Move Over Monkey Meltdown

Let’s talk about a couple weeks ago and the meltdown(s) that ensued.  Meltdown, over what?   Over this little gem…..
A Rubik’s Cube, but not just your standard, regular, run of the mill Rubik’s cube… NO.  Monkey had/has a SPEED cube.  (For those of you who have no clue that there was a difference, I promise there is a huge difference.  I wish I could have found a graphic showing the difference, but I couldn’t.   So in the meantime you’ll have to trust me.)  Alas, the whole meltdown didn’t start over the Speed Cube.  So let’s back up and start at the beginning.
For me, it started with a phone call from the Assistant Principal’s (AP) secretary asking me to come to the school with NO explanation.  Cue the mind running wild as I drive 45 minutes to school.   However, I want to start at Monkey’s beginning.  He has gym every single day and they play dodge ball once a week.  Now I detest this game with a passion.  It’s an opportunity for the popular kids and bullies to make targets out of the loners and kid with disabilities.   It should be banned from every school, everywhere.  (And yes I feel strongly about this).  I gave Monkey permission to sit out of dodge ball every time they plays (yes his grade takes a hit, but at least he’s not – or shouldn’t be).
Hmm…. Shouldn’t be taking a hit, but he did!   A kid decided to bounce the ball above his head while he sat on the sidelines.  My son asked him several times (in his best verbal skills) to stop.  They did not stop, instead, he decided to take aim right at my sons face!   What did Monkey do?   He punched the kid (side note…  I have been telling him for years if you are attacked, hit back.  This is the FIRST he has – so in my best cheerleader voice “LET’S GO MONKEY, LET’S GO!”).   You know what, I would have punched the kid too.   Unfortunately, another kid came by and decided to call my son weak, not sure if the punch was weak or if my son was weak for not tolerating the ball to his face.  My son’s reaction –> punch him too *sigh* how quickly events spiral out of control.  Somehow through all of this the sacred speed cube got destroyed and a meltdown (or two) began.
Now what came next is NOT funny by any means, but I can’t help but laugh because all I can envision is an episode of keystone cops.   Monkey was in meltdown mode and as anyone with a child on the spectrum knows, they can’t verbalize well during this time.  All he could think to do was to run from the teachers and AP (can’t you see keystone cops now because I am sure there was some hiding involved too).
The AP, bless her heart, gets autism.  She truly understands where and what my son is going through (or as much as a neurotypical person can).  She knew the first thing was to catch Monkey and get him to safe zone, for him and others (once again insert Keystone Cops – lol).  Next was to find every little piece of the speed cube.  She took Monkey to the gym and the two them scoured the floor, bleachers and trash cans, and would you believe they found every little piece except three!  In the end he ended up with one day of OSS because of hitting the kids, but the AP was understanding that it was all chain reaction and the kid that threw the ball got punished too so I am okay with this.
What about the meltdown?  It was far from over.  This speed cube is his stimming device.  It’s what he uses to calm down and focus and shut out the over stimulation that happens on a daily basis.  This speed cube is the only way he can keep going without losing it.   I know this, the AP knows this, pretty much anyone who’s around him on a regular basis knows this.  I knew my only course of action was to immediately get on Amazon and get a new speed cube with Prime 2 day shipping.  Problem solved and everything is right with the world – WRONG!!!!   Amazon, who has never let me down before destroyed my trust in one shipment.  Two day shipping equals a box on Saturday, but instead I woke up to an exception notice.  It didn’t arrive Sunday either.  I tracked the package and it was NO WHERE!!!!   It left the Amazon facility and never made it to the post office.   So I called Amazon, and you know they are very friendly (I could never work customer service.  Be pleasant and sweet while a Mama Monkey – think Gorilla at this point – is being rather loud and demanding – nope!).   She offered me a $10 credit and a guarantee that it would  be here tomorrow and she would keep on top of it.  OK Sweet and LYING!  NO package, and no call, no nothing.   This Mama Monkey went all out APESH!T when I called back (envision, if you will, a mother that is looking rather frazzle, because a child without a stimming device can wear on a body.   Yelling and screaming and using words that are not usually in her vocabulary because this has fallen through the cracks.)   I even offered to come to  the facility and show them HOW to look up a package, because they apparently cannot see that it’s lost.  They were clueless!
In the end I ended up with a brand new order (two days later), a full refund and a $30 promotional credit (only good on Amazon items – go figure).   I dare say my Meltdown far beat out my monkey’s.
The moral of the story, place 2 orders for speed cubes at 2 different hours so that at least the Mama Monkey can stay speaking softly.   And once again I have to say “GO MONKEY!”
Hugs from the Mama Monkey and her Mankey
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Groundhog Day in November

As one of my good friends has said to me, it’s like we live our lives in the movie “Groundhog Day”.   She is so correct.   I can tell Monkey over and over and over how to do something, or not to do something and it never ever sinks in.  Now it comes and goes of varying sorts but I want to talk about one incident in particular.
About a two weeks ago my son came to me and said, “Mom, my toilet is flushing really slow”.   My thought is, he’s used too much toilet paper as usual.  Ok, so I’ll grab some DranoMax on my next trip to the store.  No worries.  However, if that was the end of it, this would be a very short blog post.  So, of course, it’s not.
Fast forward a week later… I’m in MY bathroom getting ready “Mom, hurry up, I’ve got to go pee!!!”  At first nothing registered, I just let him use my bathroom.  Then as he was walking out it dawns on me, he has his own.   So the following conversation happened
MAMA – “Why didn’t you use yours?   Just because it’s draining slow doesn’t mean you can’t go pee in there.”
MONKEY – “The toilet’s CLOGGED!”
(wait a minute, clogged?  I thought it was draining slow.)
MAMA  – “Clogged?   You said it was just slow.  Let me look”
BAD IDEA!!!  BAD BAD IDEA!!!!!  Yes it was clogged (sitting for OVER a week) and with Poop!
UGH!!!!  Now anyone with a child on spectrum knows how we repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat things.   This child has been told so many times that I have lost count to use no more than 4 sheets of toilet paper at once and then flush and let is finish running before flushing again.   It’s not unusual for us to have to plunge the toilet.  So once again we have the discussion of 4 sheets is enough.  His response, but I was only using 6, how can that make a difference *sigh*.
Monkey starts to plunge with no luck.  I know it’s not his forte so I go in and try my luck.  No go!
So I want to give you a moment to imagine my son and then myself trying to plunge the toilet.   Now to those of you who know me, this will be a hilarious vision.  For those of you who don’t know me this is how I’m pretty sure my friends see me.   Heels, blouse, face all made up perfect, hair done with lots of bling jewelry on, holding a plunger with as few fingers as possible, heeled foot on the edge of the toilet, with the seat down.  But I promise that was not what I looked like, I can let the elusive tom boy side of me out on occasion.
I had already planned a trip to  the store we grabbed DranoMax while we were out.  And tried that.  STILL no luck.   As much as I hate asking for help, I bite the bullet and call my Mom.   Our conversation is not much better than mine with my son and ultimately it ended with my uncle in the background:
UNCLE – “You want to take a ride?”
MOM – “Sure let me get on some shoes.”
MAMA – “Monkey, grab the broom and try to clean some of this up, Gamma & Uncle is on the way”
MONKEY – “Is Uncle going to beat my butt”
*le sigh*
MAMA – “No, but you better believe he is going to talk to you”
Now envision the two of us trying to clean up some of the mess HE made trying to clean up the plunger – Don’t ask – lol.
In the end, they got there and got the toilet unclogged and you know what Uncle said? “Boy, you don’t need more than 4 sheets to wipe your butt”.    Hmmm… maybe just maybe Mama knows what she is talking about.   But you know how it goes.  Repeat, repeat, repeat and repeat some more.  We’ll just keep living the same day over and over and again.
Thanks from Mama Monkey and my Mankey

Game change but the name stays

Daily workings of my child’s mind, eventually.
If you don’t have a child who is on the spectrum in your life, you simply have no clue what you are missing out on.   The ups and downs, joys and frustrations, no matter how you look at them, they are blessings.  Yes you heard me correctly, even the low moments when you want to scream. But I digress, I started this blog nearly two years ago with great intentions.  After all, just think about the title and how it pertains to Your life.  Never in a million years did I ever realize how it would intensely it would relate to autism!   Two years ago when I started this blog I hadn’t even begun to dig into the idea of my son being on the spectrum.  He’s normal (whatever that means).  Well, he was very normal to me.  But over the upcoming year, as I tried to push my blog forward, I was learning his normal was not thought of as normal.  You know, the word normal means something different to every one of us.  Yes there is a standard definition for the word (see graphic below), but what is standard?  What is typical?  What is expected?  It’s different for each one of us.  So you know what?   My son is normal (for us)!
I want to look at what brought about this pending diagnosis for HFA (High Functioning Autistic, as they no longer use the term Asperger’s).   I was doing a makeup live on Facebook one evening (I sell Younique, if you didn’t already know) and as usual my Monkey was being himself, in and out of the video and being silly.  I had one of my friends send me a message afterwards and she said that Monkey reminded her of her late husband, who had autism.  Now to be honest, I had had fleeting thoughts that my son might be on the spectrum, but once again he was normal to me.  We had a long chat and finally came to terms that I believed she was correct.  When I took this info to my doctor, she confirmed the same exact thing.  At that point in my life I knew a move was pending in the upcoming months and getting on a wait list that was 2 years long for a true medical diagnosis for an area I wouldn’t be living in seem stupid.  So I pushed pause with doctors but started exploring the issues with the schools (who by the way were useless where I was living).  It was a long year and half, but I finally had the school in our new district confirm him being on the spectrum.
Peek-A-Boo Photobomb!
Peek-A-Boo Photobomb!
Now I want you to keep in mind he is outwardly a very normal teenager, sort of.   If you can talk in black and white terms, understand he is mentally four years younger than his age and deal with his constant rubix cube, he is very normal.  He is loud and always in motion.   He truly Lives Loud!   But in turn, I know speaking to him calming and softly will help bring him back down when he’s lost control.  Get the turn on the title now?   I always Speak Softly.  This is our reality.
And POOF we’re gone (so he thinks)
Now that I have imparted all of this info on you, you will understand why this dormant blog is taking a turn and having a rebirth.   I want to share my experiences with you.  I want people to laugh and cry along with our stories, battles, celebrations… it all!  This is a new journey for us, so you will get to watch us both grow as we go through it all.
Thanks from Mama Monkey and Mankey (don’t ask, I’ll have to explain another day!

Work, Eat, Sleep… Repeat!

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Is your life on repeat? Sometimes we feel destined to repeat the same day, same week, same month, even the same year over and over again. It’s like you are in a car that is going around and around in the same circle over and over and over again. So how do you take that wheel, straighten it out and get out of that circle? I can seem impossible to do.

I know it may seem hard to believe, but we are not programmed to relive the same things over. I know how easy it is to get into a routine and get comfortable (and I am not talking about just jobs). While jobs can put us into a rut, so can people.

So how do you break the cycle? It’s the question we all want to know. I was there, and I didn’t know what it was like to actually live my life. It took someone else shaking up my life for me to break free. I don’t want you to fall victim to that too. We don’t all have something or someone to pull us out of the mundane, but you can make changes in your life. It may mean getting out of your comfort zone (which can be scary). It may mean distancing people in your life (people whom you may love dearly, but if they are toxic to your life and health, then they are unhealthy).

How do you know what to do? Who is bad? What is boring? You would think it would be clear as day and night, but it isn’t. You don’t see the obvious when you are inside the obvious box. Think of it like this. There is a huge box, on the outside it’s plain and brown and boring, and has “REPEAT” written in actual letters everywhere. However, you are inside the box and you’ve decorated it with your favorite pillows and people and you never see the outside of the box. You are comfortable inside and never realize that you are not truly enjoying what is outside the box waiting for you. Because if break down the box walls you’ll see traveling, meeting new people, and so much more. You don’t see the obvious because you are INSIDE the obvious box.

Maybe you are saying you don’t have the time or money to change your routine. Here’s the funny thing….if it’s important enough to you, you’ll find the time or money. I am not saying you have to change everything all at once. Not many of us are in a situation that allows us to quit/change jobs at the drop of a pin or move homes (or even states). But you can start small. Go to karaoke, zumba, a festival. Once you’ve made a small step it makes the larger steps look smaller.

If you feel like everything is on repeat, then is probably is. Take a moment and evaluate your life and start with a small change. I just want to encourage you to LIVE your life. Don’t let your life control you.

Live Loud my Luvs and cherish your day!
Muah 💋

Push on and find a reason

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Today is not a given. We hear this all the time. Every day good people are taken from this earth. Be it through long life, illness, car accident, murder, whatever. So that means we shouldn’t take today for granted. But when was the time to stopped and looked at your day? Stop right now. Take a moment and think… About what? That’s they joy of your life, you can stop and think about anything that is making this moment worth living. For me it’s Monkey, my mom, my amazing friends, my increasingly healthy body. My list is miles long and I know that. I believe in cherishing every moment given to me.

You will have moments, maybe even seasons of what seems like you can’t overcome. But you will, you must. I complain (though I shouldn’t), I curl up in a ball in my bed and cry (though not even a fraction as much as I used to), I lose my temper (please forgive me), I am human. BUT…. I always bounce back, I always ask forgiveness and I always say my prayers.

I have several friends that are shouldering heavy burdens right now, Their journey is not over, but I will do all I can to help ease it. I pray at the end of the day they are able to sit down and find their reasons to keep going.

If you ever can’t find your reason to go on, tell me! I’ll help you find it.

Live Loud my Luvs and cherish your day!
Muah 💋

No Human! Cat rules…

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For anyone who is a cat owner, you already know that cats own you. You don’t own the cats. They decide whether you sleep, eat, leave/stay, work-out, anything. Today my precious Screwy kitty (aptly nicknamed “King Tut”) decided I wasn’t allowed to leave.

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I always lay my clothes out nice and neat on my bed before I get dressed. I get mostly dressed except for my blouse. My blouse, shirt, sweater I put on right before I am ready to do my lashes and hair. Today when I went to grab my sweater it was already taken over. Hmpfh! What to do?

* Shake the treat can – no Screwy (Fuzzy Mama came running, but Screwy just stared at me)
* Turn on the bathroom facet (the only water he’ll drink, I swear!) – NO SCREWY!
* Throw baby (a cat nipped mouse) in front of him out the bedroom door – NO SCREWY!!!

He just lays there with the death stare. Now mind you, the night before I packed my overnight bag to go to Mom’s. He KNOWS what that bag means. So he decided with all his regal royal-ness that he was going hold my sweater hostage. Now for the most part Screwy is a really good cat, just stubborn, really stubborn.

I finally had to walk away go to the kitchen and get my water ready, finished packing my bags up, any activity that I could do that wasn’t in the bedroom. And you know what? It worked. Screwy cannot stand to be anywhere I am not. He has to be by me at ALL times. So his loyalty (or curiosity) got the better of him and he left the bedroom, and I got my sweater. (Good think, because I was getting cold!)

Live Loud my Luvs! (and obey the great King Tut Cat!!!!!)
Muah 💋

Cry and then DANCE!

The days when you want to scream and give up are the days you simply must stand up and dance. I know that sounds absurd, but it’s that silly, fun, crazy thing that will make you realize life IS worth all the hard work and tears.

My son is currently away at a camp for the week, through a school field trip. He is in his element, the woods and nature, but he is miserable! He has called me crying and wants to give up. He wants me to come and get him. But I am not. And l let me tell you this tough love bit is just as hard on me, as it is on him. But I want him to see that he is stronger than what he realizes. I want him to turn around that separation anxiety and have some fun.

I told him when he called this morning to find a corner where no one was watching and just dance, be silly and goofy. I got silence at first, and then the long and drawn out “Mooooommmmmm.” I doubt he’ll do it, but I did get him to laugh for a moment, and that was a golden moment.

Some people never truly understand the important of dancing. My favorite quote of all time is:

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain!”
by Vivian Greene

These are words I try my hardest to live by! You should too!

Live Loud my Luvs! (and dance!!!!!)
Muah 💋

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What’s for lunch?

So let’s talk about my lunch!  Or lack thereof.   I brought lunch (not the healthiest of lunches, but it was something to tide me over until I have a healthy dinner).  I packed Velveeta Shells and Cheese (a quick and easy lunch), 2 hard boiled eggs, string cheese, fig newtons and applesauce.   Well I am a bit brain dead today …. ok a LOT brain dead today.  No sleep has caught up with me.   And you see…. I forgot to put the water in my cup and burnt my macaroni.  OK, no judging allowed!   We all do stupid stuff when we are sleep deprived.   I’ll catch enough flak from my family over this – UGH.  LOL.

All in all, at least I can laugh at it.  I am a good cook and make some pretty tasty things (Monkey is partial to my Pistachio Encrusted Salmon, with couscous – Thanks Erin for this amazing recipe). But when I am tired, all bets are off.

Maybe since I am so tired today, we’ll just order in pizza, it’ll be a LOT safer.  LOL

Live Loud my Luvs! (and don’t forget your water!)
Muah 💋

How Pusheen Makes Pizza