Posted in family, parenting, Uncategorized

His Friendships Make Me Nervous

Eli has come so far in his social skills. His vocabulary is amazing and he is so smart. He’s more comfortable interacting with others at school and in our neighborhood. Although he’s had such amazing growth I am still very nervous about him making friends. Mainly because kids can be assholes.

Eli is still so very sensitive. The littlest things make him upset. Currently, our biggest issues with him is his crying. At school when he’s told to change tasks he often times gets upset and cries. If the toy he wanted to play with isn’t there, he cries. If I’m not standing on the sidewalk when he gets through the gate, he cries.

At home, if he’s not granted the snack he wants, he cries. If he’s told he has to turn off his iPad and go to bed, he cries. When we can’t go out and do the things he wants to do, he cries.

Most significantly, he cries a lot during interactions with his friends. Whenever there is the smallest disturbance with his friends, he usually ends up crying and running inside. No kidding, as I type this the boys were outside playing tag and Eli just came in crying because he was it (which he’s usually it) and he couldn’t tag the other boys and was getting frustrated so he started crying. Lately when he’s upset he tells his friend he doesn’t love him anymore, and they look at him a little funny. I’ve explained that love is for family and like is for friends. I get very nervous for him because he’s 5 now and kids that age start to judge.

One thing I would LOVE to fix Is the interactions with friends that make him upset. Sometimes Eli is justified for being upset with his friends. Often times when they play tag he is always it, he will finally tag someone and they immediately tag him back. The other kids are a little older and a lot more fast than him, it’s almost an impossible game. Sometimes, though, Eli’s fits are unjustified. One time some of the kids were getting ready to play four square. Eli didn’t want to play and continued playing with his cars. His friend told him to move over so he didn’t get hit- Eli took that as go away we don’t want you here.

So how exactly do you get your child to stop crying for non-crying situations? You can’t just tell someone to stop crying. He feels these emotions and runs with them. I love the fact that he’s so passionate; he generally enjoys life. The problem is that even though his highs are high, his lows get extremely low. The only good thing about his behavior is the blow outs never last long. When he’s upset about a situation he is usually over it within a couple minutes. For the time being, his friends seem to forget about it almost instantly, too. As soon as he’s calmed down and wants to go back outside, they welcome him.

Another issue my husband and I are noticing is that Eli isn’t standing up for himself. He is new to socialization so he just kind of rolls with whatever the other kids too. When his friend comes over here he runs the show. They do whatever he wants to do. Which is usually play with Elis Ipad or Wii. Which are both one player so Eli either watches or plays something else. All we can do for that is regulate or tell them to do something together.

Really I think my nerves are normal and to be expected. Any parent probably feels like this sometimes (right?). All I can do is guide him, give him advice, and let him learn on his own. Friendships can be hard, especially new ones. But there’s not a doubt in my mind that Eli will find some great friends that are a perfect match for him and he will be just fine.

Posted in family, parenting, Uncategorized

More Time to Fill

Ya’ll would not believe….

Monday morning I was all excited because Eli was going back to school. I got him dressed in a snazzy outfit, packed his lunch, got his backpack ready. We got in the car and headed to school. As I grew closer to the parking lot, I notice there’s not a lot of cars around as there usually is. Pull up to the gate and it’s closed and locked; not a car in the parking lot.

….SPRING BREAK IS TWO WEEKS LONG!!!!!!

Who the hell has two week long spring breaks? This is asinine. What am I supposed to do for another entire week? Well, it’s Friday so let me tell you what we did… NOTHING….AGAIN. Well, ok, we did a little bit.

Last Friday my husband was off work so we took both kids to the park where Eli and his dad took a row boat out onto the water. Eli loved it, except when they got attacked by a rogue goose. After that, Eli and I went to our housing’s Easter event. Painted mini canvases and ate a little food.

Then there was Easter. I was in bed with Camille watching cartoons waiting for Eli to get up. I finally get up to go check on him. I find him downstairs, already found and opened all the eggs and got his basket….

Eli is also a couple weeks into soccer season. We have a one hour practice twice a week and a game on Saturdays. That’s probably the most exciting thing going on in our lives.

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The rest of our days were spent watching tv, making car tracks, and having Eli outside as much as possible. He’s really gotten close to a couple kids in the neighborhood so I ship him out as much as possible. Although that usually ends with both boys in my house playing video games.

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Sure, there are tons of things we could go out and do; but packing a diaper bag for a 30 minute trip to the park is exhausting. A 15 minute trip to the grocery store the other day  was enough for me after Camille hit her head on the car-themed shopping cart as soon as we got in the door. She fussed and cried the entire time we were there.

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I’ve come to terms that nothing exciting will happen this spring break. Trying to do big outings is just too much work, especially when, during the week, its two against one. I think during spring break, I’d rather just break.

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Posted in family, parenting, Uncategorized

How to survive Spring Break

 

Spring break season is upon us. On the last day of school when Eli’s teacher said “See you in a week Eli!” I went into a mini panic mode. The realization hit me that I was going to be stuck in the house all day with two kids for 9 days straight. I immediately went into planning all the fun things we’d do to pass the time: go to the zoo, automotive museum, picnic at the park, splash pad. It’s now Thursday of spring break and guess how many of those we have done? ONE! The picnic at the park is the only thing we’ve accomplished so far; and I’m really not sure if eating Panda Express at a playground is necessarily considered a picnic.

Obviously I am in no position to give advice about what to do for spring break. But….who cares? I’m going to make a list of good ways to pass the time during your Childs spring break that I actually did do.

  1. Continue with education- Just because they’re on a break from real school doesn’t mean their learning should take a break too! As a parent YOU are your child’s biggest teacher!

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2. Find them new friends- what better way to pass the days than to make new friends, right? They will spend the day getting to know each other and having fun!

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3. Household chores- Oh, you’re bored? Well I’m doing 5 loads of laundry, vacuuming 4 rooms, doing the dishes, and cleaning the bathrooms. TAKE YOUR PICK!

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4. Wear them out- personally this is the most important one. If you want your little shits to pass out at the end of the day then you need to get them outside and active. Nothing knocks a kid out better than long exposure to fresh air. 60% of the time, it works every time!

 

5. When they’ve done chores, played with friends, and ran around aimlessly for hours outside, it’s time for some more inside diversions. Popcorn movie party is the go to in our house. Here’s your apple juice, bowl of popcorn, and the remote; I’m going to go hide in my room until you come find me asking for a second bowl of popcorn.

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6. When you’ve done all these and your kids finally pass out. It’s time to reward yourself. Whatever your vice is, indulge; you’ve earned it. For me, the answer is obviously wine.

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Hopefully after doing all these steps your child should look like this and spring break should pass quickly. Before you know it your monster will be back in school.

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New Business Adventure

Eli and I are are taking on a new business adventure. Well, really just me, but he’s my partner in crime.

Eli was never interested in books. The first clue for his doctor to give the Autism diagnosis was that he never wanted to play with me or anyone else. He preferred to be by himself. Because of this he would never sit down and read a book with me. I tried all the fun engaging books to no avail. Through therapy he became more interested in interacting with others. After many attempts he started becoming interested in bedtime stories. We made it a routine every night before bed. Part of the appeal was probably delaying bedtime; but after a while it’s something he looked forward to. He would pick out his favorites and remembered most of the words.

I was invited to an Usborne party over the summer and was drawn to the wipe clean books. We were trying to get ready for school and this would be perfect practice. He loved them, of course. Since then I’ve ordered a couple more times before deciding to become an independent consultant myself.

One thing I love about Usborne is the amount of early childhood learning books they have. They have books for speech development, fine and gross motor skills, sensory books, and even books for social anxiety. Everything I’ve learned from Eli’s therapy I can use to help other families find the tools they need to make their littles successful.

My Facebook page

My UBAM page

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“That man was mean to me”

A few weeks ago I took both kids to one of Eli’s favorite parks. As I went to a bench with Camille, Eli took off under a play set. There’s a table underneath the play set and he likes s-l300to pile up fallen gum tree balls (right). As soon as he walked to the table a boy around the same age dressed in a police uniform told Eli to leave. Eli got upset and came over to me. I told him this is a playground and he can go where ever he wants. He walked back over and the boy, again, told him he had to leave and that he was the police. Another boy holding a nerf gun grabbed Eli by the arm and walked him out from under the play area and walked him towards the sidewalk. Eli started crying and I yelled at the boys to let him go.

IMG_4540Now the boys weren’t just being cruel, to everyone else they were just playing pretend. He was the police and under the play area was where they were patrolling. Keeping out bad guys. However, to Eli, they were being serious. After the boys let him go Eli came over, still crying, and said that the policeman wouldn’t let him play over there and told me how the other boy grabbed him. I explained to Eli that it wasn’t a real policeman and it was only a kid pretending. I told him that the kids were just playing pretend, a game. The look on his face told me he had no idea they were just playing. I said if they try and do that again to just tell them that you are not playing the game and you just want to play by yourself. Eli stood up and started walking away; I asked where he was going and he said “I’m going to tell them that I’m not playing with them.” The boys at this point were long gone. I told him to not worry about it unless they tried to bother him again.

Eli is one of the most imaginative boys I’ve ever met. His whole life is one big imagination land. But for as creative as he is, he didn’t recognize when other kids were doing the same thing. If he’s in on the planning of the game, he is fully on board; but walking into this situation, not knowing what the other kids we’re doing, he was completely lost. He has always been a little slow on picking up on social cues. He doesn’t always recognize when someone is upset or not interested. He often times doesn’t take situations serious and thinks it’s a game (especially when he’s getting in trouble.)

One of my first blogs was about a time we were at a park (actually the same park as this story) and Eli thought he was playing a game with these other boys but they were in fact just running away from him. He didn’t recognize that they didn’t want to play with him until he turned around and they were all gone. That situation broke my heart and it still hurts my heart watching him struggle with other kids.

I do have my reservations about Eli starting general education kindergarten and not being accepted and liked by his class mates. I think he just needs more exposure to other kids to strengthen his social skills. As a military family, we move around a lot. He doesn’t always have other kids to play with, or when he does, we end up moving away from them. He’s in preschool right now with other kids just like him. When that is over I think he might do a few weeks of summer school so he is more than comfortable when he starts kindergarten this fall. Not all of his social interactions are this way. Yesterday we were at a different playground and he played with a pair of siblings just fine. They were all having a blast until the two kids had to go home. When I asked Eli where his friends went, he said they left. Then he started crying and yelling “I DON’T HAVE ANY FRIENDS!!!” lol. He’s a great kid and a lot of fun to be around. I have no doubts that he will be able to make good friends. Maybe we just need a little practice reading people.  😉

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Knowing your kid’s interests

Staying connected with your kids requires getting involved in their interests. They usually don’t want to do what YOU want to do, so you’ll have to suck it up and do whatever weird little thing they want to do. I’ve noticed, at least with eli, interests come and go pretty quickly. What he likes one day is out the window the next. There are a few things that have stuck around for a while.

1. whenever Eli starts playing (anything) it usually ends up being a bad guy vs good guy battle. His room is super hero themed and a large portion of his toys are imaginext super hero’s. Needless to say a lot of our time is spent in the battle of good vs evil.

2. For the past two Halloween’s Eli has dressed as a ninja. He used to watch a lot of ninja turtles and he must have picked up some of their moves. I actually think he would really like karate.

3. Special ops. Eli watches my husband play war games on PS4 from time to time. He really gets interested in war/fighting. Maybe he will follow in dads footsteps and join the military? He’s taken this interest to real life. Eli and his dad like to go on missions. They gear up, grab their nerf guns and head out destroying bad guys.

4. As long as I can remember Eli has liked building things. He’d stack up anything he could. We started up a collection of LEGO duplo blocks. He’s grown from just stacking blocks to building towns and restaurants.

5. I’ve mentioned in past blogs how Eli has started getting into picture taking and movie making. He spends some time on kids YouTube and enjoys the videos other kids make and enjoys making his own movies just as much. Some are goofy and with no meaning while some of the others are story telling or instructional. But all of them are adorable and funny.

All of these interests are putting together the kind of boy he’s going to grow up together. Will he be a military man like his dad? A construction worker or contractor? A movie director or actor? A lot of interests will come and go but eventually one or some of them will stick for the long haul and I can’t wait to watch him find his true passion some day.

Posted in family, parenting, Uncategorized

Weird sh*t my kid does

I’m sure anyone that spends any amount of time around children can agree that kids are strange little creatures. When raising kids, parents see a lot of themselves in their offspring. They may have their same mannerisms, sense of humor, they may even sleep in the same position. A lot of things, however, may be very…. different.

Eli, for example, has a lot of my husband and I in him; but he also walks to the beat of his own drum. He does a lot of strange, often times funny, things. Every weird thing he does is a small piece of his quirky adorable puzzle of a personality.

1. booby traps

I’m not sure how this exactly started but Eli was very into setting booby traps. Whenever he found a string, ribbon, or robe tie, he would tie them across random items. Sometimes they’d be so intricate it would take me forever to get them down. This was a thrilling game for me when I had to heat up a 3am bottle in the dark across his booby trap.

2. Emotional text messages

Eli has an iPad and we’ve taught him how to use text messaging. It came in extremely handy during dads deployment. He would tell him he loves him or when he’s sad. Dad would send pictures of his European adventures and Eli would send pictures of his poops when he was potty training. Lately, however, the texting is mostly used when he wants to tell us how pissed he is at us. One instance when I said he couldn’t do something (probably that he couldn’t have a pizza lunchable for dinner) he ran into the other room and minutes later I got a stream of very upset text messages.

3. Selfies

Along with the texting he has perfected the art of picture taking. When I’m too busy (or pretending to be too busy) to come look at something he will take a picture of whatever it is and come show me. He also is a lover of the selfie. Some are happy, sad, goofy, angry. He is quite the actor.

4. Ties knots in everything

Relating back to the booby traps, he also has a tendency to knot EVERYTHING. Common things like his shoelaces. But he will take an unplugged electrical cord and tie up objects. He’ll remove my robe tie and weave it around stairway spindles. He also takes his sisters pacifier clip and ties it to her other toys.

5. Lines up objects

This one he’s been doing for quite a few years. It’s one of his first signs of autism I noticed in him. When he was younger it was always his matchbox cars or markers. They had to be in a perfect line. He doesn’t do it as much anymore but when he does it is quite the production.

6. Heart broken

Eli has always been very emotional. He wears his heart on his sleeve. When something inconvenient happens or he is told “no” he doesn’t just get upset he gets heartbroken. You’d think a pet died or something. He’s always picking up new sayings and lately it’s been “I’m heartbroken” and he makes a heart with his hands and breaks them apart. The first time he did this I nearly cried myself. Much like the first time he said he didn’t love me anymore (🙄). Now when he does this production it’s pretty easy to deal with.

7. “I’m watching you”

On the opposite side of heartbroken we have anger. I’m not sure how but somewhere along the way he’s picked up the saying “I’m watching you” along with the coordinating hand gestures. Don’t make him mad folks because he will make you feel scared.

8. Gives ‘presents’

Along with all his quirky things he is still a loving kind hearted little boy. He says please and thank you, I love you, and gives the best kisses and hugs. Lately he’s been into giving “presents”. He lays a blanket on the floor and fills it with random objects, wraps it back up and delivers it to me. He watches expectantly as I pretend to be very excited over receiving household objects and a half eaten container of baby food.

 

Seeing all the quirky things Eli does makes me love him even more than I already do. He is definitely a unique boy and he always comes up with new things to surprise you and makes you laugh. He is definitely a people pleaser.