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You have failed as a parent


I saw this photo on Facebook a few weeks back and it took a lot not to comment on it (I actually deleted the person who shared it so I didn’t have to see that negativity again). Saying that someone has failed as a parent for something so trivial as letting your child watch Mickey Mouse clubhouse at the dinner table is a far stretch. And often enough the people who are so quick to throw stones at others are ones who aren’t perfect themselves. So why do people feel the need to shame other parents for the way they raise their kids? Though it’s a flawed quality, everyone at some point is guilty of passing judgement; but having a thought/opinion about someone is a few steps short of publicly shaming someone/group of people. 
There are so many parenting topics that constantly come down to two groups shaming the other group for their choices. To be more specific, hot topics I see too often are: proper car seat installation, vaccination, breast/formula feeding, and so many more. I’m not here to give my opinion on each topic (although I’d be more than happy too!) I’m more concerned with how far some people go to get people to their side. In my experience people are usually set in their ways and opinions, starting a Facebook argument will not make them change their minds. But in the social media era where everything is put online to be judged, shared, disputed, or made fun of, it’s hard not to see daily Facebook arguments. (Ok, fine just one opinion. vaccines don’t cause autism and even if they do, as a parent of an ASD child, i would take autism over polio or measles any day of the week. That’s my only one!)

To get to the actual picture that sparked the interest in this post… I’m not sure if the person who created this means parents who let their children in front of tv/games/iPads/etc all day every day or if this just means if you have ever let your child take an iPad to the table you suck. I do believe children should be limited to amount of electronic time they’re given, but I also am I fan of electronics and believe they do help my son. He can sit on the computer and play abc mouse as long as he wants for all I care (he’ll lose interest before it becomes an issue anyway) but I’d rather have him playing educational games than play something that doesn’t help him in any way. Playing Mario kart helped Eli with his hand eye coordination, abc mouse website helped him with colors, his iPad has educational apps. Aside from what electronics do for him educationally, it keeps him occupied. Eli has a lot of issues eating and mealtimes can be a hassle. If I need to bring out an iPad to keep him at the table long enough to finish a plate of food, you bet your sweet ass I am. And when it comes to restaurants, a parent can’t win. If our children are hyper, running around, or throwing a tantrum we’re judged and stared at or even asked to leave. But according to this meme if we occupy our children with iPads so they are well behaved, we are crap parents who have failed at life. Not many children are perfect angels 100% of the time and can sit still, follow directions, and eat their meals silently. Most of the time my child refuses to eat and sneaks goldfish or dry cereal in lieu of a meal. I will use whatever means necessary to get my child to do certain tasks, as a parent sometimes you just gotta do what you have to do and that does NOT make you a bad parent. Between 3 types of therapies, constantly talking with companies and insurances, getting into schools and sports, attending IEP meetings, and personally getting my son to the same level as his peers, letting him watch Netflix while he eats white rice at the kitchen table doesn’t have an affect on my parenting. I have far from failed as a parent and whoever created that meme can kiss my imperfect behind. 💁🏼

Posted in family, Uncategorized

4 year check in 

Eli had his 4th birthday on Sunday. We did a party on Saturday and to keep it comfortable for him we just did a small lego themed party in the basement. Decided to keep it simple and let the kids play with whatever they wanted in leu of organized games (mainly because Eli, and I’m sure most of the kids there, has a short attention span for group games). The only activity we did was a piñata which was such a big hit I’m thinking of just getting some to tie to a tree branch this summer and send Eli loose on it. 
Since the party I’ve been reflecting on where Eli stands as a big and bad 4 year old. He’s still behind in some areas but in others he’s both in line with where he should be and ahead. At the moment the area I feel he needs a lot of work on is his attention span/hyperactivity. I am hesitant to get him into sports because I’m worried he won’t be able to wait his turn, sit still, follow rules, or listen to the coach. You don’t know until you try, but boy am I scared to try. When it comes to learning, he can play a game on his iPad for 30 minutes straight but getting him to sit down and work on flash cards or practice writing (with me) is next to impossible. I say with me because in preschool and even with his therapists he’s more inclined to do these things;but at home with just me he can’t concentrate. I’m sure some of that is maybe a disciple/authority issue. He will act out infront of mom more than he would a stranger or teacher. 


Despite not concentrating on sit down tasks, he is learning at an incredible rate. He knows all his colors, can count to 20, knows the alphabet and can speak in complete sentences. Eli is such a sponge. Once he broke that barrier of learning and talking he just took off. We’re reading educational books at bedtime, he’s playing learning games on his iPad, we’re doing more play dates to work on social skills. Although he’s been on a 3 month hiatus from ABA, the progress hasn’t slowed. 

​​​When we do finally get ABA started I would also like to work on Eli’s tantrums and potty training. Currently Eli pees on the potty (not on his own, only when I make him) but only poops in his diaper. Although his tantrums went way down after he started talking, they are still quite present. Whenever he is told no or to stop doing something, when he has to leave somewhere/someone leaves our house, and when he is frustrated, a tantrum arises. When we are home during a tantrum he runs screaming to his room and slams the door, if we are at a friends house he will fall on the floor crying and sometimes hit himself or other things. Once after a speech appointment he ran into the hallway crying and got on the elevator and told me that he was upset and leaving me there. 


It’s such a fun thing to watch your child transition from toddler to child. His personality is really shining. It’s so much more than just his likes and dislikes. Watching him do imaginative play, seeing his sense of humor, seeing his eyes light up when he is super excited. Eli is very happy, loud, and hyper but he balances it out by being very sensitive and loving. 


​There’s not a doubt in my that by Elis 5th birthday he will be ready for kindergarten and be able to function the same as all the other kids. 

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Social anxiety

Many of Eli’s behaviors are foreign to me, but there is one in particular that him and I have in common- social anxiety. Since starting ABA therapy, social interaction was one of the main areas of improvement. In this past year he has improved tremendously. He now calls everyone by their names, looks at those who are speaking, interacts well with others. Of course he doesn’t hit those on the head every single time- I’m sure no child is perfect with those at this age. But Eli has done amazing. The other day we went to a friends birthday party. Eli was asking about it for weeks because he was so excited. The whole drive to the party he wouldn’t stop talking about it, until we got to the party. He refused to go inside. There were between maybe 20-30 people inside (children and adults) and he sat in the hallway and wouldn’t go in. We had to bribe him with balloons. Once inside he didn’t want to participate in any games with the kids (except for the pinata) and chose to spend most of the party in the corner playing with balloons by himself. He loosened up a bit at the end but still mostly kept to himself. 
At first I thought- wow we need to start working on this when we get ABA back up and running to get him out of his shell. But then I thought to myself, what would I do if I walked up to a party where I only knew 1 person? I’m not an extrovert. I don’t enjoy conversations or games with people I don’t know. First day of class when you have to introduce yourself to the class would make me cringe through my skin. I tend to stick to myself. Not all of Elis insecurities may be related to his diagnosis, I’m sure a lot of them get passed down from his father and me. Not every issue with Eli is something we need to address in therapy. Each kid is built their own way and we shouldn’t try to change everything about them.  
Of course it would be great if Eli was able to be more outgoing and go with the flow. I know a lot of kids that are. It would be great if instead of seeing 20 strangers he just sees his one friend and a bunch of other kids having a great time and him wanting to join in. I’m hoping once he’s back in school he will become more outgoing. We may get there someday. But for now I’m fine with my shy boy who plays with balloons. 

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Losing structure

Eli really responds to structure. In his preschool class the whole day was planned out with picture schedules. He had in home therapy 4 days a week and center based therapy 2 days a week. He got up at the same time every morning, took a nap at the same time everyday, and went to bed around the same time every night. Keeping a schedule reduces tantrums with him because he can look at the picture schedule and know what’s coming next. If there is free time he can select what activity he wants to do. With this move I knew there would be a break in Elis therapies. Little did I know it was going to be a long break not just for therapy but for structure as well. Since moving back home I’ve been in vacation mode. Wake up when we want, be lazy, do whatever we feel like doing whenever we feel like doing it. Although this break hasn’t dampened his progress with speech and some areas of learning, it has brought up other issues. 


Eli has always been an emotional kid, he is very dramatic. He can give you the highest of highs and lowest of lows. One behavior I noticed that has started since moving back is wanting to hug when he senses he is in trouble. When asked to pick something up, stop doing something, get down, get up, use the bathroom- he immediately asks for a hug as if that will cancel out whatever he was supposed to do. When I reject his hug he turns the tables on me with a “how dare you not hug your son” tantrum. He’s good. 


Eli has always been very active but moving from a warm state to a cold state is a hard transition. Eli loves snow just as much as he loves the beach but there’s more work involved when wanting to play outside in the snow so we don’t do it a whole lot. Which leaves us indoors. Cabin fever does not look good on Eli. By the end of the day he is bouncing off the walls and I am just itching for spring so I can just throw his behind out in the backyard all day. But because of all this pent up energy, his listening skills are next to nothing. He does follow instructions when in a good mood. When he is too hyper or emotional it is nearly impossible to follow commands. This can be said for any child during the winter months I’m sure. But I like when Eli is in therapy because even when he is hyper, his therapists have their ways of making him listen. 


It’s not always his energy levels that causes his listening skills to diminish. It’s my authority. Because dad is gone, Eli (as all military children do, I assume) feels as though he can get away with more because mom is in charge. Dad yells deeper than mom, he spanks harder than mom, and is less likely to cave than mom. Mom is just a big old softy who lets me do whatever I want! He’s not completely wrong. Anybody got tips for this one?
Once we can get Aba up and running I feel like we will start to be like our old selves again. Especially because spring is just around the corner! But all this being said Eli is still one of the sweetest kids you’ll ever meet. He plays great with others, behaves (for the most part) around company, and his happiness is infectious. 

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Bad mom

For some reason people always want to put on a perfect persona for others. Humans have a tendency to always want to appear to have their lives together even when they don’t. I am guilty of this, everyone is at some point I’m sure. Though I do this from time to time, I am also honest of the fact that, my life is often a mess. I’m crabby, tired, rude, lazy, annoyed. I make mistakes, I forget things, My child goes Berserk sometimes, who cares! Life is messy. I wanted to have a fun blog this week and the first thing that came to mind was how I can sometimes be a bad mom. Not a bad mom like I forget my kid in the car all day or leave steak knives lying around the house. A bad mom in the sense that sometimes I can be a little bit of a lying jerk. 

Examples:

1)


“I’m sorry buddy it’s broken. No mama can’t fix it. Nope nope it’s broken forever” 

Am I the only parent that pretends a toy is actually broken simply because I don’t feel like fixing it for the 100th time that day? I mean.. I’ve told you over and over don’t bend it that way. Now it’s gone forever (but not really)

2)


“I guess we’re all out of cheetos…”

Ok I know other moms do this. When all your child wants is snacks so you have to hide them to force them into actually eating something healthy….

3)


“Nope… paw patrol isn’t on Eli. Let’s just watch a lifetime movie”

No Eli. I don’t want to watch the pups save the baby sea turtles for the millionth time. And since you can’t read… looks like we don’t have any taped at the moment. 

4)


“You don’t have any more cereal. I know buddy, I’m not sure where it all went… you must have eaten it all. Pick another kind.” (Me 30 minutes earlier…👇)


5)


“No we can’t go outside today. It’s too cold. If we go outside we’ll freeze and turn into ice”

This one is probably mean, depriving my son of outdoor activity. But man some days I just don’t feel like spending 20 minutes getting us all bundled up for maybe 20-30 minutes of outside play then we’re all wet and cold and crying. 

In my opinion there’s no such thing as a perfect parent. We all aren’t happy go lucky, go with the flow everyday. Everyone at some point lie or trick their kids. Whether it’s believing in santa clause, getting them to eat their vegetables or if you just simply don’t have energy for their shit. Bad Parents unite!

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Making it Click

It’s a struggle to get Eli interested in learning. Every child is different so there isn’t a one size fits all for learning. You can read blogs, ask a doctor, get advice from friends and family; but at the end of the day what works for others may not work for yours. Eli started making progress over the past 7 months and I can say it’s from finding the one thing that just made it click for him. We would try countless things with no progress then we found the one that worked and BAM he was hooked. Let me give some examples. 
1. Talking. Eli obviously didn’t talk the first three years of life. When we started his therapy trifecta (speech, OT, and ABA) he started with some basics “hi, bye, mama, daddy, etc). But when speech introduced him to Kaufman cards- he took off. It changed how we were introducing these words to him and making it easier for him to say. These cards have different stages on how to have the child pronounce the word from baby speak to correct pronunciation. Since introducing these cards he went from maybe 15 words to over 200. 

2. Reading. Along with talking, I could not get Eli to sit down and read a book with me until just recently. He had no patience to listen to boring stories. He could get talked into doing a couple interactive books if they had flaps or windows to open. Then 1-2 months ago while trying to get him to sleep I asked if he wanted to read a book and he surprisingly said yes. I grabbed 5 little monkeys jumping on the bed. He was instantly hooked. We read it every night for a week. Soon he was saying the lines himself. After that he started getting into cloudy with a chance of meatballs because he had seen the movies. Now he HAS to have stories before bed and he’ll beg for more when I’m finished. 

3. Music. Eli never paid attention to music much before. I could count on one hand how many times I saw him dance until recently. He never sang and rarely danced. He never paid music in general much attention. Until November when we went to see the trolls movie. He fell IN LOVE. He loves everything trolls. But more than anything he loved the music. One day he asked to watch the movie but it obviously wasn’t out on DVD yet since it was still in theatre. So I asked if he just wanted to listen to music? I found the soundtrack on YouTube and then every day on the way to and from school we had to listen to “poppy song”. When we listen to it at home he dances nonstop and sings along to the words! This little boy who just started talking 6 months ago has memorized works to a song and sings them out loud. I am blown away​

For us it’s just a game of trial and error until we find something that just makes it click for Eli. He just needs one thing that makes it interesting or easier and he flourishes. Now I just need to find the thing that makes potty training click for him!

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Another long break

Another long break for me. We packed up our house and moved across the country to the blistering cold and snow. We spent Christmas with my family and Eli and I are saying goodbye to his dad in two days as he sets off for a military adventure. During his time away we will be staying in Michigan. It’s nice to be home with family but it is SO MUCH WORK to transfer all of Eli’s therapies over. He is going to have a long gap before he will start any type of therapy and preschool. I was worried that he would regress in this time but so far that is the complete opposite.

Since I last posted Eli has jumped up to at least 200 words. He spells his name in sign language and loves to spell it for anyone who asks him. He started writing letters independently (some, not all yet). After 3 years of trying to get him into books he finally loves them. He has to get at least three stories before bed time, once those three are read he will ask for “three more story?” and god forbid if you tell him no he will cry and tell you his “heart is broken.”

This was the first holiday that Eli actually understood. Until now he didn’t see holidays, birthdays, or parties as any different type of occasion. This year he understood that Christmas was coming up, what Christmas was, and he actually opened presents. Before he never had any interest in opening past birthday or Christmas presents. However, this year he tore through them all.

When we come back to Michigan Eli has a lot more friends. His best friend is his cousin McKenzie. When they saw each other for the first time they couldn’t be more excited. They hadn’t skipped a beat and played together like they were never apart. We have a lot of opportunity for playdates here so I’m not that worried about his social skills regressing.

One we jump through all the hoops and get his new therapies set up we will fall back into a full schedule. Until then, however, we will be enjoying our lazy life. I, for one, am enjoying the break. Its nice to not always be on the move. I don’t even have to get out of pajamas most days. For now, this is the life.