About Me

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I am Steph! I am a 30-something mom and wife. I am Bi-Polar. I am an Autism mom. I work full time outside the home. I overcommit myself every single day. I sometimes wonder how my husband puts up with me on a day to day basis. I have 2 children, one neuro-typical and one not so neuro-typical. I am a hot mess. I am Steph.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

This is Autism

-Today Nathan was sent home from school for having an hour long meltdown because he wanted to sit on a blue square but they were all taken by his classmates.....This is Autism.

-Today Nathan is wearing his PJ pants rolled up as far as they will go so it looks like he is wearing a minion diaper because he doesn't want them below his knees yet he refuses to wear shorts.....This is Autism.

-Today Nathan has watched the same Daniel Tiger YouTube video while sitting in the living room for the past hour.  When I walked through the tv room and turned off the tv because he wasn't in that room anymore, he screamed at me because he was watching it.....apparently he can watch tv through a wall....This is Autism.

-Today Nathan is overtired because he was awake until after 11pm last night because he "Couldn't get to rest" and then he was up another 3 times throughout the night for the same reason. When Nate is awake, Mom is awake.....This is Autism.

-Today Nathan's school had Pajama Day.  He chose to wear a minion shirt, minion pants and minion shoes.  He argued with me for 10 mins because he didn's have minion socks and minion underwear to wear with it.  Looks like this weekend he is getting new minion socks and underwear to prevent this from happening in the future...even though next week there is always that chance that he will no longer like minions...because that is how he rolls.....This is Autism.

-Today Nathan sang The White Shoes song from Pete the Cat word for word without missing a beat and named every Thomas train character made....but he couldn't tell me what he ate for lunch....This is Autism.

-Today I have asked Nathan to please mind my personal space and stop touching me at least 150 times since I have been home from work.  He must not have heard me because I can currently feel his breath on my face as he is trying to talk to me....Bro - step back a little please!  This is Autism.

All in all it has been a pretty normal evening at The Hightree House. This only saving grace I have right now is that it is bedtime....only I'm sure Nathan will be down stairs in T-minus 15 minutes complaining that he "can't get to rest".....

This is Autism my friends.
And this is our life.

Until Next Time....

Sunday, March 20, 2016

To my daughter, I'm sorry.

8 years ago I gave birth to my beautiful, funny, talented, sassy daughter Cadence. Leif and I tried for 18 months before we were blessed with her and she has been the light of my life since the minute I found out I was pregnant. Cadence is my best friend. Cadence is a carbon copy of me. Cadence is one of my favorite people and the one that can frustrate me the most because we are the same person. Cadence is my 'typical' child who has an autistic brother.

I feel like I have failed her.

Since the day she was born she has been my life. Every ounce of my energy has been spent making sure she lives a full and happy life and that she never needs anything because Leif and I have always provided her with everything. She was an only for 3 years before her brother was born. When her brother was born I wanted to make sure she knew she was important and loved and equal to the new baby who was taking up more of my time.

And then Nathan was diagnosed with Autism.

He required more of my time and energy. He required special circumstances to the normal rules and routines she was accustomed too. He required more of me. So where does that leave her?

Has Cadence now been permanently put on the sideline while her is brother on the field? Have I failed to give her an equal amount of me that I give Nathan? How do I juggle a typical child and a non-typical child equally? Is it even possible?

I feel like I have failed Cadence because once I am finished giving Nathan everything that he needs there is often not much left to give to her. I take advantage of the fact that she is 8 years old and capable of doing many things for herself and is pretty independent but at the same time I forget that she is only 8 years old and still a child and she still needs her mom.

She is often the one who has to make sacrifices and I fear that in the future she is going to resent me and her brother because her life is different because she is the older sister of a special needs sibling. I think when we hear about a special needs person we automatically think about the person dealing with the issue and then we think about the parents caring for the child but we seldom think about the siblings who are directly affected by it as well.

How do we as parents care and nurture them and make sure they know that they are equally special and important and loved and cared for? Where does the energy come from once I have used it all up caring for Nathan? How do I make sure she knows I am always here for her no matter how neglected she feels?

This process and life change is the most difficult thing I have ever experienced and I am learning everyday. It is a trial and error and I will fail and then I will succeed and then I will probably fail again.

I want to end this post by telling Cadence that I am sorry that I have failed her. I am going to make it a priority to remind myself that you still need me and that I still need you and I pray that there will never come a time where you sit back and think about how you wish your mother had been there for you more. I hope that you always know how sorry I am for not being able to give you 100% but know that everyday I am trying and that's really all I can do at this point.

I am sorry, I love you and I promise to listen next time you want to tell me something even if it is not the most convenient time. :-)

Until next time....

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Autism is Annoying.

Have I ever told you how fun having a child with Autism is? 
Oh yeah, because it’s not fun at all! 

Let me give you some background.  Nathan was ‘Google’ diagnosed at 2 years old by me, educationally diagnosed at 2 1/2 by the Intermediate School District and medically diagnosed at 3 by a Neuropsychologist.  I noticed quite early on that he was a bit delayed than what “they” said he should be at.  Who is “they” btw?? So I turned to Google because that is what everyone does and took some online quizzes and came up with Autism.  Who knew that my googling would actually turn out to be correct this time!  Once we finally had some answers it was time to move on and start the life changing process of being an Autism family.  My husband and I both jumped in feet first and got him the early intervention that he needed.  Well, lets’ fast forward to now….2/18/2016 – Nathan is now 5 ½ and has grown leaps and bounds since his diagnosis, but guess what? He is still Autistic and it is still frustrating and annoying.

I love my son.  I don’t even really need to say that because it should just be a given, I am his mom of course I love him and wouldn’t trade him for the world, but I will not sugarcoat it when I say that Autism is annoying.  In the beginning of our process we were so busy just dealing with things to make sure Nathan can succeed in life.  We were so busy with transitioning our family from a typical one to an Autism one.  We were so busy just trying to get through the day to day routine and schedule that I’ve never really had a chance to think about how annoying and frustrating Autism is.  Not only to me but to Nathan too!  I can’t imagine what is going through his head when he is having a sensory meltdown and can’t calm himself down.  But I can tell you exactly what is going through mine: “Seriously NOT again!! I just needed to run into the store for one thing and now he is losing it in the checkout lane at Meijer….!”  I have to quickly remind myself that something as simple as going into a store can be the most stressful thing he will have to deal with that day…but it doesn’t make it any less annoying!

Autism is annoying because it causes my son to do weird things like having to roll his blue jean pant legs up before he can wear them.  And don’t forget, they must be rolled up 5 times, NOT 4! No matter how cold outside or how dorky he looks he refuses to wear any pants unless they are folded up right now….
Autism is annoying because it causes my son to become so frustrated that he starts to lash out at me.  I can’t tell you how hard it is not to push him out of my face when he is so close to me and screaming that I can feel his breathe in my mouth. 
Autism is annoying because there isn’t a right or wrong way to deal with it.  What worked or works for one child may not work for yours.                                                                                                                                                           
Autism is annoying because it makes me selfish and then guilty when all I can do is complain about how much it is affecting my life, when really I have no idea how it is affecting anything.  Sometimes I forget that I am not actually the one living with it.  I am the mother of a child who has no idea that he is different, he just knows that he doesn’t like it and doesn’t know how to deal with it.                                         
Autism is annoying because it will never go away.  It will always be there staring at you, smiling at you, laughing at you, crying with you.

I could go on and on about how annoying it is right now but that would take all day and then I would be annoyed that I wasted a whole day blogging instead of accomplishing anything.  So to end for today I’ll just leave you with 3 words.

Autism Is Annoying.

Until Next Time…
Do you think your child may have Autism Spectrum Disorder and don't know what you should do next?  Check out this link for some helpful tips. http://www.nationalautismresources.com/i-think-my-child-has-autism-what-do-i-do.html