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Sunday, November 24, 2013

My Top 10 Laughable / Challenging Moments with Autism

Here is my top 10 list that will make you laugh or cry or laugh so hard that it makes you cry :)

10) It took one month to pee toilet train our son and 6 months (yes SIX months) to poop toilet train my son).  The good news was he did not like pooping his pants.  The bad news was he would poop in random places.  See #9-#6

9) My 3 year old son that poop toilet trained for 6 months had his favorite places to dump his load.  One of them being his bedroom floor at nap time.  We would shut the door with the potty chair right in his favorite spot for 6 months and he would poop on the floor beside it and then take his nap.  We would then go in after he was asleep and clean it up.  On one lucky afternoon I failed to see that my son had also peed on the floor.  I slipped in fell in my kids piss and smeared his crap all over myself.  It was one of the moments that you either cry or laugh.  I choose to contain my laughter (any autism parent knows you don't mess with a sleeping autistic child).  I walked out of his bedroom and Brandon just looked at my confused and all I could do was laugh so hard that I was crying.  Yes, honey I am covered in our 3 year old son's crap and pee.

8) It was no big deal to see our son squat and take a poop on the tile in front of our fireplace.  This was another of his favorite dumping spots.  I remember a play date with friends and this happened.  The friends we had over thought the our weenie dog took the very enormous crap in front of the fireplace.  I went with it……darn dog!!!!!

7) Hayden took a crap in the middle of the road in front of our mailbox.  There were lots of neighbors outside that day.  I scooped him and baby Ruby up and ran inside.  What do you really say / do in a situation like this…….YOU HIDE :)

6) Hayden liked to pee in random objects while pee toilet training.  My favorite was my water glass that  I then proceeded to drink out of.  You should have seen Brandon's face when I told him about this one.

5) I has having a beautiful moment nursing my newborn daughter and I just so happen to look out the window see a naked 2 year old Hayden in the driveway.  NOT GOOD!!!

4) If you visited us when Hayden was 18 months - 4.5 years of age he was most likely naked, touching his penis, and /or humping his designated humping pillow.  Yes, you read right.  He had a designated pillow to hump as we didn't want our personal pillows humped by our naked son.  My favorite memory of this was when a very conservative person was visiting us and Hayden proceeded to hump her leg naked.  Insert uncomfortable giggle here. I don't know if she was being nice or clueless of what was going on.  She said, "Oh, he is tickling me."  I had to walk out of the room and burry my head in the pillows and laugh.

3) At 18 months of age Hayden mastered the art of finding a way to get what he wanted with out any help.  Well there was cookies on top of the fridge.  The smart little guy used the step stool that his Aunt (yes, Sheila….I still have to blame you) bought him.  He placed the step stool on the counter, scooted a chair over to the counter, climbed up the chair, got on top of the step stool and pulled himself up on top the refrigerator.  I walked into the kitchen to find him still on top of the refrigerator eating cookies. Mind you he was 18 months of age.

2) I was at the zoo with my kiddos.  They had a huge blow up lion to celebrate the new lion exhibit.  There was a bench behind it out of the way.  I though ohh…great spot to nurse Ruby and Hayden is kind of enclosed here and he liked the lion.  Yes, he loved the lion so much that he unplugged the air compressors that were keeping the lion blown up. The lion quickly started to deflate.  I heard children yelling that the lion was dyeing.  Clearly a tragedy.  I did want any responsible parent would do and plugged it back in as quick as possible while feeding my daughter and corralling my son.  Then I played the stupid card yet again.  Who would unplug such a thing ;)

1) Hayden had a real thing for my haneous, jiggly, stretched out, mud flap of a stomach.  Which by the way it is his fault my stomach is like this.  He had no problem exposing my stomach no matter where we were, squeezing it, jiggling, sticking his face in it, and my personal favorite motor boating it.  I would usually try to just stick my shirt over his head to cover the mud flap of a stomach I have which is quite awkward now that I think about it.  There are not many people that walk around with small children under their shirt are there????

I am totally cracking up thinking of these moments and also oh so grateful that we no longer have those issues :) What number is your favorite???

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Still here :)

WoW, it really has been awhile since I have sat down and blogged.  When my kids started school 6 weeks ago I was in pure freak out *what am I going to do with all this time* mode.  Well let me tell you that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that they go to school.  The time that they are school flies by.  They are at school for 3 hours and 15 minutes.  It is a 30 minute commute both ways.

I know you are all on pins and needles wanting to know what I do during this time.......drum roll please!!!!  I do housework and cooking the majority of the time.   I have also remolded the kids bathroom complete with dry wall repair, grout paining, caulking, and some of the painting (Brandon did the rest).  Woot....woot :)  It is amazing what you can accomplish when you don't have two little ones and a therapy program to manage what you can get done.  The first week I did hit the gym and last week I took a few naps while the kids were gone.  I know, I said it.........I TOOK A NAP :)  It was amazing but then I wanted to nap the rest of the day away.

So who would have ever thought 6 weeks ago that Ruby would be the challenging one to get to school??? Um, yeah NO ONE!!  Ruby was super excited about school, seemed very happy about school, only said positive things about school, and then the boys chased her.  The HORROR......and then she didn't want to go to school anymore.  I talked her through what to do if the boys chased her.  She seemed confident in telling them not to chase her (if you don't know Ruby she is very much a tell it like she sees it kid).  Then morning came and she through a huge screaming fit demanding that she was not going to school.  It was ugly!!  We made her get dressed, we made her get in the car, we threatened to take her things away.  Hayden even told her to calm it down and take a breath a few times.  It was crazy to see him watching her throw a fit. The majority of my life as a parent it was Hayden throwing the fit.  He would even go and get her beloved burpie for her.  The look on his face was was the *WTF is your problem look.*  Well this went on for three mornings.  I contacted her teacher just to touch base with her issue of the boys chasing her.  I observed her at school to make sure nothing else was going on (which I didn't think there was).  I then put a plan in place.  We would give her an option.  So the next morning I told her she could go to school with bubbie or she could stay in her room all morning until bubbie got home from school. Yeah, she choose to stay in her room.  My husband looked at me like I was crazy.  So bubbie and Daddy left for school and Ruby went to her room.  I told her she could have water, no snacks, and she was not to come out of her room until she was 1) ready to go to school or 2) Hayden was home for school.

I sat in my room and listened to her cry for 15 minutes.  I then her Ruby open her door and say I am ready to go to school now.  I was shocked that it only took 15 minutes.  I was preparing myself for the entire 4 hours that bubbie was gone.  It was seriously like a light switch went of.  Ruby got her emotions in check, got dressed, and off we went.  I walked her to her classroom and she went right to work.  We have not had an issue since.  I honestly think that she just wanted to hang out with Mommy like we have done for the past 4 years of her life.

The above story is the ONLY issue we have had with school.  Hayden is a rockstar and loves school.  I can't put into words what it is like for me to observe him.  It is such a surreal moment.  He really is just one of the other kids :)  One of the days I was observing him was a day that he can choose to go to PE. When the kids want to go to PE (once it is open) they take their name and put it on the PE slot and they can go.  Hayden went over put his name up and left the classroom.  I paused for a few seconds, Brandon looked at me, I looked at him and we waited.  I didn't ask him but we pretty much both had the look like is someone going to make sure that our kid makes it down to PE look.  Brandon said, "Maybe we should look out the observation room and make sure he makes it."  I said, "What if he sees us."  So we waited the 12 minutes that he was gone (yes, I looked at my clock and was timing him).  We then heard him in the hall way so to another little boy, "where is Ruby." Hayden then appeared in the classroom.   Ah, sigh of relief.

Hayden is changing daily.  It is so exciting to see him do all the things that were once such a challenge for him.  I am one proud Mommy.  Please keep my little guy in your prayers.  He is having dental surgery tomorrow.


Family Pictures 2013

I'm 6 years old :)

Hayden drew a monster after talking about Halloween in therapy

The bathroom I freshened up

Ready for picture day at school

My *catch* of a life time :)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

How the heck am I going to do this?????

So here I am a complete mess.  I feel guilty for feeling the way I do.  I know so many amazing people out there that would LOVE to be in the place I am in. For the past two years I have worked my butt off. I have went all day with out sitting, eating, or showering so I could help my son recovery from autism and give my daughter my focused attention as well.  I have been my son's doctor, nutritionist, therapist, play mate, mother, and personal chef.  I can't think of a day in the past 3.5 years since Hayden's diagnosis that I just let go and didn't eat, breath, sleep autism. I don't know my husband, myself, and my friends anymore (well the few friends that have stuck around).  The only thing I know is my kids and autism. My family, my self, and living life in general has been put on the back burner.  My soul purpose has been to heal my son.  I am the one that gave him autism.  I am the one that brought him back from autism (with the love and support of many amazing people).

We took Hayden out of school 2 years ago to run a full time Son-Rise program for him.  He has averaged 40 hours a week of therapy in our home the past two years.  I have managed that program for the past two years.  This June we cut back on hours and are down to 12 hours a week.  We have really enjoyed having a flexible summer doing what *normal* people do.  I have really enjoyed our summer but in the back of my mind I go to my freak out place and know that with each passing day my kids are going to school.

So here I am a complete mess preparing to send my kids to school in 12 days.  This is HUGE deal for me and Hayden.  I am beyond excited for Ruby.  She is so ready for school and asks every day if it is time to go.  Hayden tells me he does not want to go to school.  He is ready, he is ready, he IS ready.  I know he is ready.  I know that he is going to the best possible place for him and that his sister will be right there with him. Hayden is going to school like any other kid :)  We did it!!!  So what is my problem??

I feel like I should be jumping up and down celebrating!!  The kid that had no language, no eye contact, didn't want me to touch him, screamed 90% of the day, and that always wanted to be by himself is going to school with out any kind of exceptions or special treatment.  He is just a normal kid. Hayden is happy, healthy, and thriving........what more can I ask for.

Part of me wants to smack myself for feeling this way.  I know that if I was reading this blog two years ago when Hayden was in a challenging place I would have thought what the HELL is this ladies problem.  That is why I have not shared with the autism community how I am really feeling about school.

The truth is (after many, many dialogues) my soul purpose is no longer there.  I no longer need to eat, breath, sleep, autism.  I no longer have to be in complete control of every aspect of my son's day.  I am sending him to school for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week.  I am having a hard time wrapping my head around what I will do during those 3 hours, 5 days a week that will fulfill me.  I don't want to just take care of myself.  I want to give back, I want to help others.  I just don't know how yet.

I want to inspire other autism families that there is hope.  I want to work with kids with disabilities.  I want to educate people on our toxic world and how to live a healthier life.  I want to heal people.  So how the heck do I do that????

Do you think it would be bad if I am drunk when I drop the kids off at school.......just kidding!!  I can do this :)  Send me so extra positive energy on the 21st!!

Friday, June 28, 2013

I got my Mojo back and I am totally in it until the end.........

What an amazing week Team Hayden and I had :)  We had the fabulously amazing Julie Sando from Autistically Inclined ( in our home for 3 days to work with all of us.

I was a little nervous about her coming this week as Monday was a super full moon, Sunday night I gave Hayden his GcMAF, and Hayden had not had much therapy the past three weeks.  A wise friend reminded me that what ever I am meant to get this week I will get no matter what is going on :)  Boy was she right!!!

Prior to Julie coming I had been having some issues come up in Hayden's therapy program that I was unsuccessful at solving.  Hayden had become more autistic in his therapy room than out of it.  There were several theories as to why Hayden had become more exclusive in the therapy room.  One was that we were not exciting enough (I tossed that one out pretty much right away.....if anyone has seen me in the playroom or our team you know that is NOT the answer).  The next was that he was using that time to take care of himself so he could be more *present* in the real world.  The final one was my own theory........Hayden knows that in his therapy room he does not have to work hardly at all for us to be with him and doing what he wants.  I was getting to the point of not wanting to do therapy anymore.  I was run down, exhausted, out of ideas, and plan old burnt out.

This is where Julie comes in :)  I had scheduled her to come and work with us back in March when I began to be challenged by what Hayden was doing in the therapy room vs. outside the therapy room.  I had spoke with a few other families that had used Julie and Natural Play therapy and how she did things differently from our current program.  I was not completely sold until after I talked with Julie and started trying out some of her techniques.  That's when it felt *right* and I booked our outreach :)

I have NEVER felt so at ease with someone that I hardly knew in my home.  Julie was like a friend that  you had not seen in a few years but you pick up right where you left off.  It was never weird or awkward and I didn't feel pressured to stay on a schedule and doing some thing every minute she was here.  It was natural, it was real, and it fit our family.

The first day Julie was here she came to story time at the library with us.  I wanted her input on how I could really maximize this time.  There are also time that I feel really awkward and not sure if I am assisting too much or too little.  What came of the library is that it really is time that I start giving Hayden more space and supporting him into finding his space.  It was a bit of a challenge for me to just sit at the back of the room and Hayden really did great with it.  Julie also brought it to my attention that Hayden was really like all the other kids with the exception of one time.  The one time was when the librarian was giving instructions all the other kids turned and looked her.  Hayden continued doing his work with out acknowledging her.  I also wanted Julie's opinion if Hayden seemed to be stressed in any way in this environment.  The answer was no :) She thought that it was a really good program for us to attend and that Hayden seemed as comfortable as the other children.  Story time is for 3-6 year olds.  Julie wanted to see what Hayden would do with an older group of kids.  We choose a school aged program to attend later in the week.  It was later in the day but over all Hayden was successful and happy to be there.  Hayden really studied and watched the other children at this program.

That is one thing that I have really seen an increase out of Hayden this week.  I don't know if it is because of Julie, if I am more aware, or that Hayden is changing but he really watched others more this week.  Particularly older children :)  Julie really reminded me and educated me that children learn from watching others.....what is modeled for them.  That is how all children learn!  This is where one big change has come into our program this week.

When Hayden is independently playing (Hayden no longer does repetitious behaviors with his toys, he really is just playing) with his toys we no longer try to do exactly what he is doing with a similar toy in easy eye contact range.  Instead we take this time to recharge and deepen.  Hayden can choose to do independent play when he wants.  We are now going to take this time to play a game or do an activity of our choice on our own.  We are going to use this time to model things we want to teach Hayden or share things we like with him.  How EXCITING!!!  This technique has been a big hit so far!!!!

Julie also aided me in developing new goals for Hayden. This was really an amazing, awesome, freeing experience.  I picked goals for Hayden that are important to me.  One of them being Hayden become more self sufficient....putting shoes away with out prompting, picking up his laundry, and watering the dog twice a day.  Then the big change came.....our team will each have their own individual goals for Hayden.  This concept is really exciting to me!  Hayden's team was equally excited about choosing their own goals.

We had a team meeting while Julie was here to present the new ideas, educate, and answer questions.  Julie helped each team member pick new goals, choose activities that they want to teach Hayden, and ideas on how to go about sharing them with him.  I really feel that each team member is super excited to share what they love with Hayden in such a bigger way.

The next big change in our program is that I will no longer be giving the team members feedback at the end of their session.  What I will be doing is checking in and talking about what they thought of the session and learning from them.  I no longer feel that I have to have such a strong role in talking about the session and look for points that should be changed or improved on.

There were so many incredible moments this week!!  I am sure that I have left out several :)

The final one that I want to share has really nothing to do with my family directly but my community.  I asked Julie a couple of months ago if she would give a free inservice to my community about what she does and give them techniques they can take home and use.  Julie said yes in such a big exciting way.  There was about 15 people at the in-service.  The majority of the people that came were early intervention people.  I also want to give a shout out to Hayden's future teacher and assistant teacher for coming (so excited you were there).  The in-service went way, way, way better than I ever imagined!!! Julie rocked it, the people rocked it.....pure love, genuine, excitement, and energy to help the autism community.  I have never experienced such uplifting vibes in one room (besides at Son-Rise) that took place in that room.  Really mind blowing!!!  I had a hard time going to sleep that night from all the exciting energy :)

For the first time in 7 months I am really excited and pumped about my son's therapy program.  What we are doing feels so pure, real, and it fits us.  If it ever does not fit us I can change it :)  I can't help to feel like the end is so, so close for us!!

Love you Julie Sando!!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Loving our Bubble...

I live in a bubble................There I said it!!!  I feel that admitting you have something you want to change is the first step to changing.  So here I am ready to break out of the bubble I have built for my family since Hayden was diagnosed with severe autism in February of 2010.

I am sure you are wondering what the heck I mean by a bubble.  Well, hold your horse's and I will tell you.  My bubble was built by me and has grown bigger and bigger over the years.  When I think of our bubble I think of it as a safe, loving, non-judgemental environment where we are free to be who we want.  It is where I don't have to deal with others giving us strange looks or judging me on my parenting or non-traditional treatments for my son.  I don't have to explain anything to anyone.  I don't have to listen to people whine about the weather or that they have to do laundry and run errands for the day.  I have created an environment where we pretty much go with the flow and make the best out of what we have.  It is also an environment that my children are celebrated and cherished (well most days.....somedays I want to lock them in the closet inside our happy bubble).

It amazes me how much I have withdrawn from society and checked out of life while aiding in Hayden's recovery.  I have choose to stay away from negative people.  I have choose to not watch the news as I allow it to depress me.  I have choose to not initiate play dates and activities in fear of being judged or have people look at my son strangely.  I stay in my bubble because I don't want people to see that I am really not as strong as I make myself out to be.  I only want people to see my good days.  I only want people to see Hayden's good days.  I also stay in my bubble because I feel like I have nothing in common with anyone. I have a hard time relating to people these days.  I can not stand talking to someone and they complain about doing laundry or that their kid has a cold.  I seriously want to tell them to shut the fuck up and walk away.  Instead I find myself withdrawing and not connecting with people.  I also do not want sympathy and people feeling sorry for me and my children.

What does all that I said above have in common?????  It is all my beliefs and judgements!!  The amazing thing about all of that about being in my bubble is that it is MY beliefs and judgements and I have the power to change those beliefs :)

The truth is everyone can have an opinion but it is up to me what I do with their opinion.  I know that I am doing my best.  I really, really, really know that I am doing my best every single day.  I know that the day may not go as planned but it still a day that I get to choose if I want to love and make the best of it.  It's my choice.  I have a choice in what I want every single day.  I have the choice to change my beliefs if I feel they are not serving me.

So how does being in my bubble aka staying home and not connecting with people I do not choose to invite into my bubble serve me?  Wow, I am impressed that I am asking myself that question!!  Well, I think I use it to protect myself but when I really think about it what am I protecting myself?  Am I protecting myself from judgements??  Honestly why do I care or is that person looking at me strangely even judging my??  I am living my life for myself, no one else but myself.

So I am ready to break free from my bubble and the judgements that come with it.  I honestly have been working on it.  We have been going to story time at the local library since January and I have been working hard at engaging in conversation with the other families.  I signed both kids up for swim lessons this next term and choose not to say that Hayden has / had autism.  I choose not to say anything because his autism doesn't really effect him anymore and I want to stop hiding behind the autism.  The kids are both going to school in the fall.  I have been trying to set up play dates although it seems all my old friends are gone and have moved on.  Which I am not calling anyone out with this.  It is what it is and I feel that I have been missing for the last several years so I don't blame you one bit.

If anyone wants to get together let me know!  I have popped my bubble and from this day forward I want to be an active part in society :)

An update on Hayden:  He is doing amazing :)  I am little nervous for the super full moon that is coming on June 23rd but I know we will be fine.  Hayden continues to make gains every day and surprises me every day.  This morning as I was getting ready to leave for work Hayden sat in my lap for a couple minutes.  I asked him what he did at Grammie's yesterday and he said, "I had snacks."  I asked, "What kind of snack did you have?"  Hayden answered, " I had a strawberry."  I then said, "Did you have anything else?"  Hayden said, "Ummm........(while taping his finger on lips) a blueberry."  It was seriously the cutest thing ever!!  Tapping his little finger on his lips while he was thinking :)  He then went on to tell me that he swam for a really long time.  LOVE him!!!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A lot has happened in two years.......

What a whirlwind of events the past seven days have been!!  I came to the conclusion that Hayden is ready for school and would like him to start in the fall.  WOW.....this is a GIGANTIC step for all of us!!

Last week I took Ruby for a interview at the local Montessori school and I also had to do an in class observation.  As I was observing the flow of the classroom I was thinking about how Hayden and Ruby would be in this environment.  I felt that Ruby would do exceptionally well and felt so super excited that she would be starting this journey.  My sweet and sassy princess is ready for school and what a beautiful enriching environment this will be for her I thought to myself.  I had very different feelings thinking of Hayden.

The classroom had a busy buzz to it.  There was lots of movement and lots of children (12) moving around and doing their work.  In no means did I feel this was a bad thing I just felt that this would be highly overwhelming for my son with autism.  What I failed to remember in that moment is that Hayden no longer has sensory issues.  Noises, movements, stuff, and smells no longer overstimulate him.

I talked with Brandon about it and decided to call a few other schools and see what they had available. In the past 3 years I have visited 15 different schools in a 50 mile radius.  Ultimately Oak Farm Montessori is where I wanted Hayden to go to school at.  If he was not ready to attend this school now my hope was that in the future he will be ready.  When I talked with Brandon further about it we decided that we really didn't know how Hayden will do until we try. I set up a classroom visit for Hayden.

I must admit I was having some anxiety about leaving Hayden in a new setting with new people.  I have not left Hayden in a new setting in almost 2 years now.  I really don't leave Hayden with anyone except his Daddy, Grammie, Grandma, and cousin Kelsie.  Those times I do leave him are few and far between.  Maybe once every 6 months or so.  For those of you that don't know me I am a CONTROL FREAK, especially when it comes to Hayden.  So leaving Hayden in a classroom environment was a HUGE challenge for me.

The first day Hayden went for his classroom visit.  I prepared him by telling him what was going to take place.  We were first going to the lobby to wait for instructions.  We then were going to walk to his classroom at 9am together.  I explained that I would be joining him in the classroom until 9:30am and then I would have to leave to do my work while he stayed and did his work.  I then explained that I would be back at 10:30 to pick him up.  Hayden was adamant that he did not want to go to school.

I decided that if Hayden was showing signs of stress at anytime that we would end the site visit.  Something magical happened as we pulled into the campus of school.  Hayden had a big smile on his face and started signing a song he use to sing in class when attended this school two years ago.  I must admit this was a HUGE sigh of relief on my part!!  I then started tearing up.  It was a bit of a challenge for me not to go into a full on tears of joy sob fest.

From that point on Hayden was cool as a cucumber.  He did not cry once, he did not tantrum, and he did not exhibit any signs of being stressed.  I walked him to his classroom.  He went in a quickly adjusted to the surroundings.  I sat quietly and observed him for 30 minutes.  I bet you all want to know what I observed.............

Well observed a happy, typical child adjusting well to a new environment.  He followed directions well from the teacher, he smiled at the other children, he observed the other children, he got work out, he put  work away, and he told the teacher what he wanted to do.  I was SHOCKED and in tears!!  It then was time for me to leave.  I simply told Hayden I was leaving and pointed to the clock and told him I would be back at 10:30 to pick him up.  I heard him say Mommy but that was it.  No scream, no chasing after me, no death grip hold on me.  Hayden was fine :)

When I went to pick him up the teacher said, "Hayden followed directions well, was happy, he was calm, interacted with other children well, and only asked for you a couple times."  WOW.....REALLY????

I told Hayden how proud I was of him for doing his best.  He had a look on his face like "Yep, I rock and totally did this on my own."

When I took Hayden back for the second day to a different classroom (the one he will be in next year) the plan was for me to just drop Hayden off at the door and leave.  WHAT???  Yeah, I did not see this going well.  Guess what.........Hayden walked right in and I left.  No crying, no death grip on me......he just walked in like he owned the place.  I stood at the door in shock for a few seconds, talked with his teacher a bit, and then walked away.

I was able to go and observe through the observation window.  Hayden asked for me a few times but over all did great.  His teacher took him by the hand a few times to show him around and Hayden was completely cool with that.  I then picked up Hayden and it was like he had been going to school all his life.

Hayden's previous teachers came to peek in on him.  When I spoke with them they had tears in their eyes and were so happy for us :)

Hard to believe that two years ago Hayden was not accepted at this school because it was not a good fit for him.  Hayden being turned away was one of the best things to ever happen to us.  It is what pushed me to look for something else.  That is when I found Son-Rise.

REALLY........REALLY is this happening??????  Did my severely autistic son just go to school in a typical Montessori classroom on his own with no issues????? know why NO........because I don't have a severely autistic son anymore.  I don't even have an autistic son anymore.  What I have is an amazing little boy that has recovered from autism!!  Do we still have challenges.....YES!  Is Hayden going to recover from those challenges......YES!

So here is to a new adventure for our family........Hayden and Ruby will both be starting school in the fall :)  I am going to do my best to NOT stalk them.


Sunday, May 5, 2013


Freedom.....Freedom........Freedom.......Freedom  Are you hearing that song from the annoying commercial playing singing the words freedom????  I know I sure do.  That is totally and completely what I am feeling FREEDOM......FREEDOM that I have not allowed myself to feel or have since Hayden was diagnosed with severe autism three years ago.

I feel free to walk my own path and define our lives.  It feels so liberating to empower myself to live life the way I want and make time for the activities I want to do with my family.

We have been running a totally, completely, life changing, amazing therapy program out of our home for our son Hayden for the past 22 months.   I seriously love this program and highly recommend it to anyone that has a special needs child.

The least amount of hours Hayden has spent in therapy a week is 20 and the peak amount of hours has been 65 hours a week.  I have done anywhere from 10-25 hours a week of the one-to-one therapy with Hayden myself.  I also apply all the principles of the therapy to our lives when Hayden is not in his therapy room as well.  I also am the team leader of his program.  What does being the team leader look like.......I coordinate the therapy schedule, for each person that works with Hayden I observe at least 15 minutes of the session, provide 15-20 minutes of feedback after each session, I provide support to our team members, coordinate and run the 2 hour monthly team meeting, complete monthly evaluations based on my observations and session evaluation forms that team members fill out, organize the session evaluation forms, define monthly goals, make activities to do in the playroom, clean the playroom, and rotate games in and out of the playroom shelf.  It's a full time job that I seriously love.  I love being the leader of Hayden's team.  I love working with Hayden.  I truly, deeply, LOVE....LOVE.....LOVE being in the playroom with him.  It is the one point in my day that nothing else matters.  It's just me and my little man having a blast.  If you want to see me playing with my little man check out this YouTube video:Brandi and Hayden playing in Son-Rise

The thing is I am tired and overwhelmed the majority of days.  I also work 12.5 hour shifts on Saturday and Sunday, prepare all of our food from scratch (no processed foods at all).  I coordinate Hayden's supplement schedule and administer his supplements which is often something every 1/2 hour to an hour of dosing.  I care for our home, spend time with my princess, research autism, and provide support to other autism families.

It is often 6pm and I am feeling light headed and have to really think about if I ate or not that day.  Often times the answer is no.  All I have had for the day nutrient wise is a glass of fresh juice in the morning and a cup of coffee.  Seriously....I am too busy to eat.  I am too busy to sit down and just breath.  WHAT THE HELL!!!!!

I often find myself getting frustrated at my husband because he is not helping me enough.  Brandon helps, he does his best, and as he often says "I do more than most".  He does, he truly's just not enough.  Wow, I am in tears as I type and think about this.  In all honesty I don't think if we hired someone 40 hours a week to be my personal assistant would be enough help.  Brandon could not possibly help me enough...........I have set ourselves up to fail.

Our schedule, to do list is running our lives!!!  I am changing that......I am changing that......I am changing that!!!!!!  I AM REGAINING OUR FREEDOM :)

What does this new found FREEDOM look like????  Well, it still in the works and won't officially begin for 4 more weeks (that is when our last student finishes her externship in Hayden's program).

1) We are taking Hayden's therapy program down to 20 hours a week this summer.   I can't even tell you how freaking good this feels to say.  That's right we are going to rock the therapy room 20 hours a week this summer.  I am going to use this freedom for days at the pool, playing in Grammie's garden, weekly trips to the zoo, trips to the splash pads, walks, bicycle rides, trips to the playgrounds.  I am going to spend time with my friends, my nieces and nephews, and hopefully make new friends.  I have lost several over the past couple years.  The kids are going to have playmates.  We are going to run around and be FREE and celebrate FEEDOM.

2) I am going to leave the house once a week with out the kids for purposes other than going to work or  doctor appointments.

3) I am not going to worry about finding a school for Hayden or what we are going to do about school. When Hayden is ready I will know.  When I know I will find an amazing place for him to continue to learn and develop.

4) I am totally tweaking our therapy program with the help and guidance of the fabulous Julie Sando.  Hayden's therapy program will now fit our family vs. us fitting the therapy program.

5) I am going to live and have the FREEDOM to adjust, tweak, and change whatever I want to change.

So here is to life, here is to living life, here is to loving life, and here is to the FREEDOM of living the life YOU want :)


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hayden is a recovering stud muffin :)

Well, I started the day with nothing on our agenda except operation disinfect the house and rest.  I have been sick the last couple days and the kids had runny noses.  I canceled therapy for the day because honestly I was tired and I knew Brandon was going to be gone all day.  I just didn't have it in me to be a team leader, chief, Mom, housewife, and doctor, for the day.

I must say it was super strange for me to have nothing to do but disinfect the house, prepare meals for the kids, care for the kids, give Hayden his supplements, and just chill.   STRANGE FEELING!!!  I was not feeling up to parr form my illness but decided to take advantage of the day.

The kids played well with each other for about 2 hours and I really got a lot done.  I was shocked!!  Did you read kids played TOGETHER for 2 hours straight.  Holy Crap!!!  I still can't believe how much I got accomplished.  I started thinking sure looks nice outside I think it would be a perfect day for a trip to the zoo.

So after lunch we packed up the car and away the kids and I went for our first zoo trip of the season.  Hayden told me he wanted to see the sharks, jelly fish, fish, and lions.  He also told me he wanted to ride the boats and carousel.  Hayden walked the entire zoo, followed directions, talked about what he was seeing, and played with other children.  He was very focused on seeing what he wanted to see which was fine.  Hayden was totally open to seeing everything else once his to do list was done.

I must say it was a magical trip to the zoo.  The real magic happened after the zoo when we went to Red Robin for dinner.  When the waitress asked Hayden what he wanted for dinner he looked her in the eyes and said, "chicken on a stick and lorax trees (broccoli)."  Hell YES Hayden!!!  He patiently waited for his food and played with Ruby and I at the table.  When we left Hayden waved at people and said, "bye" as we walked by them.  We went to get balloons as we left.  The hostess asked Hayden what color of balloon he wanted and he looked right at here and said, "blue please."  He even gave her this flirty grin he has.   She got the balloon and went to tie it on Hayden's wrist.  I thought.......oh, this is not going to be good but wanted to see what Hayden did.  Hayden stuck out his arm for her to tie it on to him.  He than said, "thanks."  I seriously started to sob.   I couldn't believe my kid that was completely non-verbal, severe sensory issues, no eye contact, tantrumed 90% of the day and night just stuck out his arm and said thanks like he had been doing it all his life.

Yep, I think we are closing the door on autism soon :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I'm coming Mom...............ahhhh our journey to joyous teeth brushing :)

This morning was one of those moments that took my breath away as I reflected on our journey with teeth brushing.  From the age of 18 months until about 6 months ago Hayden did not handle getting his teeth brushed at all.  He would scream, kick, bite, throw his tooth brush away to avoid teeth brushing.  Some might say that he was just being defiant.  The truth is teeth brushing was a painful experience for Hayden.  A child with sensory issues can not cope with "tickling / poking" the tooth brush give input with.  The way Hayden acted you would think we were brushing his teeth with razor blades and a chisel.

In the early days (prior to Son-Rise) we would just hold Hayden down and brush his teeth.  I would sing the alphabet song while brushing his teeth so he would know when I was finishing the horrific process for him.  We tried different toothbrushes and tooth paste.  Nothing seemed to help.  That is until I attended the Son-Rise Start Up.

I realized that if I was going to help Hayden gain a love for tooth brushing I was going to have to let go of my need to brush his teeth and stop forcing him.  Honestly, this was hard for me to let go of!!!  Hayden takes an inhaled steroid for his asthma that if you don't brush or rinse your teeth afterwards it can promote yeast growth.  Yeast is / was one thing that Hayden does not need anymore of.  The second fear that I examined was that he would have horrific nasty teeth which would cause even more illness.  BLAH!!!

Slowly but surely I came to peace with those beliefs and came up with a plan on how to teach Hayden how much fun and important oral health it.  I let go of NEEDING him to brushing his to WANTING him to brush his teeth.

I started the process by giving Hayden control of his tooth brush.  If he said, "NO" when I presented his tooth brush I happily put it on the counter.  I would then get my tooth brush and have the most amazing time brushing my teeth.  I modeled for him what a joy tooth brushing was.  I also explained afterwards how wonderful it felt to get the bugs off my teeth and that brushing helped keep me healthy. I even got Ruby involved with the process.  She also enjoys teeth brushing :)

I made activities in the playroom about teeth brushing.  Hayden's favorite was brushing his cars teeth.  I also gave Hayden opportunities to help brush my own teeth.  Last summer Hayden went to the bathroom and came out with his tooth brush and joyfully brushed Grammie's teeth.  Grammie was a good sport and cheered Hayden on.

Something else I did was celebrate Hayden every time he touched, looked, or talked about his tooth brush.  Once he got comfortable with the tooth brush I would put the tooth paste on it, hand it to him, and walk away.  Usually Hayden would come to where I was and I would cheer him on.  I started offering to brush his teeth after him to make sure all the yucky bugs were off.  Slowly but surely he has been okay with me increasing the time that I brush.  I honestly feel that most days Hayden gets a good teeth brushing.

So fast forward to this morning.  Hayden's first team member was here and he was in the kitchen talking with her.  I was in the bathroom fixing Ruby's hair.  I called out, "Hayden come do puffy fish (inhaler) and brush your teeth."  I heard him head down the hall way and then he said................."I'M COMING MOM."  FREAKING AMAZING!!!!!  He then happily brushed his teeth :)

I am one proud Mom......still can't believe he said, "I'm coming Mom."  WOW....WOW.....WOW  There are so many amazing elements to that sentence and action.  WAY TO GO HAYDEN..............YOU TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY ROCK :)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Screw Awareness and Lighting it Up Blue..........................

As I am sure you are all aware that April is Autism Awareness Month.  I have been asked by several hundred thousand people (okay, maybe not that many) if I had anything special planned for autism awareness month.  Well here is my answer..............................HELL to the freaking NO!!!  I am aware of autism 24/7, 365 days a year.  I don't want a month to celebrate or help others be aware of autism.  What I want is AUTISM ACTION and what I really mean is that I want AUTISM PREVENTION.  That's right I said it...........PREVENT AUTISM!!!

STOP trusting the government, STOP trusting pharmaceutical companies, stop trusting physicians, and start doing your own research.

Did you know that we are one of the very few countries that not only allows GMO foods but protects the main supplier of GMO foods from legal action?

Did you know that physicians learn minimal to nothing about vaccinations in medical school? who do they learn from you ask????  FREAKING pharmaceutical representatives that are taking them boxes of chocolates and lunches with their "in-service."  Hmm.....I don't know about you but when I make a purchase I don't just go to the supplier for information.  I do my own research.

I can not even wrap by head around the hepatitis b vaccination.  I mean, seriously!!!  How many babies do you know that are having sex and shooting up with needles???  That is how hepatitis b is transmitted....blood and intercourse.  Why the hell does a newborn who has NO immune system yet need to be vaccinated with hepatitis b at a few hours old???  What risk are they at???  GRRRR!!!!

Skip the antibiotics is another great prevention to autism.  You don't need an antibiotic for every freaking sniffle, ear infection, or bacterial infection.  So why the hell do doctors pass antibiotics out like candy???  1) to shut you up and get you out of the office 2) $$$$$$$$$   Did you know that not only does the antibiotic kill the bad bacteria (if there was even bad bacteria in the first place) but it also kills your good bacteria too?????  This actually weakens your immune system.  Your body is designed to fight off infections, let it do it's job!!!

Have you looked at food labels lately????  It blows my mind all the food that has FREAKING sugar or high fructose corn syrup in it.  Why the hell did the government just pass a law that allows aspartame to be added to milk with out labeling it????  I mean seriously........WHAT THE FUCK????  Yes, please add a shot of cancer causing shit to my milk said NO ONE EVER.

While I *celebrate* Autism Awareness every day of my current life I will NOT be lighting anything up blue.  Autism Speaks in my opinion is worthless.  Autism Speaks targets a lot of their funding to genetic research.  Um, HELLO if autism was genetic related wouldn't he have a shit ton more autistic adults???  Autism Speaks also has huge salaries for their management team.

Here is some of Autism Speaks Statistics from 2010:

Geraldine Dawson, Chief Science Officer - Salary: $669,751 
Mark Roithmayer, President - Salary: $400,413 
Peter Bell, Executive Vice President - Salary: $265,981 
Glenn Tringali, Executive Vice President - Salary: $255,256 
Alison Tepper Singer, Executive Vice President - Salary: $201,942 
Amount Spent on Travel: $2,873,667 
Credit Card and Banking Fees: $989,344 
Premiums: $1,452,807 
Management Fees: $2,038,024 
Advertising and Promotion: $2,108,778 
Temporary Help: $718,686 
Income: $65,826,829 
GRANTS PAID OUT: $27,593,390 

So don't buy Autism Speaks mercury filled blue light bulbs!!!!!!

I am walking, talking breathing Autism Action and will continue to for the rest of my life.  My little guy is getting closer and closer to a full recovery from autism.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

An ahhh....ha moment :)

When I attended Son-Rise Start Up 19 months ago I wrote down in class 5 things that I wanted for Hayden.  When I wrote this list I had no doubt in my mind that Hayden would achieve these goals.  I honestly forgot about this list until I attended Optimal Self Trust at the Option Institute and was looking through the notebook I have used for all my classes at Son-Rise / Option Institute.  As I sat and read the list it took my breath away.

AHH....HAAAAA!!!!!! :) :) :)  Hayden was achieving that list and so much more!!!!

Here is the list of 5 things I wanted for Hayden at Son-Rise Start-Up August 2011:

1) I wish for Hayden to speak 3-4 words consistently (at the time he was speaking 1-2 words to get needs met)

2) I would like for Hayden to sleep past 5:30 am.  Hayden now sleeps a solid 10-11 hours a night and sleeps until 7:00 am.

3) I would like Hayden to develop self soothing skills.  We have come so far with tantruming.  Hayden now understands that using language is so much more powerful.

4) I want Hayden to be able to play games with us.  Hayden's favorite game to play with us is tag.  He also greatly enjoys all the fabulous cars games we have made for him in the playroom.

5) I want Hayden to be healthy.  Wow, what a journey this has been to help my little man heal his body.  I look at him now and am amazed.  Hayden has full cheeks, sparkle in his eyes, good coloring, and awesome hair.  Hayden has not been sick in over a year :)

My sweet, loving, hard working, handsome, intelligent little man.  I am beyond proud of you Hayden!!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Why am I Married???

Today in The Optimal Self Trust program at the Option Institute Bears asked a question to all of us that made me really think.  Well, all of his questions really make me think but this one in particular I wrote down and decided that I wanted to write out an answer for.  The question was, "Why am I am Married?"

My initial response to myself in class was well because I am ;)  I actually laughed out loud a bit when I thought this.  I was thinking "Wow, now that is a vague non-answer to the question."  I made a conscious decision at that point that I wanted to explore this question and put some thought into it.

What a great question to ask!  Why am I married??????

I feel that what Brandon and I have is a deep commitment that we made to one another.  He is my best friend.  I have complete and total faith and trust in Brandon.  I can tell him anything and he does not judge me.  We cry together, we laugh together, and we even yell at one another from time to time (well....I am usually the yeller).  Brandon loves me when I choose to not love myself.  He encourages me and believes in me.  I love the way he smirks and gets this cheesy grin on his face.  I love his shoulders, blue eyes, and bubble butt.  I love the secureness I feel in his arms.

I think of all the incredible events we have done together.  We went to my senior prom together.  We celebrated my high school and college graduations together.  He was there when I took my board exams and started my first adult job.  We purchased our first home together.  We were each others first room mates.  We lost a child together.  We have two beautiful children together.  We have been through illnesses and injuries.  Brandon and I have been together.  It amazes me what we can and have accomplished together.

Bottom line I am married because I choose to be :)

Why are you married????

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Since we started on our Biomedical journey with Hayden 3 years ago his stool tests have always come back positive for parasites.  The type of parasite was always identified as protozoan.   Our DAN!  physician and pediatrician never put an emphasis on Hayden having parasites as a big deal.  We have done every natural remedy and treatment under the sun to treat the parasites.  I honestly didn't feel that the parasites were an issue.  I felt we did the treatments surely my son does not have worms anymore.  I thought Hayden just had / has serious yeast issues.  Then a little birdie told me to start watching the moon phases.

Honestly when the little birdie told me to watch the moon phases I thought she was a quack.  Ah, I am so eating those thoughts now!!  The first full moon I paid attention to Hayden's behavior and thought......hmm, this is a coincidence.  Hayden's behaviors were off the charts.  He was stimming more, he was agitated, he was humping, hyper, and not sleeping well.  Then came the new moon.  What??  Seriously?? Hayden was a hot mess for a few days.  The full came around and bang.......there was my proof.  Hayden appeared and acted to be possessed.  It was the worst behavior I had seen from him in 3 years.  I was a hot mess.  In total fear that Hayden was "lost" again and we might not get him back this time. I was like this for a few days.  It was scary.  I freaked out hardcore.  Then a switch flipped in my mind, I pulled on my big girl panties and went into instant, full on kill the parasites mode.

I did massive amounts of research.  I made phone calls and emails to various people doing the parasite treatment I was considering.  I even called a friend that is a chemist to make sure what I was going to give my son was safe.  I am beyond grateful that an amazing friend started this treatment around the same time I did.  She has been an amazing support person.  The protocol that we are doing is new and still in development phase.  It has been fabulous to compare notes, brainstorm, and bounce ideas back and forth.  She also helps keep me in check and a constant supporter :)  Beyond grateful that autism brought us together!

How is Hayden doing on the protocol???  Well, MIND BLOWING!!!  Hayden's spontaneous functional language has made a drastic increase.  He is sharing so many amazing things with us instead of speaking only to get needs met.  Hayden says things like "Come and get me Ruby" "I love you Mommy" "Winston is barking" "Look it's raining".  His eye contact has increased.  His attention span has increased.  He constantly wants to be with us and is rarely in a room by himself.  Hayden asks to go see friends all the time.  Hayden is asking "W" questions with ease.  Hayden went from sleeping a solid 9 hours a night to 11 hours a night.  He has also developed a strong love for eating vegetables.  Hayden is also way more open to trying new foods.  He is following directions with ease.  I even made him a responsibility chart to check off daily and he gets the concept and happily completes his chores.  Hayden learned to ride a scooter and pedal a bike.

So, YES MIND BLOWING PROGRESS!!!!  This is only in 1.5 months time too :)

Hayden's ATEC went from 52 when we started the protocol on 12/26 to 22 on 2/1.  That is a GINORMOUS drop and I was super stingy with the rating process.

We were the "lucky" ones that actually tested positive for parasites.  From what I understand is that most people don't test positive.  I know several people that have tested negative and the worms that are coming out the is CRAZY.  You are better off to look at symptoms.

Symptoms that you have parasites:

Bloated Abdomen
Poor weight gain / growth
Itchy rectum
Teeth Grinding
Increased irritability (or strange behaviors during the new and full moon....that is when parasites are most active)
Joint pain
Chronic Fatigue
Sleep Disturbances
Immune Dysfunction

If you don't believe me start tracking the moon cycles.  The new moon was just here on Sunday.  The next full moon is February 25, 2013.

How do I know we are on the right track of killing this life sucking parasites??  1) all of the amazing progress that Hayden has made 2) I see the parasites coming out in his stool every day.  The following pictures are only a minor portion of what Hayden is passing daily.  At first was grossed out, upset, and pissed off at myself for not putting more thought and treatment and emphasis on the parasites.  Now, I am just like that's right die mother f*uckers I am reclaiming my son's body for him.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Beginning to the End???

The last month has been a whirlwind of events for my sweet Hayden.  His language has exploded and he seems to be in our world a large majority of the day.  Hayden plays with Ruby pretty much all day long.  One of their favorite things to do together is Ruby rides her tricycle and Hayden chases her on his scooter.

Speaking of scooters and tricycles this is a new skill for the kids.  I am super excited about it.  Despite Hayden's off the charts gross motor skills riding a bike or kicking around on a scooter have been a challenge for him.  He could pedal but not steer.  Hayden now has the motor planning to coordinate both skills :)  He even rings the bell and wears his helmet while scootering around.

Hayden continues to have the most amazing "spark" in his eyes.  We use to see glimpses of that spark every once in awhile and now all we see is the spark.  He no longer has a flat effect.  Hayden is pretty much all smiles these days.  It is easier to get a good picture of Hayden then to get a good picture of Ruby.  Hayden has amazing energy in his eyes.  It's a spark that I have not seen in him since we "lost" him at 18 months of age.  There are several points in the day when I just stop and watch his eyes in amazement.

He still has occasional tantrums.  Hayden's tantrums have become typical.  He tantrums because he can not get what he wants or because he is over tiered.  Hayden no longer tantrums because he is overstimulated or is unable to communicate his wants with us.  Hayden does test us from time to time to see if tantruming will get him what he wants.  It is actually super cute and I really should try to get it on film.  He has this grin on his face and lets out a puny outburst and looks right at you to see what the reaction will be.  It is hard for me not to laugh at his "fake" tantrum.

Hayden has also exhibited a strong want to be around other people.  We have recently had 3 members or our team stop coming to work with Hayden for various reasons (which we love and miss all of you but are super happy that you are doing what makes you happy).  Hayden asks for them by name using the "w" questions (where, why, when) which is pretty big stuff.  Hayden rarely used "w" questions in the past.  He now asks appropriate "w" questions through out the day. WooT.....WooT!!!

Hayden and Ruby recently had their cousin Corra spend the night.  The kids were so excited to go to Corra's house, play with their other cousins, and bring Corra home with us.  On the drive over the cousins house Hayden told me that he was going to play in Gaige's room.  While we were there Hayden played with the kids non-stop.  He laughed with them, he talked to them, he looked at them in the eyes!, and he didn't have one outburst!!  Pretty freaking amazing :)  When we got home Hayden wanted to sleep with the girls instead of Mommy.  I cried like a freaking baby.  I have been dreaming and praying for Hayden to want to play and be with other people for the past three years now.  He slept with the girls until 1am when Ruby woke up screaming because there were monsters in her bedroom. 

So is this the beginning to the end of Hayden's autism????  I am not 100% positive but I sure freaking believe so.  Hayden has more and more typical behavior and less and less autistic behavior.  Recently he is demonstrating more typical behavior when he is not in his therapy room and more autistic behavior in his therapy room.  I am not sure what to make of this?

The thought of the "beginning to the end" has really got me thinking about what I am going to do when Hayden is 100% recovered.  I don't see myself shutting the door, walking away, and washing my hands of autism. I feel that I have learned far too much not to share it with the rest of the world.   I want to help people live healthier lives.  I want to help people recover their children from autism.  I want to work with autistic people.  So what am I going to do????  Well I am going back to school when the kids are both in school.  What am I going to go to school for???  Good question!  I am not 100% sure yet but I am leaning towards my phd in functional medicine.  I want to write a book.  I want to have my own practice where I can educate people on nutrition and healing their bodies.  I have always felt that I was not done having children.  I am starting to see this differently.

What if I don't physically have more children but I give autistic children their lives back?  I know whatever I do I am going to do it 100% with lots of love and passion :)

Not born with autism and won't have autism one day soon :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

For the Love of Vegetables :)

Someone pinch me....................I seriously think I am dreaming.  My little Hayden has become such a vegetable muncher!!!  I honestly never thought that he would get to the point of begging for vegetables.    The first words out of his mouth this morning was, "I want lorax brussel sprouts Mommy."  Music to my ears.  He then went to the kitchen and brought a red pepper to me.  I was getting ready for work so I whispered to Hayden to go ask his Dad.  Hayden took the red pepper and placed it in Daddy's hand.  He then said, "Cut up red pepper for me to eat."

It is hard to believe that less than a year ago the only vegetable Hayden would eat was green beans.  He only consumed green beans when I told him had to eat the green beans that was on his plate before he could have something else to eat.  Hayden's diet pretty much consisted of fruit and carbohydrates.  He would eat plate full upon plate full of fresh fruit.  I thought I was doing good getting nutrition in him because he was consuming fruit.  WOW.......I was so freaking wrong!!!  

One of Hayden's major medical challenges has been the yeast beast.  What does yeast feed off of???  You guessed it........SUGAR!  What is a lot of fruit high in........SUGAR!  What does carbohydrates break down into during digestion..........SUGAR!  AHHHHH!!!!

I made the decision that we were going to go on the GAPS diet.  I knew we needed to do something drastic and drastic it was.  My poor babies did not eat for 4 days.  Hayden (5 years old) got down to 28 pounds.  GAPS diet is grain free, refined sugar free, and lactose free.  We currently eat no casein, no grains, no refined sugar, no fruit, and no honey.  I found that Hayden could not handle fruit or honey.  We only eat nuts, chicken, beef, all vegetables, and coconut oil.  

I know that doesn't sound like we don't eat well.  I can guarantee you that we are the healthiest we have ever been.  Hayden has gained 12 pounds in 8 months!!!!  He has gained more weight in the last 8 months than he has in 3.5 years.  This is all from eating healthy foods :)

I have never made a huge deal about what I put on Hayden's plate.  I put the food on his plate and give it to him.  I let him have complete control of what he chooses to put in his mouth. (well maybe not complete control because I buy the groceries and prepare the meals).  We have modeled to him how much fun it is to eat vegetables.  I think Ruby has been super helpful in this process.  She is always munching on some kind of vegetable.  Whenever Hayden has choose to touch a vegetable I celebrate him, even if it is throwing it on the floor or putting it on my plate.  There have been times when Hayden has put the vegetable in his mouth, chewed it up, and spit it on the floor or on my plate.  I celebrate him for that.

Slowly but surely in the last 6 months Hayden has drastically increased his vegetable intake.  Pretty exciting stuff!!!  Here is the vegetables that Hayden currently eats.............

Brussel Sprouts
Butternut Squash
Green Beans 
Carrots, yellow, orange, and green

I also put the following in his juice which he watches me prepare.....

collard greens

It's such a delight to watch Hayden enjoy all of these fabulous vegetables :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hayden 4 years ago and Hayden now..........

It is hard to believe that it has been four years since we started seeking help for our little man at the tender age of 18 months.  At 18 months of I age I was the only person that thought something was off with Hayden (or at least the only person that would admit it).  I sought input from our physician at the time and she said to wait it out.  I decided to call First Steps and get the ball rolling on my own.  Here is what their assessment at 18 months of age says:

Does not respond to name
Does not have any eye contact
Does not follow directions
Does not have any language and does not babble
Does not respond when parents enter or exit a room
Screams when touched and quickly moves away
Prefers to play alone
Lines up cars in perfect straight rows
Can not handle any kind of schedule change
Flat facial expression
Mouths objects frequently

Hayden then began to take a big nose dive from 18 months to two years of age.  He stopped sleeping and started screaming more and more.  At one point I thought he was having seizures in the middle of the night.  He would wake up screaming a scream that you would think someone was beating the crap out of him.  It was horrific!!  His eyes did not move and the only way to settle him down somewhat was to put in Baby Einstein videos for him to watch.  I felt so useless to him at this time and scared.

All I wanted was for Hayden to want me to hold him and call me Mommy.  I use to hold him anyway.  He would scream and kick and try to get away from me but I wanted to be close to him and I thought forcing it on him was the way to go. This time in our lives truly taught me unconditional love.

A very typical look from Hayden, very flat

Always chewing on something

HATED birthday parties

Would not touch messy things

lack of eye contact

In his own world

We had to stop singing to him on his third birthday because it upset him 

Always finding him doing crazy things

So where is Hayden now.............

Today a new student started on our team.  It is easier for me to do the initial training with the kids not home or in the playroom.  Brandon needed to go to one of his apartments to do some work and decided he would take the kids with him.  Hayden has NEVER and I mean NEVER willing went anywhere with Brandon while I am home.  This morning Hayden was super excited to go with Daddy.  He went and got his coat, hat, and shoes on and came to us and said, "Go to apartments."  He went right with Daddy super happy.  He even came home happy.

He has talked non stop today.  Sharing with us what he sees, what he wants, he even asked me a few questions today.  Ones that I have never heard him say...."What's for dinner," "Where's Carleen" (this one was super exciting because Carleen was scheduled to play with him today but was unable to come....he even asked this around the time she was suppose to be here).

Hayden played with his sister for 45 minutes straight this evening building train tracks together and playing with trains.  They took turns on the swing and Hayden had no issues with waiting his turn.

Hayden shared his book with Grammie.  He told her about the different pictures in the book and answered her questions.  He sat so close that he was touching her.  Hayden told Grammie several different things to play and do tonight.  When Grammie left I went to the garage to open the garage door for her and about a minute later Hayden came running out waving and saying, "Goodbye Grammie."

Hayden is completely toilet trained day and night.  He toilets completely by himself.  He dresses himself the majority of the time.  He feeds himself.  He sleeps 10-11 hours a night.  He brushes his teeth with out issues.  He handles boundaries and change with out difficulty.  He often seeks us out and rarely wants to be by himself.

He east an amazing diet of vegetables, nuts, and meat only.  He enjoys and asks for broccoli and rice (which is cauliflower with peas and carrots in it).  He eats every vegetable that I put in front of him these days.  Super exciting seeing him joyfully eat such great foods :)

Hayden asks frequently to cuddle fish (his way of asking for cuddles).  He hugs us and kisses us.  He tells hi and goodbye.  He tantrums are less than a typical 5 year old.  He smiles and laughs.

WOW!!!  Pure amazingness  :)