Monday, August 13, 2007

It's Always Something

Just as every black cloud has a silver lining, every white, fluffy, puppy-shaped cloud has a black clap of thunder hidden behind it. I don't know if this is true with every family, but it really seems to be the case for Team Stimey.

First, the puppy-shaped cloud:

We went to lunch with my friend and her two kids and had a great time. My kids, who have been known to misbehave in restaurants from time to time, were pretty good. Except for Quinn, who tested his shrieking skills (really for no reason other than to make sure that we knew that he was there) and lightly shoved two children. He seems to have a keen sense of competition with children his age.

We were at a pizza place with an all-you-can-eat buffet of pizza, noodles, cheesy bread, brownies, and cinammon rolls. And for mom, an unlimited supply of Diet Coke. And since my back was to the majority of the room, I didn't notice that the place had filled up since we'd walked in to the empty restaurant when it opened. So I was not too concerned about the mild shrieking (if there is such a thing).

And since there was a little game room, and since young children are mesmerized by video games even if they have no money to play them, all of the kids were kept happy and contained while the my friend and I actually got to chat a little.

Puppy-shaped indeed.

Then we walked across the street to the Barnes & Noble so I could return a book and look for a book that would have all the answers for how to raise a happy and healthy Jack.

And then the thunder struck:

Whilst attempting to open the door and then trying to move out of the way for the guy patiently waiting behind us to get into the store, Sam didn't move quite fast enough and got his toe crunched when the guy opened the door a little too fast. Poor Sam. Had this happened to me, I probably would have been a sobbing puddle on the floor. Which, actually, is exactly what he turned into. I dismissed the horrified-looking man who'd accidentally done this to Sam, and set about trying to get Sam to stop crying. Because, injury or not, I wasn't about to turn around without returning this book now that we'd come this far.

Fortunately we had a stroller with us, so I evicted Quinn ("Mine stroller! Mine stroller!") and let Sam recuperate in there. Then we made our way to the parenting books to find what I was looking for.

I spent a long time standing in front of the special needs parenting display, totally overwhelmed by my choices. I didn't want to pick the wrong book. What if I chose an autism book that claimed that it was really all just mercury poisoning? What if I got a social skills book that gave me bad advice? What if Jack is not Out of Sync, but something else entirely? I ended up not buying anything. Any suggestions on good books from y'all would be welcome. But here's the silver lining for that black cloud: there was a games display right next to the bookshelf I was sort of semi-blankly staring at. And this display kept all three of my children happy and in one place for the entire time. Sam sat in the stroller and ordered the other children to bring him things.

We successfully returned the book. Quinn, still apparently angry about his unceremonious removal from the stroller, threw some cards on the floor, but at least I came away with a $38 store credit. That I will eventually spend on the perfect books recommended by you, the blogosphere.

Then when we got home I ambushed Sam's toe with Bactine, put on an episode of Zoboomafoo, and all was well. We're going to try to stay white and fluffy for the rest of the day.


  1. Ah, you bring back memories. My two boys are teens. The photo of the injured toe was highly dramatic. I could just see the wounded one in the stroller having the younger two bring him things. You are very funny and good-humored about it all. I wish I had a book to recommend. As a psychologist, I should. But each child is so unique, I have always found it helpful to see mothers and their special needs children along with the others altogether, to brainstorm with the mom what works for her child in the context of them all. Finding a psychologist specializing in child behavioral therapy. Maybe check out the website of the American Association of Behavior Therapy. I have gotten referrals from them in the past, when I was a member.

  2. Thank you so much! I'll check out the website. (And the funny thing about Sam asking for things is that the other two did it without question.)

  3. Of course they did. He was SERIOUSLY injured. There was blood.

  4. Oops! Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies and yes you want a "cognitive-behavioral" therapist, and if your insurance gives you trouble because the specialist you need is out of network, you can always get your son's neurologist to strong-arm them.

  5. Ow! Sam! Brownies and diet Coke for everyone! Okay, just brownies and milk for the boys. But YOU get an extra diet Coke tomorrow, as hazard pay!

    I don't have books to recommend, but I will join you in a slack-jawed moment of reminiscing for the days when we could spend hours browsing in a bookstore. Without guilt. Or mild shrieking.

  6. There's always a snafu, but really we have it pretty good. Brownies and Diet Coke, you can't beat it. I know you're right there with me, WhyMommy!

  7. Stimey, what sort of book is speaking to you? The kind with other parent's stories or the kind that talks diagnosis and therapies? I can recommend several of the former, not so many of the latter.

  8. Hi, I hope you don't mind my posting here....I just randomly came across your blog the other night and was drawn to it. I am a SAHM of 3 boys also so I could relate to so much of what you were saying. And you write about everything with such a sense of humor--I love it. We certainly couldn't survive parenting without it!!

  9. Kal, I'm looking for any kind of book. I saw your review of The Elephant in the Playroom at your blog. I'll check that one out. I'd love any other suggestions as well. Thanks!

    Kelly, I'd love to hear from you anytime. Us moms of three boys have to stick together!

  10. Oh, oh, oh, poor Sam's toe! (Hey -- that rhymed!)

    Funny that you've got a Sam and a Jack. We thought of Sam as an alternate name for Jack.

  11. Yeah, both Sam and Jack are great, solid boy names. And they're easy to yell over and over when you want to get their attention. We very purposely chose names that we would use as one syllable for just that reason.

  12. on the topic of books about social skills: When I worked as an aide with an Aspergers kid, I asked my aunt for advice. My aunt has been a special ed. teacher for over twenty years, and also has a 22 year old son with behavioral challenges. My aunt recommended Social Stories by Carol Gray. It turns out she's got a whole webiste on the topic:

    Anyhow, the concept is simple and the book was cheap. The idea is that most kids pick up our expectations of appropriate social behavior by watching many examples, but some kids will not. These kids can still learn these behavior, but by rote.

    For the kid I was working with, I wrote a very short (one paragraph) story of a kid interacting appropriately with peers. He had the story memorized after reading it once or twice. I had a couple of other stories, maybe a lunch room scenario, I can't remember. I didn't keep the job long enough to really tell you if it worked, but it seemed to have possibilities.

    How not to do it: after writing the social stories, I had the sp.ed. teacher vet them, and she had a few tiny corrections. I did not want to waste the paper to print them out again, so I just crossed out. This was not such a good idea. He completely focused on the crossed out words, to the exclusion of the rest of the story. His memorized version included a mention of both. sigh.

  13. Thanks, Ms. Sheherezade! Love that about the crossed out words. That's so you. And your suggestion sounds like something that Jack could totally use.

  14. I second the Carol Gray recommendation, social stories have literally saved my sons life numerous times! We have been blessed with a dual dx of Autism (mod/severe) and Hyperlexia, so social stories worked fantastically. Boardmaker (computer program) is fantastic for printing out pictures and symbols for social stories too. I have a huge library of Autism books so if you let me know what sort of books you are after I probably have them, LOL, and can give you an honest opinion!
    I am always amazed how when I go 'blog surfing' late at night (Australian time) I always end up at a fellow 'autiemom's' blog :)


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