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Monthly Archives: July 2009

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Apples, Oranges, Autism

My blog needs an update – design and structure-wise, I mean. To replace the links I no longer have time to visit (sorry Blogistan!) with links I visit constantly- places like Autism-watch.org, the Assosciation for Science in Autism, Photon in the Darkness Blog- and a slew of blogs written by/for/about Autistics and Autism. It’s a natural shift for me to make, but one that seems odd nonetheless. When I started blogging.. ohh…six years ago- wait, has it really been six years?

*checks archive*

Yep, it’s been six years. And four months. My blog is older than both of my children, as well as my marriage. Ha!

When I started blogging six years ago, I was a single, carefree, English-Accent teaching expat living in Pakistan with my parents, Owlie, and our little brother. I drove a mini-car named the Silver Bullet and went to the National Stadium Pool to swim laps, socialized all over town with my girlfriends and blogged about religion, life, and whatever sort of nonsense was Soup Du Jour. I wrote poetry and short fiction, played Playstation 2 until my eyeballs turned to glue, and baked compulsively.

Fast forward six years, and I’m a (very, very) happily married special needs momma with one Autistic boy and one neurotypical Babysaurus Rex.

(Iman is lately into biting. And slapping. And pulling hair. And screaming bloody murder when she’s put into time out)

We see three ABA therapists, one OT, and almost no one socially. Phone calls with friends (if ever) tend to be about kids, fianance, real-estate, family, and very often, Autism. I’ve written no short stories, and only a handful of short poems, and even these were before Khalid was born. I wear comfortable sneakers because frilly shoes do not make good kid-chasing gear. I wear stain-resistant, highly patterened clothes and have invested in not one, but three pairs of sunglasses just this year, as both Khalid and Iman are equally bent on, well, bending them.

I don’t think I am who I used to be.

I would like to belive that I am better, but I think the most honest thing that I can say is that I am different. Comparing Single Abez to Momma Abez is a bit like comparing apples to oranges, except that this apple slowly started changing color and rounding out and woke up one day and said Hey, am I really an orange?

I know I am more patient, but I also know that there are days and times when I desperately need time off, and I leave both kids at home with Cindy and HF or my parents (when and if they are in town) and escape to a coffee shop or mall.

I’m not a big fan of malls, it’s just that here in the UAE in the summer, the mall is the closest thing to a community space that doesn’t resemble a convection oven. I think it’s 108F today. Not bad. Two days ago it was 114. The hottest I can remember has been 116.

But yeah. I think I’m an orange now. Sometimes I miss being an apple- reading books all night and sleeping until noon the next day, having the time/brain power to write, the energy to bake, and the fitness of a person with the time to excercise and lift weights. But if being an apple again meant losing the entourage that has turned me into an orange- my HusbandFriend, Khalid, Iman- then I wouldn’t trade any of it.

There are times when I can’t take my children for another second, but I can’t imagine life without them. And being a very complex kind of orange, I then ruin my time-off with overwhelming maternal guilt that causes me to sit in the coffee shop and sulk, and call home and complain to HF that I don’t know what I do when I’m not being Momma.

*shrug*

If anyone needs me I’ll be in the produce aisle. Next to the lemons.

Sweetest little drumming game to play

I have to try this with Khalid. 🙂 Many thanks to Anonymous for sharing the Autismgames link!

Hats off to Dr. Balooshi

For being my more interesting Orthopedic Surgeon. And since I told him about my blog (because I was looking for the video of my previous knee arthroscopy and knew I had posted here a while back) I am now obliged to wave at him. *waves* Hi Doc!

Dr. Belooshi is cool. Not only because once, when I visited, he had a kilo of Belgian chocolates on his desk, but because he hooked me up with some painkillers after my tonsillectomy when my ENT let me down with a pat on the back and a ‘take two aspirin and call me in the morning’ approach to recovery.
(I’ve learned, btw, that the reason why I wasn’t prescribed post-tonsillectomy Codeine as per standard practice, is because in the UAE it’s a controlled substance)
But I digress. My knee is malfunctioning again- clicking and swelling and aching from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep, so we’re going for another MRI and then possibly another arthroscopy. This time, I’ll be awake for when they poke the hole and then the camera inside. I’m feeling slightly weirded out by this. I’m ok with the sight of gore as long as it’s someone else’s. And on TV. I’m not sure what the point of keeping me awake will be if I’m just going to lie there with my eyes closed, gnawing on a corner of the blanket, hehe.

Peeta-Butta and other such verbal masterpieces.

Khalid, time for a bath.

No!

Khalid, you want a bite?
NooOOoOoOoO!
Khalid, come here!
Noooooo!
Khalid, cookie?
NooooOOOoOO! No! No!
Khalid, shoes on!
No no no no no nooooo!
It’s a bit frustrating, but at the same time, still wonderful to finally hear what Khalid is thinking. He doesn’t want milk, he wants Joo. (juice)
He wants the computer On! but his shirt Off! and he emerged from therapy this afternoon without a one. The nice therapist packed it in his lunchbox for us.
We got him dressed this morning, and within minutes he came back to me and took my hand and said Off! Shoes! So we took them off. Then he whined and said no no nooo! And so I took the socks off too. And then he was happy.

He wanders around the house calling out Ruuuuuuth! because he’s not sure where she’s gone. Ruth is working with another family, and Cindy, who has been us for two weeks now, is patiently teaching Khalid to say her name instead. (‘Indy!)

Some of Khalid’s vocabulary can be a little difficult to translate though. Kim is milk, buhjo is puzzle, and tay-tow is lay down.
And then there are the words that are clear enough, but adorably confusing. Like SheeEEEep. According to Word World, SheeEEEeep? is what you call out when you are looking for someone. Like your mother. You knock on the bathroom door, and you call out ‘SheeEEep?’ and your momma says ‘Yes Khalid, I’m in here.’ It also works in the kitchen.
SheeEEep? (Yes, Khalid. I’m in the kitchen.)

The best way to get Khalid talking is to entice him with what, in ABA terms, we call a reinforcer. In the real word, we call this bribery. 🙂 Today, I got Khalid to jump through verbal hoops for some peeta-butta. Yep, the kid loves his peanut butter.
He knows the words blow and blue, but will sometimes confuse them. Last month his therapist asked him to repeat the name of the colored card he was holding. Khalid paused a second, leaned forward, and then blew on it very gently. Blow, blue- same difference, right? And he also blows on his drink because that’s what grownups do. But then he also tried to blow on the surface of the water in the toilet, and I’m pretty sure he’s never seen us do that.
Khalid’s requests are all still one-worded, unless they involve the word No, in which case they can be up to six words, all of them the same and all of them all mashed together- No no no no no no nooooo! But still, Alhamdulillah, these are amazing and exciting times. 🙂