Monthly Archives: January 2016

Insurance and Things

So I wrote an ¨appeal¨ in the form of a letter to the state´s subsidized insurance, requesting that they reconsider denying my son his medication and pointing out that there is little point in subsidizing my insurance if they want me to spend a quarter of my income or more on medications. I also reminded them that doctors prescribe medicine, not insurance representatives.

Somehow, miraculously, that worked. Well, sort of. They are going to cover my son for four more months. Why four months? Because that is the estimated time in which I will fill up my deductible and my own insurance will begin covering my son´s medication again. Which means I have to be ready for this again at the next New Year.

So I won´t get my money back, nor will I get a guarantee that they will cover my son, but I do get a sort of respite until the next holiday season.

Both of my boy children are now obsessed with the protagonists in their recurring nightmares. My middle child has long been interested in animals with menacingly sharp teeth, and my oldest is now playing Five Nights At Freddy´s- which he has declared his new favorite, topping the Minecraft he was playing for years. A huge step up from when he would become paralyzed at the mention of the game.

So this is probably a good development, that they face fears and lessen the effect of those nightmares. My middle child, however, has not had a single nightmare since I removed dairy from his diet. Which I find very interesting and is a cause of some regret, for if I had known, of course I would have done it years ago.

All of my children show evidence of milk sensitivities. The baby will be five (I know, I know, I should stop referring to her as ¨the baby¨) in a few months and I am going to try removing dairy from the house at that time. We will see what happens. Their father is lactose intolerant, so it only makes sense. If the children´s permanent sniffles and skin issues clear up, it will be worth it.

All the single moms I know are unhappily dating or getting over breakups, or even leaving their children with relatives so they can move closer to their partners. I am so very glad to be spared the emotional upheaval. I would have no patience for dating and zero tolerance for any uncertainties. Our life is settled and predictable, I think I have successfully created an environment in which the children and myself can heal-if their progress is any indication. Even if the man I spoke to last year decided he wanted to rekindle something I would not have the space for it. I have no appetite for it anymore. I want to give my time to my kids. I mean, I already do, I just don´t want to change how it is. They seem happier than they have ever been.

My middle child is reluctant to tie, zip, or button things. So my oldest son´s OT wants him to be evaluated, and she wants to see my oldest weekly to work on his stamina and his trunk, because winter has made him a bit weaker than he was during his bike riding summer. So our appointments, which I had been keeping at a manageable five per week are about to jump back up to seven again. In sixty days we start practicing for our service dog who will arrive with the following year, the children will have to take walks every day and we will designate a quiet spot for the dog to ¨go on break¨ where children may not intrude. A corner somewhere, I suppose.

Some neighbor kids just took over my downstairs. I have to go supervise..

 

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Making Sense

The kids are doing well, I would say. Excellent, if you compare them to a few years ago.

I have been fighting for free time. I got drunk on free time over the holidays and now I am left bereft. I understand their need for it, I am glad I can give them this much. I get less, they get more, but they need it. They thrive on it.

I have been thinking a great deal about autism, trying to use it as a lens with which to puzzle out my childhood. But it seems to be instead a prism, rather than a microscope, and the blindingly painful light that was my life before diagnosis is now splitting into rainbows. I think there is only color going forward. The past is what it was. I am how I am, how I was, and there was no diagnosis commonly available for verbal ASD when I was growing up. I was tested, believe me. Tested and tested in every humiliating way.

The children ask about their father more frequently. What was once a rare question, asked with a quaver, is now a straightforward request for clarification. ¨Why did our father act all crazy?¨ Because crazy, you know. They want me to lay it out, though, and I do. I take them through the steps, the ever worsening spiral, the refusal of medical intervention-at their prompts. I don´t tell them more than I have to. I leave out some things for when they are older, like judgement.

I am doing exposure therapy for my PTSD. It is fucking grueling. I might abandon it. It is a sort of torture, to remember a people and these places and the words I am forgetting. I deny my children their own culture, you know, the less I deal with it. Not that they want to know, but they are small, their culture is old, far older than they can fathom. So I feel a sort of parental obligation to remind them how to reply, what this food is called, etc. There are surely nice people in their culture, surely just their family is this sick. It cannot all be culture, can it? I forgot how to count over ten and I didn´t even miss it. I stopped babbling to myself in the car in other languages, five out of seven days. All I speak is English. It´s true. I have no right to speak pidgeon. There is no one who understands any of it here. Foreign languages in toddler speak just don´t fly, anywhere.

I am just thinking, too much. Trying to figure out who I was and who I am and if I can reasonably reconcile any of then with now. I am examining my parenting to see if my children are getting my best, improving what I can. I am cutting sugar. I am working at it, at all of it.

 

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Holiday Tantrums

I have had a taste of how holidays feel to parents of neurotypical children, because my own children have been so much improved of late. We spent a week without incident, without appointments, and though they were overwhelmed at a family Christmas they did respond well to my interventions and I heard some positive feedback instead of the usual criticisms this year.

My middle child did melt down today, a few times, because his lack of motivation in our new points system means that after a few weekends and extra days off he had of course run out of points. So he had to stop watching people playing video games on YouTube.

He has been doing this very often, watching people play online. More than I am sure would be appropriate for most children, but his moods have been so very improved and his school behaviour so good, that I allow it if he has the points and the narrator uses appropriate language and the game is not a shooting game.

Today he was visibly tired. His appetite has been low and his protein intake sup-par, and he was up coughing the night before last. I was expecting a fit, really.

So when it came I was not surprised. I tickled him, and that worked for a bit and then it came back. He by now was on one of those loops, where he was lacking logical reasoning and couldn´t see the big picture. So I gave him the Theratapper, which he resisted so weakly that I did use it on him over his protests. It worked well for about six minutes and then it started again. I popped a saltwater taffy in his mouth, rolled him in a blanket, and carried him to the couch  to sit him in front of a cartoon. Then he was done for nearly an hour.

It started again when he left the couch, I found him weeping on the stairs and I held him and I told him I was so sorry that he was so upset and he knew I meant it. He railed against the point system and said he never consented to it and he wanted off of it. I told him he could opt out but then he was also opting out of privileges, because points are how he gets them. He was upset, but he knew the logic, and I reminded him that I just cannot do it all by myself anymore. That I gave them all a long time to start helping around the house and no one did, so now we have points. If you want privileges, you put in the work.

Their responsibilities are not much. Mostly clean up after yourself stuff and put your own things away. I am adding one each month. This month it was put away clean laundry.

The list of everything they can do to earn and spend points is printed out and taped in three places in the house.

He spent a long time being grumpy about it but the fits were gone. He came to me and said he was going to put away his laundry to earn one last turn on the computer before bed and I consented to granting his points immediately. That is how he will best learn the reward system. I told him later how proud I was of him to make good choices even when it was hard and he smiled and ran off.

He also agreed to go to a playdate with us, after days of insisting I get a sitter. I arranged for the sitter and then when he realized he would be doing nothing instead he cried about it and had me cancel the sitter.

I have to hold a family meeting about the playdate and going to the store tomorrow. Hopefully that will stave off all whining and fits about doing something other than sitting at home. I don´t blame him. I would rather be home, too. I cannot be upset with my kids for being like me, can I?

 

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