Sunday, August 11, 2013

Jaymes loves Halo

We've had horses for years, and for years I've tried to get Jaymes interested. He never was until we got our Thoroughbred, Buddy, a few years ago. He loved Buddy, loved to ride him and mess with him. Buddy passed away though, and Jaymes was not at all interested in having anything to do with the new horses. Right up until recently, when Jaymes decided my mare, Halo, was his.

Now Halo is not like our pony, Rocket. She is energetic, a bit spooky and reactive. She keeps me on my toes when I'm on her back. She isn't a horse you could throw a beginner on and expect to do well.

When Halo is around Jaymes, however, she changes completely. She becomes the calmest, most tolerant, patient mare you've ever seen. She puts up with whatever he does to her. He loves to take her out and drag her around the back yard. She just follows along and walks in circles. She lets him tie ropes around her middle to strap his Silver Noctopus onto her back. She lets him poke and prod and pull her mane.

When Jaymes is on Halo's back, she takes tiny little steps and keeps her ears turned back toward him like she's keeping tabs on his safety. She is solid and trustworthy- nothing scares her or riles her up. Jason drove the lawmower past her the other day- with me she would have flipped out and spooked halfway across the yard. With Jaymes, she stood like a rock. She ignores him kicking her in the sides and just meanders along calmly. When he flails his arms around and squeals, she just stays steady and quiet. When I'm on her back and I throw an arm up suddenly, she spooks!

It's truly amazing to me how horses know they need to be careful when kids like Jaymes are on their backs. Their usual behavior goes out the window. Things that would normally bother them don't. Halo is a very special horse. She takes care of my kiddo, and she puts up with everything he does to her.

Here are some pics I took. I broke my helmet rule that particular day, only because we were only walking and we were in the closed in back yard. Normally my kids wear helmets. I know, horrible mom. But he suddenly wanted to get on her back and I ran before he changed his mind!

We started out brushing Halo... She fell asleep.

Then he moved on to dragging her across the yard...

Then Jaymes strapped up Silver Noctopus for a ride...

Then Jaymes wanted a turn. He enjoyed looking down on the world from his high horse.

Then Sierra got jealous, so she got out her pony and gave Ice Cream Bear a ride...

We are so blessed to have such wonderful animals, and awesome kiddos! We're having lots of horsey fun this summer!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sometimes you just gotta wash a chicken...

It was miserably hot today, and the kids wanted to go outside. We went outside, briefly. Just long enough to think to myself, "hell no. Too hot." Then we went to collect eggs from the chicken coops, and I got a good look at how dirty my little Silkie ladies had become. I have not shown in awhile, so they have just been busy being chickens, and getting dirty. So I was alternating between not wanting to stay out because of the heat, and fussing about my dirty dirty chickens. Then it hit me- bath day!

We filled up a clean wheelbarrow full of soapy water, and I sent Sierra to go capture our first customer.

Then Jaymes decided he wanted to join in...

 We had to let the white hens marinate in soapy water awhile, they were all icky and yellow tinted...
 Then we got fancy, and did two at a time!

 My Splash hen's head dried quickly, and exploded into a huge fluffy 'fro...

 Gene Simmons, my free range Polish roo, came to investigate the pathetic wet Silkies... But they were so bedraggled, he could not tell they were hens, and wandered off.

All in all, a fun way to stay cool during a miserable summer day! Of course, within five minutes of finishing up, the sky opened up with a horrendous thunder storm. Good timing! This is the first time Jaymes has shown much interest in the chickens, so I was really excited to see him enjoying himself.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

It's definitely been awhile!

It's been close to a year since I've posted last. When things are going really badly, the words just pour out and making post after post is very therapeutic. But when things are going well, I tend to sit back and enjoy the ride... Hence my long break from blogging.

Jaymes is doing wonderfully. He no longer has aggression issues. He's become a sweet, compliant, happy child. He's reading really well, and can work the iPad like a pro. He sleeps at night (at least until about 5am), he is actually eating, and he can bathe himself, get dressed, and take his meds independently. He has come a long, long way. He's finally grown, he's gotten so TALL!

We've taken a break for the last year, from therapies, outside of school. He gets OT and Speech at school, as well as HI (hearing impaired) instruction. Even now in the summer, he's doing Extended School Year, so he is continuing with his therapies. It got to the point that every spare minute was about rushing to one therapy or another. It also seemed like the therapists stalled out with Jaymes. They were doing things like coloring in pictures, things Jaymes is way past needing to learn. So I pulled him out, and life has been much calmer. He's happier, he can take his afternoons after school at his own pace instead of being shuffled from home to therapy, back home again. He's doing really well, OT-wise. He draws beautiful pictures, very complex stuff and it looks exactly like whatever he meant to draw. His handwriting isn't going so well, though... He wants to write things in this HUGE crazy scrawl. His teacher and I are thinking that maybe he should do more of his writing on the computer, until they can get him to regulate the size and shape of his letters.

His teacher of 3 years retired at the end of the school year, and she did it rather suddenly. We were shocked, and I was really upset about it. I feel like after 3 years, the teacher understands what I expect from the school, and she knows Jaymes. The thought of someone new taking over my boy's education was really upsetting. If you remember from some of my older postings, one year he got a different teacher, and she turned out to be SATAN. Evil, hateful woman who had no place being near special needs children. I'm terrified of going through a year from hell again, with Jaymes being miserable, and constant fighting with the school. It's been so nice and peaceful with Mrs. Colditz. We don't butt heads, we work well together. When she told me she was retiring, I admit I cried like a baby for days. With her, I knew Jaymes was safe, happy, and not being treated badly. You hear so many stories these days about autistic children being abused at school, staying with someone trustworthy is obviously preferable. I am hoping that he will have the same teacher's assistant. Mrs. Wemyss is WONDERFUL. She is so sweet and bubbly, and Jaymes loves her. I know I can trust her, so if she is the assistant to the new teacher, I will feel a lot better.

Jaymes was lucky enough to get into Camp Royall this summer. Camp Royall is the happiest place on Earth for my son. When asked if he would rather go to camp, or to Disney, he chooses camp. All year long, he asks if he is going to camp, and how long until camp starts. Even when he was not able to go last year, he spent the year asking. And when he found out he was going to be able to go this summer, he was elated.

When we got to camp on the first day, Jaymes met up with Emma, who was his counselor the first summer he spent there. We followed her to the cabin he would be sleeping in, and when we got inside, Jaymes went crazy with excitement. He threw himself down on a mattress, and rolled around wildly, squealing with happiness. He couldn’t wait for us to leave, so he could get in the pool.

All week I looked at the camp photos that were being posted online, and in every photo of Jaymes, he had an ear to ear smile. In every picture he was doing something awesome- things that a lot of kids with autism don’t get to do. Riding a horse, making smores, boating and fishing and swimming.  Camp Royall gives kids like my son the opportunity to have the same wonderful camp experience that used to be reserved for the “normal” kids. 

He's had a great summer so far, and he is just doing so wonderfully. I think photos say it better than I do, so here you go!