Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's been a busy time after the move.  I think I'm finally getting organized and feeling like this is a bit more like home.  Actually, I am liking it more every day.  Even Eric is getting used to it after what I thought was a little bit of a rocky start.  He probably kept thinking "when are we going to your house MeMa?"  It did get easier after he saw all his "stuff", but there was still that little bit of not quite knowing what to do with himself.  And the one night I kept him overnight was not a pleasant time.  Mommy had to come at about 10:30 to pick him up after a horrific meltdown which scared me.  They usually don't, but he was hyperventilating and I hadn't seen that before.  Of course as soon as I called, he settled down and was almost asleep when she arrived.  If only I'd waited a bit longer. 

Eric continues to bound ahead, learning and progressing enough to thrill all of us.  We attended the "Family Fun Day" at his school last Saturday and had a great time.  Again a rocky start, there were balloons everywhere and he would not give them up.  He loves letting them go in the air and usually that's fine with us.  Unfortunately these had little prizes in them and were for sale as a fundraiser.  LOL!  No letting them go in the air.  Someone in Massachusetts just might get lucky if they find that floating balloon and it had a million dollar winner scratch off in it! 

Finally we got him to the playground, the bouncy bounce, and the water balloons.  Need I tell you the water balloons were his favorite part? 

Eric and his friend Mick

Someone would throw the ball and the balloon would break and drench the teacher.

Sharing the spotlight with a teacher.....he LOVED it.

Recognize this teacher?  Still his favorite!

We had a great time and Nikki says Eric slept well that night!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wow -- haven't posted since Christmas.  So many things happening.  While I sit and type this, I am surrounded by a HUGE mess of boxes and empty walls.  Haven't  gotten to the curtains yet, but they are on  this evenings agenda.

To make a long story short, we put our house on the market.  Downsizing is the big word around here.  To our complete amazement, it sold within a month ...yes, I know...even with the terrible housing market.  So to say the least, we are up to our ears in moving.  The big day is tomorrow.  We found a smaller house to rent for awhile and a HUGE dumpster took away 16 years of stuff I didn't even know I had, don't remember where it came from and kids old um...junk.  I've cleared out cabinets, closets, cubbyholes, and the canaverous basement.  Yep, downsizing is the word of the day.  Tomorrow, we take whats left and move it to the smaller (but it has a bigger yard than this house) place of residence.  Do I need to tell you that I will be so glad when it's over?

Now, on to the point of this blog.  Eric has blossomed in his new school.  He absolutely loves it and they love him.  We had a wonderful Bowling fundraiser where I got to meet some of the staff.  His excitement at seeing his favorite teacher was overwhelming.  The difference in his behavior upon seeing her was gratifying.  He was starting to get a bit antsy to get started on the bowling, yet it wasn't time.  Waiting around just isn't his forte..  However upon seeing the familiar "school faces" around, you could actually see him calming himself.   That's how it's been lately.  Nikki has learned so very much from the school as well.

I don't want to brag or gush too much about what a wonderful mom she is, but --- oh what the heck, yes I do.  She is firm, yet gentle with him.  Insistent and so patient.  Loving and playful.  To hear the way he laughs when they play is the most joyful thing that I've ever heard.  And Eric?  Well lets just say he loves his mama so very much. 

It's so amazing to me to watch my daughter grow and mature.  Of course it isn't the direction she expected to grow in.  She pictured her life completely different.  But for some reason I can't help but think that this is the right one.  She is attending college now -- she wants to teach and help others on the Spectrum.  Other families and other children.  Regardless of the frustration she still sometimes feels, I can see a confidence and pride in herself. 

Lets see if I can find a few Bowling Benefit pictures and please, do nag at me when I let this blog go for too long.  There is so much more to share than I can do in just one "catch up post"...and Grandma here does want to share and contine to learn from all of you as well.  So...nag away...

Finally Eric's Turn!

I'll listen to Mom...she's a pro!

Dancing my way back to my chair...oh yeah...

My favorite Teacher!

Lets get a picture of us!

And a good time was had by all....Thanks Crossroads!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The following is a letter I wrote to our "Letters to the Editor" section of our local newspaper.  I doubt they will print it, it's longer than usual, and I have no special gift with words. But I feel better for writing it ....


I am writing to tell the community of a heartbreaking event that happened at the Santa area in Rotterdam Mall, on the evening of Wednesday, December 8th. 

My daughter and I had a nice dinner at the mall and headed over to get my grandson’s picture taken with Santa.  My grandson has Autism, so it’s a bit difficult to keep him occupied while we waited for Santa’s return at .   

Santa arrived and since we were first in line we were ushered down to Santa’s area for our pictures.  The gentleman taking the pictures was pleasant, friendly and very patient.  It was taking our little guy a bit longer to realize what we wanted of him (to sit still and smile with Santa so the man could take his picture). 

I could tell by Santa’s face that he was getting a bit impatient.  We set up a chair next to Santa because our little guy kept jumping off his lap.  At one point, my daughter went to sit him further up in the chair and while she was doing that, she told Santa “I’m sorry it’s taking a bit longer, my son has Autism so he is impatient to be moving”. 

I was standing a foot or two away.  Imagine my astonishment when I heard “Santa” say “Well that’s your fault for feeding him lead in his food”.   WHAT???

To say that ruined the whole evening would be a gross understatement.  My daughter at that point picked up our little guy, told the photographer to print the best picture and while she paid for it, I calmed our little guy and got him into his coat.  I have to say how much I admire my daughter for not losing her temper or making a scene.  However, knowing there were other little ones in the area and my grandson was gearing up for a melt down, she decided to wait to put in a complaint. 

I called my daughter in the morning, intending to return the pictures (can you imagine the memory they bring back when we look at them).  She asked me to wait, she would call and talk to someone.

To make a long story short, even after a few calls from friends and other family members, the company basically said “sorry, your word against his and he said he doesn’t recall the incident.”  I would like to take this time to remind the company that it is mine and my daughter’s word against him as I heard him very clearly.  To be honest, all my daughter was wanting was a sincere apology from “Santa”.  You know, the guy they hired that is supposed to be happy, jolly and loves kids.

Why am I writing this letter?  I just want to let my daughter know that not everyone is as ignorant and uneducated about Autism as this man obviously is.  More and more, our community is becoming aware of our special little ones and the strong dedicated parents that love them.  And I also wish to let our community know about the company that so obviously looks the other way in favor of this ignorance.

Deborah Provost
Eric’s Grandma

Sunday, December 5, 2010

It was a busy day yesterday and a great day with my little guy.  Today will be another busy day.  Pop-Pop is playing with Eric while Nikki and I head out to get some shopping done for a few hours.  Then we will be headed to a Christmas Party sponsored by the Autism Society of the Greater Capital Region along with a company called Quick Response Restoration.  Eric will have his picture taken with Santa and get a present.  I'll be trying to get a good shot of him for Nikki's Christmas cards. 

Not much else is happening.  Eric still hasn't gotten into his new school, but it's progressing.  They are busy evaluating him and writinng up a plan for him. I believe Nikki said it will happen somewhere around the 13th.  

So on that note, guess I'll get ready for my day, it'll be a busy one. 

Meanwhile, Eric continues to not really like chairs and is getting soooo smart on the computer. 

Even Balloons are a preferred choice.  LOL!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Days Like These

How do I even begin to explain how hard it is to hear my daughter call, sobbing -- just crying "I can't take it anymore"... and knowing at the same time that my grandson is suffering as well.  That' I'm not with her and I can't take her in my arms and let her cry it out.  That I'm not there to help her when he does this.  How can I tell her that he loves her, even though it doesn't seem so at times.  How his face lights up when he sees her walk to the car for him -- or across the yard to get him.  How she makes him laugh his big belly laugh like no one else can. 

He is once more going through his phase of meltdowns -- serious meltdowns that I believe have him so overwhelmed he cannot control himself.  They seem like tantrums, but "we" know the difference.  It's hard to know the difference.  Not being able to control himself, complete disregard for his own safety or that of others.  Has no regard for where he is or any social situation.  Not being able to stop himself no matter what.  A meltdown may happen because he wants something he cannot have,  and after a certain point, nothing, not even what he wanted or anything else can satisfy.   Meltdowns hurt -- both him, my daughter and, even when I'm not there, -- me.

He was going through a wonderful growth spurt (that's what Nik and I call them) where he was learning, laughing, able to bring himself back from quite a few potention meltdowns.  What is it that has changed?  We don't know.  He can't tell us and all we can do is guess and speculate. 

Is he sick and hurting and can't tell us...Nik will call and make an appointment to have his ears checked and anything else that the dr might suggest.  It wouldn't be the first time he's had an ear infection and we didn't know.

Is it his school?  He won't be getting in his new one till the end of the month.  But two mornings in a row he did not want to get on the bus.  Since today is his last day till the 29th, what harm would keeping him home do for a few days.  Let's call the new school and check on how things are progressing -- do they have a date yet.

And to top it off, when my daughter calls she is told that maybe Crossroads isn't the right place for him.  Huh?  What?  After we met with them and they told us it was definately the right place for him?  After they showed us around and we saw for ourselves how wonderful he would fit in there?  I heard them -- they were anxious to meet him and hoped to get him started as quick as possible if we were interested in having him go there.  Now all of a sudden it's not the right place?  "Well, he can only go here two years"  What?  After we were told the school helps children almost into the middle school years.  What? -- did they find someone else they wanted more?  No fair....  All they did was add more frustration to my daughters day. 

But I'm grandma -- calling them and telling them what I think wouldn't be appropriate and would probably make more trouble for Nichole getting him in at the end of the month.  Honestly -- now I am not so sure I even want him there!  Be brave and strong for Nik -- that's all I can honestly do.  Being Grandma sucks sometimes -- I want to raise some hell.  But like I tell Nik -- where would that get us? 

I want to make things all better for my daughter -- and for Eric.  And I want everyone to know just how wonderfully strong she is -- she always gets through.  No matter how bad she wants to give up.  She never does.  I wish I was half the mother to my "normal" kids that she is to our little man.   You are not alone Nichole.  Not ever.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New School Update

Yeah, I know.  I'm so original with my titles.  NOT!

Do you believe next week is Thanksgiving?  Wow...time is zipping by and I AM NOT READY!  NOT EVEN STARTED!  Ok, we won't go there.  I'm stressed enough already.

As you know, Nikki and Daniel have been looking over new schools for Eric.  I toured two of them with Nikki and we loved both.  But after touring both of them, Nikki really, really liked the second one, Crossroads.  It is a small school for children with Autism.  We both could picture Eric in this school.  They let us view the classrooms and see the teachers interact with the kids.  They were so indepth in their interview and rather than focusing mostly on the school, they wanted to know Eric himself.  And when we talked about Eric, they were able to tell us something about the school that might help. 

The first school, while I liked it as well, was mostly focused on showing us the school.  They mentioned that if we were interested they would like to meet and get to know Eric as well.  I guess I was impressed that the second school was mostly focused on Eric himself right from the get go.


We are so excited because we feel that after his transition into the school he will skyrocket.  We have heard many good things about Crossroads ... how successful they are at helping kids understand and grow.  We know that Eric is capable of so much more -- now we have the help we need to bring him out of his world into ours.  The school encourages parent visits, geared to keeping things consistant for Eric, at school and with his family.  Perfect! 

I went to dinner with Nikki and Eric last night at Ruby Tuesdays.  It's taken first place over 99 Diner as our eating out place because of their awesome salad bar.  He is quite a character.  He kept us smiling and laughing the whole time.  Of course he will be mad at me Friday night when he visits because he didn't get to play at MeMa's last night.  He's good at the cold shoulder and never forgets he's mad at you.  Funny though, as soon as he makes it known hes mad at you, he's not mad anymore. 

So tomorrow night, I will look forward to another night of chaos.  I sure wish he would prefer to sit in the chairs though.  Wonder why he doesn't like chairs?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Halloween Cupcakes!

Saturday morning and tons of cleaning to do.  I have Eric till around 1 or 2:00 so he will get to "help".  LOL!  Help mess up that is...  : o )

As I've mentioned Nikki is keeping a close eye on Eric at school.  She does surprise visits to his classroom.  On the Friday before Halloween I tagged along with her.  I guess the school was having some Halloween Parties.  We got there in time to see the kids decorating Halloween cupcakes.  Yummy.  With a little help from mom, Eric finally finished his:

Here you go mom!  Eat up!

Hey!  What do you want?  I'm only 5

MeMa will eat it...won't you Me Ma!

: o )