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Jul 29, 2013

Solution for Soap Dumping

Just a quick post. All of my children like to dump liquid soap...literally the whole bottle...into the bathtub...or wherever else they want to dump it. It can get pretty annoying, and pretty expensive, when you have just bought a thing of soap or shampoo and it's gone the first time someone's little paws grab ahold of it.  
My very smart sister came up with a solution.  We started putting the soap into used medicine bottles.  My kids don't open medicine bottles because they have the childproof caps.  We relabel the bottles with 'shampoo' or 'conditioner' or 'body wash,' etc.  This way, we can continually refill the bottles without worry the kids will just dump them.   (I am a dork, and I like to print out pics of the shampoo or soap that it is in the bottle.  I then, of course, use my favorite product, mod podge to glue it onto the bottle.)
Some things that have also worked for our family:
In an earlier post (http://autismmomsgratitudelist.blogspot.com/2011/11/shower-curtains.html), I talked about how we used the shower curtains with the sewn in mesh pockets to prevent dumping when my kids were younger.  But, unfortunately, as they grew taller, they figured those out way too easily.  It didn't help that I thought putting Caiti's toys in the top pockets when she gave them baths was a good idea.  That resulted in ripped mesh pockets after Caiti's rescue attempts.
Another idea that we have tried and has worked pretty good was an idea we found on www.plumdoodles.com.  
That website suggested putting an additional tension rod in the shower to store shower cleaning supplies.  We just modified it to store...basically anything we didn't want our kids to get.  We also stood on our tippy toes when hanging the tension rod so that it would be super high up. This worked really great for us until Garrett decided it would be fun to hang from the tension rod (don't ask how he could reach it)...Luckily, tension rods are very easy to put back up and don't need any hardware.  They also don't damage the walls.  Woot Woot!
Anyway, I'm so grateful we have figured out some ways to deal with all that soap dumping.  

Jul 19, 2013

Turning off the Dr. Frankenstein Mindset


As an autism mom, I'm grateful for the rare times where I have actually been good and kept a journal.  It helps me to look back and see where we all were and where we are now.
So, this is one of those posts that I would NEVER have posted when I actually was experiencing the below emotions, but I am in a better place, and I wanted to address it because I know I'm not the only one out there who has felt guilt or responsibility for the disabilities that our children have.

I was looking through my old journal today, and it was talking about a conversation I had with my therapist.  (Yes, therapy is awesome):
"I told her I was in a good place as far as my children.  She asked me how I got to that place, and I told her that I think I just went through a grieving process.  Earlier this year, I couldn't get out of my head that I was like Dr. Frankenstein, and I couldn't create anything normal.  I always felt really guilty when I would think these thoughts because I absolutely love these kids, adn I don't think of them as monster-like or anything.  I think I was just projecting their disabilities and struggles onto myself and giving myself the blame for their struggles because I was the one who "created" them.  However, God changed my frame of mind and really helped me to focus on what is beautiful about my children and the happiness and wonder that they give me.  He helped me to be able to celebrate every little accomplishment and to celebrate them as my offspring."

Just have to add one last phrase that you hear a lot in the special needs community:  "My child doesn't have a disability, he has a different ability."  Being positive and focusing on the successes and the beauties really has helped me to overcome my guilt and "Dr. Frankenstein Mindset."

Jul 13, 2013

Family Fun - a.k.a. Oh My Gosh! We Did Something Normal People Do!

As an autism mom, I'm grateful that the adults in our house were brave enough to actually get out and do something today with the kids in our house.   Kevin and I had a great time with our cute boys.  We took them to Despicable Me 2 (more for Kevin's benefit than the boys; seriously, Despicable Me is Kevin's FAVORITE movie).  Anyway, if you have sensory kids and didn't see my previous post about AMC's sensory friendly films, you need to check them out: http://www.amctheatres.com/programs/sensory-friendly-films
I learned from the last time I took Garrett to the Sensory Friendly Films (for Shrek the Third).  He stole other people's snacks...thus I ended up spending a fortune on treats/drinks just to keep him happy.  So, this time we were sneaky and hid a bunch of movie theatre-type candy in my giant purse to deter treat thievery during the movie.
These are some happy boys wondering what in the world is going on, since they are in the car with BOTH mommy and daddy at the same time and not just going to McDonalds.
Such good boys sticking with mom and dad.

It was fun to be with all the boys and watch a fun movie.  Jason kept dumping his candy on the floor and trying to pick it up and eat it...so Kevin didn't love that part.  Ha ha.  We had him come sit on my lap afterward.  Garrett was very attentive and narrated the movie with his own little words the whole time.  Good thing there were other kids in there doing the same thing.  Ha ha.  Love me sensory friendly films for that reason alone.  Hint: Don't go if you expect to actually be able to watch the movie in peace.  Do go if you want to give your kids a fun experience at the movie theater without stressing.
Now, don't feel sorry for my cute Caiti.  She and her super fun Aunt Michelle got to go swimming.  Swimming is Caiti's own personal heaven.  :)

Jul 6, 2013

Something to do With Popsicle Sticks

As an autism mom, I'm grateful I found a fun idea on Pinterest to do with popsicle sticks.  First though, funny fact about me.  When I was little, I really wanted to collect something, i.e., stamps, dolls...that kind of stuff. But I didn't really have the resources for that, so I ended up washing off all the popsicle sticks after we had popsicles.  I ended up with a great big bag of them, and I had such ideas of what I was going to make with them...that never happened.  So, today, I have finally made something out of popsicle sticks.  It might not be the same, since I bought these sticks at the Dollar Store.
I decided to try out the popsicle stick puzzles they have all over Pinterest.  I found some pics my kids would like on google images...



I printed the pics off, and then modpodged the popsicle sticks to the backs of the pictures.  After they dried, I cut between the sticks and then remodpodged (is that a word?) the fronts of the sticks so the pics would stay on securely.  

I was originally going to put a strip of velcro on a laminated sheet of paper and then the other side of the velcro on the popsicle sticks, but I was too lazy.  Instead, I found some old magnetic tape and put strips on the backs of the sticks.  That way, they can just put the puzzles together on a cookie sheet.  As always, who knows if they will actually use them...but at least I did something with those popsicle sticks.

Jul 2, 2013

Safety Harnesses for Big Kids and Adults

As an autism mom, I'm grateful that my sister and one of our ABA tutors took the initiative to find safety harnesses for kids that aren't toddlers.  I mean, really.  How many of us autism moms out there have to deal with elopement.  If you are thinking elopement means we're all worried about our kids running off and getting married...take off the "getting married" part, and you have it right.
A good definition of elopement can be found on the Autism Community website in an article by Abby Twyman, M.eD., BCBA,:
 "Elopement is when a person leaves an area without permission or notification which usually leads to placing that individual in a potentially dangerous situation. Elopement, wandering or bolting from an area (i.e. home, classroom, etc.) is a relatively common problem in individuals with autism. A survey study conducted by Interactive Autism Network (IAN) found that nearly half of all individuals with autism (based on 800 responses) engaged in elopement behavior."
It was nice when they were little, and we could take them to a public place with their cute little monkey backpack that had the "leash" on it.  Yes, it sucked to hear annoying people comment about how bad it was for us to put our kid on a leash, but we would grin and bear it because that kid on a leash was safe.
(This pic makes me laugh.  It was the only time I traveled with all three of my children.  It was for our family reunion back in 2010.  We were staying in a cabin by a pond, and my kids are way too tempted to run off and play in scary water, so they were wearing their harnesses the whole time).
Anyway, now that they are MUCH bigger, those harnesses really don't work.  It has hindered our efforts to do much of anything fun anywhere that has lots of crowds or is too big.  So, back to my first sentence. Hooray for my sister and our ABA tutor for finding a website with harnesses for all sizes.  I don't have any more excuses to not use those zoo passes.  ;)  If anyone else is interested in finding an older child-to-adult harness, the website is: http://www.childharness.ca/2strap.html



Goodbye to Carpet!

As an autism mom, I'm grateful that I was finally able to say goodbye to our carpet.  Here are just a few of the reasons carpet wasn't a good thing in my house:
1.  Children who are still potty training...still...yes, still...after years and years.
2.  A child who is obsessed with water and likes to flood...everything.
3.  This same child who is also obsessed with making bubbles and will pour dish soap or any other kind of soap on the carpet.  (Including a Costco-sized dish soap that she poured the whole thing in one spot.  Needless to say, that was fun to try and get out.   No, it never fully did come out of that spot.)
4.  Mold!  When you have a combination of all the above, and are shampooing your carpets on a daily basis...mold is a very likely visitor.

The main reason we were able to get rid of our carpet was #4, and a letter from my kids' awesome doctor.  I just have to quote some of it, just to show you how awesome he is:
We live in military housing, and they are really good about meeting special needs when there is a doctor's note involved.  It was actually a pretty hard experience to go through, and we did feel very judged, and felt that they didn't read the underlined part of the above letter, but in the end, we were able to get vinyl flooring throughout the house.  We were worried it would look like a hospital, but luckily, they gave us flooring that looks like hardwood floors.  They also put in high-impact drywall in the bathrooms to prevent mold from any flooding.
Can I just say this has improved the quality of life in our home by about 1000%, just with the ease and quickness of cleaning up alone.  I'm so grateful to housing for making these changes.