Sunday, August 17, 2014

Abbott's Echo Lake Week

Abbott was the most surprising of all this last week. Abbott hasn't always been the biggest fan of water. Scared would be the best word. The first couple of days he hung out by the shore and played with the rocks and sand. By the third day he was swimming in the water pushing me away if I tried to help him. You'd often see him blabbing to himself as he drifted around. It was adorable.





At Mom and Dad's he had special time with everyone. Floated around with my Mom, played with my sister and Sang "row row row your boat" with my Dad.



He did great! I was so worried he'd resist the water the whole time, but he was as free as a bird!
I love you Echo Lake!!

Milo's Echo Lake Week


I think I went back and forth about going on this trip approximately 20 times before deciding that I would sacrifice my fun for Milo. I was sure he would die if I wasn't with him 24/7. If I thought that if I slept he'd die. I was sure I would hate the whole experience, and vow to never go again.

Sometimes I love being wrong (key word "sometimes")

Milo's Echo Lake experience was amazing. He ran into the water fully clothed the moment we got there, and basically never left the water besides for meal times and bed times. We would wake up, eat, I'd put his swim suit on, and we'd be in the water instantly... and that was basically his week.


Of course we took precautions. We brought all our door knob locks so he couldn't escape the house, and we put one on his door to his room so he couldn't get out during the night. Anytime he wasn't wearing a life jacket he was inside with someone. I definitely still worried and wondered where he was at all times, but I could actually watch him from shore while he swam with his floaty... something he couldn't do up until this point. Spending all day in a lake will do that to you.


We had one scare the whole trip. It was a bad one. We were all inside for dinner, no one was outside. A child left a side door that I couldn't see opened, and Milo slipped out. No one saw him leave. 2 minutes later he walked in the front door drenched from head to toe. I ran outside and noticed wet foot prints from the dock. We figured he ran out to the dock, went down the ladder (which is how he got in the water the entire time he was at the cabin) and after letting go quickly realized he was sinking and grabbed back onto it and climbed back out. I have a feeling it was scarier than that for him because I attempted to take him out into the water without his life jacket to see what he'd do and he flipped out and clung to me. I was one of the lucky ones this time around. I kept thinking "number one cause of death for children with autism is drowning" and suddenly it hit me that Milo could've easily been one of the dead kids on that ever growing list and I sobbed over and over.

The rest of the week went relatively smoothly. We went to visit my Mom and Dad for a short trip caused to be short because Milo pooped in the pool and they had to disinfect it for the rest of the day. We still had a great time though. He swam, had yummy lunch, Lindsay and her kids where there and so was my sister, Shannon. Looking back now I wish I'd have stayed! It felt too quick before we vanished back to the lake.

The only other trouble we had was Milo figuring out the child locks. It happened our last day there. I woke up at 6:30am to loud noises. I figured it was Milo in the laundry room (that's where we put him). I got up to give him his iPad so I could catch more sleep only to find him in the kitchen pulling a stool up to the snack cupboard.

crap.

This also happened to be when Brett got strep throat and was in bed all day. We left by 5pm to go back home. It was a crazy day, and Milo was starting to get sick too. That's the fun part of autism. Always be prepared to cut your trip down in seconds. We planned for two weeks and went for one. It was still great though. I just knew when it was enough. Brett was on his death bed, and Milo was running away at every moment, and sneezing on everything he could.

It was truly an amazing time, and I would be remiss if I didn't bring up how great everyone was with him. Someone was always there to help me if I needed it, and someone was always willing to play with him (which consisted of him pushing them into the lake over and over). I have to single out Jayna. She stayed with him for a solid hour allowing him to push her in the lake over and over. Waiting patiently when she needed to and helping him out at every moment. The other cousins saw what she was doing and let Milo do the same for them. It started a trend through the week where Milo would push anyone he could into the water and no one could say no to him so we'd all just jump in and watch him jump in after us... or I should say slowly climb down the ladder after us. It was so touching to watch everyone do their best with him through the week. It helped make this trip a massive success.






makes me wish we could stay there forever.I love you Echo Lake!


Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Music Room

I've been thinking a lot about childhood in general lately. How can I engage Milo in activities? How can I get him to desire something other than the TV or his iPad? I'm grateful for summer because I can just throw him in a pool for endless enjoyment, but what happens when summer is over? What happens when we're stuck inside because is 40 below? 

I've been attempting to find Milo's "thing" for the past 4 years with little success. Unless fruit snacks can be a thing. His therapists ask me this all the time "what does he love?"... I hate that question because I don't know. He could love pianos for all I know and I'd have zero idea. I usually say "water" and "words" and "music". What can I do about the water that I'm not already doing? He's in water every single day! With words I try to get him books, that he usually rips up, or I try to point them out when I can. Every time I try to read a book to him he covers his ears and screams. Music though... music I could take to a new level I think. 

It didn't occur to me until later in my childhood that not every person possesses a music room. I remember I was 10 and I was speaking to a friend about my music room, the piano and the karaoke machine, the microphones, and guitars, the recorders, the tambourine, and don't forget the ukelele. I asked her about what was in her music room and she gave me this confused look and explained that she didn't have one.

It blew my mind. 

At one point we literally had two music rooms. I'm not kidding. That was when I was much older and because my parents had intersecting music lessons to teach they naturally decided to buy 2 pianos and have 2 music rooms, it only makes sense. 

I've spoken before about my very musical childhood before, so I won't go into it, I'll just say that I'm so utterly grateful for it. Music is such a massive part of my life and I owe it all to my parents. I've decided that this means I need a music room in my current house. I sadly have nothing now, and I feel as though I would be depriving Milo of an amazing part of my life and all because of that blasted television. 

and this isn't just about having only a music room. This is the year of finding Milo's thing. I have to! I'm bombarded with endless articles about this autistic kid can do this and this autistic kid can do that, how amazing! I'm not saying I want my kid to be a genius, I just want him to love something more than the TV. If his thing was learning everything there was to know about vacuums I'd be happy and get him a vacuum room. I don't care. I just wish I could read his mind and know. 

Anyways... positive. This is the year. The year of finding Milo's thing! ...that sounds bad. How about "The year I find Milo's interest!". Better. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

This Is Our Autism

The popular phrase you hear a lot in the autism community is:

 "If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism". 

When Milo was younger I figured he couldn't possibly have autism because he loved being touched and hugged and kissed, didn't most autistic people hate being touched? I figured out over time just how true that popular phrase at the top was in my life.

Our autism is listening to Milo wake up at midnight and being grateful it wasn't 2 am this time. 

Our autism is watching Cinderella so many times that quoting the entire movie isn't a struggle.

Our autism is buying a giant shampoo cleaner because the poop smearing has happened enough times for it to be EXTREMELY worth the money. 

Our autism is flip flopping a million times whether we should go on a vacation "I don't think we should, but we should have the experience, but I don't want to ruin their house, but he really needs to have these opportunities, but what if he figures out their deadbolt?! but family needs to get to know him, but they're going to see just how horrible his diet is and I hate that, no we're not going... okay fine. no. yes. no. yes. "... that trip was not remotely worth it. 

Our autism is living in the water during the summer.


Our autism is explaining the difference between "potty trained" and "potty conditioned".


Our autism is having Milo play with my hair in the middle of the night and then suddenly realizing he's asleep with his fingers completely entangled in my hair.

Our autism is having our number one priority when he was diagnosed be getting his language up to speed, eating all his vegetables, making friends, and then have it transform rapidly to just wanting his happiness and nothing more. 

Our autism is being scared that people will judge him harshly and then be proven wrong time and time again. 

Our autism is going to appointment after appointment watching a therapist attempt to force Milo to do something that I know he won't/can't do and it pissing me off to no end.

 Our autism is picking your battles... and how that means something completely different to typical families.


Our autism is listening to Milo direct quote his television shows and beaming with pride because he's actually speaking when I probably should be disappointed that he watches that much TV. ...I'm not. :)

Our autism is watching Milo run around the house in only underwear, which is a giant step from the birthday suit he wore for 3 straight years. 

Our autism is watching his younger brother pass his language abilities.

Our autism is being grateful for all the couch snuggle time no matter how often I've watched toy story. 

Our autism is freaking out inside with excitement watching a typical child sit next to him cause they want to watch his iPad and Milo allowing it to happen. 

Our autism is realizing just how far he's come and finally finding happiness in this type of life. 

Our autism is weeping in the car on the way home from ...anything really. 

Our autism is stripping his room down to nothing because of his compulsive desire to tear everything apart. 

Our autism is watching Milo cover his ears in pain over something that you or I wouldn't blink at.

Our autism is being grateful that people are starting to realize he's special needs instead of a bad kid. 

Our autism is never wishing in a million years for it to be different... ask me again tomorrow and my answer might be different ;)


 This post is part of a collaborative effort to share "what does your Autism look like?" To read more or add your own, visit http://fourplusanangel.com/2014/07/this-is-our-autism/

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Beach Days

I mostly love beach days. I say that because it always seems like the packing and getting there is like a pioneer trek, and you wonder half way through why you thought it was a good idea and then when you get there it's awesome possum... aaannnnnd when you're packing and getting to the car it's back to the terrible death trek. I'm just going to go with "I love beach days".

Abbott finally loves water. I knew he'd come around to it eventually. He splashed and ran and dug and laughed and ate and splashed some more.

Milo was born to live in water forever. He loves water more than anything and he only left the water when I dragged him out and buried him in the sand, then he was back in it for good. I can honestly say this was probably the first time I've gone to a beach or pool type place and not felt extremely overwhelmed and it was amazing. Milo can float in the water now and it's made a MASSIVE difference on my anxiety level.

I love having fun.






Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Abbott Eating Grapes

I just had to post this on my blog. As soon as I took it I knew I wanted it printed out on my blog book at the end of the year. Enjoy not only seeing on facebook and instagram but also on my blog!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Abbott is 2

Well my baby is growing up and I almost can't believe it.

 Abbott is my shy guy. My timid guy. Always has been very cautious and very quiet. He found his voice finally this last month and uses sign language like crazy! I honestly sometimes can't figure out what he's trying to say to me he just throws his hands up and around and everywhere babbling and then gives me this look like "do you get it? Hello! Mom?? come on!". Or you just give me a look of disgust like this one below. 



You have this adorable high voice right now that sounds even more adorable when you're singing along to your favorite songs like itsy bitsy spider or popcorn popping. I would say your favorite thing right now is animals in general. You love ALL kinds of animals, but your favorite right now is tigers. Hence why you got three for your birthday from me, Auntie Karen and Auntie Jordana. You play with all of them all the time and your roar is always a whisper.
You're loving dogs right now too, but only real ones. Every. Single. Time you see a dog you go running at full Abbott speed towards it. You followed a dog around a splash park for quite a while one day. It was adorable. You're lucky he was a nice old dog that didn't mind you pulling at his ears because you've had a dog nip at you already!
Everyone says you're very quiet which I'm sure is due to how quiet our house is normally. You're always hanging around, playing in the corner or following some older kid around. I gave you your very first slurpee on Canada Day and you just quietly sat down by yourself and devoured the entire thing, no running around screaming with it, no spilling it, just silently consuming. It was adorable.
As the second child I feel like I'm so slow with teaching you anything, and I've found that you pick things up so quickly! Just the other day I heard you playing with these alphabet letters in the tub and you were naming each one! I don't at all recall sitting down with you naming each letter so where you picked it up is beyond me! I'm so proud of you. You're the best little brother for Milo too. You're always so patient and loving towards him. Never hitting, never stealing. You follow him around and keep your distant when you know you need to. I can already tell you'll be looking out for Milo in the future, you just seem to always know what to do with him already.
I love you so much Abbott! Happy 2nd birthday!