Hustling Project

Good morning!  Just wanted to let you all know we’re doing fine over here.  It’s been quite busy the last few days, but good stuff for the most part.

I’ve stopped writing in the mornings temporarily because I’ve taken up a new project.  Michael’s had trouble sleeping at night.  The heavy quilt he sleeps under is too hot for the summer time.  He takes off the quilt because he’s hot, but then he can’t sleep because there’s no pressure on his body either.  So we’ve determined that he needs a non-hot weighted blanket, which I am now making him.  A few months ago, I had purchased material to make him a quilt, but now instead of putting quilt batting between the layers, I’m filling it with poly beads.  It will make the blanket heavy, but not really all that hot.  I’m excited, I hope it works, and he’s excited because it has Lightning McQueens all over it. 🙂

Here’s a peak.

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Anyway, I’m spending about an hour every morning on it before the kids wake up.  I’m trying to knock it off as fast as I can, I’m hoping it’ll help him sleep better.  He’s still not falling asleep till after 10PM at nights.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this blanket will help.

I”ll keep you posted!  Have a fabulous week!

A Day In The Life

The last couple of days have definitely been interesting.  You never know what kind of day you’re going to get with Michael.  Some days his brain and body are in sync and you’d never know he was autistic, but then you have days like today….

We started out OK, but he totally hyper-focused and colored for two hours, and I should have known I’d pay for it later.  He went nuts and overcompensated with the sensory processing disorder kicking in.  He was running everywhere, touching things compulsively, pushing his brothers, screaming, squeaking, and losing his communication and self control.  When his therapist showed up in the early afternoon, he sneaked into the cookie jar and ate six Hershey kisses while she and I were in one of the bedrooms talking.  What followed was a 45 minute meltdown which required physical manhandling.  Thank God the therapist was there, it was the first time she had seen him lose it that badly.  She showed me how to wrap my body around his to keep him from breaking free and punching me.  She also kept the other kids out of the room every time they tried to come in.  Michael really took me for a ride, screaming, crying, writhing, wrestling, and flailing with almost no breaks for three quarters of an hour.  We were finally able to talk him down (I would have never been able to do this if I was alone), but by the time we were finished, I was exhausted, shaking, and nearly crying myself.  Thank God Nate came home this evening in time to handle another meltdown because honestly, I don’t think I have another fight left in me tonight.

As I write this, I’m sitting in Gabriel and William’s room, trying to train Gabriel to stay in his bed.  He’s new to the toddler bed and he seems to enjoy keeping William up till very late and jumping into his crib and squashing him.  It’s been a very long day and there’s still a lot to get through tonight.

I have to say though that it helps to remember that this is all important.  It’s a training ground and the foundation for discipline and growth for all of them.  The hard work and effort is totally worth it, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of all the labor in the hopefully not-too-distant future.  I try to use these opportunities to hold these boys up in prayer and remember that none of this took God by surprise, and none of these experiences is wasted.

Hang tough, all of you.

Self-Regulation

Life has settled into a steady rhythm here, but it’s been one of management, not progress.  We’re making it through the day but not much more at this point, and it’s time for our family to take a breath and hit things head on again.

We had an excellent meeting with Michael’s RDI consultant last night, and we are working hard to find step one in his autism remediation.  Right now that seems to be self-regulation.  Michael is brilliant yet trapped in his own world thanks to the autism and almost completely without windows or doors right now thanks to his sensory processing disorder.  His brain will just not leave his body be, and the last week or so has been marked with his inability to sleep and his body’s sensory seeking behavior (crashing into things, screaming at any type of sensory input, the need for heavy muscle work, the complete lack of personal and physical boundaries).  We did go back to the doctor, and I’m hopeful the current treatment will significantly help but it still has not taken it’s full effect, and in the meantime, his brain seems to be struggling to find balance.

Our goal is to ultimately teach his brain and body to self regulate.  Our first method was a good start, but like with all trial and error methods we didn’t quite hit the mark with our first attempt, and now we’re adjusting our technique.  We’re working on separating problems of compliance from problems of self-regulation and attempting different approaches for each.  Again, it’s hard work that will most likely take a long time, but I’m excited at the prospects of watching him progress again.  I don’t like the plateau we’ve settled on or how long we’ve been there.

Is something in your way?  Does overcoming it seem hard or that it will take too long?  Crash into it anyway!  The prize at the end will be worth it!

 

Surviving Boot Camp

It’s been a rough couple of months on this end.  Right now, we’re all just trying to survive.  I hope it turns around soon because I’d really like to just enjoy Christmas instead of being super stressed about life, but we’ll see how things play out.

In a nutshell, Nate and I have both gotten sick and gotten better from colds, plus we both have several projects for our side business we’re trying to finish before Christmas comes.  Nate is also taking an online course this week that runs from 8AM to 8PM all five working days, so that’s turning out to be not so fun.  It’s been rough for the kids because they know he’s home and in his office and they really want to see him, but he can’t come out all that often, and it makes them sad and upset.  Michael got WAY too overstimulated between Thanksgiving and his birthday and really slipped away from us.  He’s going through some crazy emotional cycles, stimming lots more, craving loads of sensory input, and wandering around the house listlessly and moaning.  He doesn’t want to do anything but watch TV, and he falls apart at the drop of a hat.  He screamed for 20 minutes last night because we couldn’t find his flashlight (don’t mess with the bed time routine, am I right, folks?).  William’s so cranky from teething that he can’t be set down for more than a few minutes at a time and he cries almost constantly.  Gabriel’s really feeling like the middle child from all this and has been acting out for his share of attention, and to top it all off, Michael’s insomnia came back, and he’s been sure to wake up Gabriel in the middle of the night when he feels like playing.

So everyone’s got a thing right now.  I’m really trying hard not to complain and just plow through, but it’s getting hard.  It’s mostly the sleep deprivation that I can’t handle.  I am at such a crazy level of exhaustion that I slept in the car in the school parking lot yesterday while waiting for Michael to have his therapy session.  I’m really trying hard to remember all these things God has been teaching me lately.  I’m trying hard to pray and not fall apart.  It’s a rough patch, and I get that we all go through them and it can’t last forever.  I know this is my boot camp for practicing peace and patience, but lately my stomach starts to hurt every time I hear one of my kids cry.  If God’s using this time to prepare me for something in my future, that something is going to be a doozy! 🙂

Right now, it’s all about prayer and survival.  I’m sure later on, I’ll be able to look back and figure out how we made it through and see the hand of God providing what we need, but as for this moment it’s all hands on deck while we weather the storm.  If you think of us, please pray for us, and if I miss a post here or there, I probably fell asleep holding a baby somewhere.