I have researched bed-wetting off and on for years. The bottom line is that no one really knows why kids wet the bed. MJ is almost 11 and still wets the bed on some nights. I toss back and forth the notion of, “Is this autism or is this his family history”? I must say that for the last 6 months his bed-wetting has decreased. As a matter of fact MJ recently went 13 days in a row without wetting the bed!!! Just as I was about to break out the party balloons, he wet the bed on day 14. I believe that MJ is now aware of the fact that it is not normal. He notices that his sister does not wet the bed. He says things like “I tried not to wet the bed mommy”. We never make him feel guilty and I have to credit my husband for teaching MJ to get up when he needs to use the bathroom. MJ now gets up (on his own) sometimes in the early morning hours and uses the bathroom but he still wets the bed a few nights per week. I am optimistic that his bed-wetting will stop soon but I will continue researching to find out what else we can do.
Possible chart I may use…I’m still not sure about it yet.
I have always gone to church. In fact I was raised in the church. My family went to church every Sunday. Of course when MJ was born, I figured that I would be taking him to church as well. Before MJ’s diagnosis, I could only stay in the church service for about 30 minutes. He was a LOUD baby/toddler and after the worship music was played he would be extremely loud to the point that everyone would be looking at me. While in Georgia, I used the daycare at the church when I could. It was very difficult because he would cry at the top of his lungs when I would leave him. Many times I would be called from the daycare to come and get him (sigh). After MJ’s diagnosis we were a part of a different church. I remember talking with the lead director of the children’s church. I was so pleased to know that she too had a special needs son and understood “the struggle”. So the next Sunday I took MJ to the children’s church. After about 30 minutes I was called out to go back to the children’s church. When I got there the director (the same woman I spoke with) told me that MJ was turning the lights off and on and wouldn’t stop. I looked at her strangely and said “was he doing anything else”; Did you give him the toys in the bag to distract him?” I looked at my little boy, gave him a toy and walked out of that church. I NEVER WENT BACK. If a special needs mom couldn’t handle that simple scenario then I was not interested in returning. I decided that until MJ was ready to go, I would simply have to have church at home. Thank goodness for television programs and being able to go to church online. That is what I had to do from the time he was three until he turned nine years old. When I made that decision I had a few people who did not agree and actually made negative remarks about it. I had to think to myself, “they love me and wouldn’t purposely hurt me by saying these things”. Those people were obviously ignorant to the fact that MJ was unable to sit still in a church service. He would be a mixture of the Roadrunner and a music concert…Fast and Loud! I’m not talking about a few loud moments. I am talking about the fact that MJ would yell out consistently and be disruptive throughout the service. I was completely unable to concentrate and listen to anything that was going on. Instead of leaving happy and spiritually full, I would leave tired and upset. When we moved to Florida a few years ago we began going to a new church. I was so happy to hear that they had a children’s church. I prayed and prayed and prayed and tried to prepare MJ for that fact that he was going to church. I spoke to him about it, showed him pictures, and even read a bible story with him. It helped that my daughter was excited about it. When I took him, I explained that he has autism to a few people and let them know that I would be sitting in the back of the church in the event that they needed to come and get me. I dropped them off and they looked happy. As I sat down in church I found myself looking back every 10 minutes expecting someone to come and get me…30 minutes went by…Then 60 minutes went by…90 minutes went by and I looked up, smiled, and thanked God. When I returned to get them, MJ was excited to show me what he did in children’s church. I asked him if he enjoyed himself and he said, “yes mommy”. It was a great feeling to know that he was finally able to attend church again. I attend church with MJ as much as I can. I don’t go when I know service will be longer and I very rarely go when there is no children’s church. I really am against him sitting in service for two hours when he can’t understand the sermon and is literally in pain because of how loud everything is (even with ear plugs). I do my best to teach him what I can and infuse our beliefs into his everyday life. My hope is that more churches have special needs programs for kids on Sundays or at least have caring and knowledgeable individuals that can accommodate more special needs kids.
MJ’s picture done at church today. That is supposed to be him playing basketball:-)
Recently my son has begun to wander. Sadly enough, he thinks it’s funny and does not understand how dangerous it is. First it started small…He would walk down the aisle in the grocery store instead of staying near me. I would call to him to “stay with mommy” and would give him a stern, serious look. It seemed to work as he would walk back and remain close to me for the rest of the time in the grocery store. A few weeks later, while in another store, he walked one aisle over. Then he walked two aisles over. He ignored my calls this time and I ended up leaving the store because I could not focus on getting the things I needed if he continued to do that (I only have about a 20-30 min timeframe with him). In addition to watching him, I had to also watch my daughter and prevent her from following her brother. The scariest moment for me came when we took our first trip to Disney World (will post about that later). After getting off a particular ride, MJ thought it would be funny to follow another family off of the ride. We all got off of the ride and looked around and though it was only about 8 seconds, we did not see him! My heart sank to my feet and I yelled out his name several times. There he was following another family and laughing! Laughing!??? We sat down and spoke to him about what he did right then and there. While we hoped that he understood everything that we were saying, we were not sure that he did (he was still smiling). About three weeks ago his teacher sent a note home saying that he wandered away during recess. He was hiding behind a tree away from where his classmates were playing. She reprimanded him and he didn’t like it one bit but I am glad she addressed it with him. A few times a year I hear about special needs kids that wander off to never be found or end up being found dead. I thought I would never have to worry about this. MJ has always been a homebody and LOVES staying at home. He used to always stay near us when out and about. I am praying that the wandering behavior stops completely but right now we are on our guard and are trying to teach him how to stay safe!
This pic was taken on MJ’s first birthday! Look at that smile! It is difficult for me to believe that he will be turning 11 next month! Though I always have a bit of anxiety surrounding his birthday celebration, I am confident that he will have fun no matter what we plan.
My kids received their report cards today. Is it just me or do you need an engineering degree to read their report cards these days! What happened to the letter grades of A through F and the subjects of Reading, Math, Science, and Social Studies?? It took me about 5 minutes to go through my daughter’s report card and about 12 minutes to go through MJ’s! In addition to his regular report card I received a 10 page report of his goals and how he has performed thus far! There’s a lot of codes and numbers and it’s not easy to go through! I am grateful that they both are showing great progress (I think lol) and my prayer is that it continues! I am still awaiting MJ’s IEP meeting. It should be sometime next week. I intend to be fully prepared!
I just love these moments…
ME: Kissing MJ on the cheek after his therapy appointment today.
MJ: “Mommy, why are you kissing me?”
ME: “Because I am proud of you son and I love you.”
MJ: Stares at me for 2 seconds…”I love you too mommy”…Then gives me a kiss on my cheek.
Boy do I love this kid!
Did you hear about the Dateline special yesterday about what happens to children with autism when they turn 21? Well, I have to admit that I recorded it to watch at a later time. I can’t even think about the future sometimes without crying. I fear what will happen when my son gets older. What will his transition to “life” be like? Will he ever drive a car? Will he ever go to college? Will he ever truly have a best friend? Will he ever have a girlfriend? Will he ever get married? Will he be able to take care of himself? Will he have to live with us forever? Does his sister realize that she will eventually have to be her brother’s keeper? Will he have enough money to live on after we are gone? I am crying as I write this because these are things that I honestly try not to think about. It is just too overwhelming. I have to live my life One Day At A Time because I can’t bear thinking about the future. So many people take these milestones for granted…Some day soon, when I am ready, I will watch the program…alone. I know that at this time in his life, my husband is not interested in watching it…It is at these moments that I have to focus on God…That is the only reason why I am still sane…Time to pray.