Archive for April, 2011

Chronicling Our Journey With Max & All We Learn About Living & Loving With Asperger’s

April 28, 2011

I decided to put a new tab on the site.

You’ll now find a tab for Asperger’s. As I was reading through older posts, I realized I’d been chronicling our journey since last year, but didn’t know what I was facing. Those posts and anything that will directly pertain to Max’s education and what the family and I learn as good tools will appear there.

It was interesting for me to go back and see how school (1st grade) was such a struggle and we just couldn’t figure out why-Stubborness? Poor dynamic with the teacher? Depression? I’m so grateful for Max’s teacher, this year, who has been so dedicated to helping Max and finding out exactly what his strengths and weaknesses are and helping me to get the answers we now have!

More to come.

Onto better things for Max and all of us!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

Bookmark and Share

Spring Break-Mommy of Many Style

April 27, 2011

We are 1/2 way through our Spring Break and I’m disappointed in my body for not following along with what my mind had planned. I was sure that I’d catch up on all the sleep I’ve wished I could get. You know, go crazy and stay in bed until 6:30 or even 7! But each morning I’ve popped up somewhere between 3 (ugh!!!!) and 4:30. Talk about stubbornness! After getting up at 4:15 for the last 2 years I guess I’ve conditioned myself. But what’s the excuse for my extra-early rising kiddos?! On school mornings it’s all I can do to practically push them from their beds at 6 and yet here we are on break and the little ones are getting up and heading to the playroom to watch movies and be the first on the computer, as early as 3am!

This just isn’t right!

Does this mean naps? No way! They just get up and keep going and going as if they’ve been super-charged by the very idea of no school.

Luckily there’s plenty to fill these days. Yesterday the kiddos got to take advantage of Balboa Park’s Free Tuesday’s with their dad, uncle and some friends. And today I’ll be taking them to meet-up with an Auntie and cousin at Seaport Village. Then it’s off to Arianna’s softball game and a possible movie on base this evening.

I guess I better stop yawning, go make the pancakes I made the batter for and start packing our lunch!

Doing the Dance of the Children From Predawn Till After Sundown~

Bookmark and Share

So, About That Asperger’s Thing-

April 25, 2011

Here is the conversation Max and I had right before his last counseling appointment;

Max-”Mom, can I ask you something?”
Me-”Sure”
Max-”So, about that Asperger’s thing…Do I have it?”
Me-”Well, all the tests you took have come back and, yes, it shows that you do.”
Max-”I thought so but I was hoping not.”
Me-”But that’s why we’re here, to get better tools for all of us to help know how to do things the best way for you. That way being in school won’t be so hard. But don’t worry! You’re still the same YOU.”
Max-Gave me a big hug and just smiled.

Later that afternoon he asked if I would call all his classmates parents and tell them so they could explain it to their kids so that the kids could understand. I assured him that I would let his teacher have all the test results and that she would be able to help his classmates understand better.

As you can see, I’m making sure to keep the communication with Max open. I don’t want him sitting around and wondering what’s going on. Hopefully this will make all our future steps easier and more clear.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

Bookmark and Share

Our Easter in Pictures

April 25, 2011

After sharing all my unnecessary worry with all of you yesterday, I thought I’d give you a visual of how our day ended up.

Many thanks to an Easter Angel who decided that the kids should, indeed, have chocolate bunnies in their baskets! A small gesture, but it made a difference. Thanks!


Gabi’s sign for everyone


The Lil kiddos were up, more than an hour, before the older kiddos. They tore into their baskets while I reminded them to whisper because not everyone wants to wake up at 5am, even for Easter baskets.


Max with the (required) Hops and Lays Gumball Eggs, Chicken. Mr Bunny started putting these in a few years ago and now Max expects them. It wouldn’t be Easter without it!


Gabi, happily showing off her loot.


The baskets of all those still sleeping.


The boys, dressed and ready for church.


After church everyone enjoyed their Bunny Pops. Couldn’t get everyone to pose for the pic, but you get the idea.


Uncle Ted spent the day with us.


After I got dinner in the oven, I took the 4 lils to the park while everything cooked.


My Gabi-girl, having fun.


Me, sitting at the park while dinner’s cooking. Gabi decided to be a photographer. I have several pics of the play structure and the sand (I’ll be happy to share them upon request).


Me and Gabi before we headed back to the house for dinner.

After dinner I offered pedicures to the girls (not that the boys couldn’t join in if they wanted) and everyone got to have fun with sparklers that their dad brought back from Mississippi.

A good day!

I hope you each had a peaceful and blessed Easter.

Doing the Dance of the Children-One Day At-A-Time~

Bookmark and Share

M.O.M.’s Easter Blues

April 23, 2011

Easter’s my favorite holiday. I LOVE the Springtime, the bright colors, the celebration of what’s new and new beginnings. But this year I’m having a tough time with the fact that tomorrow morning will be here and I’m unprepared. I’m mourning the fact that my older kids can’t be here and that there’s no family around to gather with, put together a nice meal and share the day.

When Clay retired in December, he was fortunate enough to get a flying job the following week. The job is based out of MIssissippi. He’s been traveling back and forth every since. While it’s a blessing to get work so quickly, he took a significant pay cut and with the added travel expenses things have been more than tight.

So with Easter coming in the morning I find myself saddened by the fact that I couldn’t bring my older kids home. That I can’t buy all the foods that would put a “special, holiday” meal on the table and that I can’t do any more than have the kids dye eggs and put the filled plastic eggs into their baskets. No chocolate bunnies. No little toys. Yes, we will still have a special day and they will get woken up before dawn to run outside and gather the filled eggs. I’m not asking for pity, I’m just getting this out of my head and heart and written down because I need to stop the crying today and go get some stuff done. I need to pull out the clothes and make sure they’re clean and ironed and that the socks match and that Mommy can put on a happy face and be excited to color the eggs with everyone this afternoon.

I’m just lamenting what lack of money prevents.

Doing the Dance of the Children

Bookmark and Share

Parenting-Using Your Brain Instead of Your Emotions

April 22, 2011

Parenting many different ages of kids can really be tricky. There are plenty of times that I have trouble figuring out how to make something work for everyone. But one thing I’ve learned that always works best is to set aside my emotions and turn on my brain. I said it works best, I didn’t say I’m always capable of doing it. But today-today I did just that.

One of the kids came running in to let me know that they’d been “kicked off” the computer by an older sibling and that the older sib had then put a password on the computer so that the younger one couldn’t get back on. I approached the teen and asked why they did it. They had decided that, even though I had given the younger kiddo permission to be on the computer, that they felt that the younger sibling needed to focus on different activities. I then explained that I gave permission for using the computer and that I wanted  the computer logged back on for the younger sib. I was told “no”.

How’s that?

“No”. She let me know that not only would she NOT log the computer back on, she also refused to give me the new password. You can imagine the steam that began coming out of my ears! I explained that she had no right to override my parenting and to decide to take that kind of control. She still refused. You can also imagine that I wanted to snap!

But instead, I walked away, sat down, turned off my anger and turned on my brain. Ok-teen is NOT going to give in and I’m going to get angrier which will only end badly. Where is my power? I can’t force her into chores. I can’t even demand that she not leave the house (we can go into those things another time) but I CAN decide that she will NOT drive ANY vehicle for the next week. She’s still working with her permit and without anger, I can take away a privilege. I emailed her father to ask that he be on-board with my punishment, and why and then walked out to calmly let her know what the consequences of her actions would be.

Once I delivered that news I turned to the younger sibling and told him to follow me to my computer where I would log him on and set a timer.

M.O.M. Brain=Good Stuff! I am not as powerless in the face of difficult kiddos as I sometimes feel.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

Bookmark and Share

Holy Thursday

April 21, 2011

It’s been a FULL day!

We had a half day of school and a regular day of work before we could declare ourselves on Easter Break. Then we waited around for Tristan’s flute lesson, picked Arianna up from a sleepover, got Mariah to a Dr. appt, took Maddi to a friend’s house, went to the park where I borrowed Tristan’s bike and rode as fast as I could while the 4 youngest chased me (this didn’t last long!), headed to Starbucks for hot chocolate, said our evening prayers, discussed what we will do for Good Friday (and why) and headed to bed.

Easter’s my FAVORITE holiday! I love Spring, so I love all the decor around Easter. But there’s something about the early-morning Easter Bunny’s visit that makes me happy. I love the new dresses and shoes and freshness to all the Easter brings and I love the idea of new beginnings.

Here’s to a prayerful and thoughtful Good Friday and all the fun that Saturday will bring with egg-dying and basket-stuffing. And here’s to waking the kids up on Easter morn and making them go outside before daybreak, in their pj’s to hunt for eggs! Yes!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

Bookmark and Share

I’ll Just Keep Double Checking

April 20, 2011

Prizes. Rewards. Treats. Extra Food.

All these good things are worked for/desired/asked for by most kiddos. If you offer something special it’s going to grab their attention. My 8 yr old is certainly no exception!

But lately I’ve noticed that he shows up to the van, after school, with something “special” almost everyday. I’m learning to clue into this phenomenon and ask lots of questions.

We’ve just recently gotten the test results back that show that he falls quite strongly into the Aspergers Spectrum. This has opened my eyes and ears in new ways. While I’ve always known my own child’s tendencies, I’m realizing that because of some of his social challenges that he doesn’t pick up on all the normal cues that other children give. Now when he shows up with something “special” and says that someone has given it to him, I have to run through a list of questions to get down to the nitty gritty of EXACTLY why someone “gave” him something special. This is exhausting! Not only is it exhausting, I worry that he thinks I don’t trust him. I’m learning a delicate dance of finding out the EXACT facts and helping him understand that I don’t want anyone to be angry with him and that I’m just checking.

Today he showed up with a kite. He had talked about this kite a few days ago and had said that he hoped to earn it for Lex (his 5yr old brother). When I saw it I immediately asked how he got it. When he told me that a classmate had earned it and in turn had given it to him to give to his little brother, my Mommy Gauges went into overdrive. “Grab it and lets go find him”. Where my words.

“But Mom! He really DID give it to me.”

“Oh, I’m sure he did. I just want to make sure that he meant to. I don’t want someone to be upset about their decision to give away their special prize.”

Long story short-we found the classmate with his mom and he confirmed that he, did in-fact, give the kite to be given to Lex.

Ok then. Thanks were passed to the kiddo and we headed back to your van. I made sure to let Max know that I was proud of him for thinking of his little brother and that I really wanted to make sure that no one ended up upset.

A delicate dance indeed!

I guess I’ll just keep double checking.

Doing the Dance of the Children and Learning the Steps as I Go~

Bookmark and Share

Putting Gas in This Beast STINKS!

April 16, 2011

Time to fill up

I pulled in, slid my card and let it run until the automated stop at $75. But the tank wasn’t full! To dirty looks and sounds of impatient people I reslid my card and let it fill up. Grand total for a fill-up on this beast…$109.76. This should last me about 5 days.

I can’t wait to get out from under this unneeded vehicle and hopefully reduce my fuel bill. Let’s hope this can happen soon!

Doing the Dance of the Children in a VERY expensive ride~

Bookmark and Share

Goofy Things I’ve Let Scare Me But Finally Overcame

April 15, 2011

After writing about my fear of new things, I started to think (and be reminded) of other instances where I let fear bind me and how I eventually overcame each thing. I thought I’d write them down. This way when I’m facing another new thing I can come over here and see that I’ve been successful ALL these other times. And maybe my list will help others through their own fears.

I left my iPod in it’s box for a whole year before I tried it out. An ENTIRE year!
When my PC was taken away and my Mac showed up on my desk I shunned it for a month. Once I gave it a try I became a loyal fan. I’ll never go back!
For the 1st 4 months of recording my podcasts I stayed as far away from the process as possible, fearing GarageBand fiercely.
Finding a new Dr.
Going into Tiffany’s (I was so afraid that they’d give me one look and ask me what-the-heck I thought I was doing in there).
Giving my Opinion-Ever.

I stood in my neighbor’s living room and debated with her over a trip I was going to take with my baby. I was going to visit a friend and I was SO paralyzed with the fear of leaving my other children and actually going somewhere. I made up a zillion excuses and like a good and true friend, she shot EVERY ONE of them down. I’ll bet she’s reading this with a smirk on her face, because she knows I took that trip and I had a GREAT time and that it opened the door in me to be able to take other trips. Now THAT’S a friend!

I let a toothache go for more than a YEAR! Resulting in the eventual loss of said tooth!

I FREAKED OUT after a blogging agreement between myself and Kraze Bootcamps. I spent about a week wondering what-in-the-world was wrong with me for even thinking I could do such a thing. Then I went and I kept going and blogging and it got SO Good!!!!! I found out that I was made of some pretty good stuff and didn’t need to be intimidated by push-ups or jumping jacks (though they tried REALLY hard to frighten me).

I cried and explained that I really really didn’t want to have to go through labor and delivery, let’s see…about 8 of the 9 times I did it. Guess what-I still had to. And guess what-I lived to tell the tales.

I’m sure there are plenty of other things I could come up with. I’ll probably publish this post and think of something really great that I forgot to put in here. But bottom line-all these things were HUGE stumbling blocks for me. I spent time agonizing over each thing and when I finally faced them, I found out I was stronger or more capable or actually enjoyed the changes they brought to my life. I know it won’t stop me from having anxiety over new things, but maybe talking about it will ease the fear.

Interestingly enough, I’m noticing that I only become frozen by things that effect just me. When I have to go outside my comfort zone for my kids-Done! A mama’s gotta do what a mama’s gotta do. Hmmm.

Doing the Dance of the Children AND Life and Learning Each Day~

Bookmark and Share

Procrastination & Fear-How a Small Stumbling Block Turned Into a 2-Year Detour

April 14, 2011

Change and the unknown paralyze me. Sometimes literally. I can sit with the proposal of something new and become completely stuck and immobile over it. Sometimes it simply takes a few minutes or a few hours to get my head around it and move forward, but there are times where I will become so completely stuck over the fear of the unknown and the fact that an idea is new for YEARS. And sometimes, I’ll sit and think about it and then walk away from it completely.

What?! But I’m Jen Lang-Mommy of Many. The woman who can organize my household, keep all the kids’ schedules straight, blog, podcast, post my cooking videos to Youtube, drive and park a 15-passenger van like it’s a 2-seater sports car, breastfeed a baby while pushing 2 other children in a jogger, move houses with 6 small children and a deployed husband…how in the world could I EVER be afraid of change and the unknown?!

All true. And yes, I DO conquer new things all the time, but it doesn’t change what happens inside me EACH time. Here’s the story of how 1 small stumbling block turned into a 2-year detour from which I finally exited, today;

A little more than 2 years ago I changed doctors. We had to leave the clinic on base because they would not allow us to enroll our youngest child. So instead of juggling multiple Drs for the kids, the decision was made to pick a Dr in town. I asked friends about the Drs they used and decided to go with one nearby. It so happened that there was a primary care physician in the same complex that could take me. So I started seeing her for routine appointments. After about 6 months, I became so frustrated with her that I grabbed my shoes, mid exam, asked for my records and told her I would no longer be seeing her. I left her office, my record in-hand and started asking friends what Dr they saw. I got a few referrals and made a few phone calls, but, for various reasons, none of the suggestions ever ended up in me seeing a new Dr.

Time started to go by. Little things would come up-a cough here, an upset stomach there, but never anything important enough for me to actually pursue a new Dr. As more time started going by the idea of a new Dr got scary to me. I found reasons that it was going to be difficult to find one and reasons that made me unsure of being able to find one-Clay was going to retire, what would the new benefits be? I will have to move, why start with a new Dr when I’ll just have to find another one? What if it’s too expensive to find a Dr? What if this cough has gone on so long that now I’m REALLY sick? What if now that I’m really sick, a new Dr won’t take me? What if the new insurance doesn’t cover me being really sick (which btw-I’m not, but I let it build in my head this way). I worked myself into a frenzy of reasons why I couldn’t possibly take the time or spend the $ to get a new Dr. Finally I got an idea to TRY. “Just try”, I told myself. “Just go to the Tricare office-the one you’ve seen signs for-and just ask the question”. “Yes, I know you will probably be told that you’ve waited too long past retirement or that you can’t be seen at that particular facility or that your pants are the wrong length and they don’t see brunettes, but JUST GO ASK”. I told myself “ok”. Then I pondered it for 2 more weeks and finally, FINALLY today I drove straight over there after work and tried not to think of any reasons not to. I followed the signs, got lost and thought of leaving. Then I poked my head into an office and asked where I should go. The lady smiled and directed me down the hall. I walked in and announced that I had 2 questions and guess what! 24 minutes later, I had a new Dr, a scheduled appointment and was back in my car. That’s it! All that build up. All that fear!

I can’t tell you how often this happens to me. This is how I move through life-pushing myself through 1 unknown only to realize that there was nothing to fear and that it wasn’t going to be too hard and that I should remember that for the next time.

Today was a success and I decided to talk about it because maybe if I do when the next “new” thing comes up you can all remind me that it probably isn’t so scary and that I’m probably more than capable of figuring it out.

Doing the Dance of Life, One Challenge At-A-Time~

Bookmark and Share

Our Weekend & A Lesson For the Future

April 11, 2011

We had a kid-packed weekend!

Tristan built a cool Lego car with moving parts

We went to our housing area’s Spring Extravaganza (thanks to Lincoln Military Housing for a fun event)

The boys enjoyed petting all sorts of animals

And notice Tristan’s airbrushed tattoos.

Lex petted 1, big bunny

while Gabi posed with the Easter Bunny. The roll of paper in her hand is a big picture and note that she prepared for him ahead of time.

The kids had fun with all sorts of organized games (Max, eyeing the limbo bar).

It was a beautiful weekend to be outside and enjoy the sunny, San Diego Spring.

Yesterday we went to a birthday party for one of the little boys in my class. Somehow, I forgot to bring my camera. Which is a shame because it would’ve been great to capture Lex charging the pinata with the bat as if it was a battering ram. Hey, strategy counts for a lot! It was at this party that I learned a good lesson to file away for future use-DO NOT EVER hire a magician for ANY party that Max is going to attend!

Max pays close attention to detail and is very analytical-2 things that don’t work well if you’re trying to “trick” a kid. Max kept shouting out where the coins actually were or why it was impossible for the magician’s hand to be on fire. I had to creep up behind him and remind him that this was “fun” and that it wasn’t nice for him to try to point these things out. He didn’t think it was fun to ignore the truth of what was happening.

~sigh~

We had a great weekend. The kids ate too much sugar and Mom got worn out, but hey, isn’t that what the weekend’s about?!

Doing the Dance of the Children-No Tricks~

Bookmark and Share

There is No Friday to Parenting-The Post

April 8, 2011

It’s Friday! We’re all looking forward to a little break in our regular routines and hopefully we have something fun planned in the next couple of days. Your mind starts getting ready for a little ease to the daily grind. You take a big breath and sit back in the car/van/mini van/ suburban/etc while you wait for the kids to get out of school and load up.

They get in the car and it’s an immediate stream of all that went wrong for the day. Of course you have to decipher the Code of Kid Talk before you realize that they were not their best at school, and your little bit of peaceful brain time and the hopes of starting the weekend and easing up on the schedule and routine and thinking of fun stuff just went out the window. Instead you must talk to them, find out what went wrong and how to make it better.

Oh yeah, don’t forget that you have to get one of them to work and then go back to pick them up at 11pm for the next 2 days. Weekend?! Relaxing?! Easing up?! Yeah right!

You’re a parent! This may not be your exact scenario, but I’ll bet that if you wear the label of Parent that the weekend and your hopes of any relaxation and ease are dashed by the kids’ sporting events you will be attending or the birthday party you need to rush out and get a gift for, etc.

That’s right moms and dads, we are ON IT, round the clock, 365 days a year. No breaks! So, forget Friday. It’s not for you. Get back in there and begin the work of the weekend!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

Bookmark and Share

On the Eve of Lex’s 5th Bday I Share 3 Funny Lexisms

April 6, 2011

Lex enjoying a Cold Stone ice cream cupcake

5 days before I delivered. Not the best preggo pic, but it’s what you get when trying to take pics of a lady who’s preggo w/ baby #9 and trying to get “dressed up” for her daughter’s High School play performance and is exhausted from single-parenting due to deployment. Don’t I look T-I-R-E-D?!

Luke-Xavier (Lex) makes his appearance into the world. It’s been pure love since the moment I met him!

Tomorrow my youngest will turn 5. Five! April is the month in which my children start and end. Kateri, my oldest, just turned 22 and tomorrow we celebrate Lex. He’s always making us laugh and giving us insight into his lil head and tonight I thought it was fitting to share 3 of his latest funnies and also pics of 5 yrs ago.

1) We were in the van the other day and Lex had gotten a book order form from school. Max wanted to look at it and tell me what books he wanted. Lex wasn’t happy about sharing the order form but I assured him he’d get it back soon. Here’s the conversation between Lex and Max;

Max-I want these books (pointing to several).
Lex-If you get those you have to share them.
Max-Yeah, we can share.
Lex-Do you want to be rich when you grow up?
Max-Yes
Lex-Do you know how people get rich?
Max-How?
Lex-By people giving them money and if you get those books and don’t share them I won’t give you money and you’ll never get rich!
Max-I said I’d share!

2) Tonight we were leaving Cold Stone and a man selling his (wife’s ?) homemade tamales approached us. We declined the tamales but gave him a Cold Stone, ice cream cupcake. He thanked us and asked us to pray for him. On the way home we were saying out night prayers and when it came time for Lex’s intentions he said, “Mom, you forgot 1! Dear God please bless the biscotti man”. I’m sure God understood-biscotti, tamales, whatever!

3)Lex-”Mom, tonight can I sleep in your bed?”
Mom-”No. Auntie Maggie is sleeping in my bed while she’s visiting and that’s too many people.”
Lex-”I can just sleep on top of you. I promise not to squish you”.

Happy Birthday Eve to my Lil guy!

Doing the Dance of the Children~

Bookmark and Share

MOMs Misstep

April 4, 2011

This afternoon I made the announcement that we were “Going to the library!”. The kids were excited and 1 of my high schoolers actually NEEDS books for a project that’s been left until the last minute. This is why the trip was actually decided on, but I figured the other kids would be happy for the chance at some new reading material and maybe a few movies. We got to the library and I immediately noticed that the, usually full, parking lot was empty. Not a good sign! I sent 1 of my teens to see if they were open.

Nope!

I’ll figure out what to do for my procrastinating Freshman, but the realization that I no longer know the library’s schedule brought up a host of feelings in me.

I was a full-time stay-at-home-mom until 2 years ago, when I went to work at the elementary school as a preschool aid. I spent 16 years at home. I worked in the house EVERYDAY for whatever parts of the day I was home and busied myself and the kiddos, that were too young for school, with park visits, museum visits, trips to the library for storytime, visits with friends, lunches on the bay…

You get the picture. I was the typical SAHM with young children and a house to keep organized and tidy and meals to plan and errands to run. My days were completely full and I wondered if I’d EVER be able to get my house in the order I REALLY wanted it in without forgoing sleep. I knew exactly what community events were going on and checked the local postings and magazines for all things free or inexpensive. But now…

Now that I’m no longer in the house each day, I get home to scramble through what chores I can manage in between kids’ sports and the next pick-up from any given event. Trips to museums?! A day at the park?! Knowing the library schedule?! Sadly I have to face that those days are behind me. I really have lost a part of my days that I really enjoyed! But everyone’s in school now, so I’m no longer trying to keep little ones busy until their nap time, when I’d go at lightening speed to finish as many tasks as possible before they woke up. Now I’m Doing the Dance of the Children from 4am until I get the younger kids into bed around 8pm and then I’m too tired to really accomplish much of anything. There’s a polish to my days at home that I miss. I was largely in charge of the schedule and the events and I had things running with great precision.

~sigh~

Well, perhaps I’ve moved onto a new phase of life with my kiddos and our schedules and the way the house is run (I use that term ever-so loosely!), but you better believe I plan on being that grandma who knows every fun thing to do and the schedule of every free or inexpensive, kid-friendly event for miles around!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Looking Ahead~

Bookmark and Share