Dyer Family Happenings

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

Peace, love and being a momma — September 22, 2016

Peace, love and being a momma

Today is International Peace Day. A day to spread peace and love speak and actions with everyone you meet. To show this world that we can and will not only conquer the rough stuff of life with love and smiles but that TOGETHER as a people we are better. Think about it, all of the beautifully amazing different things we all bring to the table. Thoughts, ways to worship, food, clothing, music, it’s amazing and beautiful.

And I don’t know why people are so scared of the things they don’t understand.

Embracing the things I don’t understand is just part of our world. Or rather has been for the past 5.5 years. There were things I didn’t understand before but I’d either learn about them or scootch around them, I was in control  of what I slammed face first into. And then Joel came into my world. He was new and I didn’t totally understand him and then we got married and I still didn’t have him totally figured out but I was much more comfortable with him. And then came Leo and the same, and then Max and holy Lord.

And just when I thought I was starting to understand Leo, bam- he regressed and was diagnosed with Autism. Same thing with Max. God has not let me live in comfort with these kids yet, and guess what…

I AM OKAY.

woah, wait a minute what. Yeah. Even in the moments, days, weeks, of uncertainty and confusion I am okay. Go figure that one. Even when I am not sure how to handle a behavior, how to make words come, how to keep health insurance, how to make a living, how to get from one place to the next in the correct time, I am okay. Why? Because I have faith. (Yes I have faith in God but He’s not who I am specifically talking about right now)

I have faith in the people around me. Family, friends, teachers, strangers. I have faith that there will be listening and love and understanding. That there will be hugs and tears and smiles and celebrations. Because that faith is what keeps the love moving from one person to the next. It’s what keeps me waking up every morning and wanting to push forward and through to that next hurdle. Because I know that there will always be someone with a kind or helpful word that will help get us over it. Because loving is learning.

So lets keep moving the love forward, even in the simplest of ways to one another. Have faith in your fellow man even when you might not understand his or her lifestyle choice, religion, choice of shoes. Because those things aren’t as important as being better together, and being together as people trying to live and love.

Wishing you all a peace filled evening and life

 

 

 

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

 

Mom of 2, both on spectrum… — May 7, 2016

Mom of 2, both on spectrum…

I have felt, for a very long time that Max would be diagnosed with Autism just like Leo was. We were told ADHD, OCD, speech disorder, but not enough to warrant services. That his behaviors were what they were because his brother has behaviors.

Until today. Today we had a doctor tell us that he is Autistic and because of the enourmous amounts of early intervention (because he failed a preliminary MCHAT at age 2) he tested at a level one, mild autism. She said had he not had early intervention he would have most likely been more severe.  She also mentioned that hes super smart, and if he works hard on his quirky behavior by age 10 he most likely wont present with any symptoms.

This is the first time I didnt cry at an evaluation. The first time I didnt feel like I wasn’t being listened to. The whole diagnosing team came off so loving. And I am so very thankful. Thankful for support with Max. Thankful for listening ears. Thankful for honest answers. Thankful for fresh eyes.

Hes now on a path to learning even more than he already has, to becoming better and stronger. To learning how to regulate and use his words, to learn to love to learn.

So our family is now Autism strong, both boys in need of totally different help but help just the same. Im ready to watch Max soar, to hear him tell me about his learning, for him to show me what he knows.

This next adventure is going to be amazing, and this momma is ready for it with open arms.

 

Our Autism world — April 3, 2016

Our Autism world

Every household, every set of kids and parents’ world with Autism looks totally different from the next. Some have school and some therapy. Some baseball teams some video games. Some are filled with words some are quiet. Our world is so full, and I’d love to share some of what it’s filled with. 🙂

Our world with Autism is filled with preschool and church and dancing and music. It’s filled with McDonalds and pizza and pancakes and bananas. It’s filled with bubble baths and movies and stuffed animals and snuggles. And jammies and favorite books and laughs and hugs. It’s filled with words, some that make sense and some that don’t and some that take a very long time to master. It’s filled with transitions from thing to thing and place to place that are sometimes really hard and with repetitive questions about our schedule for a greater part of the day.

It is filled with noise and light and smells and sounds and sometimes these things are really hard to push past. It’s full of toe walking and jumping and flapping and spinning circles when we are excited. It’s full of swimming and dirt digging and car playing and kung fu. It’s full of emotions that come very heavy in waves and sometimes not at all. It’s full of drawing and coloring and learning to read and write and frustrations because these things are super hard.

It’s full of excitement for things like birthdays and fireworks and morning prayers and car sing alongs. It’s full of adventures to the zoo and the discovery center to the park and around the corner to Walmart for doughnuts. It’s full of abcmouse.com and Anamalia books and spiderman and legos. It’s full of smiles and frowns and yells of joy and tears of pain and frustration.

But more than anything else listed, our world is FULL OF LOVE. Between one another, we show it to our neighbors, the homeless, our extended family and our teachers and each other. Our friends and animals and the grocery store clerks and waitresses we encounter every week. The love is what makes the good great and the rough patches easier to pull through.

Living in a household driven by speech delays and sensory issues and stimming and constantly having to repeat conversations is draining, both mentally and physically. I’d take away every stutter, flap, nipple pinch, loud noise and bright light that Leo can’t handle in a heartbeat. I’d take away every struggle Max has with his words, his head hitting, his spinning and his toe walking so fast. But it is who they are. And it’s okay. And it’s okay because we love.  Our family is just like everyone elses, with kiddos learning their footing in this big old world and teaching their mom and dad how to open their hearts and minds even bigger to accept them as they are.

I’d love to hear what your world with Autism is like. 🙂

lets light it up blue!

 

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.

“momma whats for tomorrow…” — February 5, 2016

“momma whats for tomorrow…”

This is the first thing out of Leos mouth every morning. If he wakes up at 5 or 7 the first thing he always asks is “Momma whats for tomorrow?” Tomorrow, this time is his birthday, he turns 5 and gets to have friends and family have ice cream with him at our favorite ice cream “store”

This morning he flew, like faster than the speed of light flew out of his bedroom, naked and needing to go pee with a GIANT smile on his face:

“MOMMA, WHATS FOR TOOOOOMMMMOOOOOORRRROOOOWWWWW????” *bounce bounce bounce*

“well bud, it’s your”

“ITS MY BURTHDAY!!!!! why I gonna be 5 mommma, my burfday at the icecreamstore? wif my fwiends? and da minions? momma? TOOOO MORROOOWWWWWW??????? THATS CRAZY!”

Totally dude, it’s totally crazy. These past 5 years have seemed to move so dang fast with a learning curve the size of sun. My excitement today comes from his realization of time, and dates and the progression of both. Last year we talked for a week about his birthday. He had tutors that made his birthday week so special and then we capped it off with a party and Spiderman.

This year I told him about his birthday party about a month ago. He’s been asking the date, looking at our giant fridge calendar and counting to the square very boldly labeled “LEO IS 5”. About a month ago I got him to tell me why he needs to know what tomorrow is and what it is going to bring. He told me he gets scared if he doesn’t know. Usually we have a 10-20 minute long conversation every morning about what tomorrow is, what today is, what we are doing today and tomorrow. I’ve thought about bringing back his visual schedule, but I love how this instigates a conversation and he has to stop and think. If we’ve already talked about it 2 times I tell him I am all done but he can tell me what we are up to today and tomorrow, and he usually recalls it all pretty spot on.

So today, on the eve of his BURFDAY I’m sure the entire world will be told tomorrow is his day, that he is going to be 5 and that he is so excited. And he should be, because he is pretty amazing.

 

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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.

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.

Break? Who gets a break? — December 10, 2014

Break? Who gets a break?

No one tells you when you first become a stay at home mom that the work you did, and were paid for, is NOTHING in comparison to the work you will be doing at home. That the work at home is never ending, lacking thanks, expected, demanded, 24 hours a day 365 days a year. There is no lunch break or vacation time. That trips to target alone become the most amazing part of your month and that when you leave for an hour and a half you will come home to a disaster and your mild relaxation you just achieved will be squashed the minute you walk in the door. That every morning, even if you try your hardest to have the house picked up the night before there will be dishes in the sink, there will be toys randomly stuck places and a mountain of laundry that you know you tackled all of just the day before. Your mind never turns off, sleep isn’t restful and holiday stress adds to it all. There is always something that needs to be done, someone that needs something or to be taken somewhere. A meal to be cook, cookies to be made, therapy to be ready for, school to get to on time and appointments to fight for. Always something.

2 1/2 weeks ago we headed off to the Pediatricians office for referrals for the boys- none of which have been handled yet. Last Friday I had to take Leo to the E.R. for tummy issues- they ran tests, all of which came back fine there are no infections, his blood counts and iron look fine. But something is wrong. And until we get a damn referral from the doctor the G.I. Specialist scheduler won’t even talk to me. So now he won’t poop, at least he won’t poop in the toilet. He will poop in his pants. GIANT potty training step backward. And frustrating and gross, but I get it, I’d be pretty potty shy after having strangers look at my butt too.

Max is trying to communicate, so very hard but it’s just not happening as fast as he’d like it to. So he throw fits. Epic meltdowns. With a scream that could break glass and gives me an instant migraine. But I don’t always know what he needs. Pair that with his not wanting to sleep unless his daddy is holding him. Yeah so daddy works, and Max needs a nap during the day, but refuses to take them because daddy isn’t here to hold him. I’m not good enough to rock him to sleep so the screaming starts and almost doesn’t end. And it gives me a migraine almost instantly.

I’ve said it before and I totally mean it, I get so mad when I’m talking and my words aren’t understood so I get where both of the boys get their anger with lack of communication, but damnit. I read to them, I sing to them, we talk, we walk and talk. But it’s not working, and I don’t know how to fix it. Got a call from Max’s advocate at the regional center (the place that is suppose to get us started on speech therapy and motor skill issues for him) yesterday. The gal was very nice, but she was the 4th person I’ve told that Leo is also a client of theirs and she is the 4th person that has told me that they like to keep siblings with the same advocate and someone would call me back. Sigh. Broken communication from the place that is suppose to be teaching my children to communicate. Maybe that’s part of the problem.

I have overloaded myself with projects, as per usual and all I really want to do is cross stitch and drink coffee. Cross stitching relaxes me. I love the repetitive motion. I love how pretty the thread looks against the background, and how at first it looks like an abstract piece of art but by the end is something so beautiful. But I can’t. I have that mountain of laundry to tackle, presents to finish and wrap, cookies to bake, dinner to fix, appointments to take people to, therapy to prepare for, and a house to clean.

But there will be a day where I can. And when I can I’ll thank God for the break that I am so desperately in search of now.