Faith, Love and Respect for ALL

Archive for February, 2013

Ready or Not, Here We Gooooooooooo…

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Sunday evening found us setting our feet on a new path. Beth was doing her moaning thing (usually a bm alert) in the tub, so I asked her if she needed to sit on the potty. She responded: “Beth poop on the potty.” So I let her sit there for a little over 5 minutes, but nothing happened. It took another 5 minutes to convince her to get back into the tub to finish her bath, because she was determined to “poop on the potty.” As soon as the bath was over, she had to go right back on the toilet to “poop on the potty.” She did pee a little in the toilet, but the bm never happened, and she was DEVASTATED. It was a mega-meltdown, and although I praised everything else about the experience, because I was so very proud of her, and also wanted to help her feel better; she could not get over the fact that she didn’t poop on the potty, and kept begging to go back. I told her sometimes our tummy feels like we have to go, but it is really just gas, like when we fart or toot. I could not believe how upset she was, and of course she wanted to go right back to the toilet Monday morning. I let her sit for 5 minutes after breakfast then had her get ready for school. Again nothing happened, and she spent the rest of the morning pleading: “Please, Please, Please Mommy, Beth poop on the potty, PLEASE!” It was horrible to see her so distraught. I was prepared for this adventure to be difficult for a multitude of other reasons, due to her sensory issues and delays, but never considered her devastation/meltdowns when she failed to make a deposit in the toilet.

Monday, when she returned home from school, there was a note on her sheet that she had spent the entire day happily talking about her princess potty. So I decided we needed an approach that would make this a more positive, less stressful, experience for her. We watched Once Upon a Potty (several times, because she was entranced) and read the book the video was based on. Naturally when reading the book we made Prudence a Princess, because all little girls are princesses, and she likes the story better that way. I told her we could sit on our princess potty for 5 minutes while we read a book, and then when the timer goes off, it is time to put our diaper on and wash our hands. We read Once Upon a Potty, giggled at all the silly parts, and cheered for Princess Prudence. The entire book is great, but for us, here are the BEST pages:

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When the timer went off, she had a HUGE smile and squealed: “Beth poop on the potty!” I told her what a great job Princess Beth did trying, just like Princess Prudence, and she was HAPPY. She put her potty seat back on its hook, let me put on her diaper, pulled up her pants and washed her hands (while being tickled by mommy). I was amazed at the quick transformation from sad girl to happy princess. Tuesday when her Speech Therapist came, she proudly read her the book and told her all about Princess Prudence, then at the end of their session she showed off her princess potty, and was happily sitting on her throne, reading her favorite book, as Ms. L took her leave. Today when Ms. S came for OT, she showed her the book and talked a bit about her princess potty. After their session she said a quick goodbye to Ms. S, took off her princess dress and diaper, then got on her throne for our story time. I never realized how much fun could be had while hanging out in the bathroom several times a day with your kids.

Here is the thing; Beth is not ready to be potty training, which is why we were planning to start this summer, when we hoped she would be ready. She says: “poop on the potty” but means “sit on the potty.” Just like when she says “Beth have poopies,” she is usually just wet and means to say: “bad diaper,” or “wet diaper.” She does not yet comprehend all that going on the potty entails, and her body is not communicating properly with her at this time. However, she initiated this HUGE milestone, and is showing a wonderful interest, which is Au-Some, and I would never discourage her desire to start a new adventure. Plus, there is so much amazing communication and language happening, it is a miracle. So we go in the bathroom typically after meal times, and any other time she asks. If she doesn’t ask, we don’t go, because she is directing this show. When we do go, we already have a routine in place:

Get our potty seat off the hook

Place it on the big girl potty

Pull pants down (if she is actually wearing clothes)

Take diaper off

Sit on our throne

Set timer for 5ish minutes

Read books and Play

Wipe (when timer goes off)

Put clean diaper on

Pull up pants

Put potty seat back and flush

Celebrate with “Beth pooped on the potty”

Wash hands and get tickled

When we are done she is happy and extremely proud of herself. At this point I must mention that Beth’s shadow (aka Anne) must also be involved, hence the two potty setups in the about photo. Sometimes Anne sits on her potty the whole time, and other times she is in and out. Although my girls are 2 years apart in age, developmentally they are more like months apart, and I always suspected I would be toilet training both girls at the same time. It looks like I may have been right, but only time will tell, and if nothing else at least they are learning to tolerate each other in a small space. The fact that no one actually deposits anything into either toilet doesn’t matter, because the girls are getting comfortable on their thrones and having fun while doing it. When the time comes, and they are actually ready to use the toilet for the real thing, then they will already be right at home on their thrones, as every princess should be. Our potty training style is going to be slow, no pressure, and fun; because our girls do everything in their own time and fashion. I think if we can keep this path’s adventure light and fun, then it will remain a positive experience for the girls, so they can relax and let nature take its course. So we may be potty training for a few months or maybe even a year, but as long as they know it is okay to go or not go in their own time, we are golden. As I am always saying Progress not Perfection, and the progress we are seeing in several areas as we start this adventure, makes this momma beam with pride.

 

 

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Seeking New Voice

Beth said something to me yesterday that cut me to the quick, and has left me with an aching heart. Henry was laying on the couch (not doing what I wanted him to) and I snapped something in his direction, he bit back and I had to have the last word, or so I thought. Beth looked right at me and said: “Mommy don’t yell at Daddy! Stop, no yelling!” My heart broke and I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. I told her I wasn’t yelling at daddy, which I wasn’t, but I also wasn’t talking very nicely to him either. I assured her it was okay, and I made sure to watch my tone the rest of the day, but the damage was already done. This image came to mind continuously throughout the day:

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Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, I am giving my children a horrible inner voice. When I really listen to how Beth talks to Anne, or how Anne talks to the cats, it is not nice. I reprimand them and tell them to use nice words, and not to be mean; however I realize they are simply copying me. More often than not, I have always been surrounded by people who lack respect for others, treat them poorly and say nasty things without a second thought. I have had many people in my life that prided themselves on “Telling it Like It Is” and demeaning people to make them do whatever they desired. I also grew up with a fear of adults raising their voice, because that was always the precursor to something horrible happening to someone I loved. I became a master diffuser, and tried to bring harmony to every tense situation I encountered in life. The problem is that no matter how much peace and positivity I bring to others, I am cruel to myself. The voice in my head is extremely hard and unforgiving when it comes to my actions. In Al-Anon, I am working on overcoming this negativity and learning how to be kind to myself, but it is a slow journey.

I swore I would pass on the unconditional love, which several others in my life taught me, to my children. I vowed to give them a good example of how to have a beautiful inner voice. Although I have pro-actively eliminated the majority of the situations that helped me form my ugly inner voice, I have yet to eradicate those emotions from myself, and they come out much too often for my liking. Unfortunately, because they are like second-nature to me, sometimes I don’t even realize the unpleasant tone I am using until someone points it out to me. Sometimes that person is Henry, sometimes it is Marie, but most times it is my girls showing me the true affect of my words and tone. It is in these moments, that I hate myself and am filled with shame; however, those negative thoughts and emotions will help no one, so I must be vigilant to not wallow in them.

I must learn to love and respect myself. I must learn to talk nicely to myself. I must learn to be kind to myself. I must forgive myself when I make a mistake.  Once I can learn to do these things for myself, then I can treat others in a manner which I am proud of. This is where my program and Al-Anon family are essential to a new way of living life. They love me when I cannot love myself, and my sponsor continually reminds me that the groundwork of life is based in “Progress NOT Perfection.” I want to provide a solid foundation of Faith, Love and Respect for my girls. I want them to naturally follow the positive path and see all its beauty. The only way I can provide them the best chance at this dream, is to start living it for myself.

Keeping in mind a much read passage from Hope for Today:

“Practicing the Al-Anon program is akin to putting on an oxygen mask. I’m encouraged to do the things needed for my health, stability, and growth. These include eating well, getting enough rest, examining my behavior and correcting it when necessary, sharing my thoughts and feelings with others, asking for help, praying and meditating, and getting involved with my Al-Anon community. Only then, when I have care of these responsibilities to myself, am I strong enough to help others.”

I think I will print this image out and put it on the fridge, as a visual reminder to Talk Nice for myself, my relationships, and most importantly, my children:

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

V is for Valid

V is for VALID

V is for VALID

Valid is defined as: “1. sound; just; well-founded: a valid reason. 2. producing the desired result; effective: a valid antidote for gloom…” – Dictionary.com

Nowadays in our society, there seems to be this need for everyone to be right, and better than the next person. If you are single, it is about having the more prominent job and valuable stuff. If you are married, it is about having the more exceptional relationship and bigger house. If you have children, it is about being more effective parents and having children who surpass the rest in every way. There appears to be this constant need for validation, that most feel can only be achieved by proving that they are far superior to others.  This mindset, and its subsequent behaviors, is something that honestly baffles me. Our approach to life, and all its scenic journeys, is valid for Us, if it works for Our family. The validity of our choices is not dependent on the beliefs or actions of others. This bible verse states it perfectly: “Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others. Assume your own responsibility.” – Galatians 6:4-5 (God’s Word ® Translation)

Each of us is unique, as is our journey in life. Some of us may walk similar paths, but just as no two people are exactly alike, no two journeys will ever be perfect mirrors either. We are diverse in our beliefs, feelings, and experiences; which causes us to have varying approaches to almost everything in life. When we compare ourselves to others, we do ourselves, and the person we are praising or criticizing, a great disservice. We can never truly know what motivates people to take the different paths they choose. Judging them and their choices as wrong, simply because it is different than ours, only fuels the spread of negativity, misinformation and prejudice. This is one of the reasons, I dislike the terms right and wrong, because those concepts are extremely subjective. Different choices are not right or wrong, they are simply different; however they are valid for the person making the choice at that time. We can choose countless approaches to life, traveling a labyrinth of diverse paths, and still end up in the same spot as many other people. Our paths are not better or worse than others, they are simply unique to us and the decisions which were best for Our family at that time. What is true to our beliefs and how we wish to see our children progress in this world, will not always match what our family, friends or society desire; however, that is the beauty of our world, we don’t have to agree with others, we simply have to know that our choices are true to the values and dreams Our family strives for. In the words of Arthur Schopenhauer: “The difficulty is to try and teach the multitude that something can be true and untrue at the same time.”

Valid “Our Way” is defined as: “Making decisions based on Our beliefs and vision for Our family, whether it be trivial or significant choices, as long as they work for Our family, they are the true path for us.”

 

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

A New Way of Loving Food

It is no secret that Henry and I are obese; we are both at least 100+lbs overweight. Fortunately we are tall and we seem to carry it better. Most people do not believe me when I tell them what I weigh. It is also no secret that we, more often than not, make poor food choices and have absolutely no portion control. Our excuses have always been we LOVE food, and want to enjoy it. We often joke about being fat and happy, because all the skinny “calorie-counters” we know are miserable. You can be as glib and silly as you want, until your love for the wrong foods interferes with your life, then its time for things to change.

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Henry was diagnosed with Type II diabetes last year. He is struggling in several areas, and his diagnosis explains a lot. Until recently he was taking the medicine, but had not given any thought to changing his diet. I refuse to be his food warden! If my life experience and Al-Anon have taught me anything, it is that you cannot help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. People must choose for themselves how they want to live and what quality of life they want. I do not want people making life choices for me, and I refuse to make them for him; I simply love and respect him too much to attempt to control him. Henry is tired of feeling like crap, and dealing with his other issues, and has decided it is time for a change. He is attempting to change his lifestyle, so he can be healthier and feel better. As his partner, not his boss, I will be by his side to support and assist him in anyway; however, the best way I can help is by making better choices myself.

I am currently 293lbs, the only time I have ever been heavier than this, is when I delivered both my children. The depressing part is that a year ago, I was making real progress and was almost to my pre-Beth weight of 242lbs. Honestly,  242lbs is still too much weight for me to be carrying; my goal is to get under 200lbs by this time next year. My biggest problem is that I am a stress eater. I always crave ALL the wrong foods when I am stressed or depressed. Even though I don’t eat a lot of food in one sitting, I tend to finish all the girls food, because I can’t stand to waste anything; and I use my nervous energy to snack a lot. As if that isn’t bad enough, I am always looking for the quick fix to boost my energy, because I am exhausted most of the time. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but I have become that mom who needs to live on ibuprofen and heating/ice packs to truly enjoy her children. I am in constant pain.  Whether it is my headaches, the arthritis in my knees, the pain in my back or the latest pulled muscle due to lack of strength and toning, it doesn’t really matter where it hurts anymore, it is the fact that something hurts EVERY day, and I am tired of it! I simply don’t want to be that mom who is too overweight and out-of-shape to play with her kids and enjoy their childhood with them. I also don’t want to be in chronic pain anymore. I want to do better, MUCH better. I want to break the vicious cycle of stress/food/depression; I have decided it is time for a change.

My Al-Anon family and program remind me to keep the focus on me, to take care of myself and to make myself a priority. In the past year, I have been doing well at working my program on the spiritual level; however, I am failing on the physical level. I found my Al-Anon family because I was tired of repeating the same destructive, depressing, and stressful patterns in my life. How I ever thought I could only concentrate on one area is beyond me. Apparently, I just needed time to realize that I need to work on the entire package that is ME. When I dream of the legacy I want to leave my girls it is one of love, acceptance, faith, joy and hope. In order to help them build a solid foundation on their path, I must show them how to live a healthy life, both physically and spiritually.

Henry and I are embarking on a new path. We have to learn a whole new way of loving food. This journey will definitely be one of “Progress Not Perfection.” I expect there will be quite the struggle between the old and the new ways of viewing everything we put into our bodies. We just have to remember that this is not a race, and we need to take our time, so that we make this life change a positive experience for our family. We must keep our eye on the prize, which is being healthy and living a quality life, not only for ourselves, but for our beautiful girls as well. So we begin our journey, Baby Stepping our way to loving food in a healthier manner, to be Healthy Parents to our Extraordinary Children.

 

 

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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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