, and Jaymes went off to bed happily.

Weird kid. Who puts their beloved Blankie under a kiddy pool?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Don't mind the fingerprints, glass is hard to photograph



Like I'd said sometime last week, I'm going to be selling framed/matted Jaymes art in an effort to make some money to get Buddy certified as a therapy horse with the Delta Society. My plan is to either take him to schools, or else let schools and just families with special needs kids come out and brush, cuddle, and love on Buddy. After seeing how much of a difference Buddy has made in Jaymes' life, I want to make that same difference for a few more kids.

Prices depend upon the frame cost. The frame pictured cost me $7 at Target, and it's a really cool entirely glass frame with black mat. Very modern looking. I like it a lot. I will be getting some cheaper frames too, more simple traditional type ones, and those will be cheaper. Requests can be taken too, with a deposit paid ahead for the frame (so if you want a purple one with flowers on it or something!) and also Jaymes painting "commisions" can be ordered for no extra fee.

Jaymes has a good eye for color, if I do say so myself. I can provide you with a reciept, and these will be considered donations rather than purchases. Each one, unless the frame is super pricey, will be $15. Shipping is $10 (might go down once I see what the actual shipping cost is!) Our Paypal is doctor_fate2000@yahoo.com. Please post this around, if you can, so we can get some orders in. I know they're not fancy, but it's a cool way to donate to a good cause.

More photos and video...





Me and Jaymes and Sierra and my mom on the carousel



Jaymes in the Teepee



Jaymes on the train ride, he got all excited halfway through.

A thought... What do you think?

I'm curious as to what you readers, being in various different countries and different areas within those countries, will have to say here... Different points of view can shed light on things that you wouldn't expect.

In the US, it seems the only way to get health care is to pay out the ass for it. Seriously, just the office visit can run between $75 and $100, and that goes much higher if it's a specialist you're seeing. Then whatever testing- Xray, CT, bloodwork.. all that is expensive. Then, once you've paid for all that, you have followups. More money.

So yes, the obvious answer would be to buy health insurance. My husband's employer (Walmart) does offer it. But paying for it would take more than 50% of each paycheck, and then you have high deductibles and copays to look at, plus non-covered services and everything else. Buying insurance is not feasible for us right now. We live paycheck to paycheck, we can't do it. Even if we could cover the cost of the insurance itself, we couldn't even begin to meet deductibles and copays.

We make too much for Medicaid. We make too much for the free clinics, but not enough to pay to go to one of the "sliding scale" clinics. Where do you go from this point?

I've had memory loss and dizziness, getting worse and worse over the last 2 years. I've ignored it until now, but when we're at the point I cannot remember if I gave Jaymes his meds, or fed them breakfast, don't you think it's time to take it seriously? I went to the ER, because that's the only place they don't expect money up front. They charged me just over $1000 to tell me I needed to see a neurologist. They got me set up for next month with one, and all I have to do is pay $20 up front and they'll add the rest of the bill to my "tab" so to speak.

The hospital billing people suggested that I get in as many doctor appointments as I can before the 90 day cutoff on Medicaid applications to cover past medical costs. They said this because right now, we make too much and our bill isn't high enough to bypass the income limit to qualify.

Somehow, I have to be able to get the care I need, to be here for Jaymes. If I'm a veggie, sitting in a chair muttering to myself, what good can I be to him? In all honesty, despite having a few people who do love and care for Jaymes very much, and who would care for him if something happened to me, he would not recieve the standard of care he gets with me. I get him every service possible, I fight for him, I spend all my time with him. Jaymes and I have a special bond that not even Jason or my mom have with him, and I shudder to think of how anything happening to me would affect both his emotional wellbeing and his care.

Anyway- fastforeward to now. I have had a horrible eye infection (pink eye probably) for a week now. It's miserable, it hurts, and I can hardly see. I've been using antibiotic stuff my mom gave me, but it doesn't seem to be doing a lot, and now my other eye is beginning to itch and burn too. Ideally, I'd love to go to the doctor. Realistically, I can't afford to. My only option (that I see) is to go to the ER again, and let them add that to my visit. I get eye medicine, I meet the previously mentioned Medicaid deductible, and I qualify for Medicaid. Then I can get the neuro exam and stuff done, and everything else.

I know that going to the ER for pink eye is a waste of their time and a waste of money and resources. I know that it's tax payers who pay for Medicaid. I know we're drains on society, and that it's basically defining us as White Trash. What can I do though? I can continue to ignore my health problems as I have been- I need glasses, my back hurts, I'm always sick, my eye hurts and I need to be on meds for depression. I do ok, ignoring things, but it makes for a lot of stress. But what happens when that starts to affect Jaymes' care? When is it ok for me to put myself in higher regard than the taxpayers, for the sake of being here for Jaymes?

We're not welfare cases. Jason works hard. We don't blow money. Yes, we have a horse, and yes, feeding him costs a ridiculous amount of money. But the horse is one thing that is special and fun for Jaymes and I. Having the horse gets Jaymes talking and enjoying, and keeps me active. It gives us both an outlet. I don't have a lot. I've sold most everything I own, right down to my Ipod, to pay bills. Yes, we'd be slightly better off without the horse to feed, but then Jaymes and I lose something that has become such a major piece of our lives.

I could get a job. I don't want to, but I could. I have horrible social anxiety, I've never held a job more than a year because of it. I have trouble talking to people, trouble with making phone calls, and if the boss comes near me I'm a twitchy, stammering mess. I have trouble learning things that other people learn in no time, I forget things constantly... It's hard for me. There's also the child care issue- when I worked at Toys R Us, I didn't even make enough money to cover the cost of daycare, and that was for one child. Not to mention the fact that the last time Jaymes was in daycare, I walked in to see him being slapped across the face so hard he fell over backward, by his "teacher." Excuse me if I say I don't feel safe putting a child like Jaymes in daycare, I have valid reasons.

I think people misunderstand the whole draw of Medicaid. They think we like it, because it's free and easy and we get whatever we want. Not true. Medicaid recipients get bottom of the barrel care in most cases. The places we have to go to the doctor tend to be dirty, and in bad parts of town. We're treated like trash. I'd much rather have good insurance than Medicaid, trust me.

And another thing I've noticed... Why is it when it's me wanting Medicaid so I can go to the doctor, I'm a drain, but when it's the millions that have been spend on Jaymes, who also has Medicaid, it's ok? It's ok for Jaymes to rack up bills the taxpayers have to pay, but not for the person responsible for caring for him? why do we even have a Medicaid system, if it's such a terrible thing?

So my question is this... Is there any option other than the ones I've told you all about? I don't see any, but maybe I'm just too close to the situation not to be blinded by it. I don't want to be a drain on anyone. I hate taking money from my mother and Jasons. I hate being on food stamps. I hate not being able to pay my bills. It's humiliating, it really is. I hate filling out the applications, standing in line beside the druggies and poor old homeless people. But I do what I feel I have to do. Until Jason gets a better paying job (he has an interview tomorrow, wish us luck!), this is where we're at. What do you think? What are you feelings on Medicaid, in general?

GRRR

Yes, there are photo errors all over that last post. I'll fix it later. Here's some more pics to make up for it.



Covered Wagon


Me and Sierra


Stagecoach and Jaymes


Can you read his shirt? Official Cookie Inspector. Listen to him, he's Official.




More horsies!!!

Tweetsie Railroad... stupid name, awesome trip!


We went to this place in Blowing Rock, NC called Tweetsie Railroad, with my mom (and Jason and the kids). It was probably a 2 hour drive, up into the mountains- very pretty scenery out there. Sierra, of course, did not take kindly to being put in her car seat for 2 hours, and screamed and hit Jason a lot of the way there. Jaymes was good, and slept.

The Tweetsie Railroad is a theme park type thing, all western stuff. Cowboys, indians, horses, a petting zoo, and a country fair with rides. It's actually really cool, despite the goofy name. Lots of uphill walking though.

We had lunch first, I had the pulled BBQ chicken and it was reaaallllllyyyyyyy good -drool- and the kids had these cute little souvenier lunch boxes with PBJ sandwiches and cookies and Sunchips. My mom had pizza, and Jason had fried chicken.

They had a ski-lift style ride that took you up to the top of the mountain and back, but I, being the extreme chicken I am, couldn't do it, so I took Jaymes and rode the carousel until my mom, Jason, and Sierra got back from riding the scary death ride. Jaymes LOVED the carousel, he was whooping and laughing and bouncing around. It was very cute, he's never been so enthusiastic about that sort of thing before. We got some video (don't mind my unflattering infected eye!) and photos...







There were big life-sized plastic horses every ten feet, and I being me, felt it necessary to put the kids on every single one and photograph it, until my mom told me "You've taken their picture on a bunch of different horses, and it's not like you don't HAVE a horse to take their pictures on every day- cut it out." Good point. Hmm, why didn't I think of that? I guess I see horses and that little switch goes on in my head "must photograph. Now. On every horse. They're different colors, so it makes sense!"

It did make sense. In my head. And I swear I wasn't the only one heaving their reluctant children onto these big fake horses at every step! Really!








We went on a few rides, did some arcade... Jaymes played the basketball topssing game and seemed to like it. My mom had given him a little wallet with change in it, so he paid for his own games. Jason took him on the Tilt-a-Whirl, and I felt sorry for him... He was scrunched up against Jason with a look of pure terror on his face. He was very snuggly with me when he got off that ride!

The park's claim to fame is the real old fashioned coal burning somethingorother train... It shoots huge, smelly black clouds of smoke into the air, and flaming cinders back behind it (one of which hit Jaymes in the eye, but he's fine)... it's actually a really cool ride. They do a whole cowboys and indians skit the way there, shooting and stuff, and a cowboy riding the fattest Quarter Horse I have ever seen. It looked like a real effort to get that horse to canter!







We went over to the petting zoo after that, where they had some adorable mini donkies and deer and goats... And an emu who tried to take Jaymes' hat, my camera, and my wedding ring!




Here is Jaymes being assaulted by the emu, then my mom fighting with it:




Sierra like the goat eating her fingers:



Me trying to catch up to the others:




More later, my children are screaming.

Friday, July 25, 2008

My worst nightmare.. Happened to someone else

Click here for the post

I'm always afraid of Jaymes jumping out of the car. We've gone crazy with harnesses, car seats, masking tape, and those child locks on the car doors. Apparently, I'm not being overly paranoid- this really can and does happen. Scary.

Photos!



Loooong way down.


Rat babies... An oops litter.



Helloooooo



Sierra wearing daddy's shoes and socks -eww-



Jaymes "riding on his own" ok, not quite. Shouldn't have had the reins attached to the bit though, my mistake. Buddy took it well for the 2 seconds it took to photograph it.



I had to get something out of the kitchen, so I put a longe line on him and had Jaymes hold the door for me.


He's soooo cute



Looking better



Pointing out houses



Big nose





Jaymes throwing Sierra off the tricycle... Meanie



Sierra trying to figure out the tricycle

Yuck!

I have pinkeye, hence the lack of postings here... My eye is hideous oozy and swollen and itchy, and my other eye is soon to become that way. Hopefully I will spare my kids eyes, and Jasons.

I HATE PINK EYE. HATEHATEHATE.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A thought...

I had a thought, while cleaning out Buddy's stall this morning... I've got dogs that are registered as therapy dogs through The Delta Society. Horses can also be evaluated and certified, and given that insurance protection, though I have never done that. I'd love to get Buddy certified through Delta, so that I could take him to do things with kids other than just Jaymes, or have kids come out here to do therapy with Buddy. Jaymes benefits so much from it, shouldn't the rest of the world? Ok, maybe not the world.

Anyway, the cost of certification is an issue. A vet check is required, registration fees, etc... So my idea was trying to sell some of Jaymes' fingerpaint art to raise money toward this goal. Obviously, I doubt anyone would want to have a 4 year old's fingerpaintings, but you never know. Maybe Ebay?

My goal would be to get Bud's certified, and also have a small pool of funds to cover trailering him to schools or events where he could be used to help kids. I know that Jaymes' school would love to have him, if only we could figure it out.

So, ideas, anyone? I'm not going to beg for donations, because that's just awkward for everyone, but I will say that I won't discourage them! I do have Paypal, and can furnish reciepts if asked. Once we get Buddy certified, I will post up a scanned copy of the certification, and do blogs for whatever event or facility we visit.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A project worth mentioning

You guys know that our horse Buddy was a rescue, and you probably know how much money it takes to get these rescued horses back to health... One of the posters on the Fugly horse forum asked some of us to post about her idea on our blogs... so here's what she has to say!

Hi Everyone!

I have started a project through my blog to help horses in need. I sell many of the things that I knit and sew, and I have decided to start putting aside 10% of all my sales into a fund to help sponsor a horse in need. Many of the local rescues are in need of halters, lead ropes, and simple donations. On my blog, I would update every couple days how the horse is doing, complete with pictures of their recovery. With the hay prices lately, a lot of horses are being abandoned and mistreated. I am only 15, but I would like to start a group project to help those horses in need. If you have anything that you would like to be donated, or if you would like to donate your services, please take a look at my blog or send me an email.


Thank you all very much!
Sara W.
www.sarastitched.blogspot.com
sarafabuleux@aol.com

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A great ride

I took Jaymes and Buddy out for a ride last night once it cooled down a little bit... Jaymes' balance is really getting better, remember that he does not ride in a saddle, but a bareback pad over 2 saddle pads. I don't have a saddle that fits Buddy properly, so he is much more comfortable in the bareback pad. This means that Jaymes is really riding bareback, with very little to hang onto and no stirrups. So when I say he did great and sat up straight with no wobbling or anything, you should be impressed.

We went down the road, past the neighbors horses, back down the road the other way, past a bulldozer, and past a cow. Jaymes held his reins (attached around Bud's neck, not to his mouth) most of the time, which is something we have been working on. He was talking a lot, naming everything. Tree, house, blue, kitty, dog, boy, "HIII!", sign, car. It was really cute.

Buddy did amazingly too, I swear everyday that horse reminds me why we spend so much money on him! A guy was digging dirt with a bulldozer right next to the road, it was very loud and I thought buddy would be scared, but nope, he lowered his head like a western pleasure mount and kept on going. Didn't even twitch an ear.

He was a little more horrified with the cow, but there was no silliness, and everyone arrived home safe and sound, and happy.

Got a start on mowing the lawn, until we got called on for "noise disturbance." Good grief, you jerk you reported me for my lawn being too long (which is BS anyway) so I mowed it. I can't win!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tired...

Neighbor has been over to harass me, I told him to stay away or I'll call the police. Neighbor filed a report with the county to the effect of stating that my property is "derilect and unkempt".

So tired.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A little more ignorance...

I frequent a really awesome forum that was created by the owner of the Fugly Horse of the Day blog, and yes, I'm addicted. But today I saw one post that irked me a bit. I doubt the original poster meant to be offensive, but it still came off as insulting and ignorant to me.

The forum's main theme is "Fugly" horses. A Fugly horse is a horse who was poorly bred, has hideous conformation, and is generally just not the product of an intelligent breeding plan. The poster on this thread had compared "fugly" horses to Autistic people, as well as people with genetic issues that they might pass on. The title was "Can people breed Fugly?"

"
I saw this in people magazine and thought " if this were horses it would definately make the blog".

Couple has six serverly autistic kids. It is all caused by genetics. Couple had kids taken away from her at one point for not caring for them properly. To top it off, they take them out to restaraunts and complain that they get dirty looks when their kids steal food from other patrons tables and scream relentlessly. As I read the article, I just kept thinking; why have kids you cant care for properly?

What do you guys think? Do the same rules for horse breeding apply to people?
"

Now, first things first. Just because I have a child with Autism, does not mean child number two will be Autistic. There is research suggesting Autism is genetic, but there is no way to test it yet. Thus, comparing Autism to genetically passable things like HERDA in horses is just silly. We know HERDA can be passed on to a foal. It's a proven fact. Autism reseach has not come to this point yet. There is no known cause of Autism, only theories and what little info we have is all theory most of the time.

For the record, my first child was indeed Autistic. Second, "normal." So I guess I shouldn't have "bred" either, and never given Sierra a chance at life with us, or to enjoy having her? I'm sorry, but if there were some genetic test that you could take during pregnancy to find out if the fetus would be Autistic, I wouldn't care one way or the other. I wouldn't be told "She'll have Autism" and then decide to abort. I'm happy with my 2 kids, and I love them for who they are.

This line gets me, too:

"To top it off, they take them out to restaraunts and complain that they get dirty looks when their kids steal food from other patrons tables and scream relentlessly"

Unless you have an Autistic child, you do not know the hell we parents go through to do everyday things. I can't go grocery shopping without at least one meltdown, head banging on the floor, screaming, throwing things. Resturants are very hard for most Autistic children. It's hard for a "normal" kid to sit quietly and behave, it's near impossible for a kid like Jaymes. Closeminded jerks who will sit there a judge us all because Jaymes is having a hard time in a public place is the reason life is so tough for kids (and their parents!) who have Autism.

One big thing though- Over my dead body would Jaymes ever take food off someone else's plate at a resturant. No friggin way, not acceptable.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

When it rains, it pours

2 hours after we returned home yesterday, there was a knock on our front door.

Hello, Officers. What? My horse is loose? My neighbor called you? Oh look, there he is. Grazing in my front yard. Not off the property. Oh, Officer, my out of control 23 year old toddler safe gelding isn't really running the neighborhood killing people. Really. Why, Officer, are you shining your flashlight in my horse's face? Do you not see you are scaring the living daylights out of him? By the way, Officer, why'd you need 3 cruisers to respond to a loose horse call?

Hello neighbors. I find it funny that you were out at 11pm in my front yard to see my loose horse. Maybe you helped him get out. Actually, take out that maybe. We'll say, just for kicks and giggles, that Buddy was out on his own and you just happened to be there. Why, dear neighbor who I have never had an issue with, why would you not tell me the horse is loose? Why would you let the horse remain loose, whilst awaiting the arrival of the authorities, knowing that he could potentially take off and cause a car accident? Because, dear neighbor, you wanted to have the horse loose when the police arrived. Or maybe you let him out just after calling the police.

-Squishy back in- What the hell is wrong with people? My old horse, my son's therapy animal, got out for the first time. Someone let him out. The gate was shut behind him. He could not have done it. Not only that, but the neighbor who called the cops and filed the animal control report against me is one that we've always been friendly with. why, all of a sudden, the day we're back from an 8 day vacation? Why not knock on the door and tell me what your issue is? I don't get it. Who the hell does this?

Animal control will be out this week sometime to inspect my vicious death horsie and his surroundings. I have nothing to hide, let 'em come. someone opened my gate again today. I put Buddy in his stall. I will find out who it is, and I will call the cops. I'm pissed beyond belief. So is everyone else here who has a horse.

And in the meantime, I will watch the fence, make sure the pop is cleaned daily, and keep the horse and fencing in immaculate order.

I will no longer mow my lawn, on the side that borders the Neighbors. Let the idiots have something to whine about. They are obsessive mowers, their back yard looks like a golf course. mine will look like a jungle. I don't mind grass, nope nope.

-AHHHHHHHHHHRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGG-

Monday, July 14, 2008

Don't mind the beached whale...

Got me some video footage! I just knowwww, that you all want to see video upon video of my children doing children-at-beach things. We had a lot of fun, although Jaymes was showing us why we can't go anywhere where other people are and be in peace. He had to keep running away to hold hands with reluctant and complete strangers. Not only is this insanely dangerous, but it looks horrible, and makes me look like an idiot who doesn't watch who my kid goes to. I'm sorry, Old Lady With Drooping Bosom in Too Tight Bikini, you can tell me to teach my son not to talk to strangers, but it won't do any more good than it would for me to tell you to rein in your girls and wear a little more clothing.

Everytime Jaymes saw a female, he took off at a dead run to hold their hand. It was not easy to get him back to where he should be, because not only was he slippery as an eel with sunblock, but he was very much not wanting to be taken from his prospective girlfriends. That any my too-big bathing suit kept falling low over my chest and showing off more than I want shown off. That kinda took the fun out of everything, but he finally stopped doing it and had a lot of fun playing in the waves and looking for shark teeth with me. We got some really beautiful ones.

This was Si-Si's first time at the beach, and I'm so surprised, but she LOVED it. Her best moment was when she found one of those sea plant thingies that look like pea pods, except bigger. For my purposes, we will call this piece of vegetation Sierra's Sea Bean. Sierra loved her Sea Bean. she flapped it. She tasted it. She stabbed me in the rear with it. She hit Jaymes with it. She tossed it, and ran to fetch it. Sierra's Sea Bean might well be a marketable toddler toy idea. I could be rich. But of course, Sierra found it, and thus any monies obtained would be rightfully hers. I don't think she'd give me any of her profits. Alas.

Anyway... Videos! And some pics. Jason hated the beach, you'll see a photo of him suffering below. Jason at the beach is similar to a cat in the washing machine.


Sierra and the Sea Bean...


Jaymes is taken out by the ocean. After the video stopped, he proceeded to scream at the ocean in fury for about 15 minutes, and beat the ocean senseless with his fists. When he was finished, he gave the ocean a kiss (I wish I'd taped that) and petted it while saying "I'm so sorry" in a loud, angry voice.



Jaymes and Sierra having assorted beach fun...



In this one, don't mind the beached whale. My bathing suit is less than flattering. Actually any bathing suit is less than flattering on me.



After the beach, we let Jaymes shower off... He was more interesting in drinking the water.



In the car on the way home... I know Jaymes' seatbelt is screwed up, but Medicaid has not approved his special vest accessory thingy, so we're stuck till then. I'm a horrible mom, got it.



I picked Sierra a flower, and she looked so sweet with it...





More beached whale, my most sincere apologies. Enjoy Jaymes, avoid me.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Yay Jaymes!

Jaymes had a really great day today! His behavior was great, no outbursts, and we were out a lot of the day at various stores. I got about 5 inches of my hair hacked off, it was too darn long and tooooo hot.

We went to Olive Garden this evening, and I thought it was going to be bad. Every warning sign. We had a 20 minute wait. I let Jaymes hold the little flashy-lightuppy thing they give you to tell you when it's your turn, but that didn't impress him. After about half a minute, Jaymes wanted to go inside and eat. NOW. He didn't verbalize this, obviously, but he was hauling my hand to get me up (no small task) and to the door. We opted to walk around the entire building until it was time for us to go inside. Jaymes used the curb as a balance beam and showed some really impressive balance, which is great since that is one thing his Physical Therapist has been having him do. The back of the restaurant was not a great place for walking. Between the Florida heat, two enormous dumpsters full of rotting italian food, and a slight breeze... well, that portion of the buliding stunk horribly. We went around.. oh, about 15 times probably. Got tired, and sat down, but Jaymes insisted on leaving us to sit with strangers (and acted a little creepy, from the looks they were giving him and us) so we had to keep moving.

Finally did make it in, got to our seats, and Jaymes started to eat his crayons. He's not big on coloring when all they give you is a red and a green crayon. He got bored with his crayon eating fairly quickly, and went on to locate the fancy little sugar packets, rip one open, and pour it on the table. Not wanting to waste any sugar, and wanting to clean his mess like a good little booger, Jaymes licked the sugar off the table.

Once we had our food, Jaymes took control of the breadstick basket, and tested each for poison before allowing us to eat them. Ok, ok. He took a bite out of every stick. But I like to think there was a noble cause for it.

At one point, a waiter walked behind me and dropped a whole tray of used salad bowl and god knows what else... I got a refreshing splash of italian dressing on my legs, and Jaymes laughed his head off, much to the irritation of the waitresses. The waiter who had dropped the tray, interestingly, had just wandered off quickly and left another waitress to clean up the mess. She looked furious. The guy came back and said "oh I hope I didn't spill anything on you." I decided not to say anything, I wouldn't want to cause the poor guy to get in trouble or even lose his job. Accidents happen, I survived, and maybe italian dressing is good for the skin?

Jaymes ate his pepperoni pizza, then fell asleep in my lap in true infant style. He curled up on my lap, covered himself with a napkin, and was out like a light. By the end of dinner, he was snoring so loudly the waitresses were laughing.

The baby behind us, a cute little one year old girl, spent her whole dinner amusing my husband by eating lemons with gusto. I could tell he was missing Sierra. She stayed home. She doesn't handle restaurants well.

When we left, Jaymes remained unconsious so I just hauled his cute little snoring self out. He is so incredibly adorable. When I went to put him in the back seat, I lost my balance and fell over, dropping him on the seat. Poor little guy's eyes popped open in surprise, and he did that twitchy, jerky panic mode type movement. I felt horrible. He's asleep on the couch right now, we're watching the Bee Movie. Jaymes is a good kid.

Dunno what we're up to tomorrow, but maybe the beach. Jaymes will enjoy that. I don't think we've ever brought Sierra to the beach before.

I know my blogs have been boring, I'll be coming up with more relevant topics than what I did each day, I promise.

I'm a slacker

I know, I know, my blogging has been less than stellar lately... Spent all day yesterday at the water park with my friend and her two kids (the one being the kid who was quite cruel to Jaymes a couple days ago.) and then went out to dinner.

The water park was really awesome, they have some new slides and just a lot nicer than when I went there back in... 7th grade. My favorite had to be the Electric Slide, a looooong green twisting enclosed tunnel slide that is a full 30 seconds long. Pretty long for a waterslide. The bummer, of course, was that the slides all had flights and flights of stairs to climb, and I am not in the best of physical condition.

My friend's daughter decided she just had to go on the huge scary dropslides, so I stupidly volunteered to go. It was the highest slide platform in the entire park, and possibly in the entire county, and yours truly is terrified of heights. To make ti worse, the child in front of us was holding the railing with one hand and leaning back, and I was afraid she was going to knock me over backwards.

There are three slides. The yellow is apparently the most popular. It's pretty much 90 degrees straight down. The white slide is enclosed at the top, and opens at the slightly more sloping 80 degree angle. The blue one, which I chose because it was the least terrifying, is more of a gradual descent with three or four "speed bumps". I thought this meant when I hit the bumps, I would slow down.

So, I was shaking when I sat down. I was told to keep my arms folded and legs crossed, so I did that, and reluctantly went down. At first it was kind of a "whee, I'm doing it!"

Then it was a "Holy mother of god, why did I get on this?!"

Then it was "I'm going to die!"

Then it was "OWWWW" and my rear end slammed against speed bump number one, then two. Speed bumps three, and four went unnoticed in my absolute panic, and I found i was no longer able to keep my legs crossed, but wedged against either side of the waterslide to slow me down. Didn't work.

Hit the bottom, which is a long, flat, wet road to the get-off area, and the water shoved my shorts so far up my rear end that I think I may have tasted them.

Not ever doing that again. Nope.

We spent some time recuperating in the Lazy River, though I think there was more urine than river in it. Then thunder started up, so they ordered everyone out of the water. We thought it would be worthwhile to try and wait it out, as we only had about three hours at the park. So, we sat under shelter behind the ice cream stand. Probably a bad idea, on the part of my friend. Her son had a tantrum over not being able to have ice cream right then and there, which escalated in screaming and hitting.I felt her pain, Jaymes would have been worse. It was kind of funny in a way, though, and lord knows I'm used to that kind of moment!

We did finally give up, and got rainchecks and headed home. They plan to use their rainchecks for their "vacation" in Fort Myers later this year, so that's great. I don't know if I'll get to use mine, was going to go today but Jason's mom had a fit over me driving.

Dinner was at Olive Garden, the best salad I have ever had. It was SOOOO good. And also the best chicken alfredo ever. Yum yum. I have not been to Olive Garden in a very loooong time, and I was all happy with how they spoil you. She actually put the remains of my alfredo into a box, and wrote "chicken alfredo" on it. Usually the gal at Denny's throws a box at me and I get to scrape my mess into it!

Oh, and I broke my tooth.I was really hungry, and I suppose was eating more voraciously than I should have been and I bit down hard on what I thought was chicken. Turned out to be fork. So now my left front tooth has a large corner broken off. Doesn't hurt, but it feels weird and it's sharp as anything.

Jaymes was so happy to see me when I got home. It was really sweet. During their day, the kids had gone to garage sales with Jason and his mother, and they got these really cool Fur Real Friends things. One is a white tiger, and one is an orange leopard. You pet their heads and they sit up or lay down, and make sounds. When you shove a finger in their mouths (must have had bottles at some point) they make sucking sounds and lay down and go to sleep. When you touch their backs, they purr and squirm. They're so adorable! The kids love them. Jaymes got the tiger and Sierra got the leopard. I'm surprised they even like them, usually robotic type toys scare the bezeebies out of Jaymes, and Sierra saw a remote control pig and about had heart failure.

I'm looking forward to getting home. This trip has taught me that I love where we live now. I do not miss a thiing about this place, except for the people, and our old pediatrician's office. I have concluded that I despise the entire state of Florida, the sun, the sand, and the ocean, and that I am definately better suited to living in North Carolina.

I have also concluded that my mother in law is a pain in the rear. not only does she decide to forbid us from driving our own car to the water park because we "might break down or get in an accident" but she also shovels sugar, candy, chips, and sticky things into my children. GRRR.

I want to go home.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Priceless

This video was made by BigDreams on the Fugly Horse of the Day forum, accessible through the Fugly Horse of the Day Blog

Made in the style of the llama song, which is below for your reference:



And here is the Fugly version. Back yard breeders beware, you will end up on Fugly's blog one day. No breeding cruddy horsies. Thank you.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Holy woah...

725 page views. Who knew so many people had an interest in listening to me whine. Thanks guys, it's great to know that so many people are here, and I appreciate the tips, support, and comments.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I hate you, prissy mall mommies

Apparently the earlier rant did not let out the excess irritation I am feeling, and since the kids are quiet, though neither is napping like they are supposed to be, i may as well complain to the whole internet universe.

I took Jaymes to the little mall playground today, along with Sierra of course. There were maybe... 6 other moms in there, mostly with babies under 2. Four of them were sitting in a little circle by the tunnel and slide, the typical mommy clique scene.

Here I am, in my denim shorts and my $1.25 July 4th T-shirt I got at Target yesterday... Looking like I usually do. I grudgingly admit that I'm a complete failure at dressing myself. I have no eye for fashion, nor do I care. Nor can I afford to care. the $1.25 shirt is the first new piece of clothing I've gotten since my mother and I went shirt shopping at Goodwill. Don't laugh, rich people donate there and then people like us find awesome stuff cheap. But anyway, here is the circle of 25-30 year old mothers, each beautifully dressed, styled hair -pokes at ponytail- with their immaculately dressed babies and matching diaper bags. I know I look like crap to them, oh well I suppose, I can't really do anything about that anyway. I sat on the opposite side of the play area by myself, and let the kids go. Where does Jaymes run, immediately?

Why, to the circle of stepford mommies. Yay. He takes a toy that the little ones are playing with (they and he were about the same size, Jaymes is really tiny) and sits down next to one of the women. She looks at him like he's a bug or something, then they all ignore him. I call him, and call him, but he never listens to me anymore unless I bellow, and I do mean bellow. This mall happens to have a police station in it, so I opted not to scream bloody murder at him. I'm trying to yell less and get his attention in other ways anyway.

I walked over, apologized, and picked him up to take him back to the other side, where a perfectly nice ambulance slide thingy was. He kicked and screamed the entire way there, earning me more looks. I put him down, he played nicely for a moment, and then I had to go save Sierra from an untimely death falling off the big slide. when I got back, Jaymes was in the circle of women again, this time sucking a pacifier. Why he did this, I do not know. He hasn't touched a pacifier since he was six months old. The stepford mommies were horrified, and the one was repeating over and over "Ewwwww! Gross!" The one it belonged to didn't say anything. Her friend offered it back to her with a "should I throw this away, or do you want it back?" and they tossed it. At this point the entire circle was shooting me the death eyes. All I could do was apologize profusely and haul him away again. I didn't want to leave, because Sierra was having fun, and it seems like everytime Sierra is having a good time we have to leave because of Jaymes' behavior.

He wasn't even being bad either. He wanted to sit with them, he wanted to make new friends. Jaymes loves the ladies. He didn't understand that tasting another kid's binky is taboo. They were acting as if he is some kind of horrible monster, ripping binkies from the mouths of babes and stomping them or something. He didn't do it to be mean, or rude. He didn't mean it. He doesn't know better, though he probably should. His behavior was very good, no crying, no fits, just some minor yells when I hauled him away from the stepford mommies. Any other time I would have walked away from the experience with pride, pleased that Jaymes kept himself under control and played without a meltdown. But no, these ladies screwed it up.

I see it from their side,I really do. They have every right to take their kids to the playground without fear of some kid taking the pacifier and tasting it, and they shouldn't be bothered. I can see their annoyance. But you know, they have the chance daily to go to the playground, and maybe a few times out of hundreds will they encounter a child like Jaymes. We, on the other hand, suffer in public places every time we go. Is it unreasonable to ask for a little patience, a little compassion? I explained to them, toward the end, that Jaymes is autistic and that's why he was behaving the way he was. They didn't give a hoot, they just kept glaring at me, and the one dismissed me with a little jerk of the head like I and my children are somehow lesser beings than that perfectly groomed little group.

When a kid comes up to me, in public, I give them a big smile and talk to them. As long as the parent doesn't find it creepy, of course. I don't think that it's so very difficult to be kind to someone else's kid in a public place. You come to a playground, don't you expect to see kids other than your own? I know I can (and do!) play with other people's kids on the playground if they approach me, and it doesn't take away from Jaymes or Sierra's enjoyment.

I'm sick of feeling like a slug on the bottom of someone's fancy expensive shoes. I'm sick of being humiliated every time we step out of our house. I don't WANT to be embarrassed about my child. There's no shame in Jaymes having a meltdown. We do what we can to control it, and we move on with what we're doing. I don't want to be the mom who whines about how horrible her kid is... But at some point, that positive outlook just goes. Ever since Jaymes started having behavior troubles a few years ago, we've been outcasts. We have very few friends, and most of them were left behind in Florida when we moved. The one friend I do have in NC is an awesome person, but I know she vastly prefers having either just me, or Sierra out with us instead of Jaymes. The neighbors avoid us. The Walmart people look at us like we're horrible parents (and Jason WORKS THERE, so go figure.) and in general, I feel like a leper.

Why can't people be a bit more tolerant?

I've been tempted so many times to stick one of those "I have Autism, what's your excuse" shirts on Jaymes. Then they'd know, and maybe they'd think twice before critisizing me. But I hate those shirts, I feel like it's in poor taste to parade around Jaymes' Autism. It just doesn't feel right. I know a lot of you Autism parents like them, it's just always left a bad taste in my mouth.

In the end, it's up to us to educate people, and to advocate for our kids. I can be an almighty bitch online or in writing.. Not so much in person. I'm the doormat type in person, and it's been a long hard road getting past that. I'm still not there, but I'm better than I was.

Anyway, Jaymes and I are off to pick up my friend April and go out sandal shopping for Sierra. April will rip the head off anyone who says anything about Jaymes, she's just that cool of a person. Thank god for friends who, even though they don't have kids, understand, tolerate, and love Jaymes.

Another ranty moment

I now interrupt my vacation to have a moment of ranting. Please read this post first, so you will understand what I am ranting about. Otherwise, you'll just think I've finally gone off my rocker.

The Joy of Autism: Despicable

I love reading this little boy. He says things in such a beautiful way, with a depth and a meaning that most adults would aspire to achieve. He is six year old, Autistic, and he is like a little beacon of hope for all of us who have nonverbal children. Who knows, maybe one day Jaymes will type to me. Maybe he'll speak more. But now I know that even if he decides not to speak, that he has the possibility of other ways of communicating to me. Adam's blog opened my eyes to a different side of Autism, and put everything in a far more positive light for me.

And who would have the nerve, the cruelty, and the immaturity to make fun of Adam on his blog? "Anonymous", who are you? Are you a perfect being, someone completely free of any kind of imperfection? What makes you think you have any right to pass judgement on a sweet little boy? Grow the hell up.

Adam and Estee, don't let garbage like that comment get you down.

Anyway, as far as ranting goes.. no one insulted my child, nor is it really any of my business. But I'm one of those people who gets furious at anything like this, and everyone needs a good rant now and again. Besides, I'm hot, sweaty, tired, and at my mother in law's with two kids- I have earned the right to bitch about something. (I'm also avoiding posting about our less than enjoyable day so far... Bleh.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Vacation!

Wow... I'm tired. Been a crazy couple days. The original plan had been to come here to Florida on a plane. We bought tickets through Skybus, then they went bankrupt and screwed us out of our $150. so the new plan was that we'd rent a car, as our poor old Grand Am is getting up there in age and it's reliability is dubious at best. Get to the airport to pick up our rental car on Tuesday at 6am, and they won't take my Paypal debit. We asked if they could take my mom's credit card number over the phone, but nope, had to have the card to swipe it supposedly. That makes me wonder how they handle cards that have been demagnetized- If it doesn't swipe, does that mean they don't take it, or does it mean that they, like we did at Toys R Us, just hand key the number? Because if that's the case.. I'm pissed off.

In the end, we drove back home, packed the car, and drove to the local repair shop. $60 covered an oil change, fluids filling, and tire rotation. They didn't see anything glaringly horrible and gave us the ok to drive it to Florida. I think they wondered about my intelligence, however, because it took me a full 5 minutes to figure out how to pop the hood, despite Jasons yelling at me that it was there, right there, no under there, to your left, to your right, down there! I don't pop the damned hood that often, come on. I never claimed to be a mechanic.

The car did fine on the drive here, not a sinlg problem. Needed 3 gas fillups, a total of $100 for the 11 hour drive. I drove all but 3 hours in Georgia, during which time I ate, got very carsick, fell asleep, and tried to console the crying kids in the back seat.

I love driving through North Florida, such gorgeous Thoroughbred racing farms, each with their own practice track and gleaming barns, manicured pastures, and immaculate fencing. They'd wet themselves if they saw my old broken down gelding and 4 ft high electric wire fencing.

We arrived around 8pm, just in time to watch the season finale of Hell's Kitchen. I was disgusted to see Petrozza did not win. Depressing end to an awesome season. We tried to go to bed around 11pm, but we're stuck in one room, with one bed and 2 kids. We fell asleep till 3am, at which time Sierra woke and started to scream. I took her out into the living room and we eventually fell asleep despite her using us as trampolines. We ended up figuring out how to make the hallway into a makeshift playpen, and she is sleeping peacefully in there now. Jaymes is flopped out on the couch. The downside of the arrangement is that we have no bathroom as long as Sierra is in the hallway, nor do we have our clothes or anything else. I'm not 100% on where I'm sleeping either, as Jason is asleep on the couch. Hello floor.

Anyway. Today we went and looked around our old town. Pretty much the same. I thought I'd be all "awww I miss Port Charlotte." Instead, I find myself loving Kernersville all the more. It's awesome to see the people I've missed, but beyond that all I can think about is how glad I am not to live in this godforsaken state anymore.

We went to Walmart first, for diapers. We were stupid and left NC with 6 diapers total, for 2 kids. Jaymes had several diaper explosions on the trip, so we went through the diapers and his spare clothes rather quickly.

Next we went to Target, to look for sandals for Sierra. Then to the mall, which is teeny tiny in comparison to the gigantic Hanes Mall, yet somewhat comforting nonetheless. Also went to Toys R Us to visit, but only Ann and Laurie gave a hoot that I was there, most of the people I like best weren't in until later.

We went home after that and ate some lunch, then put Sierra down for a nap. Jaymes and I excitedly went out to the pool, and he went crazy splashing on the steps. He's finally tall enough to stand in the shallow end! He also sat on my back and tried to drown me while I swam him back and forth like a pony.

Jaymes got bored after awhile, and after having swallowed a good 15 gallons of chlorinated pool water. He went inside with everyone else, and I got in the middle of the innertube thing, and dangled so everything below my nose was underwater. It was very relaxing. I floated with the pool filter's current for about 2 hours, when I was harassed into coming in. I could have floated all day.

Here is Jaymes playing on the steps:






Jaymes clinging to me:



And the terrifying Jaymesmommyinnertube Monster, look at those tentacles!!!



Jaymes and I in the tube...



After the pool, we went out to Walmart with Jason's mom. She's a little nutty about rain, apparently it is as good as committing suicide to drive in any kind of rain. Then we ate dinner, and Sierra and I took off to visit at TRU again. April, one of my two favorite people in the world, was working, so we talked awhile. Got to see Lydia, Pam and Frank (Frank is the coolest guy ever, I love him!) which was really nice. I miss TRU, best job I ever had and the most lovable group of people you could ever hope to work with. We spent an hour or so over there, then headed to my friend Julie's house. Her son has gotten so big! We just sat on the couch and talked and drank green tea, made our plans for the week too. Tomorrow after I go out with April, Julie and Brandon and Jaymes and I are going to go to Denny's (or someplace) for dinner, then Saturday we're going to the water park. Should be really fun.

So yeah... I'm really tired. feeling a little whiny, because my mother in law and her boyfriend smoke like chimneys in the house and the heavy smoke scent in the air burns my throat and makes my eyes water. I hate that smell soooo much. That and they leave the A/C off at night and it's friggin HOT. I like ours on 65 at night. Waah.

Jaymes has been really doing well. He's keeping it together despite the chaos and confusion, and he's behaving very well. He got his hair cut today and that went well too. He looks SO handsome.

Only really bad thing is that Jason's mom felt the need to lecture me for a long time about how I wasn't doing enough to get services for Jaymes. Because, clearly, if iwere, he;d have everything he needs. GRRR.

Enough, I'm so tired the words are blurring together. More tomorrow. Oh, heres some video of jaymes trying to drown me.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Want to see an angry Squishy? You're about to!

(I go by Squishypuff on most forums, hence the title.)

I have recently begun to frequent Foggy Rock. Awesome site, needs more members. Go join. Anyway, I read a story on that site by a parent of a five year old girl who is Autistic... And I'm livid. The family was eating at Smitty's Restaurant in Edmonton Alberta Canada, a place they came on a regular basis.

The little girl always ordered pizza for breakfast there, apparently the place is especially appreciated by the family because they can feed odd foods at odd times (a useful thing for us parents of Autistic kids.) For whatever reason, they did not have pizza that day, and though a "normal" child would have just ordered something else, this little one had a meltdown. Jaymes would have done the same, trust me. The parents did exactly what they were supposed to do- they worked through the meltdown, and were getting it well under control. However, someone across the restaurant complained and threatened to leave if the child was not booted out of the establishment, so guess what? The greeter decided to come over, tell them to leave, and to make a truly disgusting, ignorant, revolting comment. “If she is autistic and this is how she acts, you shouldn’t take her out in public” Go to hell, Itesh Kumav. There's a special place down there for you. YOU are the one who should not be allowed out in public.

Yes, Autistic kids having meltdowns can be loud. So is a crowd of teenagers, drunk men watching football, or a bunch of chatty ladies from the office. Or, god forbid, a 90 year old who sits a table away and continually hacks phlegm into her napkin. We tolerate all this, so why, why, why wouldn't these people be able to handle a few minutes of crying? At the very least, why wouldn't someone think to ask WHY, or "can I help?"

But of course not, all people see these days is a child being a brat. We get the same reaction every day at the store, or the playground, or the mall. People see what they want to see, and they think that they have some God given right to pass judgement (and ultimately consequences) on us.

Anyway, below you'll find the letter the little girl's mother wrote to Smitty's. She emailed me to say that they also made a Facebook page to help organize other people writing letters, but did not link me.When I get that link, I will post it.

Sarah and Michael Seymour
apencil@telus.net

2008-07-05

Smitty’s Canada

To Whom it May Concern;

I am writing to you to relay the inappropriate way in which my daughter, who has special needs, and my family, was treated by your staff at the Smitty’s Restaurant located at 18320 Stony Plain Road, Edmonton Alberta. The incident occurred during breakfast hours on Saturday July 5, 2008.

My family of 6, 2 adults and 4 children stay at the Travelodge in Edmonton 4-5 times each year and dine at your restaurant for breakfast every visit. We do this for the sake of continuity as well as convenience. My 5-year-old daughter Eowyn has Autism and routine is very important to her. As you might imagine, travelling is very stressful for her and the change is hard to deal with. The Travelodge hotel and the Smitty’s restaurant have become familiar to her over the past couple of years.

This morning she ordered her usual Pizza for breakfast...another reason we choose Smitty’s is its ability to feed her odd tastes at odd hours. Today however, pizza was unavailable. This was upsetting to Eowyn and took her some time to process. Your waitress was very understanding and didn’t seem disturbed at all...I explained my daughter had autism (she was even wearing a shirt that stated the fact), and she would calm in a few minutes, another waitress offered us coloring. The distraction did not work, although appreciated.

My daughter may look like a normal five year old, but the behaviour she was exhibiting was similar to a 2 year old throwing a tantrum. She was crying and pulling her hair. We gave her some deep pressure massage and she had stopped pulling her hair...a sign the episode was almost over. We are in no way trying to say she was not making some noise and fuss, we are simply saying that the episode was not behavioural it was symptomatic, under control, and on the way to being stopped.

This is when the Greeter/Manager...Itesh Kumav approached and demanded we take her out of the restaurant. I have never seen anyone ever ask anyone ask any parent to remove a crying child from a restaurant, and so I was shocked and asked why? He responded that another table was threatening to leave without paying? My husband’s non diplomatic response was to tell the other table to “suck it up” I immediately interjected and tried to explain the situation. My daughter has autism; she will be calm in a few minutes now that her food is here...Mr. Kumav’s response was still that she had to leave. I said that this was not acceptable. She could not help the way she was, she was upset because the restaurant did not have pizza. She would be calm in a minute.

And his response...and I quote, believe me I can’t get his words out of my mind “If she is autistic and this is how she acts, you shouldn’t take her out in public”

We immediately stood up and removed our family from the restaurant. I stopped at the front to get his name and the Manager’s name, Dave Hudson and a phone number to reach him 483.6457, which turned out to be the restaurant’s number which was of no use to me as I tried to reach him to talk to him only to be told I couldn’t speak to him until Monday.

I have contacted the following press agencies about this incident: Edmonton Journal and CBC news and have done interviews with both. I have contacted my local Autism Advocacy group and will be looking to see if there is any applicable and reasonable legal action to be taken. I will also be contacting the better business bureau to place a complaint.

When Mr. Kunav, an employee and representative of Smitty’s restaurant told me that my daughter should not be taken out in public I felt as though I had been slapped across the face. My daughter is learning how to act in public, and she can’t help that her brain processes things slowly and that it is painful while this happens and that is why she cries, my daughter has as much right to be in public as any other child.

It is very difficult to parent a child let alone one with autism or other special needs. If my daughter is treated this way, who else is also treated this way by others who work for your restaurants? It is very important to me that all people with special needs are treated with respect. Your restaurant has not shown this to my child or my family, and thus, I must be concerned about others as well.

I look forward to a response from you in the near future. If you wish to respond by phone before the 9th of July we are at (Edited out for privacy), after that we can be reached at our home number.

If you would like to show your support for my daughter I would encourage you to email your comments to the president of smitty's at president@smittys.ca or directly to the restaurant in question at http://www.smittys.ca/access/Location/Home.aspx?locID=36



Please, everyone either call or write to this company. Tell them that this treatment, this discrimination is simply unacceptable. Tell them how the ignorance and disrespect displayed by a member of this company's staff reflects poorly on the company as a whole. We need to speak up for ourselves, our children, and our communities.

Goals recap

So, as posted last Sunday, I will be making new goals for both Jaymes and myself each Sunday, then posting our progress. This weeks goals were (goal updates are in purple):

1. Jaymes will wear his lap belt in the car (in conjunction with his safety harness, of course) without unbuckling it. I had been required to bellow the word "NO" every time he moved to unbuckle. I'd like to see him do it without such an extreme reprimand.

Jaymes has successfully mastered this. He has not made a move to unbuckle in days, and consistantly shows that he can tolerate the seat belt. Yay Jaymes!

2. Jaymes will sit on the potty at least once daily, even if he doesn't do anything in it.

Miserable failure, but not his fault. My fault. We've been so crazy trying to get ready for our FL trip on Tuesday that we haven't had time to do the potty thing. Bad mommy.

3. Jaymes will learn 3 letters of the alphabet with his new alphabet singing super annoying toy.

Jaymes learned one letter that he points out consistantly. The letter "E". He seems to know the letter "U" as well, but only "E" gets pointed out and labeled while "U" has to be pointed to him and you have to ask. The other letters he can sometimes repeat, but more often than not, the conversation goes like this:

"Jaymes, what's this?" while pointing to a letter in a book/on the keyboard
"whassis" AKA, "I'm going to copy what you just said and hope that it's the correct answer. It's a work in progress.

And for mommy....

1. Mommy will not yell so much
Meh. Failed today, but I have been better. Don't I get a free PMS pass?
2. Mommy will take the kids for one walk a day- may not be able to do this one if it's as ridiculously hot as it has been.. But I need to anyway, I'm a bit rounder than I want to be and the kids love their walks.
We went for 3 walks this week. It has been VERY hot. I did take Jaymesfor a trail ride around the neighborhood on Buddy though, too.
3. Mommy will be more tolerant of Daddy, so the kids don't have to hear us screaming at each other. We haven't fought this week.


New goals for the coming week... This might be tough, because we'll be in Florida from Tuesday to the following Tuesday. I will have internet access. But, I'm struggling to think of appropriate goals, because vacation will be very hard for Jaymes.

1. Jaymes will make an attempt to verbalize when he wants or needs something. Example being, if he wants a pepperoni, he will say "pepperoni please" or, in his language, "roni pease."

2. Jaymes will be safe around Grandma's pool- No running, no going out without mommy or daddy

3. Jaymes will eat at least 2 meals per day, and not eat cheetos alllllllllll week long.

Mommy's goals:

1. Mommy will make changes in vacation plans depending upon what Jaymes can and cannot tolerate, within reason. Meaning, if Jaymes gets antsy and afraid at the water park, as much as mommy loves the water park, mommy will be mature and leave to do something fun for Jaymes.

2. Mommy will be nice to mother-in-law. Nuff said.

3. Mommy will not eat all the delicious fresh mozzerella balls in mother-in-law's house even though they're the best thing on earth and we only get them when we visit her.

Don't eat those!

As I was typing up the puddle post below, it occurred to me that not only does Jaymes like to drink strangely, but he has extremely eccentric eating habits too. Some of his favorite foods:

Frozen french fries
Frozen chicken nuggets
Frozen PB&J sandwiches
Horse feed (alfalfa pellets, specifically.)

I wonder if he likes the frozen stuff for some kind of sensory input? The hardness and coldness of a frozen food maybe? It can't taste good like that, can it? Ugh.

Not only food, but other items are favorites. It's a struggle to keep Jaymes from these things...

Shaving cream- He would give an arm or leg for a mouthful of the stuff, and it's not because he thinks it's whipped cream. He spits whipped cream like it's poison.

Rat food- My pet rats eat a handmade grain mix (total cereal, high quality dog food, cheerios, dried peas, raisins, dried cranberries, etc...)

He loves to drink from the horses stock tank

What odd foods do you or your child (autistic or otherwise) enjoy? I have a thing for salt. I'll pour a tall cold glass of milk, and a bowl of salt, and just go back a forth. Mouthful of salt, drink of milk. Mmmm.

Blackberries and puddles

Kids love to pick berries. They also love to play in puddles. My kids, of course, do these things in their own creative way. Went down the road with my friend Heather (who does the Autism thing and understands Jaymes) and we found some wild blackberries... Of course we had to pick them. I'm one of those people. I droooool over bushes laden with berries, and I cannot walk past them without eating them. When I'm out cleaning Buddy's stall, I eat the few berries out there in between poop scoopings!

I had both kids with me, and Heather had her son too. He knows to wait for her to give him berries. Jaymes has no interest in berries. Sierra... Well, she's unique. She decided that despite the fact that I was offering her berries every few seconds, she needed to devour every berry on the bush- the red, unripened ones included. Didn't seem to bother her that they were bitter as anything, she just made some funny faces and continued to shovel them down. Jaymes decided he was more interested in the orange flowers growing next to the blackberries, and tried to eat those. He got about 5 in his mouth before his eyes widened, he coughed loudly, and all the drooly bedraggled flowers came shooting back out. He seemed genuinely shocked that they were not tasty.

As we resumed our walk, we passed a few mud puddles. More water than mud, for sure, but still.. Not that appealing. The kids kept slowing down to pick a flower, or grab some rocks, or just dawdle around. I was busy catching Sierra, who found a very friendly kitty cat and was trying to take off down the road with her kitty cat. Turn around, and what do I see? Jaymes, on his belly on the road. Drinking out of the puddle. Heloves to do this. I can't imagine why, and I'm sure you can get all kinds of nasty germs from that, including worms -shudder-

He did this before, actually, at the zoo. We were in front of the lion exhibit and he knelt right down and drank from the puddle. Lady at the zoo looked at me like I was a 6 headed demon and then said "OH MY GOD HE IS GOING TO GET HIV!"

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A question for you readers (all what, 2 of you?)

I was recently looking around the forums at Foggyrock.com and the Autism acceptance website. I'm new to the online Autism community, and thus have not posted for fear of getting flamed for posting an unpopular opinion, particularly my disdain of things like allergies causing Autism, therapeutic foot baths, vitamin miracle cures.. Etc. on one of those forums, can't remember which one, I found a post asking an interesting question.

If a magic pill were made available to the public, that cures Autism entirely, would you give it to your child? Every single person on that thread posted that yes, they would. I did not post,for the reason mentioned above.

My answer? No. I wouldn't. Jaymes was born with Autism. It is part of him, part of who he is. It does not define him, but it's an undeniable aspect of his being. For whatever reason, God or whatever deity you believe in, saw fit to make Jaymes the way he is. He doesn't need "fixing." He is not broken. He is an individual, with his own set of quirks, needs, wants, talents, vices, and interests. Who am I to say "here's a pill to make you normal so we can all have an easier life." Nope.

I'm all for therapy, for treatments to help Jaymes function and aquire new skills. I want to work with who he is, to make his (and our own) quality of life better each day. But there's the difference- therapy works with what you have, with who your child is. This miracle cure would change Jaymes entirely as a person. How would that effect Jaymes, both the shock of suddenly being "normal" and the eventual understanding that mommy and daddy felt the need to make you more "normal" and loveable using a pill?

Sorry, I know it's not the popular opinion, but I love Jaymes for who he is, Autism and all.

Friday, July 4, 2008

July 4th Festivities!

Today was a good day. I was only mildly dizzy, and other than my 4 hour nap in the middle of the day, I functioned quite well. We did our "fireworks" around 7:00, right before bedtime for the kids. Jaymes loved the sparklers, which is awesome because this is the first year he has shown any actual interest. He even held them, and waved them around. Sierra held one, with daddy's help, but she wasn't really into it. She was a lot more excited about trying to take me down with the stroller and riding Echo. Got some great video and photos!

At first Jaymes wasn't quite sure about the sparklers...



Sierra hung out with her dog...



And rode her trusty steed, Bouncer...



And then tried to kill me with the stroller...



Jaymes went and investigated a bigger firework after it had died and cooled down, and he was perplexed. Then he got very excited.



Then he got into the sparklers!



Then Sierra tried it out...



All in all, a very nice 4th. Hope you all had a good time!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

No blog today...

Still feeling crappy.. not so dizzy because I'm on the Anti-Vert stuff, but that makes me very drowsy and out of it. Dead tired, been a long day. I feel like I can't talk, the words feel all thick and syrupy and like I'm not making sense. So I'm being quiet. Jaymes did well in both therapy sessions today. He's a good kid.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I know my son this well

Today was payday, so we decided to go out for a buffet lunch with the kids. Jason wanted KFC, so I agreed. We got there, and I realized what a bad idea it was. KFC is really cramped, and it's ok when it's all but empty... However today, it was full up with people. There was also a long line to pay and get plates. Jaymes started to get antsy right away, not yelling, just moving around very quickly and squirming. He made a run for some random guy's plate, and that was when I told Jason,"he can't do this today." Jaymes did not scream, did not tantrum. but I'm tuned into him, I know when we're in a place that is making him uncomfortable.

Jason was really furious at Jaymes, and at me. When we got outside, he said "Jaymes, you ruin everything." Then he went off on me, explaining that we need to teach Jaymes to deal. I understand where he's coming from, I really do. I know how frustrating it is. I know he wanted KFC.

Where do you draw the line? We could have made Jaymes deal, but we would not have had a good time eating. Jaymes would have fussed and been miserable. He hates crowds. We would have had no fun or really gotten to eat, and for what? To teach him a lesson, and so Jason could eat chicken?

He does need to learn that he has to function in places he doesn't like. But we also are charged with the responsiblity to know him well enough to know when we're putting him under more stress than necessary. I won't put Jaymes through agony (and yes, to him, it would have been agony having to sit there with so many people in a crowded building) just to eat chicken. I won't.

We ended up going to CiCi's Pizza. Jaymes loves it there. it's a roomy resturant, bright and spacious. You don't feel cornered. He even went up to the buffet line with me, and stood politely next to me. he sat in his chair and ate pizza until we left. no fussing, no trouble. He got a sprite instead of water, since he did such a great job.

I'm proud of my lil buddy.

Ouch

I've been really dizzy for a long time now, going on years of it but becoming more and more frequent and severe... That and memory loss. I forget if I've medicated Jaymes. I forget appointments, I forget things I've just been told. I forget phone numbers. I read out loud to the kids and sometimes can't read the words even though it's Dr. Seuss, and I know how to read. I forget what I'm saying in mid sentence. It's scary. If something happens to me, who does Jaymes have to advocate for him, and get him what he needs?

So I went to the ER. 4 hours and a CT scan later (and a $2000 bill I can't pay) I came out with a prescription I can't afford to fill and the suggestion to see a neurologist. Yay, thanks so much for all your valuable help. Why did I bother? I can't see a neurologist. No insurance. They want payment up front, no payment plans. WTF am I supposed to do?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A cute video

Some kids take their naps in their beds. Not Jaymes. He's far too sophisticated for that. He takes his floor mats and turns them into a long tent, then falls asleep in the tent. We walked into his room to get him up from nap, and he didn't want to wake up. Sierra decided to pull him out by the leg, then gave up and tossed a blanket on him. He's so cute when he's just waking up.

Jaymes and Buddy play rodeo

I decided to let Jaymes ride today, for the first time in a couple weeks. Bud's been off work because of his leg, but he's been doing well. Put Jaymes up, and had Jason start filming so I could share how good Jaymes looks when he rides. You'll notice in the video below, a couple things:

  • Jaymes is barefoot. I prefer him barefoot when he rides because he thumps his heels when he has shoes on and it's unpleasant for Buddy. He is not allowed near Buddy on the ground when barefoot, so no worries about the danger of foot stomping
  • I'm wearing sandals. My feet, I take the fate of my toes in my own hands. I'm lazy, and didn't feel like putting socks and shoes on.
  • Jaymes is riding in a bareback pad. He always uses the BB pad, because the saddle I have is not a good fit for Buddy in his skinny state.
Anyway, looks as if a particularly nasty fly took a chunk out of the Old Man's belly, and he took off like a rocket. Jaymes did well staying on, until I pulled the lead and Buddy arced around me. Then he sort of gracefully slung himself over and landed neatly in my arms. Extreme hugging, that's what it was. He wasn't even scared. Tough little man. I spent some time working with the horse then let Jaymes ride again, they had a very successful 15 minute ride. Jaymes had a great time.

This is a good lesson to everyone. This is why every child must must must wear a helmet when they ride, whether it be a 2 minute photo op, or a 3 hour trail ride. Jaymes didn't even hit the ground, but if he had, he was wearing his helmet. Even on a 23 year old, crippled babysitter of a horse, accidents happen. To all the parents out there who let their kids ride, stay safe.

Don't Bite The Dog

Someone asked me about the title of this blog. I know I haven't explained it, so I'll do that now.

We moved to NC, from FL last fall. On the 13 hour drive, we had our Grand Am stuffed with people and animals. The two adults up front, Jaymes and Sierra in the back seat in their carseats, a TV in the middle. Jason felt the need to have his beloved TV in the car with us despite the fact that he couldn't friggin' watch it. It took up a ton of space. We also had both Labradors, the cat in her carrier, her stinky awful litter box... And my 20-ish pet rats. Two of my girls had just had litters, so we were in a position of having way to many ratties. The rats had to be transported in carriers on the passenger's lap, as they were trying to escape for some mischief.

Anyway, the young yellow Lab, Echo, was stationed on the floor of the back seat, right in front of Jaymes' carseat. She didn't have anywhere to go, so she had to just sit there. Jaymes amused himself by kicking at her, poking her, and harassing her in general. We were on the highway, nowhere near a rest stop, so Echo was on her own. Yelling at Jaymes had no effect.

Suddenly, I hear a godawful scream. Jaymes had bent down, and bitten Echo's floppy ear so hard it was bleeding. He did it over and over, cracking up at the bloodcurdling screams. Echo had nowhere to escape to, and we couldn'tjust stop, so I yelled at Jaymes and tried to hold him back, but it was not effective.

Once we got to a rest stop, Echo was saved, and moved to the other side. Chance, the other dog, came up front by our feet because she is smaller. Echo is an awesome dog, and she tolerates a lot. Jaymes does not understand that biting the dog hurts the dog. He's not being cruel, he's not being sadistic. He is doing something to get the response- that scream strikes him as funny. That does not mean it is ok, and Jaymes has since learned that we do not harm animals in our household. I doubt he understands why, really, but he knows it's wrong. I have to watch him, he'll try to hit Echo, or bite her, and if I'm not right there he'll make her screech. It's an ongoing battle.

Jaymes and his "therapy" horse

A couple months ago, we got Jaymes a horse as a home therapy sort of thing. I've had horses for years, but not in the last few years due to money, space.. etc... Anyway, got Buddy free from a very nice lady a few hours away. I did commit to him sight-unseen because of how far away he was, and when he arrived I was shocked at his physical condition. I do not think the owner was intentionally cruel or neglectful, I believe them when they say how much the family as a whole adore this animal. I genuinely believe she was either unaware of just how bad his condition was, or that that was the very reason she was giving him away- to get him to someone who could care for him properly.

Buddy arrived by trailer that Sunday morning. They could not bring the truck to my house because we're on a dead end street on a steep hill, so we unloaded right at the end of the road. Buddy stepped off the trailer, covered in sweat but otherwise in one piece... My jaw about hit the ground when I saw exactly how skinny the horse was. Every bone in his spine was visible, his withers and shoulder blades were clearly defined, with neither muscle or fat over them. All his ribs were prominent, hip bones sticking up and the muscle sunken in. His neck was lacking in any muscle tone (a sign of starvation) and looked like a flabby noodle. His legs, neck, and hindquarters are speckled with scarring, be it from bites, abuse, or rain rot I don't know. He was covered in bites from other horses, meaning he was the low man on the totem pole.

I walked him into my back yard, where Jaymes and my mother were waiting. The moment Buddy saw the long, lush grass, he was desperately devouring as much as possible. I brought him a bucket of beet pulp (a high fiber food that can be fed in great quantities and not cause colic or make a horse excessively 'hot') which he inhaled.

The vet who saw him scored him at a body condition of 2-3, and said that he would not have lived more than another 6-12 months the way he had been going. Despite the condition, he does not appear to have any internal damage. His hooves were thrushy and abcessed, which the first farrier who came out to see him did not notice for some reason (not using him again!) and I saw when an abcess blew out at his coronary band.

After 2 months of treatment, the thrush is minor, and easily controlled. The abcesses have healed almost completely. He has a bowed tendon, which I'm thinking was an old injury that he aggravated by putting the majority of his weight on the leg while the opposite leg was sore from his abcesses. We're treating that with a support wrap.

Buddy has gained a LOT of weight. I've got him on the following feed schedule, three times daily:

1 scoop soaked beet pulp
1 scoop senior feed
1 scoop Weight Builder
1 scoop Joint Care supplement

He was very wormy when I got him, so I immediatley wormed him. He took it well, tossed his head a little but that's common.

Buddy is a saint. Jaymes can hug him, kiss him, meltdown right next to him, run past him... And Buddy doesn't flick an ear. When Jaymes is on his back, Buddy goes slow and steady, as if he knows the child on his back is special and needs him to be careful. Jaymes gets on this enormous ex-racehorse without fear. He rides bareback, with only a saddle pad to keep him up. His balance when on horseback is superb. He holds his head high and smiles to the world. He's the big man on that horse. We walk down the road (now that the legs and feet feel better!) and Jaymes calls out to everyone he sees: "Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!"

Jaymes carries the hose out to the pasture and fills Buddy's water tank. He brushes Buddy's legs. He carries the feed bucket, and pours the grain into it. He leads Buddy (with me secretely holding the lead rope) to and from his stall, and he carries Buddy's hay. Once we've finished our horse chores each evening, Jaymes has a cheerful "Byebye Bud-dy! Byebye night night!" for his horse. He doesn't say night night to me!

Please, if you are considering getting a horse, be sure you know about your breed, and about nutrition. Old horses don't have to be skinny. All Thoroughbreds are not emaciated- and just because he is a TB does not mean that his body condition was acceptable. TB's are hard keepers, typically. That means you need to feed them, supplement them, give them extra- not make excuses for why they are bags of bones.

Jaymes and Buddy were meant for each other. Jaymes has grown, become confident, has a real purpose in mind when we're with Buddy. That makes it worth the effort to rehabilitate this animal.

Buddy is still very thin. He is unrideable for anyone larger than Jaymes. He has a forever home with us, with no expectations of him. This horse has given his all for 23 years, he doesn't need to earn his keep here. This is the kind of horse, who if sold, will end up on a truck to Canada or Mexico for slaughter. Our old horses have given their lives, their love, and their hearts to us. Don't they deserve a loving, dignified retirement?