Dyer Family Happenings

A.K.A. Mommy needs a place to write!

To Leo — August 15, 2016

To Leo

Dear Leo,

Tomorrow is your first day of Kindergarten. What a big dude you’ve become. This past year you have learned so much. We have watched you grow leaps and bounds in the words you say, the foods you try, the friends you’ve made and the confidence you’ve built. On the eve of your first day of Kindergarten I have a few things I want to tell you.

Above all else, continue to love others the way you do now. You have one of the most amazing souls I have ever been privileged to meet. Keep that love always, it’s precious and very rare.

Take a deep breath when you get overwhelmed or frustrated. Make sure to use your words in a nice tone and I have no doubt the help you need is the help you will get.

Make sure it’s “shoot” not “shit” (please, pretty pretty please)

Know that some things are going to be hard and that’s okay because they won’t be hard forever.

Always say please and thank you. To your teachers, the cafeteria lady, the crossing guards and the janitors. They all work very hard to help you succeed and we need to make sure we know how special they are to us.

The days are going to be longer, there will be more structure and more sit down and listen but there are going to be some familiar things too. You’re down the same hall you were last year, the food is pretty much the same and you already have a friend in the class. How lucky that you get to see Jaxn every day.

You are one very very lucky guy. You have so many friends rooting you on this year. So many teachers and tutors that are so excited for you. You have a support system that is literally as big as the sky, full of more love than could fit in the Pacific ocean and more excitement that I have seen in my time so far on Earth.

You are all ready my love. Sweet dreams, sleep tight. And tomorrow we start a whole new journey. I love you. I am so proud of you. You make my world so very good.

Love,

Momma

 

I’m not a fighter — February 23, 2016

I’m not a fighter

I’m not. I absolutely despise it. I will if I’m pushed to, but I try like hell to avoid it. I’m too emotional, I get mad, I cry then I’m pissed that I’m crying and I get mad at myself. It’s just ugly. It takes me an exceptional amount of time to be able to separate my emotional self from my “business mind” self. And unfortunately I have to talk or write out my emotions. I apologize if you end up one of the people I ramble to.

I’m trying to navigate a world I’m still very new to. Special Education. With Leo things were pretty clear, our path to where we are now was up hills, down valleys, around corners and through some pretty big traffic jams, but we are right where we need to be, entering mainstream school in the fall. Max is a big ball of I don’t even know.

Socially he’s reserved at first but when he warms up its on. Outside of that he has so many things that put him on the autism spectrum. Sensory issues, lack of speech, major out busts, spins himself in circles, doesn’t sleep, balance and spatial awareness issues. But he was not diagnosed as on spectrum. I don’t understand. Are social quirks and lack of eye contact that heavily weighed in an evaluation? Are all of the other issues, including slow processing and the inability to form a sentence of even 2 intelligible words not factors? I am so lost.

Do I want to have another child with a diagnosis? If it will help both he and myself then yes. If it will help explain why he screams and won’t wear clothes, why he shakes and looks like hes being stabbed with needles when you put a tshirt- with no tag on it on his body. Why he is having night terrors that last 20-60 minutes and there is nothing to be done. Why he walks around with his hands in fists and asking him to open them throws off all of his balance. Why he can dribble a soccer ball across my back yard but can’t get into the car without running face first into the door every day.

Why even with once a week speech therapy, practicing at home and at Leos school he still can’t say “Mickey”. How I am one of the few people that understands 99% of what he says, but most people need me to translate.  I’m lost. So I am asking for reports and for different evaluations. I’m asking for help because I am terrified that on March 17th, his 3rd birthday and our official first day with no services, that I am not equipped to help him grow.

I’m not borrowing worry or making things bigger than they are. He’s not just a brat, hes frustrated and I am too. But I can tell people that I am. Max can’t. So I’m having to prepare to fight, to fight and ask for full evaluations that we did not receive. To fight to ask for what I know in my heart is right for Max. And my anxiety is off the charts high and I can’t bring it down.

So ready or not here I come. After I get this emotional garbage out of my mind.

Envy is such a pain — January 30, 2016

Envy is such a pain

I have a very hard time with envy. I have a lot of it in life. Not always with physical things, but with situations. I’ve got to get over it but it’s so freaking hard. There are things I wish for, I want, but we just aren’t in a place to have them.

I want:

date nights, preschool for both boys, less time alone, more financial stability, a new(er ) car, for my weight loss to progress more, to not have to meticulously budget everything, a weight set in my garage, to get out of the house more, a real vacation.

 

I envy:

people with neurotypical children (yes I know we all have struggles), couples that have scheduled date nights, couples that get to go out of town, take anniversary trips just the two of them, kids that have vacations with grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, families that spend lots of time together outside of houses, moms who get early morning gym time daily.

I know it’s not forever, I know I have so much but sometimes it’s just what it is. Joel will always go to work at o’dark thirty o’clock and I’ll never have early am gym time unless I can find a cheap weight bench for my garage. My children will never be neurotypical so we will have challenges above and beyond the normal things. We will always have to budget, I’ll probably never own a new car and who knows when a vacation will ever be time and financially possible.

So, this year we have two family weddings to attend, both out of town, both a financial puzzle but we will make the most of the quick trips. And we are going to camp, as many weekends as we can this summer. Even if it’s just to right outside of town. We are going to work on our sight words and writing, trying to tie our shoes and singing songs.

I’m going to figure out how to rid my mind of the envy I have of others relationships and date nights and family trips and figure out how to make the 4 of us more than enough for my heart. It’s my own battle and I need to let go of these things sometimes it’s just hard.

Overly emotional Mommy, party of me. — December 18, 2015

Overly emotional Mommy, party of me.

I have always been an emotional person. It’s gotten worse with becoming a mom and now being able to help in Leo’s class and seeing these HUGE leaps these kiddos are making daily, weekly, monthly and getting to see and experience the love his teachers have for the kids and us mommies and daddies it’s gotten a notch worse.

Worse isn’t the right word. My emotions for my children have grown. The steps forward and the growth in both of them makes me cry, the set backs and rough patches make me cry. And the same happens for the friends in Leos class. Some of them had a really rough start with preschool and the growth in language and friend skills, in coloring and singing in counting and direction following is amazing. They start the school year as little guys and gals, set in their own home routines and have their worlds rocked but in the most beautiful way.

These kiddos come from all kinds of family situations some with siblings some without, some spend lots of time with grandparents and some split time with their own parents. Some parents both work some are blessed like I am to learn with their kids. The one commonality they all have is when they enter Room #1 and the love that the teachers share with each and every child.

These teachers have been staying so upbeat and excited for the holiday season through illness and the excitement of 19 3 and 4 year olds. They taught them songs and poems and got them ready to sing for a whole cafeteria full of family members. And today all of the hard work and love shined so very bright when these beautiful children made their way to the stage.

I had a breath holding moment of fear before the curtain opened when I looked around at the amount of people that were in the audience. They had practiced every day on the stage but to an empty cafeteria. Today was THE day. How is Leo going to do with all of this? A year ago he probably would have tried to run away. Too loud, too many people, to bright. Not today.

The curtains open and all we hear is “WOAH LOOKIT ALL THE PEOPLE! HI MOM HI DAD HI MAX!!!” theres my guy. And I cried. No, I balled my eyes out.

I cried because of how great they all were doing sitting and singing, like little pros. I cried because of how hard we’ve worked with Leo to have confidence in any setting. I cried because he wasn’t scared. I cried because he’s such a big guy. I cried because I’m his mom and I am so proud of him, excited for everything he gets to experience that is brand new and because he is such an amazing kid.

So I cried, giant rolling tears. And my heart is so full.

 

Dear Leo, — November 13, 2015

Dear Leo,

This week was a rough one. I totally understand. You weren’t feeling great, it’s cold, there was a holiday right smack in the middle of the week, one of your teachers was out sick most of the week. I get it buddy. But here’s the thing. Changes are going to happen. I know you have a hard time with them. I know that sometimes you get all scrambled up and can’t tell me that you’re not okay, but in those moments I need you to take a deep breath and try to find your words. Your nice words.

Walking you out of class today broke my heart. I know you wanted treasure box, but you know how important it is to earn it. And we earn it by having nice words and hands, by making good choices and by listening to all of the wonderful teachers we are so blessed to have guiding us at school. Mommy doesn’t like to have to worry about your actions. I know you know how to be a superawesomefantastic dude, because you are so much of the time. And I know that you know how to ask for a break if you’re feeling overwhelmed. So lets slow down for a minute and listen to our body.

Promise me you’ll try to choose nice words and hands next week. That if someone puts their hands on you on the playground that you’ll say “No I don’t like that” and tell a teacher instead of pushing back. That you’ll try your food and not put garbage in a friends food when they aren’t looking. That you’ll be kind. And that you know that no matter what your actions I love you so very much.

I’m proud of all of the progress you’re making, and the things you’re learning. And know that we all have bad days and rough days and days that we just don’t want to do what we need to do, but we still do them. Know that on those hard days I’ll be waiting to pick you up with a giant hug and some snuggle time when we get home. Talk to me. Talk to your teachers, we all want to see how wonderful you are.

I know you’re really upset about not getting treasure box this week but we will try again next week. Max and I will be there as much as we can to help you when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Take a big deep breath my love. We all get through the rough days.

Love,

Mom

Lets talk regression — September 14, 2015

Lets talk regression

Hindsight is 20/20 right. Totally is when you’re oldest child is diagnosed ASD and when you are asked if you saw a regression, you rack your brain and yup- at 2 1/2 years old there it was. Sensory overload constantly, not gaining words and phrases, saying the same phrases over and over and over and over, only knowing how to communicate via labeling.(dog, cat, momma, milk)
I keep being given weird looks and told basically that I’m off my rocker that it is again happening, at the exact same age, with Max. But today it all became very very clear at an in home ABA session. He became totally overloaded, he shut down, he started screaming and crying and shaking. If you touch him he says ouch over and over and over. This just started. He is 3 days away from being 2 1/2. He is very very slowly gaining words but it’s a fight.
And I get it. I’d be super pissed off too if I couldn’t tell you what my brain is saying. He’s smart, we are so very fortunate that both of our boys are, but he can’t get what is in his head to come out. He can’t tell me what he needs. He can’t say that he’s tired, or that his teeth hurt, or that his tummy hurts. That he can’t focus, or that he just needs a break. And at this exact age, neither could Leo.
Leo would yell. He would cry, he would ball up and rock, he would cover his ears, he would run to a safe place.
Max screams and cries, he throws things and shakes. He answers no to every question and then he burritos himself in a blanket and depending on the amount of time this has all taken he passes out.
His tutor gave me some things to try to calm him down, but we both agree that the “ouch” screaming comes because he flies into sensory overload, so even the lightest touch hurts. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must be like. To not be able to appropriately vocalize what you need, then to get so frustrated all you can do is scream, then not be able to be consoled because it physically hurts. I can’t imagine. And this is happening multiple times a day just about every day.
So I have to check myself. Remind myself that he can’t help it. That he can’t regulate, that I’m going to have to sit and rock him and sing to him and tell him it’s all okay just like I did with his brother. That we are going to have to push everyone to be more patient and take his therapy that much more seriously because I am terrified that he’s not just the super cute kid with a major speech delay. Because I don’t want this to be his normal or forever or even right now.
So here I am again praying for the strength to push through this, for the patience to open my mind and my heart to whatever God has in store for Max and our family. That Max knows that I love him and it doesn’t matter what he needs I’m going to try my hardest to give it to him.
But I’m not crazy. For better or for worse I am so very in tune to my children.

“doesn’t function well in her current life” — July 30, 2015

“doesn’t function well in her current life”

Physically, yes. Physical strength is what I’ve been relying on to get me from day to day. If I can just focus on that the rest will go away. My sadness, my jealousy, my emotional exhaustion, my endless want for “normal” things. It’ll all just go away if I make myself physically strong.

And I’ve been trying, and successfully have made myself physically stronger, all while exhausting myself to keep from dealing with my emotions. And it doesn’t work. The stronger I get physically, the weaker I become emotionally. I feel so broken, so fragile. I’m sensitive to the stupidest of things, eye rolls, deep breaths, comments. My patience is so small and I cry often. Sunglasses are my savior for that.

I see pictures of friends vacations with their kids and it kills me. (I’m excited for them and love seeing their pictures) but a vacation isn’t in the cards for us for so many reasons. Therapy schedules, money, time away, house sitters- that cost money, my husbands work, totally uprooting the kids schedule. And it sucks. And I am jealous, and it hurts so bad, because I’d love to just get away from all of the normal shit and see something different. A new perspective, see the boys in a new place, leave my house for more than a few hours. I just want to leave.

Instead I get up every morning and prepare for a full day. Therapy for the boys- both in the morning and afternoon, grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, and then on certain days my paying gigs that start after I’ve put in close to a 12 hour day of being a mom and wife. And I just don’t want to do any of it.

A month ago the kids were making awesome progress. New words for Max, new sight words for Leo. Behaviors were simmering down. I somehow convinced myself that we’d grow out of needing help. That all of this autism stuff is just a right now thing, but in a year or so it’ll be good. They will have earned how to cope through things and we could be a normal family. And then they both had huge jumps back with behaviors. It hit me like a Mac truck- THIS IS FOREVER.

What the hell is wrong with me.

I know this is forever. I know that my kids are smart, but there are things that are going to be forever against them. Leo can’t handle transitions, changes, loud noises, a hairbrush brushing his head, smells. You can’t understand him when he gets excited or upset. To get him ready for a major change- like changing schools- which is happening in 19 days- a month before we have to start talking about it. And even at that, I’m trying to gear myself up mentally for the meltdowns that we are going to have with a change that big.

Max is learning words but it’s slow. I’m still convinced he can’t hear, and his repeat hearing evaluation is NOVEBER 23. The Children’s hospital in our town is a joke to get into. So until then it’s trying to find patience with his lack of words, not being able to understand what he wants and trying to get through the meltdowns from lack of communication.

So for the time being, I’ll be physically strong, emotionally broken, jealous of families that get time together, hating the fact that my kids have to struggle. I’ll smile because I have to, pack my days with tons of routine to ward off melt downs, and physically exhaust myself in the hopes of being too tired to deal with my emotions.

Maybe tomorrow, or in a week, or in a year I’ll feel different.

Faith, love and lowering expectations — July 11, 2015

Faith, love and lowering expectations

Every morning the boys and I say a prayer out loud together:

“Heavenly Father thank you for this beautiful day for learning and for love. In Jesus’ name, Amen”

That’s it. My hope is that the boys will realize that the world doesn’t revolve around them. That there are other hands that make things happen and that we need to not just BE thankful for those hands but we need to TELL those hands we are thankful for them. In toddler world I have no clue if it resonates but we are gonna keep saying it every day.

There have been giant leaps in our household- Leo swimming without a vest or floaties, Max using 2 word sentences more and more, Leo can (in his own almost legible way) write his name without hand over hand help or a drawn guide, Max is growing (I’m pretty sure his feet grew two sizes over night), Leo is mastering sight words (reading here we come!!!!) and Max is conquering his fear of swimming pools.

At the same time we have had some ugly stuff- Leo overhead throwing a chair at school, Max having a full blown screaming/ stiff body meltdown because he needed to finish a task before he got his blanket back, not eating, throwing, hitting, screaming, pinching, ugly words.

My guess is that all parents have these issues with their toddlers. Always pushing boundaries, my hope is that they don’t have them to the extreme we have them here, I don’t wish that on anyone.

I joke(but I’m really serious) that I could do physical labor all day everyday and I’d be tired but Id pull through it, but the emotional drain of dealing with behaviors from my kids wipes me out. It drains every bit of strength, every bit of positivity, every bit of patience I have. And I really need to work on that.

The good days make me excited for the possibility of new growth and learning and the horrific moments knock me down. I feel like I start to expect too much from my kids and then I am let down when they aren’t up to my expectations and that is so wrong on my part. Yes, I need to have expectations of them, and yes they should be just outside of their reach and comfort zone, but I should not be placing 7 year old expectations on my 4 year old and I feel like that’s what I do when he fails. And when he fails he is crushed and his world ends. You can see it across his face. He is just like his mommy with wearing his emotions out in the open so everyone knows.

In these moments I am learning to back off, to lower my expectations to attainable things and to love my children. More importantly to make sure I TELL them I love them. They need to hear those words out of my mouth more. They need to know that I love them, even after awful behavior, they need to hear that I love them even when they act out in ways that embarrass me and break me down, and hurt my heart. They need to know that I will love them as I teach them these things are not okay, that they will happen but that we can find a better way to tackle the situation. That it doesn’t matter what happens my love for them is for always.

And I don’t TELL them this enough. Because I’m embarrassed. Because my heart hurts. Because I am emotionally drained. Because …. because nothing.

1Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply,1 because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

“Heavenly Father thank you for this beautiful day for learning and for love. In Jesus’ name, Amen”

The Love Purpose — May 4, 2015

The Love Purpose

Something I’ve noticed with the “quirks” of Leo’s autism, is that there is always a purpose behind his words or actions. If he has ugly words or slaps or screams- he’s (most of the time) on sensory overload. He’s answers to questions are thought out. If he doesn’t understands he repeats the question. His toy playing is always precise and focused. There isn’t any “tra-la-la” about him. (Max, that kid is a whole different ballgame 🙂 )

A couple of months ago I shifted my thoughts and actions to have purpose. To try to cut fanciful thoughts of this and that and to put things into action- in a very intentional way. Sounds pretty boring right? Well, I’m not a frills and glitz gal (anymore). I’m just trying to figure out how to make it through each day:

1. without flying off the handle
2. without feeling like the weight of the world is on my shoulders
3. without crying
4. without yelling
5. without understanding what our short term and long term goals are as people

It started with walking. I have now walked- with purpose (for exercise) at least a mile a day for 50 days straight (today will be 51). The purpose- making me healthy. The changes I’ve made in health have ridded me of blood pressure medication, migraine medication and mood elevators. I take a multi vitamin. That. is. it. I need to be physically healthy to run after my kids, to be able to process all of the information that is consistently being thrown my direction and to rid myself of anger. I am the healthiest- not just weight wise- I’ve pretty much ever been. And I love my new body.

My purpose with people has always been to love and accept, even when its hard, even when I’d rather walk away. Why? Because there isn’t enough “just because” love in this world. Some things don’t need a “because”. They just need love. I’ve always been of the frame of mind that you love, love until it hurts, love because it hurts, love when it hurts, love when its awesome, to make sure the people around you know that they are loved.

I was shown so very much love this past week by having an amazing woman go above and beyond for my family. She secured Leo’s spot in the school he needs to be in next year. She didn’t have to, but her heart and the way she loves is something so rare. Thank you isn’t a big enough pair of words, but it’s all I have for her. That and to continue to learn and to advocate for my children to ensure their success in life. And to love, to love my kids, their teachers, even the people that make decisions that might not be the best for our needs. I’m gonna love them all- until it hurts. Until they understand my heart and that I am not a quitter.

On the flip side I was shown some very ugly this past week too. Our family are W.I.C. recipients. It’s something I am so very grateful for, and again when I thank our case worker we see every 3 months those words don’t feel like they are big enough. It’s hard having to ask for help. It’s harder having to present coupons for food at a store. But I would do anything I needed to for my children. I was publically shamed by a cashier at Target Friday. She questioned if the coupons were actually mine- twice. I answered yes and then asked if she needed to see my drivers license. She huffed and puffed when I had coupons for my WIC items (which the WIC office supports, if couponing is your thing), she had a horrible attitude toward me the entire transaction. I kept my attitude in check. I was polite- I even offered her my pen when she didn’t have one to fill out the totals on my WIC checks. Why? Because she needs to know that that kind of behavior is unacceptable. Because if I show love, and live love hopefully it will catch on like wildfire.

So my purpose, good bad or otherwise will always be to love. Love people and changes, and situations. And to remember that I too am loved not only for my purpose but for who I am becoming.

Transitions, stimming, workload, changes and walking. Lots and lots of walking. — April 23, 2015

Transitions, stimming, workload, changes and walking. Lots and lots of walking.

Those words pretty much sum up life around here as of late.
I walk, every single day. At least a mile. My body is changing in a great way, I feel better and have lessened my stress. I am also now a month off of my migraine meds and 7 months off of blood pressure meds. I think sunshine and movement are cure-alls for me 🙂

Tomorrow is our first official IEP for Leo and the transition from a Special Ed preschool class to an inclusion preschool class. I don’t have an idea what we are in for. I do know that we all seem to be on the same page and I am hopeful that everything is going to transition smoothly. Prayers are always welcome. 🙂

Max starts ABA 5 mornings a week the beginning of May. I am very hopeful for progress with his communication and behaviors. Again, Prayers very welcome.
With these changes I have to give up my Life Group that I am part of through church for the foreseeable future. Although I did suggest Skyping me into the study 🙂 I know this is again a season of life and change that will not be forever but feels kinda long.

Leos stimming, Maxs lack of words and general stuff around here has been on overdrive. I have made the decision that what gets done (house work wise) gets done. What doesn’t, well that can just wait until tomorrow. Things seem to get done more effortlessly, still not totally sure how that happens, but it does!

I wish I had more to say. I’ll get it together better after tomorrows meeting.
Until then Peace and love 🙂