You Need to Separate From your Son

Prior to the diagnosis of Autism this past week, we met with Aj’s counselor. I say Aj’s counselor but really he helps my ex husband and I to move forward with Aj and occasionally he does play a game to interact with Aj, overall he is more there to ensure we are keeping up with the parenting techniques that work for Aj. While I will tell you that I would highly recommend Aj’s counselor, I was left feeling jaw dropped at an appointment we had about a month ago.

Here’s what happened…

On this particular visit the emotional connection between Aj and I was very prevalent in the room. The counselor noticed it, my ex husband noticed it and of course I noticed it. Aj was having a rough time this visit and needed to have a time out, a time out with Aj usually means to-be-restrained, because usually he will not handle sitting in a time out without the basketball hold restraint. It took everything out of me emotionally to watch as my ex husband restrained our son, I don’t like it. I always feel there has to be another solution to working through Aj’s frustrations with communication or redirection.  Yet I do realize restraining had become the only option up until that point because of the medications messing with our son.

This restraining situation is what pushed the next topic in the session …

The counselor told me that I had to separate that emotional connection I have with my son, because as I spoke about Aj tears began to form in my eyes, my heart was breaking for my son as I spoke to the counselor. Mind you, this was before the autism diagnosis and I was simply starting to feel lost, as if we would never find a good solution for my son to thrive. I understood what the counselor meant, but I don’t think he realized what I meant. You see, emotionally connected to Aj, means that we have this energy about us, we have this connection much unlike the connection I have with my other two children. While I love and connect with all three of my children, this particular connection between Aj and I is different, it feels almost spiritual.  I left that appointment feeling upset, angry and frustrated. I was upset that the counselor wasn’t really seeing that my emotional connection with Aj is more beneficial than harmful for my son.

Here’s what I’ve now realized about that emotional connection …

For one, I am the primary parental unit for my children, specifically with Aj I have been the one constant, meaning while he does have a relationship with his father and my fiance, I am the one who works from home, is here for all appointments and takes him to the appointments, goes to all events and is home 24/7 so it’s only natural that Aj has formed more of a connection or bond with me versus the type of bond he has with others he loves. Once I felt in my heart that Aj was on the spectrum, which happened within the past couple of months that he’s been medication-free, something changed in me. I started having more patience and I started being more aware of what works for Aj and I started to work with and for Aj versus trying to get him to adapt into what I felt he should be. While I am not that parent that pushes a child to be a certain way, I simply mean that Aj couldn’t adapt to the parenting ways that his siblings can, so I stepped back and started to adapt my parenting techniques to him. This decision to adapt to my son has made Aj thrive in ways he never has. In this past month I was able to convince Aj to attend THREE functions; Family Math Night, Family Literacy Night and The Library Arts Center Elementary Art Exhibit Show.

I would have never in a million years been able to convince Aj to go to any events. Aj has always been that kid who thrives on a rigid routine, when we arrive home from school there is no leaving the house again, without a fit. For me to use the emotional connection that I have with Aj as a way to gain trust in him to go outside of his comfort zone tells me that there is nothing wrong with the emotional connection Aj and I have. Aj is on the spectrum and he is going to be that connected to those who he has a bond with, plain and simple. If one were to try to separate that connection we have, it would be detrimental to his growth. Our emotional connection has allowed me to get Aj to go outside of his comfort zone, to try a few new things, to be open to the idea of small changes. While this is a lot of work using my words and tones to get him to come around and take part in extra events, I am willing to do that work if it means he is showing signs of advancement socially.

Aj didn’t last more than 30 minutes at Math Night, he only lasted 45 minutes at literacy night and the art show; but he wouldn’t have even gone into the van to leave just a few months ago without a fit of rage and me having to drag him to the van. To me, that is what our emotional connection has done for Aj. My emotional connection with my son and patient, loving, nurturing personality is what has allowed my son to thrive in more ways than he ever has in the past on medications. The gift of Mama’s love and encouragement has shown me that medicine isn’t always about popping a pill.

What Brings me Absolute Joy?

Each day I wake up to the same routine for two weeks in a row; Aj needs his specific morning routine and breakfast ready for him. My youngest needs his scrambled eggs or toast or cereal whatever he finally decides upon after 15 minutes of being indecisive. My daughter, the eldest of three, wakes up groggy but always has a slight smile on her face when she gets a hug from Mama. Each morning I wake up to children happy, healthy and thankful for their Mama who wakes up each day bringing them joy, but what I get in return is nothing money can buy.

February Vacation with my Kids

Each day I get a new perspective on life, as I am working to ensure Aj’s day goes as planned, that there isn’t any kinks to offset him before school to get him frustrated. Each day I wake up ensuring each child’s needs are met, for when my children’s needs are met, so are mine.

My job is Mom.

Being a Mom has brought me absolute joy. Being a Mom has brought tears to my eye. Being a Mom has left me tired at an early hour. Being a Mom has left me wondering, “am I doing this right?!” Being a Mom has opened my eyes to the world through children. Being a Mom has brought me absolute joy.

When I can begin each day with hugs, kisses and I love yous and end each day the same; that to me is my success story.

What Brings me Absolute Joy?

It doesn’t matter what falls in between; the normal chaos of raising a middle child who thrives on his day to go as planned and structured the same each day while also juggling his two siblings that are more free spirited like their Mama. It doesn’t matter how drained I can feel at times and want to curl up and cry over the fact that my middle child is struggling. You see, my middle child may be struggling but he doesn’t see it that way. My middle child sees himself as a loved boy, with parents who adore him and work hard to ensure his life is lived to the fullest. My other children see a brother who struggles but is a joy to play hide and seek with or pretend play MineCraft or Sonic. My family sees each of us for the love we have together, because together we bring each other absolute joy.

This is my happy place, my safe zone and it is also that for my children. So when asked what brings me absolute joy, my reply is simple;

Being a Mother.

More About School Vacation Week – Fun with my Family

School Vacation Week Is Nearing an End

Look at that little goofy boy there! My five year old son is the family comedian, always the laughing one in our household. K-man loves to make us laugh with his goofy antics, this is him during the magic carpet rides we gave during school vacation.

Magic Carpet Ride – Indoor fun for all kids and a great workout for parents arms – lay a blanket down on a slippery floor, have children (1-2 depending upon size) sit or lay on blanket and pull it around house. It’s so much fun! Guaranteed some laughs.

School Vacation Week Is Nearing an End

I had a great day one day this past week when I made pasta salad and grilled cheese sandwiches for my three kids plus my daughter’s best friend who had slept over. Many talk about stay at home moms not being as fulfilled as those who work outside of the home but this particular day I noticed something about my feelings, while cooking in the kitchen for the kids;

While cooking away in the kitchen, slaving over the stove & hearing the kids laugh and chat in the living room, I felt a warm feeling in my heart. I felt so completely fulfilled in that moment; that one moment made me realize why it is I work from home, because no job outside of the home could ever give me that heart felt warm feeling I experienced in the kitchen that day.

 School Vacation Week Is Nearing an End

We enjoyed a lot of silly moments this week and I am blessed to have such a close knit relationship with all of my children. I enjoyed our mother/daughter day on Tuesday. My daughter and I spent a full day together without the boys, which was long needed. I shall write about that day later. My youngest loves climbing on me, but he forgets that I am his Mama, not his Daddy, and a bit more fragile. A lot of unplanned fun unfolded this week and for that I am truly thankful to have experienced.

Allowing my kids to be who they are and embracing them as individuals really helps us to enjoy each other on a deeper level. Each of my children are so different than the other but together we are a match meant to be. I am blessed to be able to be their Mama.

School Vacation Week Is Nearing an End

Jenny the Pug had some fun too, she must have been slightly lost because of all this activity during the week. Jenny usually spends her weekdays with me working from my desk while she sleeps but even Jenny enjoyed having the kids home this past week for some family together time.

This week has reminded me that I am meant to be a Mom, it’s the one job in this world I have held since working at age 13 that I feel more fulfilled in that any other job I held in my life. Each day I learn something new about myself, my kids and what being a parent entails. I am truly blessed.

Anxiety – The Irrational Fear of Society and Situations

After trying to pinpoint exactly why my son is being sent to the school nurse almost on a regular this school year, it dawned on me that maybe it has more to do with the teaching style of his current teacher than to do with his anxiety issues. You see, my son is having medication issues. Being diagnosed with mood disorder – NOS and anxiety – NOS, means he’s a mess if his medications are not properly dosed. I have personal experience with both a mood disorder because of my sister and anxiety because of myself. Put both mood disorder and anxiety together, well it’s a fun bowl of daily challenges when parenting and teaching a child.

Raising a kid with anxiety

I noticed that my son has been calling me in the middle of the day lately, which is great that his school nurse allows him to do so as a way to make him feel more at peace while at school. Allowing my anxious boy to call his Mama mid day to make him realize that Mama is only a phone call away and that he is okay at school, means the world to me. With that being said, sending my anxious boy out of the classroom is not necessarily helping him progress in any way. During shower time the other night, while I was helping my son rinse off with the shower head, I had a conversation with him. 

I wanted to know what is going on at school, why my son is always being in the nurses office and what he feels about his current teacher. The end result is that I gathered his current teacher is not as experienced as his prior year teachers and so in turn sends a child who has special needs out of the classroom rather than adapting to realize a slight change in methods can really help calm my son down. My son informed me that in the prior two years of school his teachers would allow him to color for a bit, as a way to assist in calming an anxiety attack, but this teacher just sends him to the nurse where he does his school work.

Keep in mind, I know this is a seven year old’s interpretation of things but he’s pretty good at relaying things and I’m pretty good at interpreting the semi-full story with what he says, even if it’s not 100% aligned with what he is telling me. 

 Raising a bipolar and anxiety child

It has been an awakening to realize that my son has a teacher who is young and not as experienced as his prior years teachers. While my sons teacher may be an amazing person and I think she’s nice, it isn’t a great fit for my son. My son doesn’t need special attention, after all giving him too much special attention would not encourage his normal childhood growth, but on occasion when his anxiety flares up he may need to just color a bit to calm his nerves. Sending my son out of the classroom is becoming some sort of a set back for my son and it’s not helping him grow socially nor emotionally.

I get that while my son isn’t medicated properly, his mental health issues become worse, but as a school teacher one would think you can be slightly adaptable. Not every child is a textbook child, each child learns in a different way, each child has special needs of their own and every child deserves compassion, love and encouragement. Sending my child to the nurses office is only showing him that the teacher washes her hands of him, over anxiety? Are you joking?

It upsets me to watch my son be dealt with in this way and I am prepared to communicate with those who have worked with my son in prior years to allow him to blossom in a school setting. Hopefully communication and a meeting of some sort will assist in getting my son in the right direction so that I no longer have to hear of kids telling me my son cries all of the time, or my son does this all of the time or that. My son is dealing with peer issues now because he is being singled out, not intentionally I presume, and that is the biggest concern that his counselor and I had when we began a mood disorder treatment; we didn’t want his mood disorder and anxiety to hinder him from developing bonds with classmates or being labeled as a troubled youth by the school.

A mother and her two sons

Having a mental health disorder does not make someone bad. Anxiety is not that difficult to understand, it’s simply an irrational fear. I would assume that a teacher, above all, would have more compassion for anxiety because many kids get that without having a major disorder because school is a whole different environment than their home.

Guilty of Not So Healthy School Lunches #happilyblended

The kids started the school year off fabulous, with school lunches that is. I used to let my oldest eat the hot lunch at school but she started to put on a lot of weight and so as an experiment, I started packing her a home made lunch. Sadly, her Dad wasn’t on board with me on that area so she still had and still has on occasion hot lunch when she’s at her Dad’s overnight during school year. This means my experiment really wasn’t tested out 100%, but it was tested enough so that I noticed a significant weight decrease in my daughter while she wasn’t having school night sleep overs at her Dad’s home. You see, school lunches are great for families who need to use them or prefer to use them, but for my family all the hot lunch at school did was make my daughter gain weight.

Hot Lunch vs Cold Lunch for Schools

When you are in a family with a pain in the butt metabolism that isn’t so quick, you have to be sure to watch what you eat. Being a Mom, I want to try my best to set good examples by eating better choices and preparing better choices for my children during all meal times. It all started out with my kids having wonderful options in their school lunches, this school year is the first year my three children are all in school full time which means all three have home made cold lunch from their Mama to bring to school.

Kid Number One and Kid Number Two are not so picky eaters. The lunches for the oldest and middle child are usually some form of peppers with a sandwich of some sort and crackers or occasionally some cheese curls or chips alongside a carpi sun roaring water. While all options my children have may not be healthy; they also switch between having chips or such with pineapple, apples or bananas. Always a healthier option with a balance. I believe in allowing your kids “goodies” but keeping a balance between goodies and healthy. Kid one and Kid two are easy to balance out.

It’s kid Number Three …. he is the world’s pickiest eater and most stubborn. He once went five nights without eating dinner because he was convinced he didn’t like what I was cooking & my rule is you have to try it or go without, he wouldn’t try it and was just fine going without .. FOR FIVE WHOLE NIGHTS.

Kid Number Three has a different setup for lunch; I have found he does like pineapples and he loves mandarin style oranges. This son also only likes peanut butter and jelly for sandwiches but lately I have been sneaking in honey and peanut butter {because he loves honey for nearly every dipping food he eats}.

Lately, I have been failing miserable with a healthy balanced school lunch for all three of my kids. With two weeks of not working, so essentially living on one income in the house it was draining us and things are falling behind a bit. That means my kids lunches have not been as healthy as they started off, but I still feel they are not allowing them to gain the weight like my daughter had gained that one school year she had hot lunch at school.

Do I feel like a horrible Mom? Not really. I do feel bad because the whole point to making my kids lunches is so that they have healthier options and I cannot afford them at the moment.

Why does eating healthier have to cost more?? It’s absurd. I can’t wait til Spring when we can start our first home garden!

 

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