This week’s photo challenge is, Motion.
My grams, ironing quilt blocks, to which the image came out looking really neat.
This week’s photo challenge is, Motion.
My grams, ironing quilt blocks, to which the image came out looking really neat.
Last week it had snowed…again…but this time, it was a good snowfall, well, for us here in the centralized part of Arkansas it was. Sad thing about this round of white powder is that it was just that, powder, which isn’t snowman building type of snow. After several minutes of effortless trying to build one, she finally understood, yet still found a way to enjoy playing in it.
I admire my daughter’s infinite love for snow. I’m sure the movie Frozen gave her a bit of a nudge in that direction, especially after hearing Anna’s famous line, ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman’. And there’s also a song she sings about it too. After watching the movie a few dozen times, then hearing it play in the background of your home…on repeat…then tolerating the CD in the car, also on repeat, you would have a slight understanding as to why snow and the movie Frozen can start to really bug you.
Not to mention, the numerous pictures of Elsa circulating on Facebook, issuing a warrant out for arrest, blaming her for causing our lovely winter snowstorms, kind of a bit overdone.
The only time I like snow is when I get to play in it. I used to snowboard regularly when I lived in Colorado. I actually kept my board and gear, just in case I get the chance to snowboard again. Yet, when my daughter repeats Anna’s famous line, of course I’m all into building a snowman, I’m just not going to burst into song or anything like that. I’ll also refrain from mentioning anything to do with the movie.
Though the sky was kind of bleak and everything surrounding me was white, I did snap a few photos here and there. I kind of find my neighbors broken fence somewhat interesting. I call it his fence since he’s the one who put it up, he just fails to maintain it. Of course the wheelchair ramp tends to end up in my pictures. Plus, I had to take a picture of the tall pines that surround us in their version of a tiny forrest. I feel like an ant standing next to these massive giants. They were here before the house was built back in the 50’s, so that should give you a rough estimate on how old they are.
March is a month that I’ve always looked forward to every year. Parades, eating pot roast and potatoes, and donning the color green. I can remember one year, when I was in first or second grade, that I had gotten pinched for wearing too much green. I was covered in green from my shoes, socks, pants, and my tee. I never understood why a person would pinch someone for not wearing green or for wearing too much of it, but it was something that I can remember doing every year, supporting my Irish heritage.
It’s something I still do today, attend the local St. Pat’s parade, eat beef and potatoes, and wear as much green as I want without worrying about getting pinched.
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day originated in America by the Irish who immigrated to the States over two centuries ago. It became a tradition in celebrating their culture, heritage, music, and of course their patron saint, Patrick every March, that it took off with popularity, continuing on with their descendants and is now celebrated in every major city in the US and almost every city in Ireland, bringing in attendees from every cultural background, including Irish.
According to Ireland of the Welcomes magazine, “the first St. Patrick’s Day parade every record, was in 1737 in Boston, Massachusetts, hosted by the Irish Society of Boston.”
“Almost 25 percent of the population in Massachusetts is Irish, making it the most Irish state in the US. Boston is often called the capital of Irish America because of the thriving Irish community that dates back to colonial times.”
Here in Little Rock the Irish Cultural Society of Arkansas hosts a parade every year on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a mile long and seems to grow in attendance every year. This year marks their 16th annual parade and will be this Saturday, March 14th at 1PM. The parade will start in front of Dugan’s Pub at Third and Rock, then will travel east on Third, the North on Sherman, towards President Clinton Ave, running in front of the river market, making a right turn on Main St, crossing over the river bridge, ending at Sixth and Main.
I find that the best areas for viewing is right in front of the river market on President Clinton Ave. Though if you have kiddos with sensitive hearing like my daughter, bring ear protection as the several motorcycles, handful of fire engines, and that one guy with the train, can create such a loud echoing noise in between those big city buildings, startling those wee ones.
Please click here for more information on the parade, as the Irish Cultural Society usually host an organization benefit. Last year, they collected canned food for the Rice Depot…There was a sponsored truck in the parade procession collecting canned food from the attendees, I proudly donated a few cans to them as they passed us.
Oh, if you decide to attend, and I hope you do, don’t forget to bring a bag so that the kiddos can collect candy and beads thrown to them from the parade procession.
Meltdowns are something Autism Parents are quite used to. They’re much different than a normal tantrum, though we autism parents would prefer a tantrum versus having to handle a meltdown, especially in the store. Honestly, I don’t mind a meltdown at home, as I can readily handle them. But I cannot handle one as easily in the store. What’s worse is all the stares and rude comments from all the those lurking around when my daughter has a meltdown.
Anything can start one and it’s mostly from her not being able to handle a situation.
For instance, when her school first started practicing fire drills, any time my daughter would see a red fire alarm, anywhere, she would panic. It would lead to screaming and crying, fire, fire, get out, get out. I try to calm her by telling her that the fire alarms aren’t working, rarely does that help, but it’s worth trying. I try to hold her, hug her, use soothing words to try and calm her, all the while moving to another aisle so that the fire alarm is out of sight. Then, point out all the cool things around us, like a neat toy she may like. Distraction works best, most of the time.
Meanwhile, people begin to swarm in, pointing, talking amongst themselves, staring at us. The best way for strangers to handle this situation is to move on. It doesn’t help that parent at all to point and stare. It adds stress to the already embarrassing situation that parent is having to endure at that moment.
I was in the check out lane one day, when my daughter started to heave a meltdown. The checker didn’t hand her a toy fast enough, plus it was in a sack. The checker looked at me awkwardly as I said, “it’s okay, she’s just having a moment, it’s just something children with autism do.” Her reply made me frown, “I thought all kids do that.” Yes, and no. What’s worse, an older gentleman behind me began to giggle at my daughter’s outburst. I did my best to ignore him and held my tongue. When we got outside my daughter’s meltdown grew worse as she started to toss things out of the buggy. I can only pray that we get to the car without being hit by someone speeding through the parking lot….it does happen, even right outside the doors of the store.
At home, her kicking and screaming turns into her jumping up and landing on her knees, to banging her head on the floor or anything that she can hit her head on. Usually I let her kick and scream, but when she starts banging her head, I’ll scoop her up and rock her in the rocking chair. Her meltdown may last from a few minutes, to hours, but I’ve noticed that the rocking does help.
Here’s a blog post from ‘The Autism Site (dot) com’ on ‘Calming A Meltdown Can Be Frustratingly Difficult’
I found this blog post on a Facebook group for special needs parents. Though it’s an old post, you can tell that parents of special needs children continue to search for our sanity, as well as answers. Yet, we find friendship through those who are familiar with our day to day lives. We find strength. Sometimes, we may find humor. Also, a smile may be rendered in there somewhere.
Why else would someone re-post an old blog write up? To share that we are out there. To give us strength. To also show that some of our kiddos share similarities. To help spread the word that are children are just that, children, no matter how many awkward stares we get, no matter what society thinks of our children, no matter who’s whispering negative comments behind our backs.
Most of us realize that our sanity may be the first to go, but we replace it with knowledge. Knowledge of who our real friends are, knowledge of our level of patience, knowledge of what our family members truly think of us, knowledge that our kiddos are actually something truly amazing.
Another thing about a special needs parent, we never give up, on anything, and we become stronger every day. We also stick together, as we understand what it is we go through every day.
Our family members and close friends may leave us because they cannot understand our kiddos, yet we find friendships in others, bonds, proving to ourselves that we aren’t alone.
Hugs to all those special needs parents out there, continue to stay strong!
This week’s One Word Photo Challenge is Teal; a beautiful shade found on the color spectrum of blue, can be found in the pictures posted below.
If you have never known the love of a therapy horse, or have seen the love expressed between horse and rider, then hopefully you can see that and more expressed in the photos.
The ever so patient horse, encouraging the ever so gentle touch from a child with special needs is awe inspiring. Tears well up in my eyes with happiness, as I watch my daughter’s slow movements in her approach towards her therapy horse, Passion, who is moving in closer to my daughter for her to touch.
Horse/equine therapy, also known as Hippotherapy, has been very helpful with my daughter in teaching her to express herself more. Not only that, but it allows her to have a love for animals that she didn’t have before; she had expressed fear when any animal approached her, whether that animal was calm or not.
She expresses a giddy, “Hi, Passion.” before reaching up to brush her fingertips across Passion’s nose. Passion, a gentle therapy horse on Harmony In Hooves Farm, stands up to her name. Her gentle, calm nature would allowing anyone a chance to pet her. Horses can be very therapeutic and just being around her can be very calming.
You can check out my other blog post for more information on how horses can be therapeutic for special needs children.
The following photos is of some artwork pieces found in Bernice Gardens in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
What does ‘reward’ mean to you?
In the autism world, there are many challenges that are faced every single day. Yet some of those challenges can be very rewarding, for both child and parent. I can think of many challenges we’ve both faced, that in the end, we were equally rewarded – her reward was achieving something out of the ordinary, achieving a goal, breaking out of a habit. For me it was seeing her do something and knowing that she knew she did it without having a complete meltdown, or after the meltdown was over, she saw that what she did, was actually okay.
The first rewarding moment that I can remember, was the first time she sat in a barber chair without assistance or without me holding her down while she got her hair cut. Yes, you read that right. For most children with autism, getting a haircut is a HUGE challenge. I had to sit in the chair with her in my lap, hold her legs and arms as still as possible, all the while listening to her scream and cry as the stylist cut her hair. It’s just a part of that sensory/autism area…someone different combing my hair, that isn’t my hairbrush, etc. The stylist having to spray their hair with water isn’t a big hit either. Plus, the scissors aren’t a favorite thing – something sharp and pointed, coming towards me…
I take her to a place where the hair stylist is familiar with children with special needs; she has a special needs child of her own. Not only that, but the place is very welcoming to all children, especially those with special needs. They can play with all kinds of neat and cool toys. Plus, the stylist doesn’t even have to cut their hair while they’re sitting in a chair. I walked in one day and saw her sweeping up hair from around the train table – the child was preoccupied with the train set, that that was all they were going to do. My daughter was the same way, I couldn’t get her away from the train set, or coax her to sit in the chair to get her hair cut, so the stylist proceeded to cut her hair from where my daughter played. No problems, whatsoever!
Maybe there’s a fear of sitting in a barber chair, who knows!
The last time I took my daughter to get her hair cut, she sat in the chair without a fuss. Cartoons was playing on the TV The stylist was able to find a cartoon my daughter liked on the TV, which kept her preoccupied long enough for the stylist to go to work. It was only when the cartoon ended did she realize what was going on and started to squirm, though the stylist quickly finished, yet did an amazing job. The stylist then rewarded my daughter with a toy of her choosing, for her being so brave and not making a fuss.
This little barber shop also has an awesome store where I can buy sensory toys for my daughter. I even purchased a few puzzles and a few dry erase alphabet mats for my daughter to learn tracing her ABC’s on.
My daughter now calls the barber shop, the train place, because of the train set kids can play with while waiting to get their hair cut. There’s also a dollhouse and a few sensory toys around the store where kids can freely play.
This week, the weather has been rather crappy. We rarely get a good snow fall here in the southern part of Arkansas, so when it does snow I get as excited as my daughter does and we head outside to play. What we usually get almost every winter, is sleet and freezing rain, which leads to icy covered roads. Which also leads to people driving around like crazy trying to buy up all the bread and milk in every store. Twice, I almost got ran into from people driving erratically and the storm had not even arrived yet.
I had prepared for being kept indoors by stocking up our cabinets and freezers. So, if we don’t leave the house for several weeks, we’re good. If the electric goes out, that’s fine too, as I have a small charcoal grill and plenty of batteries, flashlights, and lanterns.
A few years ago, or was it last year, a horrible snow storm hit us, knocking out our power. Then our giant Magnolia tree in our front yard was weighed down from all the ice and snow that it split in two; one giant limb covered the drive way, thankfully missing my car, and the other giant limb fell onto the wheelchair ramp, which blocked any method of getting the cars out. Our wonderful neighbors showed up with chainsaws and a few friends brought their trucks over and we all took care of our poor tree.
Tuesday, it had snowed a few inches, that Wednesday morning my daughter and I went outside to play. I helped her build a snowman, as she’s been aching to do. I watched her run around the backyard, then watch her as she tossed a few handfuls of snow at me. Then after thirty minutes had elapsed we went back inside and proceeded to watch everything melt from our picture window in the living room. It was a great day and most of the snow and ice has melted away. Just in time too, as we’re to get another round of freezing rain tonight and tomorrow. Fun!
For now, it’s catch up time on homework, research papers, and novel edits.
Stay warm all!
Due to my daughter’s autism, potty training has been a major challenge for her and I. I had the difficult time getting her to transition from diaper to pull-up, then an even harder time getting her to transition from pull-up to panties. It’s a sensory thing, plus it’s an autism thing. Change is something a child with autism can’t handle. Then the sensory part, well, the pull-up feels way different than the diaper. The panties feel even funnier than the pull-up. it’s just uncomfortable, which can also lead to meltdowns and stress, mostly for her. I have a lot of patience with her.
It took a lot of bribing and coaxing to get her to switch over, but she did. It cost quite a bit of stickers and some M&Ms, but whatever helped.
Imagine, if you will, the feeling of a scouring pad being pulled ever so lightly against your skin. I know it sounds a bit awkward describing it this way, but this is how some things feel to someone with autism, especially someone with a sensory disorder. It is definitely an unnatural feeling, yet that’s what they experience. I had gotten her a cute little Red Sox jersey. She loves it, except she can’t wear it without having a regular t-shirt underneath the jersey. The jersey on her skin feels uncomfortable. Like wearing a wool sweater without having a t-shirt underneath it. So, not only is the change in going from diaper, to pull-up, to panties hard for her, it takes some time for her to get accustomed to the new feelings of each item.
Next came the success of actually going in the potty, which took a few years. When she was one, I had purchased a little pink princess potty, to which she loved, though she would rather look at it, than she would sit on it. It chimed each time you would push it’s little jeweled lever, which was supposed to resemble flushing the potty, but it was more of a cute little accessory that was only for looks. She found it rather amusing and giggled each time it chimed, that she would sit in the floor and continuously push the lever down.
She still wouldn’t sit on it. I continued to try though.
For the past several months, her teachers at daycare and I have been working with her on using the potty, the real one, as well as wearing panties. I would take her to school wearing panties, but had to make sure she had a few pairs of pants, panties, socks, and another pair of shoes, sometimes I would slip an extra shirt in there, as there’s been times where it was needed too. Oh, yeah, she peed all the way down her legs, soiling everything, including her shoes.
No matter how many times we took her and placed her on the potty, she would still have an accident. It was just a continued work in progress. Yesterday, however, something changed. She actually went the entire day without wearing a pull-up and without having an accident. I couldn’t be more happier for my baby girl! Although, she still has to be taken to the bathroom, I’m sure it won’t be long now before she begins to start taking herself when she feels nature calling, before nature does call.
Next on the list is for her to successful do number two in the potty, instead of holding it. Since she started wearing panties, she’s been holding number two until she can’t hold it any more and has an accident.
Small steps, still lead to great successes!
I’m not a fan of head colds. I don’t think anyone is. I’m especially not fond of the flu either. I’m particularly not a fan of any kind of sickness that my daughter gets. Even though my daughter and I got our flu shots, we weren’t protected against the strand that was going around after the flu shot mixture was sent out to the medical facilities. At first I was the one that had caught the flu. I thought it was just a normal cold – stuffiness and congestion, but I also had the chills to go along with it. I went to the VA in hopes of getting some nasal decongestant. Yet after running through my reasons for being there the nurse decided to swab my throat and nose for the flu, as a precaution. Then I had to dawn a lovely mask that had everyone staring at me as if I grew a third eye.
I didn’t have time to sit and wait for the results, so I decided to pick up my mini me and head home. For those that aren’t familiar with how the VA runs, a trip to the ER or making a doctor’s appointment is an all day adventure, without the fun of course. I didn’t step two feet in the door before the phone began ringing – test results are back, I have the flu.
Now to get my dad to pick up the meds for me as I wasn’t up to driving back to Little Rock…I started feeling a little more worse-for-wear, though I didn’t start the day feeling that great to begin with.
What’s worse is that if I had a sniffle of any kind, I couldn’t go into work. But I didn’t just have a sniffle, I had the flu. Quite upsetting as I love my job, working with the large primates at the zoo. Plus, I had to miss my classes, which was going to put me behind, especially if I miss lectures. After a week of feeling the utmost crappiest I’ve ever felt, my daughter comes down with the flu. After a phone call to her doctor, a trip to the ER, and several days in bed, she’s finally feeling much better.
With all that said, I’m playing catch up with schoolwork, all the while praying my grams doesn’t get the flu next.