Friday, 30 May 2014

One is fun, two is chaos!

I love both my children. I would give anything for them. They are awesome, great, and keep me in line. There are days when I wonder about my sanity though after having two children  I'm talking serious Mom brain.  Those are the days when I realize, it's the 3 year old that gets the banana not the 3 month old, or when after changing poop-tastrophies and showering kids down that you have missed three appointments in a row, or mistaking random people you know as being related to people that you know that they totally are not related to. And then there's the over correcting the Mom brain. This is worse because then you second guess what you actually remember and screw it up by claiming you don't remember cause of Mom brain. This happens when you claim that you don't know the person or don't remember their name because of Mom brain and then realize you had it right all along. And then even worse is when you go and try to correct it all. Oh ya the variables add up quickly once you have two kids. It gets real, very quickly.

And then there's the whole picking you battles thing. Let's just call it what it really is, negotiating. Sometimes you win and most of the time you half win. Yes raising two kids is the easiest and hardest thing I've ever done.

When it's your first born it's baby boot camp until they're one, or three if you have a kid with sensory needs and a speech impairment. And with the second one you basically have all the coordinates figured out with the changing, feeding, and burping cycle. But there's something I didn't expect with the second one, ya know due to Mom Brain and all. I went through this recently when getting her immunizations. "Holy crap I have a kid that's going to develop differently from my 3 year old. What do I do? What do I look for? What happens next?"

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever explore a world where I would have two kids one on the asd spectrum and one that wasn't. Not that I'm complaining, it's just that life becomes a little more challenging when you're figuring out both developmental charts. You have to become the master puzzler, the master illusionist, mirco manager of micro managers, the pioneers of time bending, and a complete rebel.

How do I keep this all up? The two kids, the artwork, the blog, the vlog, or living life the way I want to live it. Well, let's just say the dishes are always making a habitat out of the sink, The laundry sometimes looks like Jaba the Hut eyeing my with contempt. from the corner, and the floors need more than just a good wax on wax off of a mop. But in comparison if I valued a clean house over everything else I would have no life to share with my family. That's just the way I run and always have.

Everything must be done with gusto and meaning or it's all a lie. So, when I forget my own name, I just remember that this is the life I choose, kids, Mom Brain, sleep deprivation and the undying need for more chocolate.

Anyway to complete this blog I am going to tell you a story about a dad brained moment my dear hubby had and 1 tip to help you remember everything,

Our story starts with my husband in the supermarket being asked by a fellow family member if they could give my husband a ride home.

Family Member: You need a ride home.
Husband: Yup. (Forgetting that he has the car in the parking lot.) Oh wait I have a car now.
Family Member: Oh is it here?
Husband Yup. (Family member kisses Husband on the head and say, "I love you cousin.")


That's my husbands story for the week. Now we want to hear from you. Mom's who have Mom Brain moments. Go ahead and share them and laugh with the rest of us. And kudos for being such a great Mom!

Now here is my number one tip for remembering everything. Ready here it is....

WRITE IT DOWN. he he he

Anyway, I wanna dedicate this blog to the Mom and Pops of this time who are taking care of their kids without hesitation,. for Moms who are dealing with one kid on the spectrum and one that's not and  for those parents that put their crazy crap aside so that they can see the bigger picture and raise sensible adults. This one is for you.

Well, there's that sandman again throwing his sand all over the place.

Must go to sleeeep. Thanks for reading. See ya in a post.

With Gratitude,
Amber Walker

Brushes, and pressure and potty trainging...Oh my!

During a therapy visit not to long ago we were given a tool that helps with hitting the feelers. This lovely device is called the Therapressure brush. It is, Ill admit, pretty cool.

This brush contains very fine, and soft to the touch, bristles that are great for kids who have sensory needs. He likes it and it keeps him calm before the process of bed or nap time.

We received this brush as part of a sensory diet package my boy is supposed to be on. When he uses the brush you can see something amazing happen. He smiles, is real gentle with it, and really takes in everything he is experiencing. It's great. If you apply a little bit of pressure it feels like a great soft and gentle massage. He absolutely loves it.

That being said there are only certain times of the day when he wants it and that's right before nap and bed. Now, my son is supposed to be on a sensory diet and sometimes the diet works and we manage to say on top of it and then other days life happens and he gets a good dose of his sensory toys later in the day. I will say it's great in calming him but it is not something that will replace his other sensory needs. Like flapping. He loves flags and seeing things flap, but, for him,  his Therapressure brush won't sate that need. So, if you are thinking of adding it to the routine just know that in my experience it does not replace the other sensory needs. It will help, but doesn't take away those other important sensory needs.  

Links for sensory brushes posted in the post script area of this blog. :-)

Anyway, I find that if my son isn't convinced it's something worth trying he won't, but because good old Mom tried it he was able to and I must say it was relaxing for me to try it with him and walk him through how to use it. Now he is an old pro and will seek out his brush himself.

Another sensory need of my little man's is pressure. I say this, but I should specify that he likes pressure only on his hands and feet and only when falling asleep, If you have a child like this good news...I think I have come up with and awesome pillow that can help. More details and a pattern to come later in June.

Pressure is something that kinda makes me nervous and a little paranoid. How much pressure can I apply to my kids hands and feet? What about things that are weighted...etc. etc. etc. Well we tried the weighted blanket and he asked for that thing to be removed quicker than you can say it, and once it was removed he said, "No. No blanket. No blanket baby." Then spent the rest of that hour repeating those words. It certainly was not a favorite. This has become ritual, applying pressure to his hands and feet happens every night. He will not go to sleep with out that pressure. If he doesn't get that pressure to his hands and feet he has a super hard time calming, never mind sleeping. Anyway, like I said, I have a wicked cool idea for a pillow that can apply that kind of pressure...hopefully it works...stay tuned for more details on that.

And last but not least we come to the dreaded potty training bit of the blog. Lets just say we are still in the beginning phases of potty training and they are not easy. My son has the added bonus of gluten intolerance as well as being lactose intolerant. It makes for some interesting days. We don't have to many accidents but when they happen they happen big. So, I've had to get a little bit more creative when it comes to the being prepared. Here are three tips to keep you ahead of the accidents....

1. Belts. I don't know about you but when my son has an accidents it is usually because the little general has come out to play. If you're kid will wear a belt go ahead and try it. Putting a belt on them will ensure that they don't mess around and pull stuff out that they're not supposed to.

2. Don't ask...INSIST. I try not to ask my son if a potty break is necessary before we leave to go somewhere...I INSIST. Meaning that I take the time to fight him to get him to go to the bathroom because I know giving him the option means he'going to say "No, no potty baby."

3. Always check them regularly, and change accordingly.

Now, this list is for those whose kids are still in the trainers mode. But if you follow these rules along with you're potty training rules you won't have too much of a messy golden/brown experience.  Take it from the Queens of preventing accidents.

Anyway as I write this I can feel the sandman throwing bricks of sand at me saying, "What the hell I worked hard to get those kids of your's to sleep so that you could sleep. Don't waste my sand."

So, I better hit the hay quickly before a kid wakes and sleep deprivation kicks in. As always thanks for reading. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook at, and twitter at, .

With Gratitude,
Amber Jones

P.S. Links to where you can find the Therapressure Brush and a less expensive sensory brush. Enjoy!!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Would I change my kid if I could?

Would I change my kid if I could?


Here's why....

In the three years he's been here I've come to know this great little firecracker who can put a smile on anyone's face. He is my life of the party kinda kid. Loving, funny, caring, and has great dimples. And in the midst of getting to know this kid, he stopped smiling as much, went silent and would only utter the word "Ta." Didn't want to be kissed, hugged, smiled at, etc, etc.

When we started to see this we were more curious about what was going on. I wasn't scared or devastated in the least. I have a couple people very close to my heart who have Aspergers. I just needed to know how to teach him. That's when all the intervention happened, when we knew he wasn't progressing the way society says "you should progress." Research began and a whole host of people that think the way we do, stepped in to help us figure out how Keltanys figures it out.

Now, we have a kid that is learning communication, is back to smiling, making eye contact, giving hugs (only when asked), loves rough housing, being outside, and hesitantly trying new things.

But if I were to take something away or "cure it" what would change. What would take it's place. There's nothing wrong with my kid. What happens when you fix something that doesn't need fixing. Well, sometimes you screw it up. Take it from me. I'm an artist and a perfectionist, I know these things.

I love my kid, speech impairment and all.

That's not to say that when I'm getting pegged in the head by toys, or when the chaos of tantrums unfold that I sit and go "Oh I just love these moments. Don't you sweet heart when the sun is out, people are smiling, and heavy objects are raining down from the hurricane our offspring is creating." No, I have a list of things to keep myself from losing my cool. Are there days when I feel like karma has turned it's eyes towards me. In those heated moments, yes. But everyone in their life feels that way at least once about something.

Life is how we perceive it. When Keltanys is happy, I'm happy, and when he's not I try to show him that no matter how crappy your day is you can still change it.

Distraction is key. "Hey, it's OK that Mommy accidentally screwed up you perfectly situated toys. Lets listen to your favorite song," is something you'll hear often in our house.

Now, I'll admit I've read stories of kids that are vastly different from Keltanys with a whole set of different and more challenging things they are experiencing. In all seriousness all I can say is namaste.

I know what I know. And I wouldn't change my kid for the world. My visually sensory seeking, Anime loving, music loving, swing loving, noodle eating, dancing, smiling, kid with an astonishing memory is here to stay and I wouldn't  have it any other way.

Well, I better get to the 6 month old's vaccine appointments. Ugh we will go over that argument a different day. Obviously you already now my stance on it. Right now cereal and coffee are needed.

With Gratitude,

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The first of 4,323 Pictures

Keltanys with the camera phone. The first of 4,323 pictures.

Went into my camera phone the other day to retrieve  some photos for our blog and found 4,323 pictures of my son. The picture you see above is the only one where he is not checking out the entirety of his face.

I was amazed I know that when I handed him the phone he was playing with the camera but wasn't certain what he found so interesting about it. Well, I found it. I should have clued in I guess. If there is something that can reflect his image back to him he finds it very fascinating. He'll dance to watch himself dance, smile to watch himself smile, do silly faces, run, stomp, act like a robot, he does it all to watch his reflection. He loves it. And then finally something sunk in as we were in the park today. My kid's majority sensory need is anything that is visually stimulating. When he's in the swing he likes to throw his head back and forth and then will crack up. He loves the visual effects it causes. He also loves running really fast while blinking like crazy. When he's tumbling things in his hands he likes to blink really fast. I for a long time thought that it was the feeling he got from it. Nope it's the visual effect that sates that sense. Then things just started to click, the glow in the dark board he can write on, the light up board he has, the way he cracks up when he sees people stop and go and stop and go when doing the robot, the tumbling, the running, the stomping with his eyes half closed or blinking like crazy, his making random shapes with random objects, his need to see things in complete chaos, watching things spin, running in circles with his eyes set in the corners of his eyes, spinning in circles and doing the same thing...almost .e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g he does repetitively is for the visual stimuli. Finally a direction I can work with artistically. A tool by which I can teach him. 

Took me long enough. 

Anyway, I will not cease the playing with of the camera phone as I believe it is a great way for him to learn more about himself and take great photo's, especially when I have such a hard time in keeping him still for one. Look guys two birds one stone. 

Hence my creating of the light box. The tutorial on how to put it together will be up this weekend. In the meantime if you're are interested in this project here is a list of things you will need for this project. 

Things you will need to make a light box...
1. A see through plastic bin
2. LED Battery operated lights ( make sure you get the batteries)
3. Parchment paper
4. Tin foil
5. Tape (scotch)
6. Scissors 
7. Coffee. 

And on a side note......

On the 19th of next month we will be having a give away. Stay tuned. Details for the giveaway will be posted on the 31st of May. Until then grab the things you will need to make the light box! 

See ya later!

Always with Gratitude,
Amber Jones

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Is it the terrible three's or the diagnosis?

AHHHHHH!!! He's on the lose. My three year old has this thing called run Mom into the ground, give her a five minute break, then start all over again. Everything I do or say there is a protest, or a nice little rebellion with a charming smile. This has become a daily concurrence. I think he's got it down to a science and I'm playing the fool trying to catch up. "Yes," "No," "No say that," "all done," "not all done," "give me that," things I dreaded hearing when he was two he has just started to figure out.  While I'm grateful for the progress the time's where I can't tell if it's personal preferences or sensory issues is when it becomes the most difficult.  Especially when it's a mixture of both. How to I discipline a kids that is over stimulated and tired? Of course I do the "We don't act like that" song and dance followed closely by the time out. Does it stop the behavior even when we're consistent?. No. And then I see the whole, "I was spanked. And what was good for me is good for my kids," argument that I just can't wrap my head around. I'll be the first to say that when my son see's someone doing something to hurt others or hurt for the purpose of correcting he's the type of kid to practice on others. If anything it would teach him he needs to hit to get what he wants or correct what he thinks is inappropriate behavior from us.

Most often I find myself on time out, in the bathroom with the water running. Trying to clear my head for round 2. It sucks. And behavioral therapists will tell you consistency and repetition. Which is true but still not easy. Especially with my son. He learns something a certain way. It has to be done that way for a long, long, long time. And if you are introducing a knew way you got to be a salesman with a Charisma of 30 (you D&D'ers get what I mean. lol). If you aren't happy, appealing and sweet any approach will tick him off and you're dodging random pokemon, in the hall way. It's hard. What do you do? You know you're not caving and then suddenly you've got a raging mad kid all over the house. Now this doesn't occur everyday in my house but who has a kid that doesn't do this in some form or another. My Mom tells me I didn't but I know I made up for it in my teenage years. I guess I should say better know than never. And as the great Cosby once said, "Better to get them mad now than have them mad at you later for not getting them mad in the first place." He he.

Anyway, I know that many things play into Keltanys little freaks he has here and there. Like his diet, sensory issues and tiny OCD's he has. And I'm sure I could deal with them better but I'll admit that on occasion my strategy is to turn the music up loud and dance like a crazy fool to see if that boy will crack a smile. Anything to change the mood of the house. And yes there are times when my voice reaches a certain pitch that says "WARNING,WARNING, WARNING, WARNING." That is called being human. Because well that's what I'm here as.  But I remember every time that while I'm being tested, or am experiencing the frustration of this little ball of energy that's being overwhelmed., that I have no freaking idea what it's like to be frustrated for the reasons he's frustrated, and I can relate to him in that way, if only in that way. I've been mad and no one got why I was mad. It can feel very isolating and for a little kid can be terrifying. I always remember this no matter how mad I get, no matter how fast I reach my limit, I keep in mind that on the opposing force is a little boy angry and quite possibly scared and most definitely overwhelmed by the flashy craziness of this world. The other huge reminder is that I'm the adult, his foundation, and If I don't keep it together for him who will.

Temper tantrums from kids who have ASD are extremely different than any other types I've experienced, because it could be anything that's setting them off. And if they are non-verbal or have significant speech impairments, you become the master de-puzzler trying to figure out what it is that's bothering them.

I have figured out a plan though for in those times of tantrum chaos. And again it isn't a daily occurrence anymore but man when they happen it sure feels that way. Listed below are somethings I do to keep my cool during those high intensity moments...

1. Forget counting to 10. Instead try counting backwards from 100. It just feels better.
2. Make a quick note of how angry you are. Doing this quick check will let you know if a bathroom break is needed.
3. Smile. Not directly at your kid. Just to yourself. And listen intently to your breathing even if you have to heave to hear it over your kid. This helps distract you from that high place of anger.
4. Walk slowly and move slowly (only if you and the kid are safe of course) . Moving slowly helps remind you that you need to remain calm and at peace if you want to bring your kid into a realm of quite and peace.
5. Talk quietly to your kid reminding them of how they feel. Bring your voice volume way down.. Sometimes this distracts them and reinforces your zen.
6. Get into something sensory like washing your hands, having a drink of water, something you would normally do at any given "peaceful" time of the day. Good emotional distraction and gives you enough time to think and not react on instinct. Which we're prone to doing while angry.
7. Have visual cues around the house that remind you to stay as calm as possible when in the intensity of a tantrum. For example, we have the words love and gratitude on our vision board above our futon. Helps lots.
 8. Try to empathize. I know way easier said than done. But if you can get into their frame of mind and think how much it must suck to be that upset it may help you in helping them. It doesn't matter if you don't now what they're mad about just remember a time when you were at your breaking point and then think what it must be like for someone so tiny who doesn't have the skills yet of mastering emotions, to be that frustrated and not know what to do other than what they're doing.. They are small and still need guidance and when they are angry we are their first responders. If you can empathize you'll calm more quickly.
9. Ok, here is a little sweet secret. When I am blinded with anger and on the verge of letting everyone now, I ninja my way to the fridge or cupboard grab a small (portions people) piece of chocolate or candy and down the hatch it goes. I will only do this once more and if it doesn't work I go to number 10.
10.  Make sure the kid/kids are in a safe place and go to the washroom. Turn on the faucet or fan as a quieter of the outside noise, get a splash of water on your face, wash your hand, actually go to the bathroom, hum "Happy" by Pharrell Williams and dance like an idiot, imagine your boss dancing like an idiot, do a dance from the 80's, anything to bring yourself down quickly so you can tend to your kid. And when I say dance people, I mean dance hard. You are alone, no one is watching. Do it! Don't be afraid to laugh at yourself cause we all know laughter heals everything. It was employed in my house when I was a teenager and it would take us from high intensity to laughter and tears in 30 seconds or less. So make a fool of yourself and laugh. You'll feel better. :-)

I must say I can't tell you how to discipline your kid. That's something I don't enjoy hearing unless it's close family like my Mummy-in-law or my Mom, who have raised my husband and me. And since I'm raising a mini version of my husband and me it helps to hear their advice. Discipline is a very personal decision that sets the tone for the house. All I can say is try some of the things on the list above to help calm you so that you can make rational decisions about discipline.

Anyway, I hope this helps. Latter I will recommend things to do to keep your little one calm.Thanks for reading. If anyone has anymore tips to share about how to stay zen when your kid isn't, just leave them in the comments section. Don't forget to follow our blog!! More great things are coming!! Even a giveaway. Stay tuned...

Love and Gratitude,

Monday, 26 May 2014

Ink, paper, and some charit......

At the beginning of this month and what inspired the name of this blog, I as Amber Walker, had an art exhibition  called "Finding the Letter K."

"Finding the Letter K" is a tribute show dedicated to parents of children with autism, their journey in finding their child a midst the sensory preferences and repetition, and trusting themselves as being the experts of their own children. In this show I combined these themes into a fairy tale where three insects set out on a journey to find the letter K, K being representative of my son, Keltanys, and other children on the spectrum. 

Something I don't think I've seen done but was super excited to try was a raffle. So each piece had it's own raffle. Raffle tickets were $20 a pop and 100% of the proceeds went to the Child Development Center here in the Yukon for all their dedication and support of my little guy, and pep talks they gave us during and after the assessment of autism. Thank you CDC!!

When opening night hit a lot of people came into the gallery showing support, love, stories of families they know with kids on the spectrum, and almost everyone that came through bought a raffle ticket. It was amazing to discover that so many people are aware of the spectrum or know someone on the spectrum and how many people see it as something more as an evolution of being instead of a disorder. It was refreshing, and a great comfort to know that we are not alone. 

We were able to raise $500 for the Child Development Center. And I am more than excited to announce that there will be many other raffle style shows and silent auctions like this one where all of the proceeds will go to a local charity or globally known charities that are doing amazing work for kids with autism and whatever other charities you as my readers suggest. Next time I do this style of show ya'll will be the first to know and have first access to raffle privileges and silent auction privileges. 

Anyway, below are some pictures of the pieces that were the core of the show. Have a boo and enjoy! And thank you to all who have shown your support.

And as always...

Love and Gratitude,
Amber Walker

P.S. If you have any questions or want to know more about the artwork shown here, leave them in the comments section. Don't forget to follow us to keep updated on what awesome projects we have going on. Our next project is a light box. How cool is that! See ya soon.

"Finding the Letter K"
© 2014 by Amber Walker All Rights Reserved

"The Hunt Continues"
© 2014 by Amber Walker All Rights Reserved

"The Extra Pieces"
© 2014 by Amber Walker All Rights Reserved

"Environmental Toxins"
© 2014 by Amber Walker All Rights Reserved

"Inner K"
© 2014 by Amber Walker All Rights Reserved

© 2014 by Amber Walker All Rights Reserved

It's the little things....

So, as my dear Husband was cooking today I heard a little voice from the kitchen ask, "Oh, that's Quinoa in there? Is cooking." I just about passed out. And here's why... On a sunny day about a year ago I sat in the same kitchen with a speech pathologist named Rachel. She came out from the local Child Development Center to do a word count on my boy. I was eager to invite her in, unleash on her the last year of development milestones we didn't see and brag about how many words my son knew. As the hour passed, she sat smiling nodding asking questions, going over lists of words I had provided her that I knew my son knew, and all the while hoping to hear her say, "Mrs. Jones, you're not crazy, something is happening inside of Keltanys and lets figure it out together." Sure enough as the hour came to a close she looked at me smiled and said, "I'm going to put the referral forward for an assessment for autism." I was relieved and said, "Great, when can we get started?" Suddenly her sentences became longer and time stopped almost completely as she said, "It won't be till next year due to our staff and the needs of kids in the Yukon." I just about fell over. Here I was with a son who wouldn't look at me when I entered the room, hated being touched, only knew about 50 words and could not form sentences, would move from an area he was playing in if I joined him, would not need me for hours and hours on end, and had a hard time understanding emotions. I felt completely helpless at first, and the only thing that ran through me and my husbands mind during that time was, "I can't lose my son even more between now and his assessment." We already felt like he had pulled away from the world at 18 months and here she was telling us we had to wait another year. Now, I don't blame the facility at all. They are so amazing that everyone wants their services and who can blame them. They are the best and have helped us tremendously. That being said I started doing crazy amounts of research on autism, the spectrum, similarities of my kid to other kids that have asd, the myths, etc. etc. etc. I went through so much overwhelming data that I decided half way through the confusion to focus on two sources, those that have asd, and the parents of children who have asd, because lets face it people, they are the real experts. Here's what I found that worked for me and my son, anything that had to do with the senses, and it all started with play dough and numbers. What went from a 50 words child went to 100 and now even more. My kid had an obsession with numbers and anytime we played with play dough, as long as he would mimic my words, which I knew he could, he could have the play dough shaped as his favorite numbers. We used to play for 3 hours every morning. And soon enough he understood what the words meant and could give me directions on what to do next. My husband and I took advantage of every single repetitive behavior he had, he wanted to flap things we'd have a stash of receipts waiting to be flapped. We bought him tiny flags as well to carry around with him. He wanted to run for hours on end we'd let him. He wanted to line things up we'd help him by providing the space to do so. And soon he started making eye contact again, would smile when we told him he was cute instead of hitting and not understanding. I not only attribute this to the wonderful staff at the CDC, our patience and dedication to unlearn and re-learn, but the the sensory toys we've introduced because without them our means for motivating him to communicate might not have existed. I tear up thinking about how far we've come. My Son is much more happy with experience and sensory toys that force interaction than with any mutant turtle or transformer. And he loves to communicate. It maybe difficult at times and yes frustrating to the point where we're both crying, but he strives forward past every obstacle determined to be heard and understood, and I am so proud of him...

Well now that I've sapped myself up and am smiling goofy style here is a project for all those kids (and maybe even adults as we had fun looking at them before we gave them to the kids..he he.) who have visual stimulation sensory needs. The Sensory Bottle. Pictures of what you'll need and the finished project are listed below, as well as a link to our you tube channel for instructions on how to put it together. Enjoy!!!

Always with love and Gratitude,
Amber Jones

Because every project should start off right.

Things that you think would visual stimulate your kid. Here's some of our kids favorites.

Any water bottle or bottle with a large opening. Voss water bottle was perfect for this project.  You'll also need crazy glue to glue the cap on, and the infamous duct tape just as extra precaution to keep the lid on it.

We took the letter beads and spelled out our kids names. Now, we put them in unstrung, but you can definitely string them together and then put them in the bottle if ya want to. 

TA DA!!! Really cool sensory bottle for on the road, I spy games, and working their muscles by shaking it up.

Follow the link below for video instructions on how to make your own sensory bottle!!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

What is the formula?

At 4:46 ....A.M. I woke slowly to a little voice. "Mama lie down? Mama lie down?" Somewhere in Mom brain I realized I have approximately 30 seconds to lie down with him to keep him asleep. For some reason I never listen to this voice. This voice tries to save me precious sleep and I always try to ignore it thinking that I can get creative with my bundle of cuddle. Telling him to "go lie down" or "Mommy will be there in a second." It always fails no matter what I say to the extreme of bribing he doesn't go back to sleep by himself and sure enough that 30 seconds passes and I am awake with the 3 year old. The trick to Keltanys going back to sleep is pressure on his hands and feet. It doesn't have to be continual it just has to happen in his stages of grogginess, and he's out like a light, and the world makes sense again. If only it were that easy some days. The trick to even getting Keltanys to sleep is a combination of melatonin and pressure on his hand and feet and no where else. At first I had some really big reservations about using something that would aid him to be groggy. "What kind of Mother would do that to their kid?" Well I can tell you a little story that propelled me to even think about opening the bottle.

For about 6 months after he turned three we experienced what some would describe as child induced insomnia. My son like clock work would wake at 10 A.M. Go down for a small nap at 1 P.M. and then be up till 2 or 3 in the morning. Then back up again at 9 A.M., 10 A.M, .or even 8 A.M. the next morning. It was less than ideal. Part of him staying up was his under sensitivity to movement that I will discuss another time. Anyway, our melatonin runs well so we were exhausted by 11 P.M. plus we were both working not to mention I was pregnant with our second. In a sleep deprived state we walked into the library one day and Will found an amazing book called, "Healing our Autistic Children." Now as a side note, when I first read the title I was not impressed and to be honest still am not a fan of the tittle. I think Autism is not something that needs to be completely healed. I don't mind my kids repetitive behavior, or his sensory preferences, because they are important to him and I think are there for a reason. What I do care about fixing or "healing" are his tummy and sleep issues.  In that book Julie Buckley, M.D. talks about melatonin usage. My husband was really gong ho about all the information. I on the other hand was skeptical to say the least of anything that could help heal my autistic son. But one thing overruled all of my senses and that was sleep deprivation, that was making me cranky and eating copious amounts of chocolate. So, I said why not. I wasn't getting any nicer and my waist line couldn't handle the pressure.

We got home from the local Wal-Mart and waited for 8 P.M. to hit before we opened that bottle. I was nervous honestly,  always second guessing our decision. Wondering if we were good parents for giving something to our child as a sleep aid. I know I had read over and over how melatonin works and that it is not dangerous even for kids, but second guessing doesn't discriminate between good information from the crap you drum up in your head. 8 P.M. came and we halved a 3 mg for our little man. In 30 minutes we saw Keltanys go from high intense running all over the place to, sitting and doing all the bedtime procedures, to asking for "Momma to lie down", to asleep. I was so nervous that I stayed up most of the night checking him ( he slept in our bed that night) to make sure he was alright because it had been many a night that he was up and I just wasn't used to seeing him with his eyes closed.  In the end he was fine and so were we.

He still get's the 3 mgs at night around 7:30 P.M. There is one thing, however, that the melatonin did not help and that was the need for "Momma lie down?" Like clock work every morning my little man at around 4 A.M. will wander over to our bed, rub his eyes and reach for my hand to drag me back to his bed so that I am there to give his little hands a feet the loving pressure he needs to get back to sleep, and I don't think I would have it any other way. There was a time when touching him was a big no go. But that is another story for another time. I'm just so grateful for the wake up call that tells me my differently wired Son still needs me. And I wouldn't trade that for the world. See ya in a post.....

With Gratitude,

Friday, 23 May 2014

I'll be honest..

Sometimes I wonder if this was a good idea, the whole posting personal insights about my Son, his ups and downs, his preferences, his strides forward, our triumphs and fails at parenting, and dietary needs. I've been through the whole gamut of "Am I exploiting my kids differences?" "Am I doing this for unknown selfish reasons?" "Am I doing this for some sort of personal gain?" And every time I climb through that web of craziness I always come back to this...

The reason I'm putting together this blog and my video blog on you tube is because of my beautifully autistic son and the many wonderful things he has taught us about thinking differently. He has, in his short 3 years of being here, taught us what it means to be patient, unconditional, limitless, and boundary breaking rebels. Seeing the world through his eyes has been heart-breakingly beautiful, and a true gift to us. And we could not be more grateful for him and the way he sees the world.

    Another important reason we're doing this is because of a beautiful resilient woman, who is now one of my hero's, who saved me and my Husband by writing "The Spark." Through her knowledge of ASD and her experience with her own Son, we had the strength to move forward with our Son tucked tightly under our wings. And I am ever so grateful to her for sharing her journey. Thank you Christine Barnett. As my son would say, "You are amazing!" We want to pay forward this kindness.

So to sum things up, this blog is to you who have a child on the autism spectrum, to you have kids with sensory needs, to you who are in the middle of the storm and might be saying, "Um, a little help would be nice," to you who have kids, and to you who want to see one family do the impossible.

I guess I should take the time to introduce us....

We are Amber Jones (Amber Walker is my name in the art world) and William Jones (Raistlen Jones in the art world). We've been married almost 6 years. We're both professional artists and have a myriad of different things we do. Which if I went into now would take some time so I will post tidbits along the way. We are getting ready to start our 7 year journey to becoming Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctors. Like I said we do the impossible. He he he....

Here is our inspiration to do the impossible...
6 month old daughter. Eltiyena

3 year old Keltanys.
 We want them to know they are limitless.

So, what can  expect from this blog? Well, it will be focused on creating sensory toys for kids with sensory needs. It will also be a documentation of our crazy life and how we manage it all. We may have some random artsy thing we're into and we will hit on diet. So expect a little bit of everything. Below I have posted a link to our youtube channel which focuses primarily on sensory projects for kids with sensory needs.

Anyway, I'm sure I've left something out due to Mom brain, but if you have any questions feel free to leave questions in the comment section.  I look forward to sharing our story and hearing yours.

Always with Love and Gratitude,
Amber Jones