Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring has finally Sprung

This past month has been filled with sickness here at our house.  Mister Fister's immune system is not the best and as such with the weather getting warm and then cold and then warm and then cold again, it is horrible on his system.  He has been dealing with one viral infection after another, either that or one really extended infection.  But so far this week, he's been as healthy as anyone.

Other happenings this month.  I opened an Etsy shop for weighted blankets and other sensory items, as per the push of some really great friends.  I only have a few items listed, but that will be growing as I take time to take pictures of everything I've made for the boys.  This has been a new experience for me as I never really like to pedal my wares because I make them for the fun of it.  But we will see what the future brings for it I guess.

This week in the Cup of Autism Household:

It is finally 70 degrees here in the Pacific Northwest and it finally feels like winter is behind us.  I love spring time, there is so much that you can do without being cooped up in the house.  I love being outside, the fresh air and sun are my friends.  As for the boys, they love it too!  This past week when they come home from school we go for a bike ride, (well they bike, I run) then they get to play in the back yard until it is time for dinner, bath and bed.  And boy to they pass out.  I have never had both of them sleep so well, it's been a treat.

We've been looking into what our next project for the boys is going to be and have decided on two things.  We are going to make them new lofted beds.  This is partly because they need bed frames that fit their mattresses, and we just feel like making them.  But mostly its because it will give them more play space in their rooms as they've grown.  But first we are going to make them a new playhouse.  Right now they have a playhouse fashioned out of the two cardboard boxes that our couch came in.

We have made plans for a new two room playhouse out of PVC pipe (yes, we like to use PVC whenever we can because it's sturdy and cheap) and fabric walls, complete with doors and windows.  The wall dividing the rooms is going to be made from lycra, so the boys can push on it for resistance, or just so they can see who can push farther into the other's side.  
I cannot wait to get started on these projects, I can see how much fun they are going to be.  Now just to save up for them...  

Other thoughts we have been having involve what we are going to do over the summer with the boys.  We plan to get membership passes to the zoo and spend most of our time there or at the beach.  That will be both educational and sensory input for the boys (and myself, I love the beach!).  But we want to work on academics as well and still have school.  

Since we plan on possibly homeschooling Mister Taterbutt next year (it all depends on what happens at his end of year IEP meeting), we have been looking into what curriculum we will be using.  We plan to slowly introduce both Mister Taterbutt and Mister Fister to it over the summer.  This is where their loft beds will come in handy, we plan on building a desk into the underneath side for their school time.  

A Parting Warning

We have also learned to keep track of the moon's phases over the past few months.  It seems every time our boys act out of sorts for extended periods of time, it is either right before, right after, or during a full moon.  So now my home screen on my phone is a widget showing the phase of the moon, that way I can never be taken by surprise again.  Or at least that is the hope, I guess we will see how it works out with tomorrow being a full moon and the first lunar eclipse of the year.  Hope everyone is ready for it and enjoys the warming weather.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Controversy War

I was scrolling through my facebook feed when I started seeing a lot of people bringing up some never-ending controversies: breast feeding vs formula feeding and vaccination vs natural immunity are the two I have seen most often.

I was curious and started reading all the comments and some of these people are educated on only one side.  Now I normally do not like bringing up controversy, I normally just keep my mouth shut because I do not feel adequately educated about all aspects of these controversies to have much of a public opinion on them.

So why am I bringing them up now? Good question, maybe I just cannot keep quiet any longer, I do not know; but some of the comments got under my skin.

On breast vs formula:
I see both sides of this argument.  Breast feeding does strengthen the bond between mama and baby, as well as helps to pass certain immunities to the baby.  Formula does help to give some nutrients, yes they might be chemically made but they are nutrients none the less, to the baby that might be lacking in the mother's milk or diet.  When I had Mister Taterbutt, I fully planned to breast feed, I went out and got all the nice cute little milk storage containers, an amazing pump, and all the bells and whistles for it.  I was going to breast feed my baby.  Two weeks after he was born, he was getting sick on my milk and had lost quite a bit of weight.  The doctor told me that my milk was making him sick, so I had to switch to formula.  Yes, I was devastated, but I knew in my heart that that was the only thing I could do to make him better.  So I switched him to formula and I watched our savings account go down quickly because formula is not cheap.  After months of trying to find the right formula for him, it is much harder than just going and picking out the first one you see, we had to give him the preemie non-allergenic formula.  It was the only one that he could keep down, but he quickly started gaining weight and was a healthy little boy.  Fast forward to when I had Mister Fister, I chose not to breast feed him from the get go.  I decided that the trouble we had with his brother, I was not going to put him through the same thing.  I am glad I made that decision because as it turned out, he could only have the lactose free formula, so he would not have been able to have my milk anyways.  So all this b****ing about which is better, neither is better, it is a personal decision, and a tough one at that, for the mother to make.  No one knows exactly what goes into that decision for the mother as it is different for each person and situation.  I just think that some of these overly opinionated women, and some men, need to get off their high horse about breast feeding, because it is not always the best choice, and sometimes is not even a choice, for the baby and they need to stop chastising anyone who uses formula.  There is no point to the bickering and it only makes that mother feel even worse about one of the toughest decisions she has had to make.

On vaccinating vs not:
Again, I can see both sides to this controversy and I really do not see the point in all the bickering going on around it.  It is a personal decision that the family makes.  Yes, some vaccines have been found to have harmful effects, and yes some do not even prevent the disease they are vaccinated against.  That is a gamble that all families who do vaccinate take, but one that happens fairly seldom and usually there are other reasons behind the harmful effects.  But I see the reason behind wanting a child to grow his or her own immunity.  That is the healthy way, but when doing so, the parents must keep a close eye on any symptoms, as measles and mumps are treatable diseases if caught early, but yes, they can cause death if not treated in a timely manner.  But the only people who will be hurt are those who chose not to vaccinate and I am sure they understand that risk; so they do not need that thrown in their faces by the pro-vaccinators.  I have chosen to vaccinate my children, well Mister Taterbutt anyways.  He can have the vaccines, and has never had a reaction to them, so he is going to get vaccinated.  I was vaccinated when I was a child and I turned out just fine, so why shouldn't he?  As for Mister Fister, well he has been vaccinated all the way up to his 2 year vaccines.  He had a horrible reaction to one of the vaccines, his leg swelled up and he could not move it.  He was in so much pain for the three days it was like that.  After that we decided that since the doctor's office did not keep on file which shots he got in what leg to pin point the cause, we are not vaccinating him any more.  Luckily, this past fall we found out what was probably the cause, Scott is allergic to eggs.  Several of the vaccines, including the flu vaccine and the MMR vaccine, which were two of the vaccines he received the day he had that horrible reaction.  Mister Fister is our allergy kiddo, we are still continuing to find more and more items that he is allergic to and so we have decided to not vaccinate him.  So we have one child who is getting vaccines, and another who is not; where do we fit into this controversy?  Sure we could continue to give Mister Fister the vaccines that do not contain any of his known allergies, but we have decided to not do that as he already has several health issues. He is pumped full of medications on a daily basis, he gets two to three breathing treatments daily, sometimes more if it is a bad day; he gets Benedryl and Claritin on a daily basis as well as if he goes into anaphylaxis he gets his epi pen; and because of his nebulizer treatments causing him to bounce off the walls, we have to give him melatonin at night just so he gets the little bit of sleep that he gets, normally 6-8 hours, which is very little for a four year old.  This is not to mention the times when he is sick and he is on several different antibiotics.  We have to carry around a miniature doctors bag anytime we go out with Mister Fister because we have to carry just about everything mentioned above, plus we have to take his pulse ox periodically throughout the day.  Because of all these chemicals that are being put in his body, we have decided to not put any more in by vaccinating him, not because we think it causes autism, Mister Taterbutt was diagnosed before he got the one vaccine that is thought to have caused it; but because he has enough going on we do not need to stress him any more.  Plus we take every precaution the doctor tells us to so if he gets sick with one of these preventable diseases, well we'll catch it early enough for treatment anyways.  So I see both sides of the argument and I do not see the point behind all this vaccines cause this, vaccines hurt the children more than they help, or non vaccinators are hurting their child by making them susceptible to diseases.

Both of these controversies are incredibly intimate decisions that a family makes on their own.  It is their personal decision and one they make for themselves and no one can make it for them.  I do not see the point behind all the name calling and forcing of opinions on others.  There is no point to it all other than making each other feel horrible about nothing that will make a difference.  Breast feeding is not any better than formula feeding, and vice versa. Vaccination is a personal decision and one that a parent makes because they do what they feel is best for their child and again, vice versa for those who choose not to vaccinate.  To me it makes no difference; I am not going to stop my friends from coming over because they are breast feeding their children and I do not want to see that, or because they are formula feeding and I do not agree with them, that's ridiculous.  And again on the vaccinations, I have one child who is and one who is not, and I am not going to stop my friends and ask them if their child is or is not vaccinated before I let them hang out with us.  I think this whole public shaming of one decision or the other is complete buttocks.  To each their own decision, and let it be at that.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The New Year

I know I said I would update this a little more regularly, and I apologize (yet again) for slacking on that front.  Life just sometimes gets ahead of you and you feel like you are drowning trying to catch up.
School is back in full swing now, which is great.  The boys are doing great.
Scott's therapists are starting to hang back and let him be more independent, which is fabulous.  I love that my little guy is able to participate in the social groups with little guidance now (he still has to have help staying focused from time to time).  He has started to officially rock climb at OT, which is great and he loves it.  I want to get him to go to some climbing classes this spring, I think it will be a great outlet for him.  Also, Scott has been talking a lot more lately.  He's always surprising me with new phrases, or incredibly long sentences.  It's amazing to see just how much he picks up on (he knows more about anatomy than I do, as he has been helping me with my homework this past week).

Scott climbing away during OT.

Aiden's doing great as well.  He started speech therapy again.  We just got done with all the evaluations this past week, so Tuesday I will sit down and talk with the therapist to find a plan of attack to help my big man out with social situations.  So far the therapist has said that Aiden has all the higher level thinking and intelligence, but he just seems to have issues organizing his thoughts.  This makes perfect sense because most of his conversations are jumbled around.  He has all the working mechanisms and what not, he just needs help with organizing them so he can have a fluid conversation.  This is why when he gets really excited about something, he starts flicking his fingers and he'll either get stuck on one part of it, or he'll start talking about five different parts of it.  But when he has the particular item or picture, or whatever he is talking about, in front of him, man can he tell you every detail about it.  So we are moving to have visuals for every thing.  We have started to have a visual schedule for him again, it has helped him with a little bit of his anger and frustration.  We also put up a visual "House Rules" poster, which will hopefully help with keeping Aiden from beating up on Scott.  But I am excited to see what other thoughts the speech therapist has to help him out.  I want everyone to see how amazing my big guy is.

Aiden being the stud he is and taking a selfie.

Last weekend we were able to take part in the pilot program for Wings For Autism here at SEATAC through the ARC of King County.  It was an amazing experience.  I truly loved every part of it.  The boys had fun and really did not have too many upsets (at least not as many as I was prepared for).  Scott still had an anxiety attack when walking up to the plane's door, but the first officer coaxed him on by letting him talk on the intercom.  Then the pilot was allowing the kids to go up to the flight deck and push buttons, Aiden made a couple of alarms go off.  Then we were "flew" around the runways for about 30 minutes to allow all the kiddos to hear what the engines sound like and everything.  It was one of the best experiences I have had.  I truly hope they are able to do this more often as I know several families will benefit from it.  I wish we were able to stay for the reception after we "landed" back at the gate, but Scott accidentally had some cookies that had egg in them, so we had to go get him to some benedryl before he had a full on reaction.

 Oh no! Aiden's flying!
 This was them eating the dreadful cookies with eggs (mommy didn't check the packaging :/)
 Learning about all the pretty buttons.
 Scott was playing with the visor with daddy.
 This is the man who coaxed Scott on the plane, I am very grateful for that.
 The boys were hushing each other.
This was them waiting patiently for time to board the plane.
This was soon after we realized those cookies had egg in them, can you see the bright red cheeks?

Fast forward to this past week, which has been a busy one.  The boys and I made some baked cotton balls that we had some fun smashing up all over the kitchen.  Then our beloved Mister Pinkerton got sick.  We found out that because our schedule has become increasingly busy and we are not home as much as we used to be, Pinkerton has become depressed.  Sphynx's are a very sociable breed, they love people and playing, they do not like being alone.  I thought Mister Boots would be enough, but it seems that old age is catching up to the poor pup and he has become rather cranky toward Pinkerton.  So we have started researching and contacting breeders, we are going to adopt another Sphynx!  Why another hairless cat? Because with Scott's allergies and lung issues, we do not want the cat fur to cause any issues, so another hairless kitty to the rescue for our very loved and pampered Mister Pinkerton.
Now you might be asking what does getting another cat have to do with sensory or autism.  Well it doesn't really, other than Pinkerton being Scott's best friend and the reason Scott does pretty much as well as he does.  Pinkerton is who helps Scott calm down when he has an anxiety attack or when he is scared because he's sick or coughing a lot.  Granted, Pinkerton does not always do this by choice, sometimes it Scott who grabs Pinkerton off the counter or the PS4 (Pinkerton's favorite heating pad), but he deals with it, no fuss no muss.  He is the best thing that has happened to Scott, and I will do whatever it takes to keep him a happy meowing little fella.

Pounding out some baked cotton balls.
See, best friends :)