Why We Decided to Study Human Anatomy

Just like most moms, I’m concerned about what my kids eat.   My kids are very picky eaters, due in large part to sensory issues.  This year, in my effort to encourage D to eat healthier, I have been trying to educate him about what his body needs to stay healthy and strong.  D is unusual in that he rarely accepts any information at face value.  Even if that information came from a reliable source, like his mother.  He even checks the freezer when I tell him we are out of his favorite Taquitos that he loves for lunch.

So, I knew that in order for him to truly and completely understand why it was important for him to eat fewer sweets and more veggies, he was going to need more from me than words.

That’s when I decided we needed a unit on human anatomy.

The Amazing Human Machine Book
The Amazing Human Machine Book

The biggest draw about this book wasn’t just the price tag, but also the ‘see-through body system cards.’  D is highly visual and relies heavily on pictures to solidify his understanding of text.  I liked being able to hand him the cards as I’m reading the text for better understanding.  The text in this book is also just about right for my boys, who sometimes struggle with issues regarding attention spans.  I also follow up our reading with a hands on activity.

I was pretty content with how things were going until I saw this:

Survive! Inside the Human Body
Survive! Inside the Human Body

I obsessed over this book for several weeks before purchasing it.  I knew it would be perfect for D.  The comic book format is eye-catching and fits well with an avid reader who struggles with books that have too much text.  The anime style facial expressions he would find very funny and entertaining.

I finally ordered the book and it came this past weekend.  D and I have already had our first ‘big, juicy conversation’ about what the gut needs to stay healthy and how the nervous system controls our digestive system.  I’ve ordered the next book and am looking forward to more conversations.  These intense conversations are key to my knowing he’s grasping the material and they happen often when he’s engaged and learning.

 

I also ordered A this Melissa and Doug Set.  I will warn you that it has both male and female anatomically correct pieces, but I thought it would be perfect for him to play with and exchange the pieces while I am teaching and it is.

While the material and learning is coming right along, the eating is still a work in progress.  Between the normal, natural pickiness of a kid and the sensory issues it’s an uphill battle, but one I am simply determined to make regular progress on.  There are several new foods we’ve happily added to our repetoire since we started challenging some of the kids food issues about a month ago.

Thank you for visiting!  I hope to see you next time!

Becky

What Executive Function Issues Look Like In Our Homeschool

 

D studying statistics on his own.
D studying statistics on his own.

D is a very bright child.   He comprehends most of our science, history, and social studies very quickly and is ready to move on before I am.  But, due to executive function issues related to his Autism, he has some trouble in a few surprising areas. In fact, the reason we homeschool him is due to his sensory and executive function issues.

Executive Function is like the conductor if your brain is a train.  Executive Function controls where you go, how you get there and what time.  Executive Function controls working memory, multitasking and organizing.  When he is having trouble in these areas, he can get frustrated and angry.  We have to work through these emotions and keep trying.  These are the areas he struggles in the most.

Math

D does not have any trouble at all with mathematical concepts.  He learns those rather quickly.  The problem comes when he is asked to memorize addition and subtraction facts.  Memorization is a problem for him.  That’s because the executive function area of the brain controls working memory.  In order to memorize something, you have to hold on to it in working memory long enough to send it to permanent storage memory.  D cannot do that.  It slips away too quickly.  So, when doing a page of addition and subtraction, each problem is new to him.  Since he cannot hold on to the addition facts long enough, he must start over with each consecutive problem, and if he has a lot of them he gets frustrated.  Unfortunately, math curriculums do not take executive function issues into account.  Most of them expect him to memorize math facts in a short amount of time.  D can memorize, but it takes him much, much longer.  At the end of 2nd grade, we still use an abacus much of the time in math.

Reading

D is an advanced reader.  He is a voracious reader.  He reads all the time.  Still, this is an area also where executive function affects us.  D taught himself to read at the age of 5.  But now, in 2nd grade, when a lot of children are moving on to advanced chapter books, D still struggles with books that have no pictures.  That’s again because of the working memory and multitasking issues of executive function.  Without pictures to remind him of where he is in the story, he must fully rely on his working memory, which is faulty, at best.  He must multitask by reading each word and still holding on to the memory of what is currently happening in the story, plus what has already happened.  I am also convinced he thinks in pictures, so he has to translate the words into pictures in order to understand it.  Since I am beginning to get a handle of his struggles, I have started to act out the books we are reading.  If the book has an associated movie, we watch it.  If not, after each chapter we perform a short,  dramatic skit.  The jury is still out, but I am hopeful that this will help cement the events of the story in his mind.

20150107_100155

STEM

In our homeschool, we do a weekly STEM project.  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  It looks like building, creating and putting things together.  We have built robots, put LEGOs together and solved brain teasers.  Once again, executive function issues can interfere with his learning.  Solving problems is a job done by the executive function area of the brain.  Solving problems also requires multitasking.  If the STEM challenge is too difficult, it can cause frustration and anger, but STEM is very helpful to help him learn how to problem solve.  As both his mom and his teacher, I have to stretch him a little most days.  Not to the point of frustration and anger, but enough so that he can learn some coping skills for the weaker areas that he struggles with.

 

Some of the ways I’ve been trying to increase his working memory is going to the grocery store, where I challenge him to remember 2 items from our list.  Narration during reading, where we go back over the chapter and highlight the big events of the book.  We use a schedule, both to help him remember what we need to do that day and as a strategy against time wasters.  I’ve implemented a Morning Meeting, where we can discuss our day and go over the schedule.  That way he knows what we need to accomplish and whether there are any ‘away from home’ type tasks, like appointments or errands.

What about you?  Do you have a child with executive function problems?  Do you have any strategies that have worked for you?  I’d love to hear them!

Becky

5 Tips for a Successful Haircut with a child with Autism or SPD

8718509441_f5d5ed3ac2_o

As anyone who is familiar with Autism or SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder), getting haircuts is TORTURE, both for the kids and for the parents.   It’s a chore that has to be done, but it’s really hard for all involved.  I’ve seen stylists chase kids all over the salon, cut hair while the child is laying on the floor and drive for hours for desperate parents whose sole desire is for a drama free haircut.  But for these kids, the entire experience is a nerve wrenching experience that is, at best, tolerated and, at worst, full-on battle mode.

For some reason, my husband and I lucked into just the right situation, in just the right place, with just the right barber.  After a few years to think about it, I think I understand why.  So, I’m blogging about what I learned.  If these tips help you in any way, I’d love for you to comment and tell me.   So, here’s my suggestions to help with easier haircuts for these kids.

 

  1.  Pick the right place.

All salons and barbershops are the same, right?  Nope!  In the early days I had varying degrees of success with salons and the stylists there.  They range from bad to terrible, mostly.  One stylist wanted me to instruct my 2 year old to “stay perfectly still” or she could not cut his hair.  Needless to say, we didn’t get his haircut that day.  The most successful haircuts we’ve had have been at a barbershop, not a salon.  The old-fashioned barbershop.  One guy with a pair of scissors and one barber chair.   From a child’s point of view, it makes perfect sense.  No murmur of voices from other customers.  No blowdryers or electric razors.  This is the ideal place.  Most large cities and small towns have a barbershop somewhere.

2.  Pick the right person.

We’ve had the most success with barbers and stylists who have been perfecting their craft for years and have extensive experience dealing with children.  The stylist I mentioned earlier was a very young lady who probably didn’t have a lot of experience dealing with children.  The barber we use regularly has owned his shop for years.   His name is Jose.  Jose knows D is unable to keep himself from wiggling.  In fact, D wiggles with every snip of the scissors.  Once, when Jose wasn’t there and we had another barber, it didn’t go as well.  The right barber is critical.

3.  Pick the right haircut.

We don’t have to cut our kids hair as often.  Perhaps once every 4 months or so.  D’s hair doesn’t grow as much.  A’s hair is very curly.  So, with both kids we get it cut very, very short for several reasons.  First, and most importantly, neither boy cares much for haircuts, but for D they are especially hard.  Getting it very short cuts down on the number of times they have to tolerate this experience.  Still, D will ask “Are you done yet” half a dozen times before he’s finished.  We can grow it out quite a bit before we have to cut it again.  Another reason is that my husband usually takes off work to get their hair cut.  He doesn’t want to have to do that very often.  The reason why he takes off leads me right to the next tip.

4. Pick the right time and day.

It is incredibly inconvenient to have to take a day off work to get your kids’ haircut, but it may be absolutely necessary for these kids with sensory issues.  What my husband and I discovered was that the less time D had to wait for a haircut, the more successful that haircut was.  Long wait times contributed to rising anxiety about the entire experience and set us up for meltdowns and failure.  Once we realized that, we began to plan to take him in the early afternoon, before the shop got busy with other customers.  More customers also increases the amount of ambient noise, which contributes to sensory defensiveness.  So, we go during the week and in the early afternoon, before most folks are getting off of work.

webpic

5.  Pick the right parent.

For some of you single parents, this may not be an option, but choosing which parent to take the child is a definite consideration.  In the early days, my husband took my son because at times he had to hold him still.  He would hold our son on his lap and hold his head still.  I haven’t been strong enough to do that for a long, long time.  Also, some children prefer the clippers and some prefer scissors.  You will have to try each to see what they tolerate better.  One of my boys prefers scissors and one prefers the clippers.  All of them, including my husband, need to come home and change their shirt.  My husband sometimes even showers.

 

No matter what you try, it will be difficult in the beginning.  All new things are difficult for kids with Autism.  I believe it is important for us to try to understand and work within their sensory issues.  I’d love for you to let me know if these tips helped you at all.  Leave me a comment and share your favorite stories!

Becky

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/43424851@N08/8718509441″>Vintage barbershop pole sign</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

The Practice of Grace

Building a home isn't easy.
Building a home isn’t easy.

 

    The reality of homeschooling can be overwhelming at times.  I won’t lie about that.  I think that’s true for all of us who homeschool.  Simply put, it’s enormous responsibility.  Add in the ‘extras’ of being a mom, wife, cleaning and cooking and you wind up with quite a big load for one person.  Now, imagine doing ALL of that with a chronic illness.  

Daily pain and discomfort is a reality for some of us.

I consider myself one of the fortunate ones.   My asthma is well controlled for the most part.  My fibromyalgia and IBS is managed by diet and vitamins.  Most days my goals are met.  My housekeeping goals are broken down to 1 to 2 loads of laundry per day and one housekeeping chore.  Needless to say, it has become important to conserve my energy.  Most days I keep up with it all:  Housekeeping, cooking, homeschooling, being a mom and being a wife.  It all goes fine until there’s a cold or virus.

A virus brings the normal misery and then some.  First, there’s the usual symptoms, then there’s the fibro flare.  Pain, radiating from the small of my back, then throughout my body bringing with it fatigue and sensitivity to cold and heat.  I won’t lie.  It’s absolute misery.  It brings a halt to all but the basics.  The basics in this house?  Homeschooling:  the 3 Rs, Home:  basic maintenance (picking up, laundry and floors), Cooking:  Anything that is quick and easy.

Unfortunately, the fibromyalgia doesn’t affect my vision.  So, I see all the dirt piling up.  The floor in desperate need of cleaning.  The bathroom.  Oh, my.  The bathroom.  It would be so easy in this moment to believe that I am just terrible at this whole mom thing.  It is so easy to give in to the despair and the depression.

But this is where the PRACTICE of Grace comes in.

Because, you know, you won’t be any good at something you don’t practice, right?  So you tell yourself the things you would tell your BFF if she was in this SAME POSITION.

It’s okay.  It’s not like this is an everyday event.  This is temporary.  You will fix it when you feel better.  You’re allowed to be sick sometimes.  You’re not Super Mom.  You can do it, but just not all at once.  You’re not a bad person or a bad mom just because the floor is a little dirty.  The kids are happy, isn’t that what really matters?

My house at better times.
My house at better times.

I continue in this same uplifting self talk, until I feel better about my situation.  As a mom, it is so very important not to let myself slip into despair.  The cost to my house is huge.  Despair will tear down what I have built up.  It is the thief who is here to destroy.  Despair has a cost that a dirty floor doesn’t have.  The two just can’t compare.

Grace is a practice.  Just like we have to practice drawing or piano, you must practice Grace for yourself and others.  The dictionary defines Grace as being goodwill and mercy.  It is important to be merciful on ourselves, as well as our kids.  Practice Grace today for yourself.  Be merciful to you.  Be kind to you.

 

Becky

 

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/126581270@N08/15076010253″>Ephesians 2:8-9</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Truths About Parenting That Don’t Work In My Home

In an Autism household things are just different.  I like to say that we have a completely different reality from most folks.  Every once in awhile something happens that drives that idea home.  It usually upsets me because most of the time I like to think we are pretty average.  But the truth is that we are not average.  We are Autism.  Since we are Autism, some rules or truths simply don’t apply here.  Like this one:

 

20141206_141553

1.  Punishment Corrects Behavior.

Definitely not true for us.  I have to work diligently for months, sometimes years, to erase bad habits and poor behavior.  Punishment initially results in lots of push back and poor behavior outbursts.  At one time, I dreaded punishing because I knew it would result in lots of negative behavior outbursts.  Our entire day would be ruined.  This is because of something in Autism we call splitting.  My son is not able to distinguish between a mistake and being a “bad kid.”  Punishment tells him he is a bad kid, and he reacts the way he believes a bad kid would react.

2.  Teach a Child to Love the Rules.

I almost laugh at this one.  A parent actually told me this one.  In my home, my children are taught to obey the rules in spite of the fact that they don’t like or agree with them.  My children, especially my oldest, vocalizes often that he would rather be an adult and in charge of himself.  He has strong objections to both the rules and those who wish him to obey them.  He doesn’t mind telling you this.  I have no illusions to my parenting capability, and cannot imagine what it would take to teach him to love the rules.    I honestly don’t believe it’s possible.

3. Use God as the “heavy.”

I see and hear of parents asking questions of their children like, “What would God/Jesus want you to do?”  The children give appropriately meek responses like sharing, cooperating, etc.  Every time I try to use that God gets the same response as the people in his life that are wanting him to change.  This last time he threatened to stab God with a pencil if he tried to make him do something.  This is a child who was raised in church.   Once past my surprise, I have to believe God can handle a few threats from an 8 year old, even though I’d rather not make this a daily habit.  So I save the WWJD for bracelets and t-shirts.

These are a few things that work for most parents.  This advice is meaningful for most.  I have even attempted all of these and more that simply didn’t work.  D is difficult and unique and wonderful and intense.  He needs a special touch.  I am grateful that I’ve found some things that DO work for us.  I’ll outline those in my next post.

 

 

 

An Authentic Response to Despair

I’ve been in a quest for authenticity.  Within myself and how I respond to others.  I desire to respond in truth and love.  I want to put my whole self out there.  I want others to know I’ve been there.  I’ve been in the depths of despair.  I’ve visited the pinnacle of pain.  I’ve built the bastions of bitterness.  I’ve camped out at the Altar of Anger.   And there are days I still do.  So, I desire for us who are in Christ and of Christ to put aside the pat answers:

“The Lord never gives you more than you can handle.”

“The Lord works in mysterious ways.”

“It must have been God’s will.”

15593114028_938a8d4962_b

And respond instead with the truth and the times in our life when we’ve been in pain.  I had a friend share with me tonight that she’s in despair.  Instead of giving a pat answer I shared with her my painful thoughts during my times of despair:

“Lord, this is too much.  I can’t handle this.”

“Lord, you’ve made a mistake.”

“Lord, I’m angry with you!”

I told my friend that I absolutely believe we are given more than we can handle at times.  I told her that I didn’t believe any of my thoughts were sins.  After all, He is God!!!  He made me.  He created me!  He knows me better than ANYONE!!  He made me the way I am and then put me in a situation that caused pain.  Who better to express that pain to?  Who am I supposed to share my bitterness and anger with other than the VERY ONE WHO MADE ME?  I have said it before and I will say it again.

 

My God is big enough to handle my emotions.  

He is big enough for my pain, my fear, my doubts and my anger.  I share them with Him first.  We are not doing anyone any favors by pretending we have all the answers.  I certainly don’t.  I don’t have any idea why my friend is going through her trials.  She, quite frankly, has been through enough.  God already know how she feels.  Why try to hide?  Why go to someone else?  He already knows.  Because He knows her heart.

I believe shared pain is better than pat answers.  I’ve never lost a child.  But I cannot imagine what I would do if someone were to tell me that it was God’s will that my child had died.  The loss of any loved one is a terrible thing.  I can only imagine what the loss of a child is like.  The last thing that person needs is a pat “christian” answer.  “I don’t know why this happened to you” is a perfectly acceptable thing to say under painful circumstances.

We all need to know we are not alone.  We need to build a community.  In our homes and in our churches.  We need to shed the mask of who we are not and reveal who we really are.  To promote unity.  To build confidence.  To shed light.  If we really desire to be the light of the world then we must be authentic.

Love,

Becky

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/44535011@N07/15593114028″>Weeping Alone</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

From Brokenness to Redemption

Sometimes I wonder how I got here.  Sometimes I wonder about God’s ability to use me.  He insists He can use all of us.  Even me.  I can’t help but scratch my head at that.  It’s beyond my ability to comprehend.  Redeemed?  Me?  But…Lord, why?  My sins are multiple and compounded:

A judgemental attitude.

Affair with a married man.

Child out of wedlock.

Covetousness.

Anger issues.

I could go on and on.  I open my life and show my brokenness to the world and instead of the judgement I expect I get love.  I get love and support.  It’s simply beyond my comprehension.

How do you get from brokenness to redemption?

Have you ever arrived at a destination not remembering how you got there?  This is like that.  I remember bits and pieces, but I marvel that I’m here.  I’m amazed.

I’m simply amazed.  It’s unbelievable what He can do.  He can repair the broken.  He can lift the fallen.  He can give strength to the weary.  And he’s done all that for me.  As a young mom I said to myself nearly every day:

You don’t have to be stellar.  It’s okay just to survive.  Just keep going.

Motherhood is HARD.  If anyone ever tells you different they are LYING to you.  Motherhood is hard for all of us.  For those of us with a child that has Autism it is slightly harder.  I’ve fallen apart so many times over being a momma.  Each time, God knits me back together again.  Until the day I realized I couldn’t do it without Him.  I simply can’t do this motherhood thing without Him.  It’s impossible.

Let’s face it.  I can’t do LIFE without Him.  So my failure is His glory.  That’s how it works.  And suddenly you wake up one morning and you’ve been redeemed and people tell you that you’re inspirational.  You’re like

Wait!  What?

Because all you remember is the brokenness.  You still remember the pain of the sin and loss of trust.  You still remember being on your knees, crying, telling God you couldn’t do this.  You still remember anger and a hand raised.  You remember all of the brokenness.

5482313271_37e81e9179_b

That’s the miracle of redemption.  Sometimes it’s a storm when life gets hard, but mostly it’s a soft, gentle rain.  A knowing.  A voice whispering in your ear

It’s okay.  I got this.

You wake up one morning and you realize it.  It just hits you.  People understand brokenness because they’re broken too.  

Wow.  Who knew?

It’s not behaving like a perfect Christian that saves souls.  It’s showing them our brokenness.  It’s showing them how much God can restore.  What He can do if you rely on Him.

15054388294_dae9eeb9ce_b

So how do you get from brokenness to redemption?

Only with the power and love of a risen savior.

Becky

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/48503330@N08/5482313271″>Escaped Souls</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Don’t Discount the Cost of Sin

As a parent of a child with Autism, my son makes frequent social mistakes.  Sometimes terribly personal social mistakes.  D frequently walks down the middle of a hallway, forcing others to jump to the wall to avoid running into him.  He has no filter and at times calls people “fat” or “old.”  As his parent I have to call him on his mistakes, autism or no autism and I do.  I explain why his behavior is wrong.  I tell him he needs to apologize.  Most people are kind people.  Frequently, they say the words, “It’s okay.  It’s okay.”  Probably thinking they are doing us a favor.

They are not.

Since his behavior wasn’t socially acceptable, then it wasn’t “okay.”  By giving him an out you discount the cost of his behavior and make it more difficult for me to teach him appropriate ways of dealing with the world.  D is like all of us and would much rather have an excuse for his current behavior than change.

This mama doesn’t give excuses.

I’m not in the excuse-making business.  Not even for myself.  I got pregnant with D on purpose and without his father’s consent.  I almost lost the relationship as a result.  I didn’t, but there’s always, always a cost to sin.  And I don’t mean on judgement day.  There’s a real, personal cost to sin.  For all of us.

For D, discounting the cost of his poor judgement means it’s more difficult to make connections with people.  His ability to make connections with others is crucial.  It’s generally the reason we are successful at business, have friends, and stay in long-term relationships.  My dream for him is that he finds someone that loves him as much as I do.  That dream is lost if he doesn’t understand his mistakes and doesn’t try harder.  So no, It’s really not “okay.”

14828527245_55c8c377a9_b

There’s always a cost to sin.  The cost to D is loss of a dream and a good job.  The cost to me was the loss of trust in my relationship to his father.  If I discount the cost, then I’m in danger of repeating the sin.  We always want to make everything okay, but it encourages us to sin when we do that.  We WANT to believe that we live in a gray world, but God sees sin as black and white.

Sometimes the cost of our sin is manifested in others.  Choosing poorly in relationships can mean absent fathers and broken-hearted children.  Sometimes it means bitter fights and custody battles.  The sin of poor choices affects ALL of us at one point in time or another.  We ALL make poor choices at times in our lives.  But, I believe, that if we acknowledge our sin then the chance of repeating that sin is lessened.  The  problem is that it’s easier to discount it.  Make excuses.  Blame genetics.  Make it about someone else.

Don’t make excuses.  Don’t discount the cost.  Acknowledge the full weight of sin.  Count ALL the cost of it.   So that we can grow in our faith and encourage each other.

 

Becky

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/122594368@N03/14828527245″>3 Keys for a Healthy Conversation</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

The Growing of Boys

I’m losing my boys.  Slowly and surely, they’re slipping from my grasp little by little.  I can do nothing but watch it happen.  It is as inevitable as the tide.  What is happening has happened to millions of other mamas as well.  It’s part of the growing of boys.

When they were little they needed me to nurture them.  To take care of them.  I was the source of food, comfort and sleep.  Their day ran on a clock that I wound.  I thrilled to their need.  I smiled at their discomfort and sleepiness.  I knew I was the only one who could fix it.  I was the one who soothed them.  Fed them.  Rocked them to sleep.  Dressed them. Took them out to see the world.  Played with them.

daniel 009

 

But they are boys.  And boys grow to be men.  That means us moms have to let go.  It’s time for someone else to take over.  It’s time for the one in the house to take over to teach them to be a man.  Since I’m not a man it can’t be me.

It has to be a man.  A good man.  A strong man.  A man who can show them how to protect their mom.  How to tell the truth.  How to stand up for what they believe in.  How to look out for each other.  How to walk.  How to talk.  What to say.  How to tell what’s important in this life.  It’s their dad.

They are blessed with a good one.  He’s honest, good and upright.  He’s faithful and walks with integrity.  He’s gentle, kind and helpful.  He’s all they will need to teach them.  Guide them.  Show them how to be a man.

He’s necessary.  Dad’s are necessary.  Even in this day and age.  Especially in this day and age.  Rampant divorce means nothing to a child.  ‘Unreconcilable differences’ is meaningless to a boy who needs his dad.  His presence is vital to the boys’ psyche.  There’s no alternative to an involved dad.

IMG_0160

 

So, I’m losing my boys.  I’m okay with that.  They need their dad more than they need me.  Oh, they will still need me from time to time.  To dry their tears.  Bandage their boo boos.  Fix their snacks.  But from here on their dad will be teaching them how to be man.  That’s a good thing.  I get to sit back and be a proud mom.  Because if they’re anything like their dad, they’ll be a good man.

Becky

Autism and Independence

D is now 7, and the list of things he should be able to do for himself is growing.  I am grateful of all the things he does independently.  It’s been a long, tough battle, but D brushes his own teeth with toothpaste every single morning.  Not without asking.  Not without me preparing the toothbrush and making sure it gets done, but toothbrushing for us has been a 3 year arduous battle.  I’ve been in his face more times than I can count, alternately yelling and coaxing.  At times, I’ve had to give up and do it myself.  But for the most part I won. My reward came last week when the dentist told us zero cavities and I’m doing a wonderful job with him.

3boys

D can dress himself and put on his own shoes and socks.  Once again, A long arduous battle ensued.  D didn’t want to dress himself and would deliberately mess it up, putting on shorts or his shirt wrong or backwards.  Anything to get me to do it for him.  D feels absolutely no need to be independent.  He would prefer for me to do it all for him, always. Requests for him to learn something new that promotes independence has always been a battle.  Self-care battles are daily excursions.

 

With pottying we are coming along.  He is almost completely independent, except that he won’t wipe.  We have been battling toileting for almost 2 years now.  We are still waging that battle, although his 1+ year continuous requests for a pullup are gone.  At this point, he realizes mama won’t give up or give in and he’s accepted the inevitable.  His occasional accident seems the result of carelessness or distraction.  Slowly, surely it gets better.  He has not had an accident in public in months.  It’s yet another thing that’s difficult.

It’s now time for him to learn to wash himself in the bathtub.  I’m hopeful that this battle won’t be quite as significant.  Our first foray night before last was successful.  D put up a token and half-hearted resistance.  It was obvious though he cared little about getting the dirt off and I imagine it will be months, at least, before I’m able to trust that he will wash well enough to remove the dirt.  I would try a shower, since his father has threatened him with one if he cannot stop getting water all over the floor, but I’m afraid that the sensory bombardment of water would prove way too distracting.  Plus, it would be difficult for me to watch to make sure he washes well.

A is now potty training as well.  He’s much easier, of course.  It’s been about 2 weeks and he’s about got it down.  He wears underwear most places.  Since he doesn’t have Autism he is much easier.  A wants to be independent and do it himself.  He is also delayed, though, so some things are still hard for him to do.  I still help occasionally with dressing, and brushing his teeth.  Still, it’s not the years long battle that I have with D and for that I’m eternally grateful.

Becky