Menopausal mom to 2 young adult sons (one with ASD, ADHD, tic/seizure disorders and the other with attitude).

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

We are COOKIN'......#OperationIFO

Did you think I had given up??? You would be close. Although the introduction to new food groups in Operation IFO has yet to happen we have been eating a few meals together again…well at least for the 3 minutes Riley is at the table.

Riley keeps me on my toes which means I have to change things up. Often. I usually offer Riley at least one preferred food choice per day. After all…I don’t want his system to go into shock.  :) 

About a week ago I decided it was time to reintroduce cooking lunch. R used to cook his lunch two times a week at school. It never transferred home. I know. My bad. I thought the easiest way would be to start Riley off with hotdogs. OK…really just the wieners. Having to eat the bun as well as cooking would have been too much to handle in one meal. For both of us. It actually went better than I thought. A few vocal outbursts; some intermittent hand-slapping; otherwise…pretty uneventful.

Today I decided it was time for another cooking session. Much to my surprise Riley opted for perogies. Sorta.

Me:       For dinner tonight I’ll make you oyako-donburi*.
R:         YES!  (happy as a clam)
Me:       So for lunch YOU can make hotdogs or YOU can make perogies.
R:         Thinking…  Perogies. I’M HUNGRY! (NOT)
Me:       You want to make perogies?  (very surprised but tried not to sound it)
R:         NO!!  You can do it!
Me:       I'M going to make YOU dinner. YOU can make lunch.
Me:       Sure. We can make it together.

Lucky for you I got some of it on video. In the beginning I was only going for audio then thought…WTH! Get it all on tape. I have nothing to hide. Except perhaps that I was still in my PJ’s.

As I was watching, some things really stuck out for me. Some are observations (mostly about me), some are reminders (mostly for me) and some are eye-openers (again FOR me). The up/downside of video-teaching. Let me explain.

First the observations:

·         My voice!  I am just getting over a cold. I usually sound worse.  :D
·         Riley is wearing the same t-shirt and shorts. Those are his home clothes. I do wash them regularly. 
·         My monotone voice. I never used to sound that way. I used to be very enthusiastic and animated. Ok so not nearly as much as my sister *wink* yet waaaay more energetic than now. Why?? Well in Riley World: The Early Years, we found that Riley was extremely sensitive to the inflections of a person’s voice. A calm and even sounding demeanour worked best. At times very difficult when I was tired and stressed out to the max.
·         I appear to be ignoring much some of Riley’s comments/questions. Ummm…yea. Busted. Haha! Actually I am trying to prevent an outburst and redirect his need to perseverate about his displeasure.
·         I say “Nice job!” and “Good job!”…a LOT!! Positive reinforcement is key in Riley World.  :)

Second some reminders:

·         I should have found out how he cooked perogies at school. How did they drain the perogies? Did they use a strainer, colander, or scoop them out of the boiling water? Easier to transfer learned skills than starting from scratch.
·         You will notice G stepping in to help Riley drain the pot. I do the same thing. I see something R may be struggling with/to do and immediately want to help him. We need to let out the apron strings as much as we can. 


·         There is this thing called echolalia and it is HUGE in Riley World. I am going to defer to my now IRL bloggy friend Bec’s post “Understanding Echolalia” for an explanation. I hope you pop over and read it. It explains a LOT!

When I say Riley repeats things…I mean he really, REALLY repeats things. Sometimes when a person (that would be moi) hears or sees the same thing over and over and over AND OVER again, said person begins to ummm...errrr...well...tune/blank out. For me it has been a survival thing. Listening/watching the same 7 second sequence of the same show for the 50 bajillionth time over 14+ years……I am only human. 

In the video, when Riley is sitting at the table and talking about Hansel & Gretel…that is an example of one of those times. Riley repeats/scripts when he is stressed. He repeats/scripts as a stim. He repeats/scripts as a conversation starter. Different situations, at different times yet all for different reasons. Yup. Echolalia in Riley World…a hard one to figure out and one that I am still learning about.

Oh…I just about forgot. Here is the video:

Are you working on anything challenging in your World?  How's it going???

Monday, 28 October 2013

10 Trappings of Modern Life...
#Monday Listicles

It has been a while since I have written a Monday Listicles post. Actually it has been a while since I have blogged much about anything except Operation IFO.

Stasha’s list had me nodding my head in agreement. Did you read the nun comment??? It gave me a good chuckle.   
10 Trappings of Modern Life…ahhh yes. A topic near and dear to my heart especially since I appear to be at the point in my life where saying “I remember when…” is happening waaaay too often these days. So let’s take a walk down my memory lane shall we.

1.      Cellphones. The terms “can not be reached” or “out of touch” or “unavailable” are almost obsolete. 
I remember when…once upon a time you left the house and had to hope for the best until you made it back home.

2.      Cellphones. Fewer and fewer people have landlines anymore. 
I remember when…phones were attached to walls and the handset was attached to the base with a curly cord. You could not walk more than about 10 feet from the base and if you were lucky you had a private line as opposed to a “party line”.

3.      Cellphones. Who needs a camera anymore? For non-professional photos, camera phones are pretty awesome these days. You have all seen the amazing photos that Stasha takes on her iPhone right? 
I remember when…you had to wait weeks or sometimes months to develop a roll of film only to find one useable photo in 36!  Gah!

4.      Cellphones. Texting…THE mode of communication for many parents/kids…me included. 
I remember when…the moms in the neighbourhood would yell from the back porch when it was time for dinner/bedtime. If you weren’t within earshot then you had better be home when the street lights went on or else!    

5.      Cellphones. I remember when…they were considered a luxury.

Enough about cellphones already. Let’s see what else I can rant about…

6.      Driving kids to school. Again…I get it. I did it too. 
I remember when…parents felt safe enough to let their kids walk to school on their own. Even at 6:30 in the morning…for basketball practice…in the dark…all by herself. I may be a little scarred. 

7.      Drive-thru’s. For food, banking, drugs, almost anything. While I do see the necessity for a Starbuck’s Drive-thru…after all you can not leave your #theyvefinallygonetosleep kidlets in the car by themselves. 
I remember when…there were only Drive-Ins. What are Drive-Ins??? Oh. Nevermind.

8.      Banking. Today a person rarely has to set foot in an actual bank. 
I remember when…you had to physically go to a bank, fill out a piece of paper, wait in line, and then see a real, live person before getting any money AND if you did not have cash you more than likely had to stay home.

9.      Fast food restaurants. They are everywhere! Meals on the go for families on the go. Convenience in a bag. Do I need to keep going?? 
I remember when…KFC was called Kentucky Fried Chicken and you could get a meal at McDonald’s with change back from a single dollar. Gas stations were more visible than fast food restaurants and eating out only happened on special occasions.

10.    I think I need to stop now. While some things have definitely made life easier, others...I am not so sure?!? 

What do you think???

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Ten Things of Thankful #3

My memory is failing. Badly. It started to spiral down when I turned the big fifty-OMG a few years ago. I now need to write everything down as. it. happens. or else……I forget. This is not conducive to writing a post of Things to be Thankful for over the past week and not to be a downer but I most certainly do not have 10 Things of Thankful happening in one day. Just sayin… 

1.     Bath & Body Works Soaps/Hand Sanitizers. Having a cold means lots of hand washing. Enough said.

2.      We have never mastered shoe lace tying in Riley World. It requires fine motor skills which are challenging to say the least. A fellow Special “O” mom mentioned seeing a video that looked easy to teach. I am not sure if this was the one she meant but was amazed by this "SO EASY" technique that I found on Pinterest. You’re welcome.  

Image from: MorgueFile

Oh. Just a heads up…the “basic tying your shoe knot” needs to be mastered first. *sigh*

3.      My Dragon Boat team. Although our paddling season is finished, we have started “dry-land training” at a boxing/fitness facility. I have always wanted to say that. It makes me feel/sound like I am actually physically active and in shape. I am not. AT. ALL. Going with my teammates makes it that much harder to bail especially on those days when I would rather be sitting in front of my computer trying to blog or on social media.

4.      My boxing targets. G bought them for me for my birthday. The ones at the gym are used by everyone. They are stinky. No. No. They are downright rank-smelling! And even though you wear wraps on your hands, sticking them into sweaty and damp targets is just plain gross!

5.      Bec who blogs at Snagglebox came all the way from Australia on a whirlwind North American vacation and came to the city where I live. I was thrilled to be able to meet her IN REAL LIFE! She is even more awesome in person!  <3

6.      Riley and I were out and about running errands. I could not help but look over at him and even though he was grumbling and not happy AT ALL…he made me smile. The smallest things (like skipping a shower, sleeping on the couch, or having 2 pops/sodas on the weekend) make him happy. We should all be a little more like Riley.

7.      Every so often J2 forces me to let loose and practice my bat shit crazy/psycho mom voice. What amazes me is after feeling guilty all afternoon about losing it; he will come home and be in the best. mood. EVER! I am thankful that he sees things MY way.  ;P

8.      Snack size Popcorn Twists. Yes there are 58 snack size treat bags. Yes I can eat a dozen few at a time. Thankfully they only come out at Halloween time.  

9.      Sports teams who fundraise for cancer awareness. Today the local rugby club held a cancer fundraiser. They (even the men’s teams) wore pink jerseys and pink striped socks. Have you ever seen a rugby game?? We are talking hardcore. SO awesome to see them in pink!

10.   Just to end on a positive note…I am thankful that I still buy green bananas.  :D

Have yourself a great week!!

Your Hosts:

Monday, 21 October 2013

Another #Operation IFO Movie...

My sister asked me the other day what would happen if I did not sit with Riley during Operation IFO. I had to agree after watching the video, me sitting there not conversing or making eye contact did look a little silly yet I knew what would happen if Riley was left to his own devices.

I decided, since being described as “stealth” by my friend Christine, to get yet another meal on tape. Keep in mind I am not a professional videographer. As a matter of fact I turned the camera off by accident which is not a bad thing since you probably have better things to do than watch 3 minutes of Riley trying to chock down a hotdog.

So instead a little rundown of what happened before I realized I had switched off the camera and an explanation of the conversation during the video:

·         Riley ate about 3 bites of his hotdog before beginning to dissect it. After all, the bun has a top and bottom and as such should be eaten as separates…not together. He quickly tried to assemble what was left (half of the bottom and half of the wiener) when I appeared. 
·         Riley tried to change the subject as soon as I asked if he “was eating his hotdog nicely” (off camera). Oh he is smooth alright. Very smooooth.

Earlier that morning Riley had hit his knee on the doorframe as he was running into the rec room. He hit it hard! I was coming down the stairs with a load of laundry. I heard and could feel it. OUCH!!! He immediately looked over at me slightly shocked. Being the caring mother that I am…I made no eye contact (do you notice a pattern here???) and carried on to the laundry room casually asking “what happened?” as I walked. 

R:    Nothing?!?
Me:  I gave him a chance to regroup before going in. Are you ok??
R:    Yea.  (rubbing his knee)
Me:  Did you hurt your knee?
R:   OUCH!!!  (eyes watering; slams his hand on the desk)
Me:  (rubbing his knee)  I bet that hurt. Did you hit your knee on the door? 
R:   I BANGED my knee! Oh dear. (wiping tears from his eyes)
Me:  Ouch! That hurt! Are you ok?
R:   THAT HURT! (slamming his hand on the desk again)
Me:  You’ll be ok. What would make it feel better?
R:   I’ll be ok. I need a band-aid.
Me: Sure. Let’s go get a band-aid.
R:   Ohhh-kay.  (relieved and somewhat content)

FYI…there were no cuts, scrapes or abrasions yet with the application of a band-aid…all is right in Riley World. *Phew*

·         Riley associates getting hurt to an episode of Caillou. Yes R still remembers Caillou much to our dismay. When I say he repeats things…well…see for yourself.
·         That thing he flips over his shoulder…his beloved Puppy.

So the moment you have all been waiting for...

Have yourself a great week!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Ten Things of Thankful...Week 2 of 20

I was a little frazzled what with hosting our family’s Thanksgiving dinner so I cut a few corners and reposted last year’s Thanksgiving Thankful post. I know. What can I say???  The pressure got to me.

So this week I knew I had to come up with some really, really thankful stuff. Just so you know…I do not work well under pressure.

Anyway…here goes.

1.      I am thankful for my sister who makes THE BEST devilled eggs on earth!! What??? You beg to differ?? Well you would be wrong. Go ahead. Try one and dare to tell me they are not THE BEST!!!

2.      I am thankful for turkey leftovers because they always taste better the next day (especially when you cooked the original dinner).

3.      I am thankful for Riley who at 19 wants to share his feelings/emotions (I WILL BE WHINING! and let us not forget “I WILL BE ANGRY!”) with me over and over and *sigh* over again.

4.      I am thankful for not getting sick very often. I have a terrible man cold at the moment. I admit it. I am miserable. Enough said.

5.      I am thankful for my friend Lori who lets me travel 45 minutes each way in order to have Riley shelve books for an hour in her school’s library.  :)  Seriously…I really appreciate her. I was looking for ways to fill Riley’s days with meaningful work now that he is finished school and she came through for us. Thank you Lori!!!

6.      I am thankful for Kleenex. 3 Ply. With Lotion. See number 4 for further explanation.

7.      I am thankful for Facebook. It was my birthday last week and although I do not celebrate my birthday any more…I felt extra special to have so many IRL and virtual friends leaving me greetings. Do you think anybody would notice if I changed my birth date to next Wednesday?!?  ;P

8.      I am thankful for nose spray. Too much information?!? I get it. I swore I would never, EVER use the stuff. Again…see number 4 for further explanation.

9.      I am thankful for Costco’s great customer service. I needed to return a couple of items I bought in the summer and could not locate the bill. The tags were still on. They took them back for a full refund.

10.   I am thankful for naps. Speaking of which…catch ya later. 

Ten Things of Thankful

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

An #OperationIFO Acrostic


   [uh-kraw-stik, uh-kros-tik]  Show IPA
 a series of lines or verses in which the first, last, or other particular letters when taken in order spellout a word, phrase, etc.

Our Adventures in Riley World
Everyday she makes me eat. Foods I do not want.
Right beside me she does sit and
Avoids my pleading eyes.
Try as I might…
I gag and heave and wipe my eyes.
One more bite I tell myself as I
Nibble away at what’s on my plate.

I think I can, I think I can…
Operation IFO!!!

*Written by: Riley's Mom  :D

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Ten Things of Thankful

Later today we will be filling our faces with turkey, ham and all the trimmings. It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. Yup…we know how to space out our holidays so by the time Christmas rolls around…we will be ready for turkey again. 

My friend Christine over at A Fly on Our (Chicken Coop) Wall co-hosts a Ten Things of Thankful every week. I keep meaning to participate so what better time to start than this, our Thanksgiving, weekend. Christine is amazing! She has been making a list for 19 weeks! 19!!! I will be lucky if I can keep this going after this week. Tee hee.

Okay. Let’s see what I can come up with…

1.      I am thankful for……ummmm……gee……this is tougher than I thought. Hmmmm…*tapping fingers*……I seem to be a little short on thankful this week. Well this is a little awkward. Since I am a little strapped for time today (I am after all hosting dinner tonight) how about you go checkout my "10 Things I Am Thankful For" Monday Listicles that I wrote last year. Not sure how I could top that list anyways.

I will do my best to come up with an original list next week. Until then…gobble, gobble!! 

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Foiled by a Hamburger...

Remember how I said I was not going to video Riley for Operation IFO ever again??  Well.  I lied.  Hey I believe I also said that it would be my last blog post about Operation IFO.  Yup.  Lied.  Again. 

Riley has been testing me. BIG time! Believe it or not I find it very amusing especially when it comes to his ingenious attempts at avoidance. Typical teenage behaviour indeed and I am damn proud of him.

To keep things moving forward I decided to switch things up a bit in Operation IFO.

The first time went like this: 

Me:       (Of course I start with the positive to catch him off guard.)
For dinner tonight I’ll make you oyako-donburi. (Modified Japanese Rice Bowl)
R:         Yes!
Me:       Riley I have an idea. 
R:         Looking a little leery.
Me:       I can make you carrot soup or YOU can make hotdogs.
R:         Thinking…thinking…  Carrot soup. I’M HUNGRY! (Translation: I don’t want to eat ‘X’!)
Me:       Wait. Whaaaaat?!?!?  You…you don’t want to make hot dogs?
R:         No thanks. You can make it.
Me:       Dazed and confused…off I go to make carrot soup. 

The second time I was going to make sure he picked hot dogs. I would offer…wait for it…a hamburger! Bwaaa-haaa-haaaa!  

Me:       Riley would you like a hamburger for lunch or do you want to make hot dogs?
R:         Thinking…thinking…   Carrot soup??? 
Me:       Ummm…no. Hamburger or you cook hotdogs.
R:         Thinking hard…  
Me:       Waiting…waiting…
R:         Barely audible…  hamburger
Me:       Pick up chin off floor…go make a hamburger.

If you can't see the video, click here to play.

You probably noticed that I am not making any eye contact (although I was straining to look at him without turning my head) and no attempts at conversation as that would result in loud protesting on Riley's part.  :)

Thankfully the camera battery lasted until after the first bite…barely. I am not sure who is keeping who on their toes anymore?!?!?