Nap Roulette!

sleeping kitties!
sleeping kitties!

Today I’m surrounded by grumpy Aspies.  The Husband is a grumpster, working away on a re-write here in his home office … GOD FORBID I interrupt him to ask him if he wants some damn coffee.  The Boy I had to roust from a (rare) nap & he is all pissy, so I made some coffee and put a dash of Bailey’s in there – heehee.

Naps are few and far between these days … And I have a love hate relationship with them.  I had planned on having The Boy nap well until he left for college.  When he naps, I get some much needed “me time” to do things like, blog or bake or read or take a shower.  When he naps, The Boy is much nicer in the evenings, but bed time is a little later & wake-up time is a lot earlier.  I never can tell when he will actually nap.  My crystal ball is broken.

Every day after lunch we read a book & get him nestled down for some quiet time.  If by 1:30 he is not asleep, I let him get up and we continue our day.  Some days, we have plans in the afternoon or we’re out and about, on those days, obviously we skip the nap.

sage advice
sage advice

Today he had a busy morning at preschool & I had gone to a pilates class, so I was hoping for him to nap in order to take a shower.  Low and behold, the stars aligned & he quieted down right around the time I was going to give up and open his door.  I generally do not let him nap past 3 or 3:30, otherwise, he’ll be up all night!  Talk about trying to poke a bear.  I just got a glimpse into the teenage years:

Incoherent, sleepy grumbling.  Then, “nooooo, mama, no!!!  I’m sleeeeeeeepinnnng!!!”  He whined, pulled the covers over his head, and when I tip-toed away, he abruptly got out of bed, shut off the light & slammed his door, followed by more incoherent whining.

So here I am, considering whether or not to embark upon one of my Bake-It List goodies or start prepping dinner early.  Hmm.  Decisions.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back …

Just when I think we’re really turning a corner, that maybe The Boy doesn’t have Aspergers after all, that maybe he’s just got a few quirks, and maybe just some random behavioral stuff that we’re fixing, he regresses & picks up some new undesired behavior: Licking.  Me, my clothes, his clothes, The Husband, the cat, the furniture & chews / sucks on his clothes & blankets.  This came out of nowhere.  As did the periodic biting.  The Boy just bit my arm something awful – I seriously wanted to cry.  He felt bad about it, too.  Like I’ve said before, sometimes I think he just can’t control his body.

We’ve had a string of “good” days, where I see lots of “good” choices, (we’re constantly using the phrase “make good choices” with him, so he understands the difference.)  Like, on Christmas, we were so impressed with how wonderfully well-behaved he was at Grandma’s house, with his two younger cousins – hands to himself & taking breaks when he needed to have some alone time.

And then we hit a bump in the road & a “wild” & “challenging” day, like today … Maybe it was the excitement of the holidays?  Maybe it was being cooped up in this house for the past couple of days, since it’s been way too cold & windy to go outside.  And my little Aspie doesn’t want to venture out to play usually.  Outside play is something I have to sort of force, unless it’s the park, and quite frankly, I just wasn’t in the mood to do anything more than “suggest.”  In any case, I can sit here and rack my brain for hours trying to figure out what triggers things in him.  It isn’t his diet, it isn’t lack of sleep, it isn’t being around other kids … what then?   I. Don’t. Know.  That’s all I can conclude.

So I crack open my books & read, then log on to the laptop and search.  “Licking.”  Sensory issues, hypo-sensory stuff, not getting enough through the senses that they need more input.  Well, maybe.  Yes, The Boy often craves more sensory input, and that’s why he rams into me, crashes into us, furniture, jumps around on the floor & hangs upside down, but I wonder if some of it isn’t him mimicking our cats?  Or because I jokingly told him a few weeks back that I was going to bite off his cute little nose.  Here again, I don’t know.  And the “not knowing” for me is so frustrating that I want to cry.  I just want to know why, so that I can find the best way to help the situation.

And then there’s the potty training again.  One day he is marvelous – no accidents, goes when I tell him it’s time to take a potty break, (of course with “treats” being promised afterward, or threats of me taking away a toy when the treats won’t work,) or he will actually listen to his body & tell US when he needs to go.  The next day, it’s all out flinging himself on the floor melt-downs when I tell him it’s time to take a potty break.  Coaxing, promising treats, threatening to take away toys – nothing will work!!  I don’t understand why one day is so different from the next.  Am I the only mother of an Aspie who is constantly asking herself WHY?  Why the big shifts in his progress?  I just don’t know.

Two steps forward and one step back.  I guess that’s just the way things go in his world.  I’m going to have to learn to accept that & not be so analytical about the “why,” lest I drive myself nuts in the process!  Funny thing is, he says “two steps forward one step back … that’s how you dance” to me a lot.  (He picked up the line from Madagascar 3, by the way.)  So I guess this is our dance, me & The Boy.  Two steps forward, one step back.

My Little Towheaded Parrot

I just love this Boy.  He’s my little parrot.  He started about a year ago, shortly after he turned two.  It was cute until …

“Goddamnit.”  He would chirp out of nowhere.  Parenting Fail.  Just awesome.

Where did he pick that up, you ask?  Oh, I blame the NFL … and The Husband.  Every Sunday since The Boy was born, we religiously watch football all day long.  Monday nights as well, and lots of Thursday nights, too.  I’m sure he heard his Dad saying that hundreds of times during a Steelers game.

It was kind of funny the first couple of times he did it & we laughed – I mean, come on a baby cussing is funny –  and The Boy enjoyed the reaction, which only encouraged him to repeat it again.  Everyone else laughed too, his Grandparents, his Aunts & Uncles, and then it stopped being funny when he wouldn’t stop.  It stopped being funny when he’d screech it at the top of his lungs in the grocery store or in his religious day school.

I admonished the grown-ups.  “Stop encouraging him by reacting!”

We tried to correct it.  The discipline began … I tried to get him to stop by explaining it was a “naughty” word.  Didn’t work.  I told him, “We don’t say ‘Goddamnit, we say ‘Gosh Darnit.”

“No say Goddamnit, mama, I say Gosh Darnit.”  He’d parrot back to me, proud that he understood the difference.  Face Palm.

Then I tried giving him time-outs when he said it.  Also didn’t work.

I flicked his cheek with my finger a couple of times.  Didn’t work.

I ignored it when he said it.  Didn’t work.  But I kept on ignoring and reminding him that it was a naughty word that isn’t nice to say.  Eventually he stopped saying it because it no longer got a reaction from people.

However, looking back, it was really kind of hysterical when he would bust it out appropriately, as a perfect response in certain situations, with the under-the-breath mutterings of a disgruntled toddler:   ME: “No, Boy, you may not have another cookie, you’ve already had four!”   HIM: “Goddamnit.”  I literally had to turn my back and stifle my laughter.  And that gleam in his eye let ME know that HE knew that I thought it was cute.

After the whole “GD” incident, we were extra careful of the things we’d say.  And the parroting got really cute … His responses to stuff are a parroting of my responses, or from movies, tv shows, or other people in his life.

ME: “Boy, can I have a bite of your cheese?”
The BOY: “Oh, of course you can!”

ME: “Boy, would you like some more milk?”
The BOY:  “No, thank you, I’m good for now.”

ME: “Boy, you are supposed to be napping in there, quiet down!”
The BOY: “Uh, no, sorry, I can’t do that right now!”

The BOY: “Mama, did you just go potty?”
ME: “Yes, I sure did.”
The BOY:  “Oh, you did?!?!  Umi-riffic, you’re a good girl, mama.”  (note: umi-riffic comes from the show Team Umizoomi, a favorite of The Boy’s.)

The BOY: “Mama, I don’t like that behavior, I’m gonna give you a time out!”

I particularly adore when he busts out movie quotes – either out of the blue, or in response to something.  The reason I adore this is because both my husband and I are in the entertainment industry & regularly quote movies as part of our daily conversation, so to hear our son do it brings us immense joy.  He’s one of us.  And sometimes I have to ask him, “Who said that?”  Because he’s really good at obscure quotes.

Just today, we’re walking down the hall to go to his room and he rambles on with this little gem: “You blockhead! You kept me up all night waiting for the Great Pumpkin, and all that came was a beagle! I didn’t get a chance to go out for tricks or treats. And it was all your fault! What a fool I was!! What a fool I was!! Trick or treats come only once a year, and I missed it sitting in a pumpkin patch with a blockhead.”

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

So, in my mind, this totally makes up for the GD incident.   My three-year old son loves The Peanuts just as much as I loved them when I was a little girl, (only I couldn’t quote their lines verbatim.)  And when they use the word “stupid” (which I never knew until I became a mom is actually quite frequently,) He pipes up with “Mama, stupid is a naughty word!”  See, vindication.  Yep, I’m one proud mama.

Poo-Poo Is Different Than Chocolate Ice Cream … Adventures In Potty Training








We’ve been potty training The Boy going on 3 months.  It’s definitely been a process.  And a longer one than I had anticipated.  Is it more difficult because of Asperger Syndrome?  Perhaps.  Or maybe it’s just his personality.  Or maybe it’s a little of both.

How I thought it was going to go:

  1. Say bye-bye to diapers … “this is the last pack of diapers we’re buying!  Woohoo, more money for wine!”
  2. Skip the pull-ups because it wicks the moisture away so he isn’t uncomfortable when he’s had an accident.
  3. Buy cute “Big Boy Undies”
  4. Get a small pack of m&m’s as treats for every time he goes potty – should take 1 week, so we’ll only need a small bag.

How it really went:

  1. Bought last pack of diapers, then had to run out and buy more … have been continuing to purchase diapers for the past 3 months, no extra money in wine fund.
  2. Use pull-ups on occasion (in the beginning it was for long car rides or days spent away from the house for more than a few hours at a time,) and naps
  3. Did purchase cute big boy undies!  And then more!
  4. Invested in 2 large bags of m&m’s … also on hand, mini cookies & jellybeans.

He’s pretty good with the pee-pee … It only took him 2 weeks to graduate from the potty chair to standing up and using the big potty.  Now, we have to remind him when it’s time to go & then give him a 5 minute warning before we take a “potty break.” We set the timer on the iPhone.  Then he usually fights me, because he doesn’t want to stop what he’s doing to take the 30 seconds it takes to go pee.  When he does, he is very proud of himself.

My big recommendation is to use a small size underwear with thicker, more absorbent trainer pants over the undies.  It still allows him to feel the discomfort of being wet, but it usually can save you from having to clean up a huge mess on the floor.

Poop is an entirely different beast.  Despite my big bag of mystery poo-poo presents (I even unwrapped them a week after wrapping them, so that he might be enticed,) he just doesn’t want to go poop on the toilet.  Fine.  I told him that he should just tell me that he needs to poop and we can put a pull-up on.  He will often wait until we put the nap pull-up on so that he can poop in that, but more often than not, he will just go in his undies.

Do you know how gross it is to clean out poopie undies?  Lawd!  I am gagging as I do it, trying not to make a big deal out of it, but YUCK!  Can anyone tell me why is it so much nastier than when he goes in a diaper?  Do you know how many undies I’ve just thrown out because I can’t deal?  And those suckers are not cheap!  I even tried putting him in a diaper on the toilet so that he can see how it feels, but inevitably, he will sit there and sit there and sit there & tell me he doesn’t have to go.  Then 2 seconds later, he is in his playroom being too quiet & viola!  Poop.

So I bring him back in the bathroom to show him that poop goes in the toilet … we push it out of the undies & into the bowl.  He looks at it for a second & then remarks insightfully, “Poo poo is different than chocolate ice cream, mama.”  I had to just laugh.  Why yes it is son, it most certainly is.  I also explained that poo poo is yucky & ice cream is yummy & we should never ever eat poop.  Sigh.  Being a mom is fun 😀

Here are two videos that really helped us in the beginning … he still enjoys watching them: Bear In The Big Blue House:  Potty Time With Bear (There’s also a book with the same name, that tells the same story.)  And Potty Power, (kids love to see other kids doing stuff they want to do.)

Good luck in your bathroom adventures!  As long as they’re potty trained by the time they enter kindergarten, I think it’s all fine.

Nature Walk

Today is a gorgeous, classic autumn day, (which is rare for Los Angeles!)  It’s a chilly 61 degrees and we had showers off and on all day yesterday, so the sky is clear & bright blue, with big puffy clouds floating around.  I am so thankful that it finally cooled down – on Monday it was 97 degrees!

The Boy doesn’t have preschool on Fridays, so I try and plan fun things for us to do.  Yesterday, we talked about jumping in puddles, but they were all dried up by this morning, so I put together a little nature walk / scavenger hunt activity for the morning.  We bundled up and headed out to explore the neighborhood.  On our list of things to look for were snakes, (The Boy’s request,) lizards, (also his request,) rocks, leaves, berries, birds, squirrels & spiders, (much to my chagrin, but The Boy is a boy & boys love their creepy crawly things!)

Along the way, we talked about how the leaves had turned from green to gold, brown & red, and we picked up several leaves to take home.  We collected different berries that we found & talked about how you should never eat berries without first showing mommy because some berries can make you sick.  We talked about the kind of birds we saw, (a blackbird, a crow,) and admired the clouds in the sky.

It was a simple activity that didn’t cost a penny, but it was so memorable for both of us because, like me, The Boy loves nature, is curious about the world we live in, and loves learning new things.  He’s been admiring his “booty” that we collected all morning.

And memorable for me because I relish in being able to introduce him to the magic that surrounds us … things like finding the tiniest snail shell, where I can set his imagination free to wonder about the creature that used to live inside of there; Cloud bursting, (the term we’ve come up for when we watch the clouds shape shift;) the symbolic meaning of a daisy; or what lavender smells like when you touch it with your hands.

These are the moments that I dreamt about when I longed to become a mother, and these are the moments I cherish because I know they will be gone all too soon.  Someday The Boy will find a new “best friend” to explore the world with, but for now, it’s me & I am so thankful for that.