Good morning!

I decided to document my morning routine with Kyle. Watching it back I found myself getting emotional. Emotional thinking about how far I’ve come as Kyles mom. How much I’ve learned about myself. About how much further I have to go. About how much more I have to learn. It was a lot of different emotions. And with Kyle that is often the case.

As I watch this, mostly I feel proud of myself. I’m proud of the mom Kyle has molded me into. I’m proud of all the battles I have endured being his mom. I’m proud of the patience I have to dig deep to find day in and day out-cuz I’ve learned if i get upset it only makes my life harder. I’m proud of myself for waking up every morning and doing life-especially on days that I really want to give up (and there are many days that giving up sounds way better). I’m proud of the knowledge I have gained through trial and error-which has helped me better mother Kyle and my other kids!

I’ve said this before, when I got that diagnosis of fragile x and autism 11 years ago, I wanted to immediately “fix” kyle. But over the years I’ve learned that he wasn’t sent to me to be “fixed”, he was sent to “fix” me. To teach me to be a better person. A better mom. A better wife. A better friend. He is definitely the one doing the fixing!

We have many more years to go, filled with good and bad seasons. And I have many more years of lessons to learn and more patience to gain. Life is definitely not easy with Kyle even when I change my perspective. It’s HARD. Everyday. But trying to focus on the lessons and being grateful makes it a teeny tiny bit easier when he refuses to stand up in the mornings or when he is laying down and refuses to help me as I try to dress him! πŸ™„ so that’s what I’ll do-focus on the lessons and being grateful for those lessons that Kyle saves special for me! πŸ˜‰

Our morning routine. This is every single morning. It usually takes about 10 min. And he doesn’t help at all in fact he usually tries his hardest to make it near impossible to get him dressed!

The next battle πŸ˜‰ is getting him to get out of bed and downstairs. If it was a Saturday he’d be up and at em at 5 am no problem! But school days he is all the sudden so tired! Usually threatening to get James is enough to get him to stand. James is not part of the routine so he doesn’t want James even near the room! Luckily it works most mornings just saying I’m gonna go get him! πŸ˜‚

Then we move on to going downstairs to start that part of the morning routine! Trying to get him to be quiet is quite the task! He can’t seem to help himself with that echo going down the stairs. But man he is soooooo loud!

 

After breakfast he has about 10 minutes he can watch tv (the same exact episode of blues clues). And I prime him (which means telling him what is going to happen so he knows what to expect) over and over again. Usually we go over this about 10x. Then the bus comes….😬 we all know how that goes! Still working on perfecting that!🀨

Just Keep Trying

I thought about just updating my last post but decided this deserved a separate post.

As I was walking up the stairs tonight to put Kyle to bed, I could hear Kyle giggling as Cody pretended to wrestle with one of Kyles stuffed animals. Kyle would reach out to try to get Cody and laugh and laugh. There’s nothing sweeter than hearing Kyle belly laugh (except maybe him getting in the bus without a fight 😬)!

I stood at the top of the stairs for a few minutes and watched before I went in to break the news to Kyle that it was bedtime. Cody immediately said, “can I try to put him to bed?”

My immediate thought was no Kyle wouldn’t go for it, especially because they were just wrestling! But I stopped myself. I said, “ok you can try!”

Kyle was confused and was definitely not 100% on board but he got into bed, still giggling and trying to wrestle with Cody! Cody covered him up and kept telling him that it was time for bed, just like I say. I turned the light off and shut the door. I stood outside the door and listened with a smile as Cody so sweetly and softly kept “shhhhhing” him and then began saying “good night grandma, goodnight mom, goodnight James, etc” like i sometimes do to get Kyle to calm down. I didn’t give him much instruction so he did this all on his own from hearing me. He was in there for almost 10 minutes before I opened the door to take over.

He laughed and said “I tried mom!” And I told him it would take lots of practice before Kyle would be comfortable and be able to fall asleep with him. Enthusiastically he said, “ok, let’s try again tomorrow! And the next day! Because I want to be able to put him to bed for you.”

Tonight, once again I was taught by my son. He reminded me that it’s ok when things don’t go perfectly. We can try again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. But it’s important to keep trying. So, tomorrow I will wake up and try again to get Kyle on the bus. And if it doesn’t go perfectly, it’s ok. ❀️img_4566

Yup, Kyle still sucks at getting on the bus.

Sometimes it’s extremely hard to stay positive. Sometimes it’s hard to think Kyle will ever just walk on the bus without a fight. Especially after this morning, when it took 15 minutes of struggling and crying and snot. Lots of snot. And eventually the bus driver and James had to each take an end of Kyle to get him on. πŸ™„And did i mention it was raining. So he was sopping wet when he finally got into his seat. Granted he’s a little rusty and has been out of practice for 3 weeks….but this doesn’t make it any less frustrating. 😏

Every behavior theory says that because we follow through every single time no matter what behavior he pulls, he should be getting on the bus by now with no problem. πŸ™„BUT Kyle’s anxiety throws every behavior theory out the window and then stomps on it. His anxiety is so high that it doesn’t matter what we do. I can reassure him a 10000000 times. I can tell him what to expect. I can hold his hand. I can offer him the biggest, sweetest candy. I can offer him his favorite-Cheetos. I can show him the most detailed social story! And yes, he’s on medication. It doesn’t matter some days (by some i mean pretty much every day) it’s like the anxiety takes over and controls his every move.

As a mom, I watch Kyle struggle every morning with the bus. All i wanna do is burst into tears. Or yell at him-even though I know that won’t do anything but make it worse. Or curl up in a ball in my room and pretend i don’t have to deal with this daily. It’s hard not to want to just give up the bus completely. I feel guilty that I need so much help when it comes to the bus. I feel guilty that my husband (who is the most amazing guy in the world) has to struggle with Kyle every morning. I feel bad that MY son is causing other kids to be off because now the bus is late picking them up. I feel sad that i can’t fix this. Basically I walk away from my morning fight, a ball of emotions and on the verge of tears most mornings. But despite all these feelings, I pull up my big girl panties dry my tears and tell myself I can do this again tomorrow. 😩

I’m trying to find the lesson in this trial because sometimes that helps me stay a little bit more positive. But I’m having difficulty in finding what lesson I am supposed to gain out of this.

Just get on the damn bus, Kyle. WITHOUT a fight. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ Please.

Family vacation (with Kyle)2017

Family vacation is not normally in my vocabulary. Let’s be honest, just the mention of it makes me anxious. The thought of bringing Kyle somewhere he isn’t familiar with and throwing in activities that are out of his routine make me cringe! But every year my kids ask if we are going to take a vacation. 😰 And every year I tell them, no…except this year!

I got brave and decided to just go for it! We didn’t go anywhere elaborate and didn’t stay for more than a couple of days. BUT I’m happy to report that We did it! We took our first ever family vacation WITH Kyle. And WITHOUT Erika! πŸ˜‚ And we survived!

He did so awesome (as long as we were inside the house)Much better than I expected! He had his iPad and movies so he was happy! Bedtime and bath time were rough the first night but I kept telling myself it was ok. And guess what? It was ok. After a few times trying to get him to lay in bed, I said forget it and let him stay up! After an hour or so he came to me and asked to go to bed!

The next day I made a rookie mistake πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ and let him get out of the car when the kids got out to look at “inspirational point” (wasn’t too inspirational to us) and he couldn’t handle it. I’m not sure what made him upset but it progressively got worse and it turned into a major meltdown but once we got him back into the car he calmed down fairly quickly. It put a damper on the mood but we recovered and decided a vacation with Kyle means we stay at the house the whole time with an occasional drive (and he doesn’t get out)! I see a lot of monopoly games in our family vacation future! πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Having Kyle on a vacation isn’t easy and adds more stress but in the end I’m so glad we did it. Even with the couple of small meltdowns and one big one, Id do it again. We made memories that we will talk about around the kitchen table years from now. Sometimes I think life would be so much easier if Kyle was “normal” (and it no doubt would be) but then I think about how dull life would be without him!

Here’s to family vacations being part of my vocabulary now!!!πŸ₯‚

One year older…and wiser too! Happy birthday to you, Kyle!

Fourteen years ago Kyle made me a mom!

14 things I’ve learned being Kyle’s mom:

  1. Motherhood is way harder than I thought it would be. But more fulfilling than I ever imagined.

  2. Patience is the key. Patience, patience and more patience.

  3. My plans for my baby boy started out very different. But I have learned that a change in plans can be a good thing.

4. Laughing at life when it’s really hard is much easier on my heart.

5. But a good cry is sometimes necessary. And that’s ok too.

6. Kyle has taught me that prayer is necessary to make through our days!

7. Asking for help is ok. And letting people help me doesn’t mean I am weak.

8. I have learned to sacrifice. And that sacrifice is not a bad thing.

9. Kyle has taught me what unconditional love really means. By forgiving me constantly when I lose my patience.

10. I have learned that through my example of “serving” Kyle, my children are growing up to be extremely compassionate and selfless people.

11. Kyle has taught me to never give up. On him or me.

12. Date night is essential! At least once a week a night out is needed!

13. Having Kyle has taught me to always rely on my intuition. Moms really so know best!

14. I have learned that when I think I have Kyle figured out, it usually means I’m about to be handed a big ol’ piece of humble pie…and a lesson is right around the corner.

Every year I am a little more grateful for the struggles I face being Kyle’s mom. Because I am able to pick out more easily the lessons I learn. Being a mom is my proudest accomplishment. I’m so lucky I get to be Kyle’s mom. πŸ’™Happy birthday to my first born!

Baby, it’s cold outside!

The weather has finally started to feel like fall, here in SoCal (well in the early mornings at least)! To most this means long sleeves and sweatshirts or a jacket of some sort, right? Well, Kyle would beg to differ. 😏

Kyle has always struggled with sensory issues-but clothing was never a huge hurdle, like it is for some kids….until the past few years of course! πŸ™„ As he gets older he has become so rigid in all areas of his life and clothing is one of those! A T-shirt and elastic waste pants or shorts is what he prefers and luckily most of the year that is completely fine! But the mornings become chilly here and a sweatshirt of some sort is definitely required!

Kyle, the last few years has protested slightly when it came to putting a zip up hoodie on over his preferred tee, but not to the point that it was impossible-and usually by the time he was near the classroom he had unzipped it and off it went. But he wore it for a majority of the time being outside.

This year, has been the worst. Of course, why wouldn’t he add another hurdle his mom has to jump through?! πŸ˜‚ He flat out refuses a jacket of any sort in the mornings. And trying to force it results in a major meltdown! 😩 But the part that makes me shake my head? He gets out side and shivers and says “coooooooooold!” He even gagged from the cold the other morning! πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ Dude, wear a jacket!

Soooooo, in talking to Erika, we decided maybe practicing wearing a jacket would help? Cuz, practicing everything with Kyle has seemed to become our go to! Here’s a video of us practicing the first time-it’s not pretty (and we tuck his shirt in like that when he repeatedly takes his shirt off-this way it takes more effort on his part and it usually makes him think twice) and you can see how amazing Erika really is!

We eventually got the jacket on him-I had to stop recording because it took two of us! And then I had to hold the zipper while he went outside to *practice* the steps! We barely accomplished this task but we did it! He was unzipping it before he even made it back in the house though! πŸ™„

The second video we took a little bit later and he did much better but still doesn’t love the idea of having a sweatshirt on!

And sometimes practicing doesn’t even make our perfect 🀨 (unfortunately) and I have to go to plan B or C or D or E or even F sometimes! We practiced a few more times, only to end it fights! And it was hard to practice when I didn’t have a second person to help! So I decided to try a compression cold proof long sleeve shirt. Hoping I’d trick him into being warm!

Guess what?! It totally worked! So I dress him every morning in a long sleeve compression shirt and a T-shirt over it! And he is totally fine with it! No fighting! No meltdowns!

Having Kyle has taught me so many things over the years. So many! One of them being-think outside the box and KEEP TRYING (even though it can be incredibly frustrating at times)! Eventually I will find what works. Eventually. It always comes back to patience. I apparently needed a life full of opportunities to learn patience! πŸ˜‚

Our very own bus…well just the stairs!

Erika and I were brainstorming about the bus a month ago because we were STILL having a lot of issues with getting Kyle on and off the bus (especially at school)😩Brainstorming means we broke down every single part of kyles process of getting on the bus (and off-because he struggles there too-sometimes).  Erika observed him getting on and off the bus both at home and school (seriously, she is THE best). We tried to figure out where we could tweek the process to help him better transition. After a few days, Erika suggested that we build a staircase similar to the bus to have Kyle practice walking up and down. The reason for this? Kyle struggles with depth perception and stairs sometimes cause him anxiety (what a surprise) and the bus stairs are quite steep (whoever came up with a “special bus” with steep stairs is dumb-in my opinion)! So she thought maybe practicing would give him more confidence and perhaps eliminate one of the anxieties he faces with getting on and off the bus! I thought it was genius! And was willing to try it-or rather willing to beg James to execute our idea!

I was super excited and told James about our idea! πŸ˜‚ He as usual hopped on bored (after a little convincing)and was ready for the challenge! My in laws were coming for the weekend and my father in law is handy and loves a good project! So when they got here I shared my vision with him and he and James were off to Home Depot, measurements in hand! Dave was super excited to help and sacrificed most of that weekend to helping James build this giant staircase!


These two guys were googling how tall each step was on the bus to make sure they got it as similar as they could to the bus! They made a few trips to Home Depot (Cuz what’s a project without more than one trip)! And it came out perfect. I am so grateful for both of these men in their willingness to sacrifice a weekend to help Kyle. It meant more to me than they both probably knew.

If you have ever wondered what a (not horrible) day of getting Kyle on the bus looks like check out this video. It’s crazy how similar it is!  Resistance, spitting, crying and of course taking off and throwing his shirt are all signs of his anxiety. This was the first attempt after they finished it!

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Then we tried it a couple hours later and the next video is similar to a good day (a really good day-which are far and few between) of him getting on and off the bus!  And he even had an audience!               ​

We have been consistently having him practice on the stairs for almost a month.  He is getting better and better.  It seems that with practicing the stairs and having the bus show up 20 minutes earlier so Kyle can load first before all the other kids are outside (and well before the gen-ed kids are dismissed) has made a difference in how Kyle is transitioning on and off the bus.  It is still not as smooth as I’d like, but I’m trying to see the big picture-and he has made A LOT of progress since that first day of summer school.

To some, making an elaborate staircase seems silly and a bit extreme especially when there’s a possibility it won’t even help!  And maybe it is..  I have come up with my fair share of failed projects in many attempts to help Kyle.  But I will continue to come up with big and small projects  because if it relieves even the slightest bit of his anxiety, it’s worth it.  Right, James?!