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Autism or not-autism, that is the question.

27 October 2011
Today Hawk, Sparrow and I went to the Children's Center of Utah for the second time. We had an appointment earlier this month and went in for an hour, given some paperwork and told to come back today for a diagnosis.

Sparrow has always been a difficult child. Even in utero. As a baby, he was often very fussy. Swaddling him very tightly helped sometimes, but not every time. He was fascinated by ceiling fans - weirdly fascinated. He has always been a little behind developmentally, which I put down to his premature birth, but he's mostly caught up now. And yet, he still seems behind in many ways. Socially, especially. He does not pick up on social cues. He can't follow a conversation very well - he gives lots of non sequiturs and often just spits out scenes from movies (he memorizes things very quickly, but then never stops repeating it.) I couldn't ask him a question and get an answer until May of this year. He'd just repeat the question back to me. He's extremely sensitive to loud noises - vacuums, blenders, lawnmowers, public toilets... He has to line up his cars Just So and if you move one of them he gets upset. Interrupting his routine, or not doing something the way he expects it to be done, upsets him - sometimes to the point where he's inconsolable. He does funny movements with his hands and flaps his arms sometimes. He only makes eye contact about half the time.

So I wasn't surprised when the psychologist showed us that he met all the criteria for autism. I was surprised when she said he did not score for ADHD. She gave him a diagnosis of "pervasive developmental disorder," stating that she couldn't really diagnose him with autism because he's too young. Which I kind of think is total crap.

I know he has quirks. I agree that he's somewhere on the spectrum. But even if it is autism, it's pretty high functioning autism. And I know that they can diagnosis children with it, so why not give us a straight answer?

We weren't given much else to go on. The psychologist told us to try and enroll him in the preschool at the Children's Center, and gave us the number of an occupational therapist to help with his sensitivity to noises. That was about it. I find myself a little irritated - I would have liked more support, ideas, ways to not kill him, etc. And I honestly don't really trust this psychologist who has only met Sparrow twice, for a grand total of an hour and twenty minutes.

So we'll be getting a second opinion with my family doctor, who has seen Sparrow grow up and knows him pretty well. I have decided to quit our pediatrician because every time I call them I'm on hold for 15-20 minutes and can't get an appointment for 2-5 months from the date I call. That's ridiculous.

It's hard. I wish Sparrow was a normal child. Sometimes I don't know how I am possibly going to survive the next 15 minutes, let alone the next 15 years. I love him and he's adorable and brilliant, but he is a hard child to take care of. And sometimes he's a hard child to love. I don't know. I guess we'll just keep on keepin' on, for as long as we can.

Where's a good Doctor when you need one?

25 October 2011
Earlier I was driving around with Sparrow in the backseat. In his 3 years, 9 months and 27 days on this planet I have gotten pretty good at tuning him out. You know, when he's just yappin' to hear himself talk. He does that a lot. I'm starting to feel uncomfortably like someone could draw a comparison to this blog. Moving on.

This is an approximation of what most car trips look like.

And I thought to myself, "Self, remember that time in 8th grade when you totally stalked that cute kid? And how if you ever met him again you'd drop dead of embarrassment?" (True story: I was that scary nerdy stalker girl.) "And would it not be awesome if you could go back and change that whole era of your life? Or, instead of making hugely ginormous changes, just make little ones? Like, instead of getting cats, getting a plant instead? Because plants, you know, don't claw you or harass you in the middle of the night when they want fresh water and you have deigned to turn off their faucet in order to save on your water bill."

And then, because I am logical and I know these things, I decided that obviously, time machines are not going to work out. At least not before I turn 25 (a number that frightens me somewhat, and is looming. Looming, I tell you.) So then I decided that when I die, I'm going to ask very nicely if it would be okay if I could see what my life would have turned out like had I not made some dumb decisions. Let's pretend that maybe I didn't listen to the naysayers and I went to medical school - yeah, maybe I'd have failed or dropped out halfway through the first semester, but at least I'd have tried. At least I'd know, "yep, definitely DO NOT want to be a doctor. Maybe I'll try horticulture." Or let's pretend that I served a mission before I got married - where would I have gone? And how cool would I have been? Or, hey, what if I had practiced the piano when I was 8? Would I be a virtuoso by now instead of just barely squeaking through the hymnbook?

What would my life be like had I not wasted 6 years of my life obsessing over LOST? (Just kidding - I gave up obsessing after season 2.) Or what if I had discovered Star Wars earlier? (Small miracles - if that had happened, I'd be an Unspeakable Dork.) Or what if I ... ?

Moral of this story: I really, really, really, really want a time machine. TARDIS optional. Also, I need to quit wasting time on the Internet, especially the "creative" Internet. Because when I turn 50... if I turn 50...I don't want to add "what if I had turned off the computer/Netflix for a while and actually learned/did something?"

I wonder, if I turn 50, will I still be blogging at 3 in the morning? Or do you think I will be able to sleep by then? Maybe that's something I could add to my list of Things To Go Back And Change.

Edit:

I have just discovered a sort of time machine. It's called, The Internet. And Blogging. And basically I just re-discovered this video, which may have had me in hysterical laughter, and it is awesome. And the laughter may or may not be due to the fact that it's nearly 4 a.m. and I am still not asleep.

2 year old Sparrow with laryngitis recites "The Three Little Pigs."

A new family member

20 October 2011
Today we added a new member to our family.

Meet Winslow:

Photobucket

I'm pretty sure I'll be cursing his name in the weeks to come, but today we are on good terms. I met Winslow at Sears while my grandma was looking at recumbent bikes. Since Winslow was a floor model, he was on sale for $80. I also got the Sears Protection Plan for an additional $15, which means that Sears will fix anything that breaks in the next year and also send me some parts that were missing (like the back of the battery compartment, and the shoe strap things for the pedals) for free. I am pleased with this deal. It is my hope that Winslow will give me the kick in the pants I have been needing, especially since soon it will be easy to skip exercising outside with the snow.

I got a hair cut the other day. I was hoping that it would magically transform me into this:

but instead I look like this: Photobucket

Which is okay I guess.

Here is Sparrow in his new bear jacket.

Photobucket

It snowed on the 6th, but has been very nice weather ever since then. Thank you, Mother Nature!

I took 2 of my brothers to Lagoon on Saturday. We had an absolute blast. It has been so fun to get to know them - only recently have we started getting close, because when we first met 5 years ago they lived 3 hours away, then I moved to Arkansas, and they moved to Idaho, and finally they moved to a city about 30 miles from my house. The one in the tan hat is the one who recently received his mission call to Perth, Australia. Also, all 3 of us are totally blind and have to wear glasses. And aren't these boys handsome? And they are the politest young men you have ever met, too. I am consistently impressed by how awesome, well rounded and brilliant they are. And also a little weirded out by their geniusness. But mostly impressed.

Photobucket

And that's all I got for today.

Family Shrubbery

14 October 2011
Oh wise people of the Internets, I come to you with a question.

Let's pretend that you are making a family tree. A very small family tree that only goes back 3 generations. Something like this:

Or exactly like that.

Now let's pretend that your biological father was not married to your mother, and you didn't meet the man until you were 19 years old. Your mom raised you alone until you were 4, and then she married your dad, who formally adopted you (and was sealed to you in the LDS temple.)

But in the last 5 years, you have grown closer to your biological father than you ever were to your adoptive father. And consider that your biological grandparents (who, again, you have only known for 5 years) have been more supportive and amazing and...grandparent-like than your adoptive grandparents, who basically shunned you because you were technically illegitimate and also not of their race and who knows whatever other reasons they had.

So. You only have space for one male parent. You love and respect both of them, but your relationship is somewhat strained with both of them. Which one do you put on your tree? Or do you give up on the tree idea and go ahead and design a family shrubbery to display? Because I'm starting to lean towards that.

In other news, my brother was just called to the Perth, Australia LDS mission. He reports to the Missionary Training Center on February 29, 2012. I am so proud of him, and incredibly excited for him!

We're alive

07 October 2011
Well, Sparrow's appointment was today.  We are still without answers, and likely will be until our next appointment on the 27th.  Overall, I was not impressed.  We will give this place one more chance before I go all crazy frustrated Mommy on their butts.

I had my gallbladder removed on Monday.  I was not expecting to wake up in that much pain.  I woke up crying and feeling like I was going to vomit.  The day was very stressful as I have a high pain medication tolerance, and so none of the drugs they gave me worked.  I have been struggling with the pain over this week as well.  But hopefully today was the turning point and I will feel better now.  The hysterectomy was much easier than the gallbladder removal, but I am glad I got them both taken care of.


Meanwhile, here is what my tummy looks like.  Pretty awesome, huh?