There's more to me than "Mommy"…but not by much!

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Just a reminder March 1, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — stephaniesings @ 2:03 pm

This is just a quick reminder that I’m posting on blogger now.  If you come visit, be sure to “follow me” so you don’t miss any of our SENSATIONAL happenings (insert sarcasm) ;-).  Here’s the link again just so you don’t have to go hunting for it (because I know you would, right?).  Yes, that was sarcasm again.  It’s just oozing from my fingers today.  😉  Blessings!


Moving to Blogger February 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — stephaniesings @ 2:54 pm

Check out my most recent post at this web address:

Thanks for stopping in! 🙂


CVS stands for “Can’t Vacate Store” February 22, 2011

CVS trips with 3 small children are so much fun.  I just love having everyone stare in our direction and hearing me give endless commands.  “Josiah, put that back.  Sadie, get back here.  Jackson, don’t touch anything.  Josiah, get down from there.  Sadie, pay attention to me…”  And on it goes.  Isn’t that every parent’s dream?

Then, of course, a shopping excursion wouldn’t be complete unless someone had to go to the bathroom.  So, we’re three quarters of the way finished with our list of ten items or so when we have to traipse to the back of the store to “see a man about a horse”.  And, naturally, the rest of the gang have to get in on the action.  Wouldn’t want anyone missing that horse.  After what seems like an eternity, hands are washed and we are finally free of the restroom.

Next is the water fountain.  Which, have you ever noticed that it’s nearly impossible for a child to drink from a fountain without getting their shirts soaked?  Maybe this is unique to us but it’s just been my observation.

So, with wet shirts and shoes that can’t seem to stay on Sadie’s feet (it would help if she’d put them on the right way) we gather our things, grab a gallon of milk and a couple cans of tuna and finally arrive at the register…where a sizable line has formed.  Once at the counter and while the cashier and I are busy ringing my purchases, the kids begin to wander in three different directions (of course they do).  They are all within sight, just looking longingly at different candies, trying to resist the urge to touch them, and failing miserably.  If I thought they were being blatantly defiant, they’d be in big trouble.  But the truth is, they are just curious creatures with ants in their pants.  And God bless them, they did stay by my side in line until it was my turn.  That took some patience.

We finally have everything in the car and everyone buckled and I begin to feel relief, “Ah, finally.  We’re going home.”  Then what happens?  My eldest says, “Mommy, I have to go to the bathroom.”  AND I realize I forgot to grab a loaf of bread.  (sigh)  Yes, shopping trips grow exponentially larger in duration when you factor children into the equation.


New Shoes, Noise, and No Skill February 21, 2011

When you have a child with Asperger’s Syndrome, you tend to get overly excited over little things that other parents take for granted.  Yesterday was a beautiful example of the kind of thing I’m talking about.  Jackson, our kindergartener, went to a classmate’s birthday BOWLING party.  Parents of Aspies, I know you see where I’m going with this.

There were three major challenges Jackson had to overcome in order to enjoy himself (and not cause a scene) at this party.  The first and most obvious thing being the noise level.  He has very sensitive ears and what seems to us to just be a loud noise can actually be painful for him.  (There’s a great irony in this too since he is known to be very loud himself.)

The second challenge: the shoes.  Jackson is VERY particular about his shoes.  Every time he needs a new pair, my husband and I both cringe because we know there will be an adjustment period involving lots of crying, complaining, and basic unpleasantness over the shoes.  But once he adjusts to them, he’s married to them.  Forget having him wear something different.  Anytime, for any occasion, it will always be the same pair.  Currently, he’s sporting a pair of black Skechers that thankfully, are decent enough to wear on Sundays.

Lastly, the challenge of facing a challenge.  Jackson doesn’t like it when he can’t automatically or immediately do something well.  And by don’t like it, I mean he usually has a meltdown or at least a little fit and tears are often involved.

Even considering the stress he had to endure at this party, he was a real champ (and he had fun)!  I tried to prepare him as much as possible with what to expect at the party…particularly with the shoes.  The last thing I wanted was to have all eyes on us when he began to cry as if his feet were on fire.  Thankfully, that didn’t happen although he still complained at first that the shoes were too tight and immediately started to take them off.  But a little loosening of the velcro and he was satisfied.  Yay!  Victory number one!!!

Then, when it came time for Jackson to bowl, he did what many kids his age do and put the ball down and pushed it.  I half expected it to come to a stand still in the middle of the lane.  But amazingly enough, it made it every time.  And every time that ball rolled down the lane I prayed fervently that it would hit something.  “Please, Lord, let him hit a pin.  Please just let him hit atleast one.”  I honestly don’t recall him NOT hitting something on a turn.  But, alas, Jackson was not satisfied with just hitting one or two and threw himself down a time or two to show his disappointment.  Given that he rolled the ball 20 times in one game, I’m not making a huge deal over “a time or two”.  Other than that, he did great.  Yay!  Victory number two!!!

I noticed about a quarter through the game that every time after his turn, he’d run off to the corner where the vending machines were and stay there (or somewhere near the back) until it was his turn again.  At first, I thought I should make him come sit with everyone else but then it occurred to me that it was probably the noise that was keeping him away.  I was really proud of him for finding a way to cope with it and enduring (and enjoying) bowling when his turn “rolled” around. 😉  Yay for victory number three!!!

Most parents don’t have to worry too much about these kinds of things.  Most boys seem to PREFER loud noises.  Not my Jackson (at least not of his own making).  And he’s not alone.  Many children on the autism spectrum avoid crowds and are bothered by loud sounds.  Many struggle with the same sorts of things Jackson does.  This is why we rejoice in the little victories.  This is why it’s such a major accomplishment to wear bowling shoes without pitching a fit or to miss a few pins without having a meltdown.  This is also why it’s such an accomplishment to initiate a conversation with a friend by just saying hello.  Yes, I was very proud of him and his behavior.  He’s a real trooper!

P.S.- As an aside, something happened during the party that was so funny to me.  While Jackson ate his cake and ice cream, I could tell he was getting thirsty.  The trouble was the only drinks were sodas and he doesn’t like them because “they burn”.  He never once complained, though.  I just sat back and watched him bring his cup to his lips and take just the absolute tiniest little sip.  Then a few seconds later he’d do the same thing again.  It was another proud moment for me because I knew it wasn’t what he wanted but he never made a fuss.  He just learned to cope. 🙂


You want WHAT kind of birthday party? February 20, 2011

Today was a busy day in the Lillard household.  Sadie had an invite to a friend’s birthday party this morning and Jackson had another this afternoon.  All this talk of parties led me to ask our soon-to-be 3 year old one more time what kind of party she’d like to have.  Her answer…a white one.  Really?  What does that even mean??

We’ve tried to change her mind by just suggesting other things that she might like more.  For example, she LOVES her new Ni Hao Kai Lan backpack she bought herself but when asked if she’d like to have that themed party she replied, “No.  I want a white birthday party.”

Last year she wanted a pink party so we fudged a little and had a “Pinkalicious Princess” party.  It was precious!  How do you fudge a white party??  There’s still time enough for her to change her mind, but if she doesn’t then I’m facing a challenge.  Ideas??  Suggestions??  PLEASE help!  Thanks in advance. 🙂


Chocolate: The Great Motivator February 17, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — stephaniesings @ 6:02 pm
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I reheated some left-over spaghetti for lunch today which my 4 year old had absolutely NO interest in eating.  His younger 2 year old sister finished hers in good time and then sweetly asked, “Mommy, I finished my spaghetti.  Now I get to have dessert?”  When I asked her what she wanted, like her true mother’s child she confidently replied, “Chocolate!”  So, I quickly obliged.

I had not had lunch yet and seeing my son’s bowl barely touched I asked if I could have the rest of it.  He said, “Sure, Mommy!  You get to have the rest.”  After another 30 second reheat, as I’m about to tackle the small bowl before heading out the door he sweetly asks, “Mommy, can I have dessert now?”  Did I oblige?  Uh, that’s a big fat NO.   Nice try, but I don’t think so.  I did, however, give him another chance to eat his spaghetti.  Reluctantly, he began to eat it noodle by noodle.  Having taken about two bites, he asks again.  He made his disappointment with my answer known but continued to slowly eat noodle by noodle.  Before long he lost interest again.

As time keeps drifting by and we still need to get out the door soon, I finally say, “Ok, ‘Siah.  You have 5 minutes to finish your spaghetti and then I’m taking it away.”  (Enough time for me to swap laundry before skirting out.)  I wish you could have seen him shovel it in.  Within 60 seconds the bowl was empty!  “Ok, Mommy!  I’m finished!  Now I get to have dessert!” in his most triumphant voice.

So now here we are, still haven’t made it out the door (since I decided to take a minute to relay this story before either 1) running out of time later in the day, 2) forgetting it happened all together, or 3) both).  But I’m thrilled that he emptied his bowl and feel an unjustified sense of pride for having found a successful motivator.  Thank you, Chocolate!  Now off to the store we go!


A Wonderfully Weary Wednesday February 16, 2011

Last Wednesday was a “roller coaster of emotion” kind of day.  My husband was so ill that I had to contact his director and call him in sick.  That left me frustrated when I tried to call three different numbers and couldn’t even get a ring on any of them.  I sent an email through their own network (which I didn’t fully understand) and then prayed that I was successful in reaching someone and keeping our sole source of income intact.  Mission accomplished. 🙂

Next it was time to get my oldest to school and find a doctor for Justin.  It’s in moments like these when I’m especially thankful to have family close by to help.  “Mama T” and “Papa C” were willing to watch our younger two while I carted Justin to the clinic.  Insert about an hour and a half, two shots, and a prescription and we’re out of there.  Quick phone call to the parents for an update (and heads up that we’re late…still need to fill Rx) and we’re off to the pharmacy.

So, now picture a NEVER ENDING train.  You locals know what I’m talking about.  The railroad crossing on St. Augustine right before the intersection at Hill Street.  I wished I could worm my way to the front and take the short-cut AROUND the train.  I would’ve gladly rolled my window down and shared the knowledge to the people in front of me if I thought they’d act on it.  I knew that wasn’t a possibility though because a tractor trailer was first in line and he was way too big to be making the “short cut”.   (No pun intended.)  Now this train was seriously long.  That ain’t no joke.  Not to mention that the cars were probably moving 0.01 miles per hour.  They trick you too.  You think, “Oh, finally, the train’s about to clear!”  Then, they stop.  And back up.  My emotions went from impatience, to frustration, to worry that my husband might puke in my van, to concern about leaving my folks stranded with the kids for so long.  So, I confess.  I drove up the left side and around that semi and took the short cut!

While waiting for Sam’s to fill the prescription, we decided to sit in their eat-in area.  It was closing in on lunchtime so I grabbed a quick bite.  Justin got an icee but couldn’t drink it.  We thought it was just cherry but it wasn’t.  Poor hubbie.

We finally have the prescription, go pick up the kids from mom’s and head home.  I had about one hour to get the house in decent shape before getting Jackson from school.  “Mrs. Heather” is his speech therapist and she’s normally waiting for us by the time I get back from picking him up.  So, dishes?  Done.  Tables?  Wiped.  Floor?  Swept and SPOT mopped.  Living room?  Well, atleast everything was up off of the floor.  How am I feeling now?  Exhausted.

So, I pick up Jackson and then drop him off at home while I go to Publix.  That turned into one of the longest grocery runs ever and I can’t even explain how or why.  Maybe my exhaustion?  It doesn’t help that I haven’t been wearing a watch.  Anyway, I realize when I leave there that I’ve got to book it home if me and the kids are going to make it to church.  What about dinner?  Four dollars and forty-four cents gone and I’m in the van with a hot-n-ready pizza!  After what feels like the longest drive home, I finally pull to a screeching halt, practically throw the pizza on the table, tell the kids to eat while I unload the perishables and then get their socks and shoes on.  I even had to let them finish their pizzas on the drive.  That’s how quick of a stop it was.  We looked completely a mess, I’m sure.  But at least we made it. 🙂

After such a harried arrival, when class was over I thought we’d take our time getting back to the car and back to the house so I just drove without my usual “drive”.  Once in the house it was time for the kids to go to bed and boy, was I ready!  Sadie, however, was NOT ready.  Oh, she was tired.  And she didn’t fuss about getting in her bed, initially.  All I wanted was some peace and quiet and she has to start fussing.  (I was not feeling very sympathetic at that moment.)  She complained that her head hurt so I gave her some tylenol.  She was a little stuffed up too so I gave her something for that.  But then she started screaming crying.  It took a while to finally understand her but she kept saying “My ear hurts.  My ear hurts.”  So, I dug out our “Earache Relief” drops from the medicine cabinet and put a couple of drops in her ear.  Within about 30 seconds her ear started bleeding.  Now, I’m not one to panic.  That’s my husband’s job.  But that did scare me.  We tried to call a clinic and did a quick search on webmd.  Webmd is enough to scare a person.  “Well, it could be a little scratch in the ear or it could be bleeding on the brain.”  Great.  Thanks.  So, emergency room here we come.

I pull in to the parking lot, finally get a spot, carry Sadie inside to the front desk (her ear all crusted over with blood) and the lady behind the counter asks if she can help me.  I tell her that my daughter’s ear is bleeding.  Then she kindly asks for our basic information, a photo id, etc.  The whole time I’m thinking, “Seriously?  My 2 year old’s ear is bleeding and you’re not gonna rush her back there?”  Then we sit and wait to be called.  That’s really when the emotions were all over the place.  I was scared, nervous, frantic (on the inside), exhausted, helpless, and getting more and more angry and impatient the longer we sat there.  To make a long story short (too late, right?), she’s ok.  She was the perfect little patient.  She opened her mouth so the doctor could look.  She let them look in her ear.  She let them take all her vitals.  I was really impressed.

God taught me a lot this past Wednesday.  I learned how to have more patience & more self-control.  I learned that I can do with less sleep than I thought I could.  I learned to trust God more and myself less.  I learned that taking care of my family is more important than whether or not the dishes are cleaned or the floor is vaccuumed.  I love them more than anything.  They may make me weary sometimes, but in their case, it’s wonder-filled!