Is Your Home and Lack of Routine, Hurting Your Child with Aspergers?

Structure and routine are helpful for any child to feel safe and secure, but a child with Aspergers absolutely needs it! Children with Asperger’s (Aspie’s) are really special kids. They are incredibly smart, extremely passionate, and can be positively anal about organization and routine. It’s not because they think it is nice, or attractive looking, but it’s because it is essential for them to feel safe, and able to function.

Hunger Strike

Not all of us parents with Aspie’s are built as a type A personality, with perfect order and routine in our homes. In fact, I’m far from that (though I am really trying!). But if you are at your wits end with your childs anger, temper, attitude and melt downs, you may actually be contributing to the chaos without even knowing it.

5 Ways to Help Your Child with Asperger’s

1.) Organize and create order within your home. That includes a structured routine. Wake up at a certain time, have breakfast, make bed, brush teeth, etc. Have a chart if you think it will help, and stick to it. It is especially important that the child with Asperger’s has a space all their own (their own room, or if they share a room, their own part of the room). Organize their clothes, shoes, personal items. Label things, get rid of junk and simplify the area. This allows them to have a safe space to retreat to when they can’t handle the overwhelming world anymore. I have found that while my Aspie loves organization, she is horrible about creating it. So I have to be the one to organize her room, though she has to clean it.

Is your home hurting your child with aspergers?

2.) Get a watch with multiple preset timers (or Kindle, iPhone, etc). We used a watch for our daughter to remind her to use the bathroom. Many kids with Asperger’s have issues with incontinence. When our daughter was going to school, and dealing with this awful part of being an Aspie, we used this method to remind her without me having to say, “go to the bathroom”. The watches have timers that can be set to vibrate so the other kids won’t even know. Children should go at least every 2 hours if they have incontinence issues.

3.) Respect their ears, and control the volume. Something that seems loud or annoying to you, may be incredibly loud and awful for them. Their systems can only handle so much stimuli because they process things differently than most of us do. If having the TV loud triggers a meltdown, or a screaming toddler sibling, try to minimize the situation and sound, without punishing the child who – though shouldn’t be given a free pass to freak out, cannot help reacting strongly to something that is overwhelming to them.

4.) Remove gluten and dairy from the diet. It is hugely successful for many families. If your child seems less angry, less upset, etc. then keep them on the diet. If after several weeks you haven’t noticed any changes, then it isn’t worth doing it. I have spoken with occupational therapists who told me that they have seen it work for many children, and if it works, you have to stay on the diet to continue the progress. If you stop, the symptoms will return.

5.) Heal the gut, and control the constipation through supplements and toilet re-training. Autism is a gut disorder, not just neurological. There are supplements that can help the gut to digest foods easier, and promote more normal bowel movements. A few great *supplements to try are probiotics, Glutagenics, fish oil, and digestive enzymes that can be taken with food. For a natural laxative, try magnesium.

*Ask your doctor before trying anything

5 Breastfeeding Tips – National Breastfeeding Month

5 Breastfeeding Tips - National Breastfeeding Month

August is now known as the National Breastfeeding month, and this has got me thinking, rehashing my children as babies, and thinking about breastfeeding….the good, the bad, and the ugly. What no one ever told me, was that breastfeeding isn’t easy, and it doesn’t come natural for many women and babies. Some babies have tongue and mouth issues, some women have production issues, and oh…by the way… it hurts nearly as bad a labor in the beginning!

I wasn’t told anything really, when I had my first baby. The lactation consultant spoke to us, but not until after a nurse walked in, saw I was having problems getting my daughter to latch, and just handed me a nipple shield. That “helpful” nurse caused the death of my breastfeeding journey with my firstborn.  I tried and struggled, cried and tried again for the first 6 weeks of being a new mommy. She wouldn’t latch without the shield and I never had letdown because the shield keeps it from happening. She had to work so hard to get anything, so I was forced to turn to formula.

Breastfeeding Tips

I felt like a failure as a mother, not being able to get the hang of breastfeeding, and so I was determined with my next child, to make it work.

I do want to add here… that I believe that fed is best. Breastfeeding has been proven to be the best option for most babies (babies with severe food allergies for example, would be a different story).

5 Tips For Breastfeeding Successfully

Even though I was only able to partially nurse my first daughter for 6 weeks, I was able to successfully nurse my next four babies. Over this four year combined period, I can see how precious those moments are to a mom, and how I truly miss that time because of what that bond became. Having your baby cry only for you, because you are the only one who can meet his/her need is truly awesome..a blessing…a real miracle. How our bodies are able to create the nourishment a baby needs, and formulates that nourishment based on what the baby needs at that time, is remarkable. I think back on that time and cherish it, and sometimes even have dreams where they are tiny again and in those dreams I’m always nursing them. It wasn’t easy, but it was a fabulous experience that I will always keep with me.

5 Helpful Breastfeeding Tips

1.) Use a Nipple Cream! You can use Lanolin, organic shea butter, or even coconut oil to help replenish your sore, cracked, dry nipples. If you don’t treat them before they get too bad, you can really be in a world of pain and have bleeding during nursing sessions.

2.) Feed on demand. Babies don’t believe in schedules, and they shouldn’t have to wait to eat. They are constantly growing, and needing comfort, and to be touched. Nursing on demand will keep your supply high and keep the baby content. Some days it may feel like it’s all you do, but this too shall pass!

3.) Nursing Covers are fantastic, and adorable. There are great nursing cover options on Etsy, and Amazon to just name a few. Using a cover allows you to feel comfortable, and non-exposed, which will allow for letdown. Nursing in public can be stressful. But the covers give you peace of mind knowing you aren’t flashing the old guy next to you.

4.) Take a photo, or have your husband do it. It may sound weird, and you never have to show anyone, other than yourself, but it is so precious and such a bonding time for mom and baby before you really get to know each other. This is the time you will both grow so much….your child physically, and cognitively, and you will grow more as a woman and mother, than you ever could have imagined! It’s not the nursing that did this necessarily, but it’s just the journey of motherhood. It is so exhausting and trying that first year, but also so full of so much good and cuteness, and blessing.

5.) Nurse during the night to help with supply issues. If you notice your supply dipping, and the baby is sleeping more at night, trying to wake the baby up to eat at night may help. The nighttime nursing sessions really do seem to increase women’s milk supplies greatly. Though it sounds crazy to wake a sleeping baby…it may be the best option to give your supply a bit of a boost.

Selfishly Praying for Grace, When They Need it More – Mom Prayers

Praying for Our Children

It dawned on me today, how often I pray for myself throughout the day. And how little I pray for my kids. It’s not that I don’t pray for them…I do. I pray that God will watch over them, protect them, draw them to Him. But I don’t pray for them specifically in tough moments, instead, I pray for myself. As I’m writing this, I realize how selfish this sounds…but I never did so with selfish motives. In fact, I did so for their good, not my own.

Our kids are no angels. They fight like cats and dogs, play like best friends, and then fight like cats and dogs yet again. It’s an incredibly exhausting cycle that changes more frequently then toilet paper rolls around here. Some days are so completely exhausting, I just want to quit!  Kick my feet up on a beach somewhere and read until the sun sets.

 

Praying More For The Kids and Less For Myself

 

But mom’s don’t get to just quit, we persevere, push through it, and pray for grace.

When we are really in the thick of it, with tempers, tantrums, mean words being thrown around like water balloons, I tend to pray “God please give me grace to get through this.” Or, “God please help me.” Something along those lines, where I’m asking God to help me to stay sane while I attempt to parent. But maybe I’ve been doing it all wrong? It dawned on me today that instead of just praying for my own sanity, my own temper, that I pray for theirs.

I should be praying that God would calm their tempers, replace anger with love, and give them the grace they need to get through the day.

Maybe instead of patience and time outs, my kids need more grace. More God given grace to survive their day. Maybe they need the support of a prayerful mother, not one who prays for her own needs specifically, but their needs first. Sometimes I think we discount children’s feelings as insignificant in comparison to real life issues. When they are freaking out because someone ate the last cookie, or someone is looking at them, maybe we should pray for them to have servant hearts, and thoughtfulness towards others. Being selfish is a sinful pattern we are all born with. But learning to be selfless is an invaluable gift. I know I struggle with this on a daily basis. We all do, if we are honest.

I’m resolving today, to pray more for my kids. Not for just their futures, health and safety, but also for their daily struggles of selfishness and anger. I want them to be kindhearted and loving people, who reach out to kids who are being picked on, lend a hand to someone in need, and have hearts wanting to serve others. I realize I cannot really truly teach these gifts, but I can pray that God would instill these qualities in them.

Intentionally praying for our children, may be the greatest gift we could ever give them.

Delicious Grilled Pepperoni Pizza Chicken – Gluten Free

Pepperoni Pizza Chicken - Gluten Free

Being gluten free, pizza may seem like a strange favorite in my house. But with so many great gluten free crust options, my kids really love it. We order most of our bread and pizza crust from Katz Gluten Free Bakery. I then take the crust, which is pretty inexpensive, and make gluten free pepperoni pizza for lunches. My children love pizza. I mean, who doesn’t? But they would eat it for every meal if I let them. My six year old son is a bit small for his age, and we need him to bulk up. So I decided to make pepperoni pizza on chicken to get the extra protein in there.

pepperoni pizza chicken

There is something so summer-ish about grilling chicken. The smell of the chicken…the heat coming off the grill…dogs pacing around hoping you drop a bite, and the kids playing in the yard. It’s pretty much perfect. If you are looking for a change, this dish is a fun alternative to traditional marinated chicken, and even BBQ.  Similar to chicken parmesan, but a bit healthier since it is grilled and not breaded and fried. This even works with my grain free diet.

PEPPERONI PIZZA CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS:

  • Chicken breasts sliced thin (however many you need)
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Pepperoni
  • Garlic powder
  • Sea salt

DIRECTIONS:

  • Place chicken on the grill and sprinkle with garlic and salt.
  • Grill until fully cooked. Top with spaghetti sauce, cheeses and pepperoni.
  • Leave on the grill a minute or two until cheese is melted.
  • For a crispier pepperoni, broil briefly in the oven.
  • Serve with spaghetti, garlic bread, or spaghetti squash, and enjoy!

For a dairy-free alternative, use a dairy-free cheese, or simply omit the cheese.

Cone of Shame Seems Inhumane – Neutered Dog Collar Review

KONG inflatable cone review

I’m not one to do many product reviews. But I felt like after what my Havapoo (Max) has been through, I just had to! Max is a one year old Havanese/poodle mix. We decided to finally have him neutered because he was “dancing” (as my kids call it) on every dog that he encountered. It was just getting gross, and really old. So we bit the bullet (so to speak) and had him fixed.

When we went to pick him up from the shelter yesterday, he not only was drugged, exhausted, and terrified, but he was completely miserable in his cone collar they put on him. Being 13 lbs, his bulky, heavy, uncomfortable collar was making everything worse. He was unable to go to the bathroom, because he’s a dog…he likes to sniff and then go. He couldn’t eat or drink with it on. He couldn’t clean any part of himself, which I know is the point, but honestly the boy just wanted to clean his paws after being away all day. Being totally unable to rest his head, he also couldn’t sleep. He was literally standing in his crate, staring straight ahead and crying.

Cone of Shame is Inhumane

I imagine that plastic cone also magnified sounds, and blocked his line of vision as well. Not something anyone would like, especially a pup who has just been through a surgery. After getting no more than 3 hours of sleep, I knew we had to try something else. That’s when we ran to the pet store, and got a Kong Inflatable Collar. I tried the old t-shirt trick, and the plastic cone from the vet, so this was really the only other option.

KONG inflatable collar review

We bought the KONG Collar and inflated it. It says to inflate until full, but not too hard. We bought a size small for him, because he is 13 pounds. We put it on as the picture shows, we watched him walk around the house. Finally he sat and began to lick and to my horror he could reach his bottom where his stitches are. I was determined to make it work, so we looked online, and discovered you are supposed to put his collar through the hoops on the inside of the KONG collar, so we did that. This helped some, but still he could get to it.

Finally we decided to turn the collar so that the velcro is on top of his head, and the tube is more under his chin, and this was the solution. He cannot get to his bottom but can still clean most of his body (which he really appreciates). Max is able to eat, drink, walk outside on his leash, nap, and play with this on. Unlike the other collar where he could barely walk, this was the perfect fix for him.