Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive

To begin with, I’m not feeling particularly witty today, so I apologize in advance if this post is a little bland.

Every once in a while, we’ll have a little spurt of good days as far as Michael goes.  This past week was a good week in our world.  Michael received his first-ever award at school.  It was a “BUG” award which stands for Bringing Up Grades.  Michael was awarded one of these for Improvement in Following Directions.  No, it wasn’t for getting an “A” up from a “C” in long division, but you know what?  We’ll take it.  In our corner of the universe, that is what we live for.  When I arrived at the awards ceremony, it was a little intimidating.  All of these parents arriving to see their fourth grade students being honored for straight A’s and B’s in all their academic subjects.  Michael came into the cafeteria with a teacher’s aide who directed him across the stage and the principal and assistant principal shook his hands as he carried his certificate across the stage.  Was he proud of himself?  To be honest, I think he had only one thing on his brain………the bag of Cheez-Its the teacher’s aide brought for him.  Hey…..whatever works, right?  I was a proud momma, though.  To hear the cafeteria clapping when his name was called, just like he was a regular student receiving an award was a nice feeling.  There were no stares, no comments, no pitiful “Awwwwww” sounds.  It felt GOOD.  And all the other kids and parents in that cafeteria were part of typical fourth grade classes.

Today, Michael had a dentist appointment.  Let me tell you something………”dentist” strikes fear into the hearts of many parents of typical kids.  Now, multiply that times about a hundred million and that’s how parents of autistic children feel about taking their child to the dentist.  And that’s how it used to be for me.  We have the B-E-S-T pediatric dentist in the world.  She is FABULOUS with children with special needs as is her entire staff.   In order to keep Michael from darting out of the chair, kicking, or swatting at the instruments, he has to lay in a gigantic “papoose”, where he is swaddled from the neck down in a velcro-fastening contraption.  He doesn’t really mind it…………anymore.  The first few times we took him there, between ages 4 and about 7, it was, uh, not fun.  Even with this huge contraption around him, I would have to lay ON TOP of him to keep him from turning into a gigantic caterpillar and thrusting himself off the chair.  Nowadays, he still uses the papoose, but the crying and whining is pretty much a thing of the past.  Today, when he was all wrapped up and the hygienist started to clean, he did start to whine, but for a totally different reason.  He wanted to be able to “dance” because he heard “Moves Like  Jagger” on the radio in the office!  Then later on, Katy Perry came on and the whining started again.  The hygienist actually went ahead and stopped the cleaning for a moment so he could waggle back and forth to the music.  Once he got that out of his system, she was able to finish.  Christopher and I had a good chuckle about all of that!

In the midst of my writing this blog, my friend/fellow blogger/autism comrade called me to tell me about some of the middle schools she visited, as her son (who is Michael’s classmate) will be leaving elementary school next year.  I was so thrilled to hear that she found a couple of them to be excellent programs, and that she absolutely loved one and feels it’s the right fit for her son.  I am sincerely hoping that I have that same experience when it’s my turn next year.

Soccer Buddies wrapped up this weekend for Michael and I have to say that I will really miss it.  It was such a welcoming place to be and I so loved sitting on that field in the beautiful South Florida weather we’ve been having and commiserating with my little group of moms.  I recently read a post on another autism mom’s blog that talked about all the positive things that being a special needs’ parent brings.  There was an item on that list that said:

You will connect with people and form friendships based upon your shared experience in raising special needs children.  These are amazing people whose hearts and minds have been tempered by this life-altering journey.   Flappiness Is…….

I love that.  Truer words were never said.

I remember back to the days when we first received Michael’s diagnosis.  It felt like our world just fell apart.  I read blogs and hear stories about people who are where we were 6 years ago.  No, life didn’t exactly deal us a fair hand.  No, life is definitely not easy or what you thought raising children was supposed to be like.  But you do find somewhat of a niche after a while.   There are days where you cry and scream and STILL ask “Why MY child?”.  But sometimes you get a break.  And those little breaks are the times that keep you going.



The iPod Nazi

So now, Michael has decided that he is the DJ when it comes to music in the car.  I have a wide variety of music on my iPhone……….from Van Halen, to “Glee” music, to The Cure, to Lady Gaga.  Every few months, Michael gets obsessed with certain songs.  For the few months before Christmas, I had to listen to “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train over, and over, and over, and over again.  This was not even a song that I had on my phone; Michael had heard it on the radio and on some commercial and asked for the song CONSTANTLY.  So, even though that catchy “hey-ey-ey-ey-ey” wasn’t a favorite of mine, I bought it for him through iTunes.  Well, Train has become passe.   We have now moved on to Maroon 5.  Yup, you know the one…..(cue whistling).  I happen to LOVE “Moves Like Jagger”.  I find it super catchy and pays tribute to one of the all-time classic rock greats (how excited was I when they mashed it up with “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” on Glee last week?!?).    Michael agrees.  However, as you know, iPods automatically list your songs alphabetically, and when Moves Like Jagger is over, the next song to come on in my eclectic mix is “Music” by Madonna.  Not exactly everyone’s favorite, but I like it enough to have it as a selection.  Michael has now taken a shine to that song, too………so much so that if I decide to choose another song OR shut the music off, he will begin to throw a lovely temper tantrum in the back seat of my car.    Today, we were listening to the radio, and the DJ played “Moves Like Jagger”.  Michael, of course, was happy and dancing in the back seat……….until the song was over and the disc jockey on that station actually had the NERVE to select another song which was “Genie in a Bottle” by Christina Aguilera………………and sooooo, the tantrum ensued.  At first, Christopher and I couldn’t figure out for the life of us what the tantrum was over.  He just kept yelling “It’s broken!  It’s broken!”.  And then something that sounded like “David” or something with a D.  That’s when I realized it.  He was saying “Mr. DJ! Mr. DJ!”…………which, in case you’re not a Madonna fan, is the first part of “Music”.

There are a number of songs that over time have been traditionally played in sequence – “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions” by Queen, “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” by Elton John, and “Eruption/You Really Got Me” by Van Halen.  (My husband has actually wondered when Apple will modify the “Shuffle” feature on the iPhone/iPod so that those types of songs can stay together.)  I guess we’ll have a new set of songs to add to the list.    ;p