Thursday, May 29, 2014

TBT - Mischief Mode

Ha!  I found this post when I was looking for my TBT (Throwback Thursday) post and had to laugh.  This post originally ran during Spring Break of 2013.  Today is the start of "summer vacation" for Alan.  Of course, in reality he starts summer school next Monday so it is only a few days, but I could totally relate to this anyway.  We also have the fun of a haircut scheduled for tomorrow -- DH is taking a half day of vacation to help us break this rut.  Say a prayer that it will help.  Have a great weekend, readers!

Mischief mode

By the time Spring Break is over for the boys, I will probably weigh 300 pounds.
I'm a "stress" eater.  I've always known this.  When I am blissfully happy, I forget to eat.  For some unknown reason I haven't done that in years. 

This week is especially tough because all Alan wants to do is go out to eat lunch -- and we all know that fast food is sooooooooo good for you.
Meanwhile, Alan no longer likes to go to the zoo or the park or anything remotely like this.  So after taking him out to lunch, he climbs and gets into mischief and I eat.  And it is only Wednesday. 

DH was hoping to take a few days off work to help me out but he is having problems and vacation isn't a great thing at the moment.  We are still hopeful that will change tomorrow or Friday.

We had to get rid of all our home workout equipment because Alan liked to climb on it (that is a bit hard on an elliptical or a weight machine) and so I don't have any easy way to work out here at home.

I had some faint hopes before Spring Break that I could race up to the gym and do a fast workout and leave Joe in charge of Alan but unfortunately for that plan, Alan has been in mischief mode this week.

Alan knows what he is allowed to do outside.  Really, I think we are pretty darn lenient about that but we do draw a few lines.

We do not allow him to climb on the neighbors' swing set.  While he is unlikely to fall, 160 lb kid could easily break something.  And, if he does fall and hurt himself, I am sure they would come up with some way to sue us for that.

We also do not allow him to climb over our deck rails.  We have reinforced all the rails but still don't think that is a good thing.  We also don't allow him to climb the siding of our house.  And yes, he has tried to do all of these things especially when he gets in mischief mode.

He is actually sort of entertaining to watch when he gets into mischief mode.  He goes outside and looks over his shoulder to see if I am watching.  When he sees that I am, he happily walks over to the tree or the swing-set and climbs and plays.  Then he casually glances over his shoulder and studies the sliding glass door and any of the windows in which he has seen me watching him.  If he doesn't spot me he scampers off to one of the places he knows he's not allowed to climb and starts climbing.

Yesterday was a fairly pleasant day so I figured I would take my book and read outside while he climbed.  That worked for awhile and then I went inside and as soon as I went away from the windows to do something mundane like laundry or dishes, he struck!  I came back to find him hanging on the railing from the outside of our deck.  Grrrrrrrrr

After a time out, he wanted to go outside again so I followed him out with my trusty book.  I got a deck chair set up and ... he decided to go back inside.  I put away the deck chair and followed him and ... he decided to go back outside so I followed him and then he gave up and decided to play inside for a little while.  Thank goodness for small favors. 

Of course, being inside makes it easier for me to eat.  There is always a downside.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

TBT - Blog Style!

A dear blogging friend, started doing Throw Back Thursdays on her blog.  It seemed like a good idea.  I actually had a few good blogs before anyone read me and I've been in a bit of a funk lately and I haven't written much so it seemed like a good match.

This is a blog post I originally wrote about Alan's picky eating on January 14, 2013.  It was sort of sad to re-read it and realize how little has changed in those 16 months.  Then when I went looking for a picture (and you can tell it is recent since it is in the new kitchen) you can see all the foods I list later at his spot -- with the mini Fudge Stripes in a little row! 

Oh well, the kid still makes me laugh.

Picky Eaters 


While I'm sure every parent thinks they have picky eaters, I strongly suspect (and would probably be willing to bet upwards of $100) that Alan tops 99% of your children!

Many kids on the spectrum are on limited diets -- the most common of which is the gluten free-casein free (no wheat or milk products) diet.  We had Alan tested for wheat and milk allergies when we tried the biomedical treatments and the results were that he was moderately allergic to milk but not at all allergic to wheat.  So we tried to eliminate milk from his diet.  The only problem with that was that milk was the only source of protein in his entire diet.  We tried rice and soy and he wouldn't drink them.  He has never let us put flavoring of any sort in his milk so we couldn't even try to hide the flavor in chocolate milk.  Score:  Alan 1, Parents 0

We next tried to eliminate lactose from his diet.  This did work.  Dairy Ease or Lactaid both taste close enough to regular milk that we can get him to drink those with relative ease.  This seemed to end his chronic (albeit intermittent) diarrhea.  Alan 1, Parents 1

We took him to "picky eaters" food class near home.  This was at a local organization that was specifically for children with autism.  He lasted two classes before the OT asked us to please not bring him back.  Alan 2, Parents 1

Next we tried taking him to a local OT center that specializes in sensory problems and has several people that deal specifically with broadening a child's palette.  The entire center has supposedly done wonders for so many local kids.  We had three different OTs work with Alan for almost a year (driving 20-30 minutes each way) and all they managed was to get him to touch certain undesired foods to his tongue.  He would not go the further step of holding the food in his mouth and they (somewhat reluctantly) admitted defeat.  Alan 3, Parents 1

"So what does he drink?" you might ask.  If left to his own devices he would only drink soda.  Sigh.  So we give him a small cup of soda and an equal sized cup of lactose free milk.  He usually drinks the soda and the milk sits on the table until he wants more soda and then he will finally drink the milk.  Sigh.  I am not sure who wins in this one so we will keep the score the same.  Alan 3, Parents 1

"So what does he eat?" you might ask.  Basically we give him four foods at a time.  

  • a favorite (either Oreo cookies, a Poptart with the edges broken off or a cereal bar which we had to stop giving him when we finally figured out that the only kind he would eat were Cinnamon Toast Crunch milk and cereal bars and that was causing problems)
  • a fruit -- usually apples but occasionally he will let us give him purple seedless grapes (no green or even red)
  • a bowl of something -- white cheddar or cheese popcorn, corn puffs, rice cakes (cheddar or ranch only) Cocoa Puffs or Honey Nut Cheerios
  • animal crackers
And that is it.  He eats those same things all day, every day and has for the last 2-3 years.  There is no protein in his diet other than the milk.  We started including the animal crackers simply as a "break food".  He would eat the favorite food until he was as wide as he is tall so we added the animal crackers on to the plate so he would be forced to eat something he doesn't really like to slow him down or provide a break.  Again, I'm not sure who wins that round so we will call it a tie.  Alan 3, Parents 1

What about when we go out to eat?  He will eat French fries and he will drink soda and that is it.  Alan 4, Parents 1

What about vitamins or supplements?  We had him on Juice Plus for several years.  He took the gummies quite willingly for a long time.  Then he started pushing them to the back of his throat and gagging himself with them and we had to take him off them.  Luckily we did have a wonderful SLP a few years ago that taught him how to swallow pills.  In fact, he is the best in the family now at swallowing pills.  He will put his entire fist of medicine in his mouth and then chug a glass of water and they all go down.  Another tie.  Alan 4, Parents 1

Several experts in the field have told me that no child will starve themselves to death and that is probably true.  However, when the alternative is to have a knock down, drag out fight with an incredibly stubborn young man who can make the whole house miserable -- is it really so awful that he eats popcorn for breakfast?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Not my day

Have you ever seen those t-shirts that say "Today is not your day.  Tomorrow is not looking good either."  Yep, that is me.

After having read a bunch of different people's blog posts, I am almost thinking that there is something in the air.  I thought springtime was supposed to make people hopeful.  That has never been the case around here.  There are too many allergies and spring is followed by summer (my least favorite season) so I am generally a bit of grump in the spring, but in the past, it always seemed I was in the minority in that.

Today the biggest source of my angst is Joe.  The poor kid has almost no friends.  He keeps inviting one of his former classmates to go places (dinner, movies, etc.) but as last weekend was prom and she went with someone else, I am pretty sure it is a "friends only" relationship.  I am fine with that.  Except he doesn't really have ANY other friends.  And if she actually has a boyfriend, I suspect their platonic dates will continue to decline.  He has two other kids with whom he occasionally exchanges texts but there is no one else with whom he can "hang".

This is breaking his mom's heart.

He is such a neat kid, but he is so socially backward and I just want him to have some friends.  He never saw the need while he was in high school and now he doesn't have anyone.  I was thinking if he got a regular job and was around the same kids day in and day out that this might change, but alas, the kid does not have a regular job.

He frequently goes out after work (to play miniature golf, to eat lunch, to shop) but it always by himself.  I love this independence, but it would be so much better with friends.

Since we found out for sure that he won't be going to college this fall, this has gotten more urgent for me.  I don't think any of us will be happy to live another year like the last.  He doesn't even do much on the computer -- which I will admit is most of my social interaction these days!

So how can I generate social interactions?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The haircut from h&%$

Last night Alan got his hair cut.  We've been going to the same kid friendly hair salon for more years than I care to remember.  Even though Alan is taller than most of the hair stylists, they just smile and say "come on in!"

The last 3-4 visits have been HELL.  There is really no other word to describe them.  Alan gets in the car willingly enough and even gets out of the car at the hair salon fine.  He goes inside and starts stalling but still nothing major.  He has to use the restroom and agonize over which video to watch (but he always selects Shrek) and then he even sits in the chair and gets the cape on with only a yell or two.  And then all hell breaks loose.

He stands up and sits down so often and so fast that the poor Ali has to cut his hair a swipe at a time.  We've tried holding him in the chair.  We've brought his iPad but he wants nothing to do with it.  Last night I even tried sitting on him and he threw me on the floor (so much for deep pressure).  I've tried bribing him with his favorite Skittles (they were also thrown on the floor) and last night I even brought a copy of his current favorite video (hoping he would pick that instead of Shrek) but no luck.  Sometimes Ali cuts a swipe or two while he is sitting on the floor, but then he stands up.  He moves incredibly fast.  Of course, when he is getting ready for school he moves incredibly slow but that is another story.  He is so strong he was tipping over the chair!  I actually thought the darn things were anchored but apparently not. 

I am guessing it is a sensory thing, but it never used to bother him.  It is only the last few haircuts that have been a problem. Of course as soon as it is finished he's fine.  I'm covered with hair, shaky and exhausted but he just sits on a bench eating his sucker while I pay.  Sigh.

DH suggested that next time we try to cut his hair at home (I already do Joe's and DH's).  Who knows how that will turn out?  Ali actually does a fantastic job.  It is a darn good hair cut -- except for the experience!