For years I've been able to avoid the cartoon Spongebob. When you have an echolaelic kid, exposing them to shows with inappropriate language and behavior, you're guaranteed to get it back, or in my case, hear it in church!
Jake has always been able to, for lack of a medical phrase, "script appropriately". He memorizes everything he hears and plugs it into normal every day life. So he doesn't really script as in a constant run of self-talk, just pops the phrases beautifully into daily conversation.
At school, one of the rewards is getting to watch Spongebob for free time or lunch. There's goes my Spongebob strike! Suddenly the sarcasm, quit wit and teasing of SB has entered our days.
Jake's trying to figure it all out: "If I say you're a pig! Is that teasing or sarcasm?"
"Is daddy teasing right now or being sarcasm?"
I told Jake he's allowed to watch as long as I don't hear any of the disrespectful talk of Patrick, Squidward, and The Bob in my house or at church. Ha! Yeah riiiiggghhhttt.
Fast forward... this morning I handed Jake his plate of honey-wheat toast and apple for breakfast.
He enthusiastically says, "Thank you mommy, this looks delightful!"
I cracked up and made such a shocked-yelping-laugh noise, Jake in turn completely cracked up! When asked where he learned that, because everything he says comes from someone else, he said that's what Spongebob says when he gets a milkshake!
I now stand corrected.
I regretfully submit to the Spongebob!
OK... I sort of promised not to write about the Margarita Momma's madness but I can't resist. (And I wasn't completely sober when I promised.)
While I fully understand "what happens at Guapos stays at Guapos", we had so much fun I just need to say thank you to this group of gals!
Along the "ASD highway", I've needed to pull over for rest, force myself to sleep, hitchhike a bit and watch my tailgating.
Last night however, the roads of 5 Super Hero moms all met over margaritas, and I spent the night totally drafting off their advice. I may be the craziest of the group but I also have the youngest Super Hero.
As I listen to stories, and add my own, I am sort of terrified about my next few years but thrilled that I'm not navigating alone. These girls are my ASD-GPS. But they talk way more than my old Garmin!
It never ceases to amaze me how different we all are: some work, some don't. some sleep, some don't. some believe, some don't. But we all accept each other, support each other and deeply care for one another no matter our pasts, futures or dreams. We're careful not to force our ideals on others, while trying to understand the flip-side of life.
It's not often you can throw a group of women together and have no "issues". But right off the bat, I've felt supported and important. If you're reading this and you don't have a group like this to lift you up, find one. Allow yourself to go out and have fun. It is so crucial.
Take care of you and you'll be able to take care of your kid.
Thanks Margarita Momma's! What a crew we are!
I don't claim to be a scientist, doctor nor a psychologist, but there's one thing I know for sure... nothing can beat how chewing calms Super Heroes.
This lesson was learned years ago when Jake was in pre-k. He needed to chew all day -- every day. Chewy things, crunchy things, rubbery things all went into his mouth. Spit would run down his arms from the chew-toys and still does if he's really upset.
Physiologically, I'm not clear on how this calms the senses and the body but it works. Case in point, this morning's near meltdown.
Jake became upset when the bus pulled up early and we didn't get to "play catch" as planned. The running, jumping, tears and fears all started and I was sure there was no way he could ride the bus in this state of emotional upset.
We did the deep breathing, downward dog, and all the usual calming techniques without success. Then I pulled out a piece of gum. No lie, three chews in, his breathing deepened, his heart rate slowed and he prepared himself for the ride. Up he went and off they go.
A quick email fired off to teachers to watch for the arrival of Hurricane Jake and we're good.
Never underestimate the power of gum! (BTW: it also helps during homework time and church!)
This morning started with another over-flow of emotions.
Typically Jake''s not allowed computer time before school, but he's been getting up and sneaking downstairs before I wake up. Today, he snuck down, wrote up two sticky notes stating: "I did all my homework" and "I'll be playing here on computer while waiting for mommy to get up".
One sticking point, he stuck the notes to the kitchen table, downstairs!!! So when I didn't get up within an hour, he came and stuck the post-it's to ME in my bed!
I reinforced his independence for doing the homework independently and he was quite happy with himself, but also reminded him of the standard computers rules which he never heard. With his chest pumped up like a rooster, he took his independence to another level a few moments later, when I asked him to help me with the garbage.
He pulled on his "workerman's" shirt given to him by the DOT guys and took his empty garbage bag the stairs. (incidentally he keeps his 'worker shirt' in the kitchen in case I ever ask him to do anything he puts it on!) Pretty soon, screams travel down the stairs. He's thrashing down the stairs like an elephant, and crying.
He promptly ripped off his workerman's shirt and plopped his shaking body into the chair for breakfast. He was too upset to even tell me what happened. I went to look upstairs and discover all the upstairs garbage cans heaping-full and lined up in the hall. The bag crumpled up and one of the cans dumped nearby. He totally missed.
That one little mistake reduced our budding independent worker's ego to the size of a smashed soda can! As much as I hated to pick up every piece of bathroom trash piece-by-piece while cooking breakfast and making lunch, it hurt me more to see how devastated he was from a simple mistake.
I reinforced him again for being independent and we talked about garbage men. I asked him if he thought real garbage men cried and screamed when they dropped a piece of garbage in the road? He answered no, and we began play-acting.
Dancing around the kitchen screaming about a dropped napkin on the floor! Laughing and yelling. "Oh no I dropped a napkin -- oooohhhh NNNNOOO!"
Then daddy came downstairs. He saw what happened upstairs... and immediately said, "What do you think real garbage men do when they drop garbage?"
Let the dancing and screaming begin again!
What a morning. Whew.
This is the time of year when life gets crazier for our family, if it can. Chris had a lovely break for the first 3 weeks of June, but now it's back to the grind.
He's on the road for 4 weeks soon, and in winter it will be 6! Since we're out here on the east coast and all our family is in midwest and various other places in the country, Jake and I pretty much "go it alone"! (I am not minimizing the help of good friends here either)
For Jake: it's me when he wakes up and me when he goes to sleep. It's me who doles out the discipline, battles over breakfast and the snuggles in the next breath. It's me who does the laundry, mowing, dishes and squishes bugs. But that's NOT the hardest part!
The challenges are two-fold: not only is balancing 2 jobs, a Super Hero and my music as a solo parent pretty tough, but reintroducing Chris into the "family fold" after so many days away is always an expected hill to climb, yet somehow it always surprises me.
I know it's coming, and I'm so relieved when he's back at home, that I sort of throw them together and shut down! I can try to prepare Jake but more importantly I need time to brief Chris: we ignore this, this and this. I respond to that, but not that and IG (ignore) when you hear this noise. It's not really fair to Chris but he's so eager to spend time with Jake he dives right back in. God bless him!
Currently, my life seems to not really be in my control, and the laundry piles are scratching the ceiling. Chris better hurry home for this weekend so I can shovel myself out and catch back up with my life!
Plus, we're all out of underwear!
One thing that we are realizing really helps our Super Hero calm down is "self talk". Even if your child is non-verbal the messages are the same. Instill strength, confidence and bravery.
We learned very quickly that yelling at Jake backfires and only escalates the situation, but a raised negative voice does much more than that. Those pain-filled words are seared into his brain as he obsesses on the negative emotion-packed words. So we've set out to eliminate the negative, no small task.
Every reprimand includes a positive twist and it has paid off. Now when Jake is in stressful situations he draws on all the talk we've programmed. It usually sounds something like, "we know you are a super smart boy, but maybe if you slowed down and thought about blah blah blah." OR "Mommy and Daddy love how brave you are. Next time let's talk before you try this on your own."
Think about it: Do you want your child drawing on phrases like "why did you do that?", "what were you thinking?" and "how on earth....?" or would you rather have, "let's make a Super Hero (big man) choice next time", "slow your super brain down, you are brave", or "Wow, let's talk through this, you can do it....."?
Positive lessons may seem like a lot more work, they are! Staying positive requires us to keep our cool heads in a time of frustration. It will pay off by building confidence and independence in your budding Super Hero! The extra brain power on your part will be worth it.
Travelling and being off schedule always brings out the most stress and anxiety in many Super Heroes. Calming Jake when there's no expected schedule, no planned meals and no set 'iPad time' is next to impossible. (no exaggeration)
None of the old standby's work. Squishy toys, chewy sticks, nor fidget slimey goo will do the trick. Time to pull out the heavy hitters for serious sensory relief.
When Jake's upset nothing works better than "brushing, joints and lotion". Southpaw Industries has great items.
If you've never tried it, please consult a trained OT before you do. It can cause over stimulation if done in the wrong way, thus defeating the purpose. For Jake's relief, he likes order.
Brush 15 times on one arm, (elbow to wrist) then joint compression 15 times, then liberal lotion. Switch to the other arm, 15 brush, 15 compression, then lotion. He also loves the extra hand massage at the end.
If he's really off, I'll do his legs and back too. Avoid the head, too stimulating and sensitive.
Important note: I typically don't have to do this when he's in the routine of his school year. Only when things are "off" and "unpredictable" in his world.
I have brushes from years ago -- our brushing regimen was first started when he was 3 years old and luckily I bought in bulk. We pull them out every summer, holiday and vacation.
For more on Super Hero senses, click here.
One Minute Miracle Archives