Friday, May 6, 2011

WE GOT THE BEAT!

For those of you who have been following:  I have talked before about these children (ones on the autism spectrum, ADHD, etc) and how they don't usually have a sense of rhythm and timing.  This affects a lot of things for them.  I discussed how we feel when we have a bad day (like ours was yesterday) and how everything just seems to go wrong.  Most of these kids feel like that EVERY day. OFF BEAT and disconnected.  If I had a day like yesterday - everyday -  I just don't think I could handle it. 

So I woke up today determined to be ON BEAT and have a better day (even though we were running on 3 hours of sleep....)  We did the usual breakfast and medicine routine and then it was time for exercises.  Everything is usually in chaos here so exercises is no different.  I will be doing the dishes or cooking while Paige is trying to get Wyatt to do his exercises.  Brody will be doing some of his off and on with them as well as running around, playing with Hazel and being crazy.  Hazel just usually causes trouble (I think because she is not getting the attention).  We ask her if she wants to do exercises too and she lately says "no".  We turn on the Brain Balance music which is trying to compete with the running water in the kitchen.  Combine that with the running, jumping, yelling, etc. and it is a very distracting situation.  It seems like the exercises are always a fight to get done.

So, today was going to be different!  I told Paige that we were going to do 5 minutes of planning and set up first and that I just knew that everything would run more smoothly.  She went along with my crazy plan like she always does and we got started.

We converted Wyatt's room into our our Brain Balance room.  We got the trampoline, the smells, the OPK strips, the brush, the music and three chairs.  That's right - they were ALL going to do it at the same time!

We got them all to sit down and got started.  We put pictures of the exercises on the wall for Wyatt so that he could see what needed to be done.  We then told him that once they were all done, we could go back to the Sensory gym we had been at on Tuesday!  (We also had a picture of that)  He was SO excited!

Here they are!  My cute little Brain Balance kids!
  Unamused.                    Ecstatic.                  Whatever.  
The exercises went way better than usual and the kids did great!  When we were done it was time for the kids to get their reward! It only took about 3 hours to pack up and we were finally on our way for a day of fun. :)

Since we were heading about 30 minutes away, we decided to go a little farther and visit Uncle Tom, Aunt Linda and my mother in law (who is still visiting after her exciting drive across the country).  

First stop was the sensory gym.  The kids LOVED it - again!  Side note:  This morning I gave Wyatt some THRIVE freeze dried pears that we got from SHELF RELIANCE.  This stuff is great.  It is 100 percent fruit with nothing else added.  They also have vegetables, dehydrated foods, etc.  This stuff actually tastes great and has a really long shelf life so you can eat it now for healthy snacks or keep it for emergencies.  If you would like more information I have a great consultant that would be happy to take your order :)  You can make a comment or send me an email to brainbalancemom@gmail.com.  

Moving on.....  The last time I tried to give Wyatt freeze dried fruit (apples) he ended up throwing up on his ABA therapist.  But, I took the risk and set a few down on the table.  He didn't want them at first but I got him to try them.  He still didn't seem that pleased but I just left them on the table.  I came back a few minutes later and they were gone!  I gave him a few more and he ate those too!  So in the car I gave him a plastic cup about half way full of them and he just sat in his booster for 30 minutes snacking on his pears.  It was so darling to see him actually taking them out of the cup one by one and eating them.  He also did not get out of his seat belt once.  :)

At the gym, we still had issues with the trains, but we just set a timer and let Wyatt play with them for about 10 minutes and then he had to go out and play.  It worked pretty well and he transitioned better than expected.  He worked on sit ups, climbed the rock wall, jumped on the trampoline, did the zip line, the swings, etc.  I also got him to ride a tricycle a couple times and he is totally capable of pedaling.  We just need to get him going more on his new bike and I am confident he will be riding it soon! 

Hazel rode the tricycles as well.  She was riding better and faster later, but this is the only video I got - I think it is cute. 

video
She also jumped, did the zip line, the swings, etc.  She also loved the playroom and loved playing with the pretend food, horses and doll house.  The funniest was that she walked around the room singing the whole time.  She did a few different songs and I tried to get some videos, but of course she never performed for the camera.  Her rendition of "Stuck Like Glue" was darling and quite interesting :)

Brody was the usual Brody - Which means he found friends to play with.  Every time we go anywhere, he leaves best friends with at least a few people.  Adults, teenagers, kids - you name it.  (Me exactly when I was a kid) He is such a social little sweetheart. Today he made a friend and they used baseball bats (soft ones) as lightsabers and battled for a long time.  After that I told him we were going to try  using the bat for its intended purpose :)  So I showed him how to hold the bat and how to stand and then I pitched the little soft ball to him.  HE HIT IT!  So I did it again - and he hit it!  He missed a few, but maybe only 2 out of 8?  He even had some pretty far hits!  I was SO proud of him for even trying (which still didn't last too long) and for how good he did.  I still am just amazed that he continues to do new things almost overnight without us even showing him, teaching him, or telling him how to.  It literally just "clicks".  

Which brings me to my favorite observation of the day.  We have talked before about how you don't really notice that your child DOESN'T do something until you see them do it for the first time.  So today as we were driving to our next stop - to visit family -we had some music on.  Paige and I were talking away about all of the millions of things we had to get done, etc.  And then I noticed something.  Brody was tapping his hand on his leg to the BEAT of the music.  Now - over the last few weeks we have heard him clapping to the music while we are riding on the golf cart, etc.  However, he hasn't been totally on beat and mostly just claps to EVERY word in the song,  and not the actually driving beat.  But today was different.  He just kept tapping away to the beat of the song with perfect timing.  Now a lot of you probably notice your kids doing this.  Or maybe they tap their foot to the music or play air drums.  But not Brody.  Now don't get me wrong, he LOVES music and loves to break dance and throw himself around on the ground like a rag doll :)  But he has never actually felt the beat of the song or had rhythm.  Guess what?  Now he does.   Is it a coincidence that Brody can now hit a baseball, make a basketball shot, AND that he just magically has rhythm?  No.  It is Brain Balance.  He is very quickly becoming more connected, balanced and in sync and I am watching it happen right before my eyes.

So I have been thinking about this a lot and I realized that even though the Brody (and the rest of us) can feel a beat, that doesn't necessarily mean that we are all hearing the same music.  I remembered the saying  "March to the beat of a different drummer" - so I decided to look it up and this is what I found: 

It is derived from the writings of the American philosopher Henry David Thoreau, who wrote:

"If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away. "

I really love this quote.  Why?  Because I feel like it describes me and the way I have always been.  If you don't believe me by now, ask my parents :)  This also describes most children on the spectrum.  It is not bad - just different.  Lets break it down.

I looked up the definition at Wikipedia, etc. and I found these interpretations of the saying: 
March means: To proceed directly and purposefully.  I love this for multiple reasons:
  1. Because I was married on the 4th of March which could also be said March 4th (forth).  Over the years people have made comments about us "Marching forth" each year.  Every year of our life has been crazy, fun, hard, rewarding and a pretty wild roller coaster.  But every year we continue to March forth. 
  2. March is the month that we moved away and started Brain Balance.  If that isn't proceeding directly and purposefully, then I don't know what is.
The next interpretation was:
"To behave in a different way or to believe in different things from the people around you."  
Wow - another perfect description of me.  Now there are others who behave like me and believe what I do, but most of them are not around me :)  We are all scattered around the world fighting for our children.   Autism aside, I still feel like this describes me.  I have been this way since I was young and I remember being okay with it even then.  I didn't worry what others thought about me.  I was friendly and nice to everyone and if others chose not to be kind or be friends with me, then that was their choice and I didn't let it bother me.

Lastly:
"To do things in one's own way regardless of conventional societal norms and expectations."  
Again - me, me, me.  
I LOVE that Brody has found the beat in music, but I also love that he still marches to the beat of his own drummer.  Even though he is becoming more connected and in sync, he is still my silly sweet, kind, funny, clever, smart, creative little boy.  I see parts of me in him and it is so interesting.  Example:  One day he was wearing socks with flip flops.  I told him that he had to take off his socks.  He asked why?  I told him because it was a fashion faux pas.  He didn't know what that was :) so I just told him that it looks funny and he said "I don't care if people think I look funny - I like it".  I realized that he was just like me in that regard - so, he wore his socks and flip flops.  All of my children have unique, crazy personalities and I will continue to let them be who they are.   
In my older age and because the life I live tends to make one feel isolated and insecure,  I have slowly started feeling like I need to be more like everyone else.  Not true and how boring.  So many of us feel like we have to be like everyone else, follow the crowd, keep up with the Joneses.  But we don't.  We all have different strengths and weaknesses, different personalities, different goals, etc.  We all have the opportunity to be ourselves and use our strengths to help others and allow others to help us with our weaknesses.  We can help, influence, inspire and bless others just by being who we are. 

So what does all of this mean?  It means that I am Marching forth, directly and purposefully, believing in different things than those around me and doing things in my own way!  Wow, that is a mouth full. 
In short, I am Marching to the beat of my own drummer.  For those of you who haven't done it, you should try it!

Brody marching to his own drummer:  Using baseball bats as Lightsabers and soccer goals to make a ship.

This was awesome!  We were at Uncle Tom's and they had so many fun toys in the basement.  Wyatt has always loved trains but I have never seen him actually create and build tracks for them.  He usually just rolls them around or throws them over my balcony shattering the my wall sconces...

My worn out little monkeys on the way home.  If you can't tell, Hazel is under the white jacket...
Goodnight!
It is only 2 am tonight so I will get one more hour of sleep than last night!

2 comments:

  1. You know I've always admired that about you. As we were growing up, you had lots of friends, you were happy and silly and had more fun than anyone I knew. I have always been "jealous" of your ability to "march to a different drummer". I loved that you didn't ever care what people thought of you. I have always wished that I could be more like you. Slowly I am breaking off, my drum is small but I am beating it and enjoying being me. Love you lots! Thanks for all of your inspiring posts. They truly help my attitude improve everyday.

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