Hi. I am the 42 year old mother of six beautiful boys. My oldest is 18 and away at college. My youngest is 5 and in preschool. He missed the deadline for kindergarten by 4 days which for us is a great thing because his language skills are at around that of a slow 3 year old.
My 2 youngest boys have PDD-NOS (a higher functioning form of autism). My older boys prepared me for this by having 1 or 2 of the autistic characteristics.
I have learned a lot about parenting boys. My husband and I have been through a large gambit of things. We have been married twenty years and between my family, my childhood family, and my husband's family I have run into a whole lot of stuff. I am sure it will all come out over time.
To know me, you need to know my boys. I will not use our real names to protect the innocent and the guilty so here are the ways I will refer to them.
dh - my husband, 45 about to turn 46 an engineer who works on computer projects for a large oil company.
ds1-18 going on 19 and away at college. He is shy, plays the cello and would have probably come under the autism umbrella if they had tested him in preschool. He has overcome a lot of his challenges. He taught me how to deal with a child who had to take in preschool for two months before actually doing anything and how to teach a child to answer "What did you do at school?"
ds2-just turned 17, a Junior in a difficult school district. He is gifted in everything but he is a terrible procrastinator. His words, "I just can't do the work until the last minute. I just can't concentrate." He plays french horn and the mellophone in the band. It is marching season so he is gone a lot of the time right now but since football season is almost over that will change. He has always had a large circle of friends and still does. He taught me how to deal with an extremely persistent child. When he wants something he will keep begging till he drives you crazy. He will work his head off to find a way not to do an assignment. I think he has learned that for an assignment that only takes a couple of minutes, you don't need to try and get out of it by bargaining for an hour.
ds3-is 14 and in Junior High. He play the trombone in the Honors band. He has joined Destination Imagination this year. He is also a huge procrastinator. He will play all afternoon and then stay up late at night doing homework. He has a hard time concentrating on the stuff he doesn't like. I constantly have to send him to a quiet place so he can do his work. When he was little he had a horrible temper and would throw all day temper tantrums. If I said no to something at 10 in the morning he would scream until about 1 when he fell asleep and then wake up at 3 and continue the tantrum until evening. I tried everything I could think of to calm him down. I would eventually put him in the crib where he wouldn't hurt himself or me and check on him every 15 minutes and try calming him down all day long. I have always been taught not to give in to temper tantrums but with this one I even tried that to avoid the screaming. It didn't work. He taught me patients for a child who cannot calm himself down and how to stay calm through long temper tantrums.
ds4-is 11 going on12. He is very sensitive and shy. He has texture issues. I have a horrible time trying to get him to take a shower/bath or change his clothes. He can't take the change like going somewhere on Saturday. I have to warn him for a couple of days if I want him to go somewhere like the store to get shoes. I wonder if he has a high functioning form of autism. He gets upset really easily. I asked his elementary teachers about it ever since I learned about his younger brother. They all have said he is fine. He is in Junior High and is learning to play the flute. He tells me he has no friends. I am hoping this will change as he adjusts to Junior High. When he was little he had to have a certain spoon with a certain cup with just the right amount of everything or he would go off. He taught me how to deal with the texture issues and the OCD that comes with autism.
ds5-is 6 going on 7 and in 1st grade. He was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 years old. He also has selective mutism which means he has a high social anxiety. Not a usual combination for a child with autism. He has texture issues, temper issues, and sound issues. The school has trouble with him refusing anything they ask of him. I just have to get real firm. He knows I will wait him out if it takes days. Even with all of these problems he is the sweetest little guy and everyone loves him dearly. His smile lights up a room. You will read plenty about him as he gives me the most trouble both by himself and because of the school. He is afraid of everything! He has a very strong approach/avoid tendency. I have found hand over hand works well to get him over the hurdle.
ds6-is 5. He is in the Preschool Program fro Children with Disabilities. He has struggled to learn the names of family members but over the last six months we finally have names. That is everyone except ds1 who left right around the time he started giving us names. He won't talk about ds1 at all, even when his picture is on the computer. As ds6 learns more and more phrases and has started using 3-7 word sentences he has started relating to the other children in his class. His teacher decided to keep him full days to make sure he gets more speech practice. At home he just plays by himself so for me this is the first year without any children at home since my oldest was born. I did have a half day last year, but I just slept. My husbands sleep apnea kept me up at nights. I hadn't slept well in 20 years. I spent last year catching up on sleep. ds6 is afraid of nothing. He runs pell mell through life. His pain tolerance is very high so when he starts acting sick I get really scared. When he broke his arm by falling off the back of the couch it took me 5 hours to figure out somethings was wrong. He just fell asleep. Even when I thought something might be wrong, I wasn't sure it was anything much. Even the ER doctor thought he hadn't broken it. He called the next day after the radiologist looked at the x-rays to tell us he actually broke it.
This is my immediate family. Some of the things besides the above I have dealt with is:
I have a brother who is a child molester (yeah I know, but he is my brother. The state keeps an eye on him.)
My husband and one of my sons have been addicted to porn. Both tell me they are doing okay.
My husband's, sister's ex committed police suicide.
My father and my father-in-law have both had nervous break downs.
My niece died in a fire about 10 years ago.
This is the bad stuff of course. There are a lot of wonderful things as well.
Now, on to my dream. Some how amongst my crazy life, I want to load myself up with a Montessori school. I am not trained. I only have about 20 hours of college credit. I want it to be for children with disabilities. Will I be able to do this? I guess I will find out over the next few years.