Happy Father’s Day! I posted this to my Instagram account and figured I would post it here as well (hope the videos play). This year we treated Hubby to a much needed massage and some treats. He’s an awesome dad to our children and we love and appreciate him so very much❤️.
I also can’t forget about the man that raised me! I can’t begin to explain how great of a father he was/is! I’m so thankful to God that he was chosen to be My Daddy 😍.
My daughter’s birthday is coming up. This year she wanted to do something different so I mentioned Disney and of course she was totally excited about it! I immediately went online to try and find what weekend would have less crowds. My daughter’s birthday is Presidents Day weekend and I knew that would be a nightmare for MJ ( heck, for all of us)! After researching I found that February 8th-11th is a non peak weekend and therefore would work well for us. When we do visit Orlando, we only focus on one theme park. There is no park hopping over here. MJ would never be able to tolerate that. My daughter decided on Animal Kingdom this time. I was pleased because MJ loves animals and I knew he’d enjoy it too. We always pack the essentials: gold fish, Caprisun, apples, headphones, portable DVD player and his tablet. Im so relieved that he does well on road trips. He is relaxed and mostly looks out of the window while occasionally asking, “are we there yet?” When we first get to the hotel we settle in and then walk around and check out the resort. Then it’s time to eat! They always have his favorite (nuggets and fries). Next up is always the arcade. It’s so nice to see the kids playing together and not getting on each other’s nerves (yes Jesus)! The next day is our theme park day. I prepared MJ by showing him videos of Animal Kingdom with the attractions and rides. We also reviewed a map of the park and the hotel we’d be staying in. When we first got there we immediately went to guest services for their “disability access service” which allows MJ to go on attractions a little faster, in order to avoid meltdowns. After that it was time to explore the park! MJ was a bit hesitant when we got there. He walked slowly, with his head down, and looked aggravated. Hubby had to hang back with him for a few minutes while I went ahead with Morgan. She was thrilled with all there was to see and I could tell that it bothered her that MJ was less enthused (insert prayer here). It took about 30 minutes for him to ” warm up.” We had fun on Kilimanjaro’s Safari, and on rides in the Dinosaur area. The Festival of the Lion King show was great! Unfortunately MJ slept through the entire show which was really a bummer because I knew he’d enjoy that (One of his favorite TV shows right now is The Lion Guard). Six hours flew by and I could tell by the look on his face that it was time to go. We are always sure not to over do it with him. After Animal Kingdom we had dinner then the kids enjoyed the resort pool for the rest of the evening and the next day. We had a wonderful time and though this trip was really all about Morgan, we can never really go anywhere without planning for MJ.
The only picture of All of us together that we took:
Some weeks back I wrote about visiting a new facility that MJ can go to for various activities. In order for him to be able to participate, we had to do a parent tour, 2 intake sessions, one with MJ and one without, and fill out lots of paperwork. Last week, I was finally able to have him participate in a Social Games class. I was a little nervous when I was taking him because I didn’t fully know what to expect and I wanted him to be in a good mood for the first session. I prepared him for it by explaining that he would be meeting new people, playing games, and having fun. He had no idea that therapy would be going on while he plays. Being the overprotective mom that I am (sorry, not sorry), I asked if I could observe just for a few minutes to make sure that he was okay (in my mind I still see him as the 5-year old that used to run into oncoming traffic). They nicely told me that I could do that towards the end of the session. While waiting, a fellow autism mom showed me the parent observation room! I ran for the chance to see what he was doing. All I saw was pure JOY on MJ’s face. He was so happy playing the game. I was relieved that he wasn’t just fine, he was laughing and being silly. When the session was over he was so talkative! Telling me that he played games, had fun and “I want to come back next week!”
Just yesterday I took Morgan to a sibling support group. There were about 15 kids there. They talked, played games, made hot chocolate, had snacks, did arts and crafts, and were sent home with a bag full of goodies. I cannot begin to express how thrilled and thankful I am for this new program. They not only serve the child with special needs, they serve the entire family.
I had “the talk” with my daughter. No not that talk! I spoke to her about how to explain autism to her friends. I began by showing her a short video about autism-What’s Up With Nick. She has seen it before but I wanted her to hear/see how the girl in the video explained it. She is a visual learner so I knew it would help. We went over a few basic responses and she came up with her own statement which basically says that, “his brain works differently so he communicates differently, plays differently, and he is really smart!” I couldn’t argue with that 😊. I told her that if her friends have more questions that she can’t answer, then she could always ask for help. I’m sure this won’t be the last “talk” that we have about this. I’m so pleased to be having this discussion with her.
Thanksgiving weekend has been great so far. It’s always nice to have guests and sit down to a great meal. I love the family time that we have due to everyone being home for a few days. However there was one meltdown that occurred on Thanksgiving Day. MJ began crying nonstop after a toy throwing accident. He felt bad about it and apologized but he just couldn’t stop crying. As I was going to be “supermom” and try to help him through it, I stopped in my tracks. I witnessed my 8 year old daughter “taking over.”
She was asking, “MJ what’s wrong.”
She was telling him, “Everything is gonna be ok.”
She was wiping the tears away on his face.
She was hugging him and telling him, “l love you.”
She was actually saying, “MJ let’s take some deep breaths…Breathe in, breathe out.” He was doing everything that she said to do.
She completely handled the situation in the way that I would have. She has been paying attention! I quietly walked out of the room and waited for about 10 minutes before I checked in on them. I was so proud to see MJ calm, not crying, and watching a movie. I wanted to cry for joy at that moment but held it in as I had guests in the house. When everyone left and it was time for bed, I grabbed and hugged my daughter. I told her how proud I was of her. I told her that she really understands her brother. I told her that as a family we always have to take care of each other and love each other. I thanked her for her help that night. She smiled the widest smile and said, “Mommy I love MJ and I wanted him to feel better.”
I went to bed truly giving thanks for my sweet little girl…and finally had that cry of joy.
The other day we all decided to go to the park. My husband would play basketball with people that are 20 years younger than him (he still believes he can play better than them lol), while the kids and I took a walk. It started out well. MJ was further ahead of me than I like, but he now stops and waits for me at certain places in the park. During our second lap, my daughter noticed that no one was on the swings. It’s been a while since she swung on one, so I said “ok go and swing.” MJ used to LOVE the swing. It would calm him down. The OT he had years ago would always make him swing at the beginning of each session. Anyhow, They both began to swing when all of a sudden MJ purposely and continuously threw himself off of the swing. This wasn’t him being playful (at first I thought he was joking around). He was having a mini meltdown. I HATED that I had to make my daughter stop swinging but MJ would not stop. Eventually he got up and we started walking again. I could tell that he was still upset but he walked with us back to the basketball court. I am still not sure what triggered it but I think we will try it again this weekend.
Took this pic after the second time he fell off of the swing. I thought he was joking at the beginning 😏