I’m mostly mad at myself. A lot mad.

Seven, not six or five, but seven (7!!!) vaccines at 4 months old!! I’m no expert, but just somewhere deep inside me that just feels like A LOT!! And to top it off, I’ve met another mom recently who used to have the same pediatrician as us and her son is on the spectrum as well. Not to mention, that while we were on vacation when P was a baby he got sick and we had to visit our pediatrician in the village and I just remember her shocked face shen she saw how many he had done at 6 months. So, for about a week now I haven’t slept and I’m just curious how many other mommies out there also have autistic children who used to, or still go, to our old pediatrician?!

I’ve mentioned in one of my very first posts that the reason we stopped going to her was because of all the red flags our little boy was raising and she would just brush every single one of them off by saying “this is what boys do, they talk, then they stop, then they start again”. In what medical book did she learn that exactly, cause I haven’t seen that anywhere!! Still, I don’t think she did it out of malice, just her stupidity caused us months of therapy and maybe just maybe if we had started sooner we would be on a different path right now. Hubby, on the other hand, does not want me to bring the subject of vaccines up at all. He says what’s happened, happened and we have to move forward. So, why is it killing me so much? I remember cause my niece was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s at the time that I kept looking for clues in P like eye contact, and turning to the sound of his name and walking on tiptoes and being happy around other kids and he would hit those milestones, and more, like a champ!! No mommy was prouder of her little man than I. Early videos and pictures on my FB page prove just that. I was so proud of him. He was such a good little kid. So, am I not proud of him anymore? Is he not still such a good kid? Yeah, I’m still proud of him. I’m proud of him when he manages to say “bi” for biscuit and “ka” for kaka. But my heart sinks when he reaches for the soap and eats it. Autism fucking sucks. I love my son to death but I do not love, even for a second, Autism. Especially P’s type, the non-verbal, hand-jerking, soap-eating, deodorant-licking, sireny-sounding Autism.

And just to conclude, cause I’m just getting madder and madder every second I type, did I mention my niece’s Asperger’s diagnosis? Did I tell her that epilepsy runs in the family as do a host of other developmental delays such as speech delay? Y -E-S. Because now I know that when there’s a family history of developmental delays it’s good to stave off vaccines for a while. Sure, now I know this, but I didn’t then. I mean, where was this literature back in 2009 and 2010 when my baby was being bombarded every single fucking month? For all the reading I was doing, I did not come across this anywhere. But you’d think a pediatrician would, wouldn’t you?

You’d be wrong.

*Serious side note: Just because my child may or may not have been affected by his vaccines DOES NOT mean your child will be as well. I do not want to sway parents or affect personal decisions in any way whatsoever. Our son developed regressive autism at 2. I am just a mom of an autistic child who is looking for a cause/answers.

What’s up little man?

20161016_1054081My boy loves to run. He loves to run and play ball, chase pigeons, hug dogs and cats, roll his hands in grass, sand, mud. He seeks out sensory stimuli whenever and wherever he is. This weekend was the perfect weekend for ALL that because this weekend I signed him up for his very first kiddie marathon. PeopleRun is a 1k run that takes place in one of the most beautiful parks/forests in Athens. We arrived, took our bib (semi struggle pinning it on him as this was something totally new and he reacted somewhat fearful at the sight of the pins). He kept tearing it off so I had to re-pin it on his back and still he kept reaching for it, tugging at it. He saw typical kids and sprinted towards them in his goofy sort of way. He wanted to high-five them but he’s kinda scary at that so I understand when most kids just either stare in horror at a lanky kid gallanting towards them or they run the other way straight to the parents’ safe embrace. At one point he even jumped on the podium where the presenter was standing and kissed and hugged her really tightly. She laughed it off and told him that he is very handsome. I smiled and grinned and of course apologized to her and anyone else P came in  contact with during our whole 3 hours there. And in the back of my mind I think, for how long will this be cute? Sure, it’s fine now cause he’s just a little kid acting all quirky. But, when he’ll be a teenager, tall and lanky, his little ‘love taps’ won’t be considered cute for sure. I even told my husband that I had my ‘observation glasses’ on full alert and was on the lookout for any other kiddos like our little  guy and the answer is “nope, P was the only ASD kid in attendance”.

We’re making progress in his communication. He is shaking his head no and making an “o” sound when he doesn’t want something. But his “yes” is still an issue and usually his “yesses” are just siren-y sounds and grunts. This morning for breakfast he brought out his marmalade and butter and bread all by himself. He was really smiley and happy. I asked him if he wanted breakfast and he shook his head in what looked like a ‘yes’ – head bobbing downwards which is the Greek way of agreeing to something.

He is calm lately and not as jumpy as he had been. Maybe it’s because his front tooth finally came off and now we have a one-tooth dracula smiling at us at home. Teeth issues are definitely issues and I have dreaded and postponed his visit to the dentist for the longest time because except for eating toothpaste he’s not all that keen on brushing his teeth. We have an electric toothbrush at home and I have to brush his teeth for him but it’s not an easy task, nor is it something that he looks forward to.

In November we have our very first appointment with a pediatrician of homeopathy in order to look into homeopathic meds that will help him with his stimming and hyper-activity. I really pray to God that we will come away from this meeting feeling hopeful and at ease. In other words, the exact opposite of our meeting with the child psychiatrist who painted a truly negative and dire picture of our boy’s future. I know he will be autistic for the rest of his freaking life, I don’t need a psychiatrist to tell me that. I just want someone to tell me that it won’t be so freaking scary because when you tell parents of a severely autistic 7 year old that your son will always be autistic and nothing you can do can change that – well . . . screw you!

I guess I have my own issues which I need to deal with and which I try to by practicing yoga and running. But, I’ve taken up smoking again and enjoying a glass of vino every night before I hit the sack. This helps as well.

To medicate or not to medicate? That is the underlying, heart-breaking question.

We saw a child psychiatrist a couple of days ago who recommended we begin medication for P. We visited his office, P, my father-in-law and I, and the little guy was so happy on the train ride there. Thought he was going on a day trip, or to the park, or somewhere fun. As soon as he saw the building he knew what he was in for and started screaming and getting really restless. Of course he would! No kid wants to visit the doctor! We stayed for almost an hour and towards the end P realized that no amount of annoying noises would get him out of it so he sat by me very quietly and played with one of the toys.

To say that I’m heartbroken is an understatement. To say that my life, and P’s life, feels like it’s headed towards destruction . . . I’m just at a loss. I’m feeling and thinking dark, unhealthy thoughts all over again. I feel like it’s just not fair. P has been handed such a freaking raw deal and now to start medication just scares me to my core. Literally, I feel nauseated at even the mere thought of me handing my son medication that would otherwise be given to psychologically unstable people. I don’t know, maybe I’m making too big a deal of it. If only his sensory processing issues weren’t so out of control lately maybe we wouldn’t be in this scenario right now. But, he has been on a wild ride of licking/eating/touching inappropriate stuff lately and closing his ears and running from one end of the house to the other, and running towards oncoming traffic (!), that it just seems like if he could just sit down for one second everything would be alright.

Therapeutic Listening and table work

Let’s see: music therapy, play therapy, vision therapy, dog therapy, therapeutic listening, therapeutic horseback riding, special ed swimming, special Olympics, PECS, ABA, TEACCH, GF/CF diet and of course occupational and speech therapy! If it’s come up as a treatment for autism, we’ve tried it and are still trying it. Someone mentioned hypnotherapy to me but that seems kind of kooky, at the moment at least . . .

Trying to be Super Mom . . . and failing miserably

Therapeutic Listening and table work

When I first started this blog it was to write about my life, our life, dealing and living with autism, to let people know what types of therapies were doing, how we’re functioning and staying happy and sane. It’s tough raising kids, even kids who aren’t on the spectrum. I don’t ever want to say to friends of mine who are raising their typically-developing kids and complaining that so-and-so doesn’t eat or doesn’t listen to them ‘hey, you have it easy because I have wayyyy more difficulties to deal with’. I don’t ever want to say that because I don’t really feel like that. A friend of mine said to me the other day that I have a ‘cross to bear’. I didn’t respond but all week it’s been bugging me. I DO NOT consider my son a burden, I do not consider the half hour or so per day…

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There’s this girl . . .

that melts my heart. That makes me laugh and dance and act silly. That makes me forget my problems. That makes me smile. That gives me life. That gives me joy. Her name is Maria and she’s my daughter.

Maria and Panayioti are my yin and my yang; the two forces in my life.

I’ve been feeling lost lately, and yapping on and on about it to anyone who’ll listen. I’ve decided right here and now that it’s high time I’ve stopped. This too shall pass. I have my girl and I have my boy and these two happy souls will lift me out of my slump. As they always do.Babies 240

What’s the opposite of jolly?

Sometimes, I don’t feel so great. I feel as though I don’t play any role, significant or otherwise, in anyone’s life, even my children’s. I know it’s not true judging by how happy both my children are when they see me and how upset my little M gets when I leave for work. Even P gets upset at times and looks back at me as I wave goodbye.  It’s always summer, I’ve noticed, when I start to feel these ‘blues’. I feel my mind is heavy and that I am carrying way too much on my shoulders. I’m worried about what the new season in September will bring, how school will be for P, what hurdles we’ll be faced with and of course, if he will talk. I worry about all these things and it’s July. Then summer vacation starts mid-August where we all pack our bags and head to the beach house and these feelings partially go away but their memory always sticks with me. And these aren’t your ordinary blues. I’m going to be completely honest with y’all. These are basically suicidal thoughts. You know, your typical how I would go about putting an end to my life, what I would write on my suicide note and so on.

Macabre stuff.

Wonder how many autism parents out there feel the same way . . .

Meet Branca.

We’ve started Dog Therapy. We’re now three sessions in. Athens Therapy Dogs is a relatively new group (began in February of 2016) based here in Athens and works mainly with children and adults on the spectrum, the vision impaired and in general, people with different capabilities. The whole principle is that dogs provide relief and in our case, incentive, to interact – to communicate! You can check out their FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/Athens-Therapy-Dogs-1059270564118272/

It’s strange how this ‘journey’ with the little guy into autism has brought me, personally, and us as a family, around so many different people, from different walks of life. It’s [autism] taught me so many things. My son has taught me so many things. Pictured is Branca and her owner Panos. Right off the bat Branca and the little guy seemed to click. As soon as he saw her yesterday he approached her with excitement, patted her back and gave her a kiss. In fact, he gave her lots of kisses throughout our session. He held on to her leash as tight as he could due to the fact that there are some minor fine motor skills issues and in general was very cooperative. We love our sessions with Branca and I can’t wait to see where this new therapy will take us.