Sunday, April 27, 2008

Loving the PURGE!

When you hear the word PURGE, do you conjour up images of teenage girls with anorexia? I used to, until I started purging my house. I really don't know that a person who has natural organizational and housekeeping skills could really understand this. They do this as a way of life. I don't think they ever have to really purge, because they are continually keeping things in place. AH, there is a concept. They also HAVE A PLACE to keep things. THAT is the other issue.

We live in a house that is 1070 sq. feet. There are 4 of us. One of us is a computer geek. We have 4 functioning desktop computers (2 are at his desk with one monitor), our old laptop that he made work (it only cost $25 to buy & another $75 to make it run!), his work computer that he typically brings home for safekeeping, a non-functioning laptop, several pieces of computers, and quite often, a computer that he is working on for someone else. One of us is an artist. She has art supplies that somehow migrate from one room to the other. I suspect that at night they come to life and ooze throughout our house. From yarn to paint, from Elmer's glue to a hot glue gun, from stamps to scissors, and of course, ANY recyclable object that might just one day possibly be used for a craft project, our artist fills quite a large portion of this house. Then there is the stuffed animal and clothes queen. She is likely the most organized of the 4 of us. However, she also has ADHD. That means she will step ON things and not realize they are there. It means she will cause an entire stack of just folded clothes to tumble, and never realize she did it. It means that oozing effect from the artist is helped along by this child.

Ah, you see how I've built this up so you know I am NOT the only one with a mess! Yes, I have things, too, spread out. You see, my business deals with kitchenwares. That means, I have LARGE mixing bowls, LARGE baking stones, LARGE knives (which makes everyone want to be VERY nice to me---LOL), and lots and lots of small to medium size kitchen tools. PLUS all the paperwork to run said business. Then there is my full time job of homeschooling my children. I have several cabinets full of homeschool material, which also overflows onto the couch, the floor, the fireplace, and the entertainment "center" (a now close to falling apart piece my dear husband built for me the day he proposed to me; you see why I said yes). Then I actually have a hobby, which is my sanity break. I don't get to do it often but I love it. It is rubber stamping and papercrafts. THOSE items live in our bedroom.

I think you've got the idea that we have too much stuff for a house this size. While ideally we'd like to move to a bigger home, it hasn't happened yet, so we have to go with the other answer to this problem: get rid of things. Thus, PURGING is something I enjoy, at least while I am well. Perhaps because I know I might not stay well long I like to purge as much as I can at one time. We have gone through the kids' toys in the past month, or a good portion of them. We have now emptied 5 large sterlite plastic boxes, plus numerous cardboard boxes. The girls have been willing to part with toys (a HUGE step for Bethany), so there is a box of toys to sell at a garage sale.

I've also gone through somethings to get rid of. Some is simply garage sale material. But, some I've put on "the bay" otherwise known as e-bay. I've also offered my customers some of my used products for a low price and have sold several of those items! Tonight my 4 listings on e-bay end. 2 have closed. 1 item sold for a really low price, but the other was decent. 2 more are still open. I love the feeling of knowing these items will be OUT of my house! I love even more knowing that I've made a little money back on these items! We do try to give away as much as we can, but it's such a blessing to us when we can sell things. And, I must admit, there's a bit of a "rush" in those last few moments of an e-bay auction. It's that way when you are buying on the bay, but WOW, when you are selling & the number goes up in those last minutes, it is DELIGHTFUL!

So, my secret is out. People assume when you are messy that it is because you don't WANT to be neat. The truth is, for most homeschool families I know (and there are exceptions), we are living on one income, and sometimes less than that. Most of us don't live in mansions, but we have a lot of stuff because we are homeschoolers, and many of us have a part-time job or help run the family business so we can purchase supplies. I do know some very neat and organized homeschoolers, but they are the exception, not the rule. There are 2 men who have said things that have encouraged me about this. One is the co-director of our homeschool co-op. He said that when they started homeschooling, he just accepted the fact that for the next 18 years (and more, since they ended up with 5 kids), the house would be messy. Another man, the husband of the KONOS curriculum author, says to homeschool dads, "Your wife has a full-time job to raise and educate the children. She needs a maid. If you can't afford the maid, then you need to BE the maid." My husband hasn't quite grasped either of these, but one can always hope! In the meantime, I plug along doing what I can, when I can, to make a difference. And purging is the best way I have found to do this. Dave Ramsey, financial expert, says that when you are trying to get out of debt, you need to "Sell, sell, sell." He says that you need to sell so much that your children start to think you are going to put a price tag on them!

Not to worry, my kids don't think that. They've got the selling bug, too!

Our house was bombed!

It's true. Our house was bombed. But, much to our chagrin, the only actual destruction was on any critters that dared to exist in our home. We feel that taking a hit here & there would not necessarily be a bad thing for this old house! We aren't sure the bugs really were affected though. I did put a sheet up to keep the kitchen from being directly hit. I have too many food serving or prep pieces out to be spraying pesticide in there. Apparently, this was enough to prevent ANY of the poison from hitting the kitchen. We came home to a kitchen still swarming in fruit flies. We have quite a time with those this time of year. Ideally, if there were any lice living anywhere off of our heads, this did them in. Hopefully, there are not even any signs of lice still in our heads!

Our latest weapon of choice, the EVOO, is quite smelly. Natalie is okay with having it on her head. She has such baby fine hair that it was hard to wash it out. She has the type of hair that might get oily easily as a teen, I think. Bethany has hair like mine: coarse & thick. It washed out of her hair like a dream. Or, perhaps, it just soaked in. I wonder if it is even worth rinsing it out of my hair. It probably makes it look healthier with some oil in it! And just think of how it would help my cooking business! Ah, this is our consultant for the night. Doesn't she smell just heavenly? Just like a trip to the Italian restaurant!

That's about as exciting as it's been around here. I'll share a different post about my personal "excitement," which isn't anything too terribly exciting! LOL!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Would you like cucumbers with that?

We went to the doctor today. I was sure Natalie had an infection. She's been coughing like crazy for several days and yesterday started coughing up yellow gunk (sorry, but it's true!). We got in and the doctor checked her well. She said it's a wheezy cough & she needs her inhaler 3x a day, but no infection. She also told me, when I asked the ever curious, "Is she contagious?" question, that she's as contagious as anyone with a cold, but she wouldn't quarantine her. Then I asked about lice. She asked what we had used. I ran down the list. She said to try the olive oil method. I told her I'd done hair gel (didn't mention mayo, but she said mayo or olive oil helps). Again, the, "Would you let your kids go to school like this?" She said if they are not at the scalp, but further down the hair shaft, and if there are no live bugs, it's okay to go in public. So, we thought it would be okay to go to co-op tomorrow. I did want to get some input from some of the other moms at co-op, and they were still a bit leary of us coming if there were any nits in the hair. Natalie also had a live louse on her LEG today! She was on the couch, which is where Phil was when he found one on his ARM. Phil JUST sprayed the couch last night.

At Wal-Mart, we picked up olive oil, or EVOO as Rachael Ray says (that stuff is expensive!) and fumigators for the house. A friend had told me 2 weeks ago that a vet said to use cattle dip on the kids, but I was so sick then that I put it aside. I thought of it now & then, but was trying this other stuff. Tonight she saw him again & he said we could use it to spray in the car, the furniture, floor, etc. He also said to bomb the house. Phil suggested bombing a different house, but we prefer him here to prison, so I nixed that idea. We'll settle for bug bombs in our house. Another friend told me about these new type of fumigators that don't leave residue, so we'll try that first. If we still have live bugs, we'll do the cattle dip. Maybe we should pick up a cow while we're at it. The vet assured us that the dip is totally safe. It is the same medicine that's used as heartworm medicine, and is completely safe.

I've washed more loads of laundry (have I mentioned that I've done laundry a lot lately?) and dried them thoroughly on hot. I sprayed the beds and couch with what was left of the Nix Spray, then vacuumed the couch. Natalie washed her hair, then I decided to comb through before taking action. If there were live bugs, I'd do nix (chemicals). If not, I'd do olive oil. With Bethany, I have found several nits. Natalie had ONE tonight. We think. IF that was a nit. So, I covered her hair in olive oil & put a shower cap on her. Bethany is in the tub now. She's next. The dr. told us we have to rinse it with 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 water. So, I'm thinking olive oil & vinegar....we just need some lettuce & cucumbers and we're ready for lunch!

I THINK Natalie has finally got all of her anger out of her system. She LOVES our homeschool co-op. This is our 4th week to miss (the first was for the funeral). She is VERY unhappy that the doctor said she was good to go if there were no nits by the scalp & no live bugs. I didn't tell her that the one nit I found wasn't right at the scalp. Her cough is really more concerning to me than the nits. She sounds horrible.

So, tomorrow if we can cover everything food related, we'll set off the fumigators & head out somewhere. Somewhere free. Where we don't have to spend money. I think the downtown library!

I'm off to find some tomatoes now.

P.S. Just checked through Bethany's hair & also nothing living except hair! I think there was one nit. She looked through mine and found no live bugs. YEA! I'll wash it & do olive oil on myself tonight, too. Dare I hope we are near the end?

So THIS is why you use that verification code!

My niece posted a few months ago that she hates having to do the number verification code to post on a blog. I agreed, and set mine to no code. Well, today I found I had a comment. I moderate my comments, and this is an example of why. I was so excited to see that I actually HAD a comment that I clicked on it immediately to read it. It was a link to a printer ad from BRAZIL! Ah, so THAT is why we need the verification code!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

This is REALLY lousy!

Okay, so I thought we were progressing. I THOUGHT I'd found all the nits. I THOUGHT we were through with this. Then today I found 1 live louse on Natalie. Natalie found a live louse on Bethany. Phil found a live louse on his arm when he was on the couch, with Natalie next to him, whose hair had just been thoroughly treated & combed through with a lice comb. I found no more live ones on the girls, thankfully. And these 3 were different from what I saw before. The others were very skinny. This one was fat, so I assume it is a female. Um, not saying females are fatter, but a friend told me that the females are the rounder ones b/c they lay eggs.

Tonight I treated their hair with the very pricey Lice Away shampoo and Rosemary Repel conditioner. And I combed, and combed, and combed with the terminator nit free comb. I got one layer of Lice away on my head when it ran out. So, when I rinsed it out, I used some tea tree oil shampoo, followed by Rosemary Repel. I broke a tooth off the plastic lice comb trying to go through my hair! So, I must use the metal one from now on.

One of my very sweet online friends called me tonight to empathize. She's had to deal with lice several times. She is on a mission to tell people that lice is NOT caused by poor health habits, dirtiness, or anything of the like. Lice PREFER clean hair! If you are bored, here is one source of reading about lice: For more, you can go to CDC's website & read here:

Did you know that headlice is actually called "Pediculosis?" In earlier times lice was said to carry typhoid fever. One article said that in times of war, lice was a far fiercer enemy than the sword.

My friend Beth (we call each other our online twin!) wrote the funniest Dr. Seuss style poem about our nits. I modified it a "tad" Beth!

Nits, nits, Nat has nits.
Nits here, nits there, nits around.
No more nits on Nat, I say. Take those darn nits and get AWAY.....
Away, I say and don't come back.
Don't come back, cuz if you do.....
I'll flush you down with the...

Poo-Poo-Poo, I say!
Take those darn nits and get

Now I must add my own lines:

Get, get, get away lice!
You really aren't very nice.
We wash, and rinse, and comb, and pick.
Why can't you go live on a tick?

We sit on the couch in our cozy house
and LOOK, LOOK! I see a louse!
A louse I say, it must not stay!
Out, out you bugs! Go stick to a mouse!

Okay, that's all I got!

Did you know that washing bedding daily in very hot water is needed to fight the lice battle? Did you know that you can't do that when the washing machine starts leaking hot water all over the garage floor? One guess how we know this. So, rather than trimming trees tomorrow, I suspect my husband will be ripping apart a washing machine. I hope it is a simple fix & not the major job we had when the mice ate through our washing machine hoses. Thankfully the dryer is working, so I ran all the bedding through the dryer for quite some time to kill anything that dared stick to the bedding!

Good night!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I took a Trip last night

You know you've been stuck in the house sick and picking lice too long when you start dreaming about taking a trip. ANYWHERE. So, last night I took a trip.

I was in New Mexico. I vaguely remember driving there & it seems like we were on a map as we drove. Really weird. Then, I went to this house & it was a couple that had adopted or was fostering about 20 kids. And, they had some househelp that only spoke Spanish. BUT, the house was this horrible, unlivable place that was an OLD yucky thing. Then, it had been added onto with more shack-like buildings. The kids were all over the place & they had the weirdest beds everywhere. The bathtub was filled once & everyone was supposed to bathe in it. It was kind of like a multi-level tub with different parts attached together, like a hot tub that flows into a pool. But, these kids had eaten all kinds of food in the tub, so there were food scraps all in it. I was SO tired & just wanted to sleep. I also discovered that Natalie was there with me. So, I was trying to find a place where she & I could lie down & sleep. When I went outside, the house was right on a river. I mean, it was like a building in Venice would be with the water outside. And they were having some kind of festival on the water. I wanted to bring my laptop inside to plug in, but I didn't want anyone to feel bad that I had a computer! The next day we all walked to church, I think. Though, we had to walk past some really scary looking places to get there. I don't remember ever getting to church. I think the couple with all these kids was a missionary couple or something.

During this whole dream, I kept thinking, "Tomorrow I'll be with Peggysue & Traci since they live here in New Mexico." Those are 2 of my online "dork sister" friends.

It was truly a very colorful, detailed dream. Whoever says you don't dream in color has never been inside MY head! I gotta get well!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

2nd Place!!! Way to go Natalie!

Today Natalie was in the AWANA games. AWANA is a Bible club for kids. Each Sunday they have a meeting and play games, learn Bible verses, and hear a Bible story. They have some really fun games like bean bag toss and 4 way tug of war. The church where we go for AWANA (Community Bible, or CBC) had a team this year, and Natalie was so excited to be able to do this! She was in 4 of the games (they have to alternate who plays in each game). She got to run the 3 legged race with another little girl. They were the smallest ones on the team & the perfect size for this. It was a lot of fun to watch. CBC's team placed 2nd in the semi-finals & she got a red ribbon! This is the first year they've had a team, so I thought they did really well.

I was really pleased to see the good sportsmanship, especially with Natalie. She tends to be competitive, but has grown up so much and doesn't get as upset about not winning, usually. She did mention that a different team had more "disqualifications" (they have really specific rules to follow), but was still VERY excited to place. She said, "I thought we'd be in 4th place or maybe 3rd. When they announced 4th place, I figured we were 3rd." Needless to say 2nd was really exciting.

We then went to Mr. Gatti's, or Gattiland, or Gatti's. Not sure what the proper term is these days. Back in the "old days" when Mr. Gatti's first came to this area, we ate there a lot. That was well over 20 years ago! Who knew you had to have games and cheap toys to make it a REAL pizza place. The church paid for Nat's meal. I had told the girls I'd pay for a little bit to play games. I had no idea how much FOOD would cost there. For just Bethany & me the food part was over $15. Remember, I can't even eat pizza or pasta, and didn't dare try some of the foods that could have had gluten in them. And Bethany, well, at under 50 lbs., as you can imagine, she does NOT eat $6.59 worth of pizza. And that didn't include any games! I suspect I will be making pots of beans this week to eat since we spent so much money this week on medicine, lice treatment (which hasn't arrived) and then Gatti's.

Phil went to his mom's last night to go to an air show up there today. He did ask if I needed him to stay since we still had some lice on Bethany (eggs, no live ones). I told him to go on, as I didn't think there was that much on her head. Well, when I combed it out last night it was GROSS! I gooped up her hair with this extreme hair gel & let it sit for over an hour, then washed, sprayed in tea tree oil conditioner, and put hair oil on it. When I combed, I found lots of nits. yuck! I put her hair into braids & twisted them up today and made her wear a hat. Poor kid!

I had my markers with me to color on some stamped images while I was waiting for Natalie's team to play. Bethany & I were on the top row of bleachers. When she started drawing we had a swarm of little girls come watch her draw. She was drawing Cinderella's coach, with the whole scene around it. That was sweet that they wanted to watch. But, they were really crowding in on us & I had to tell them she'd had lice & please move away. And, "No, you cannot see her DS. Because I'm her mom & I said so. No, you can't use my markers. Her hair is really long. Yes, she does have lice." I wanted to say, "What adult are you with and why aren't they watching you?" I really just wanted to color & then watch Natalie.

Phil said he forgot to take the charged battery to the air show (he had the camera), so he only took a few pictures. I didn't take any (since he had the camera!) of Natalie. Others did, so hopefully I can get some copies of pictures. Tomorrow when he gets home I'll have him take pictures of her with her red ribbon.

I now have my head covered in goop & a shower cap. I used lice killing chemicals last night & my head itched more today than it had. I hope to smother anything that might be there. Good thing most my brain cells are long gone so I won't worry about too many being smothered! LOL!

Off to comb through hair & put on clean sheets. Good night!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Goodnight Little Dog!

The other night, when I tucked Bethany in, and was telling her good night, I saw her giant stuffed dog animal on her bed. I looked at it & said, "Goodnight Big Dog." Then I heard Bethany say, "Ummmm........goodnight Little Dog." She thought I was calling HER Big Dog so she was trying to decide what to call me. I laughed so hard & now I'm laughing all over again because we've started saying, "Good night Big Dog." "Good night Little Dog." "I love you Big Dog." "I love you Little dog."

Except it hurts to laugh, so I need to stop!

Last night I fought an all out war on the lice on my head (assuming they are there). I slathered my hair in mayonaise, then covered it with a grocery bag & tied it tight. I left it in there for over an hour, just to be sure I'd smothered any signs of life. When I got in the shower & took off my "cap" a bug FLEW off my head! What I've read says lice don't fly, just crawl. Well, this thing flew. I think a fruit fly found it's way to my mayo'd head! I decided then to wash my hair with tea tree oil shampoo & then do the chemical treatment.

Today I found a live louse on B's head & several of the white nits (at least I THINK that's what they are). I am reading such conflicting info online. Most all of it says that lice cannot live more than 24 hours off a human head, and that IF an egg hatched off of a human head, it would need to get to a human head within minutes to survive. So, they are now saying vacuum to get rid of anything that might be on the floor, but don't bag up the toys. Yet, we keep finding these critters.

I ordered some special shampoo & conditioner---after paying for my meds to get well---(hey, who needs groceries when you can pay for lice treatment & bronchitis instead?!!), but it won't get here til possibly TUESDAY! I am hoping it's here by Saturday. It shipped fed ex, so they could come Saturday, but don't deliver on Mondays.

Next step is to buy dippity doo or cattle dip (2 other suggestions). I am ready to slay the little beasties myself!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I have ANOTHER upper respiratory infection. This is the 3rd of this type illness this year. I stayed home from our homeschool co-op today & my friend took the girls. I went to bed for a couple of hours. When I got up I had a message that my friend found lice on Bethany's head. AGAIN. She brought both girls home (thank you!). Natalie shows no signs of the critters, but did have a FLEA on her head.

So, off we went to the doctor's office for me to get a prescription. Then to the store to buy lice killing shampoo. I also ordered some stuff online that a lady told me was the only thing she found to finally get rid of the lice.

Bethany's bedding is in the washer, her hair has been washed & picked through. My nose is runny, needs to be washed and....oh, wait, wrong issue! LOL! I put Bethany's hair into these little ponytails all over. A friend on Splitcoast told me that made it easier to deal with going through the hair a section at a time. Except she said to put it into little buns. I just don't have bobby pins! Bethany thought she looked quite stylish. Note the "pose" in the one of her back!

We'll be home for the next several days picking bugs, I guess!

She's walking....yes indeed she's walking

Mom got her final "A" on her knee today. No more walker! YEA! She doesn't have to do any more physical therapy, but because insurance approved it, she wants to go ahead & do those last 6 sessions.

Good news for Mom!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Of lice and ladybugs

We had another lice scare on Tuesday. Bethany had something in her hair that appeared to be the same as the bugs we had last time. Of course now we are all itchy. A friend looked through her hair and found nothing but scalp. Another friend looked through my hair and found no bugs. However, she did about faint when she realized how much hair I have. I offered to share some for a transplant.

Yesterday we did the whole cleaning routine for lice. I washed all her bedding in hot water, then sprayed what couldn't be washed. I washed her hair with tea tree oil shampoo.

I had a really strange dream, which for me isn't strange at all. I could see some little dark lice in Bethany's hair & in mine. I washed both of our hair with the lice shampoo (the chemical kind). When I finished washing, I had dead bugs (which happens when you use the shampoo, that's the idea), but I had LOTS of dead bugs AND live bugs. And they were no longer lice, but LADYBUGS! I had ladybugs crawling around on my head. I went outside to try to get them to fly away. I don't know if they all came off or not.

I also dreamed that Texas was right next to Washington DC, but DC was located where Georgia really is. I was planning to attend some funerals at either Arlington or another National Cemetery & I was going through a list of burials to see which one had more people on it that I knew. I had circled a bunch, but before I left, someone asked if I really needed to go since it would be quite an expense to pay for gas for the car. I looked at the list again & realized I didn't know ANY of the deceased, then wondered why in the world I was going to go.

It's not just me. My dad has these crazy dreams, my kids have them, and my niece has them. If you want to see my niece's championship dream, click HERE.

World Autism Day

April 2nd was World Autism Day. I know, I'm posting on April 3rd. That's because I live in a home with an autistic child. I can "chat" when my kids are playing or making crafts (which is almost constantly with the autistic one), but when I want to have a good alone time to think, it happens sometime after midnight.

Actually, the whole month of April is Autism Awareness Month. No doubt, if you've watched any news at all in the past few years, you've heard the reports of rising numbers of children being diagnosed with autism. Autism is considered a neurological "syndrome." The term "syndrome" is used for a diagnosis of symptoms that can't be measured physically. That's the simple way to put it. Autism is not a medically definable illness. It is a label given to a person who meets the criteria in the DSM IV....the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" for autism or Asperger Syndrome. For a good idea of what symptoms an autistic person has this site has some great info: For info on Asperger Syndrome, this site has the list of criteria used to determine this diagnosis:

While each child (or adult) has to "meet" the criteria to receive this diagnosis (or "dx"), it doesn't mean all people with autism or Asperger Syndrome will have the same symptoms. Autism is considered a spectrum ranging from profoundly autistic (this would be the person who rocks constantly, never talks, might need to be fed, and more) to Asperger Syndrome (very "high functioning" autism, and the time range and type of symptoms can be quite different, but end with a similar result). Basically, autism is a neurological disorder affecting the way a person responds to others and develops. In classic autism, a child will develop normally until about the age of 12-18 months, perhaps even saying words, then will start to regress to the point that the child is withdrawn, does not respond to other people, and stops talking. In Asperger Syndrome, often you have a child who speaks early and continues speaking, but much of it is echolalia, a repeating of phrases. Some children with AS will begin reading extremely early.

In our case, our daughter has Asperger Syndrome. I was just looking over the milestones for babies & remembering who I clung to my "What to Expect the First Year" book with her. The only thing she seemed to do on time was get teeth. She was either VERY early or VERY late in her development. I just read that by 1 year a baby should be making sounds like "da, ba, na." Bethany was doing that before she was 5 months old. She was speaking in sentences by 18 months, if not before. It wasn't until later that I realized what was missing: she was speaking, but she wasn't always communicating. She never pointed to something she wanted. I just thought she didn't need to because she could speak. She could not answer simple "yes" or "no" questions by age 4. She certainly could not answer "where" or "who" questions, never mind trying to get "why" out of her. She STILL can't answer many of the "why" questions about her feelings or actions. She NEVER held out her arms to be held. NEVER. When she was 2 years old she got sick with an upper respiratory infection. I asked her, "Do you want Mama to hold you?" and she said for the first time, "Mama hold you," which meant Mama hold me. At 2 she knew all of her letters and numbers. She was reading license plates to me! At less than 3 I remember her speaking in such big sentences for one so small. I was convinced she was a genius.

It was cute at 2 and 3. But as she approached 4, then 5, and still was not potty trained, still could not answer questions, still could not connect the letter she read with any type of sound it made, plus a long list of other problems, I knew this was not normal. Okay, I knew it wasn't normal from Day 1. I knew she didn't do what the book said. Babies were supposed to be groggy at birth. Babies weren't supposed to be able to focus at birth. Babies were supposed to SLEEP and only cry when they were hungry or wet. She stared at us when she was born. She didn't sleep. She never slept unless she was nursing. She would NOT take a pacifier. She would NOT take a bottle. And did I mention she didn't sleep? While she was busy not sleeping, she screamed. The doctor said it was colic and gave us some medicine to give her. I spent nearly 2 months eating bland food and she still screamed, so I started eating Mexican food again!

I'd never had a baby. She didn't do what the books said, but when I asked the doctor, he'd say, "Oh, she'll grow out of it." Then we moved to San Antonio when she was 2 1/2. We went to a pediatrician for the first time. Surely THIS doctor would help me understand what was happening. "She'll grow out of it. By the time she's grown, ADHD will be called something different." She was not potty trained. She screamed when I left her at Sunday School. She was doing naughty things that she would be disciplined for, yet she would do it again and again. Nothing seemed to sink in. I finally had enough of doctors telling me this was normal, when I knew good & well by 5, this was not NORMAL.

I did my research and by the grace of God stumbled onto a homeschool online community where I "met" a lady who directed me to this new (to me) type of autism called Asperger Syndrome. Let me back up to when Bethany was 4 mos. old. We were at my parents' house and Bethany was watching everything that happened so intently. She was watching TV when it was on, too. Thankfully, she was finally getting some sleep because I went through with the cry-it-out plan at 3 months. She still woke up throughout the night to nurse, but at least she was sleeping in between! My mom said, "She's like a little savant." Savant is the term that really fits the character from Rainman. That stuck with me. When she was about 3 a friend said, "She's artistic." I asked, "did you say autistic?" NO, ARTISTIC. Obviously, the thoughts of autism had been in my head. She didn't fit the classic autism mold, though. So, when I stumbled onto Asperger Syndrome, I couldn't read enough. I had Phil read this info, too. We knew we'd found a description or our child. We found a doctor to officially diagnose her (though reluctantly, as she thought it could be childhood schizophrenia), and began looking for anything we could do to help her.

That was 6 1/2 years ago. We still see the same behavioral specialist doctor, who, after seeing Bethany 2 years after that original diagnosis said, "She definitely has Asperger Syndrome." She has changed so much, as I posted recently. Some days I stand amazed at how different she is than she used to be. Then we have days like yesterday and today. Days when she is acting like a 6 or 7 year old when relating to other kids. Days when she is misperceiving the intents of others' actions, and responding in anger to them. Days when I have to explain in detail how each action affects another person. Days when I look at her and wonder if she will ever be able to live on her own, have a job, marry, have children, and so much more. She desires to be married and have children when she is an adult. Though, she really doesn't desire to grow up at all! She was quite content being 8, then being 9, then 10, now 11.

She can be a very sweet little girl. She is quite funny! She has us laughing all the time, sometimes intentionally, but often not, and she is happy to be the source of humor, even if non-intentional. When I remember to compare her growth to how SHE used to be, life is good. She has come so far.

But on days like today, when I see other kids her age so far beyond her socially/emotionally (in a good way, mature, not acting older than they should), and when I see how they can't possibly understand her (it's hard enough for adults to understand her), and when I see that the friends she's made and enjoyed playing with don't want to play with her because of many different reasons, and when I see parents able to communicate with their kids her age on such a different playing field, and when I see adults not understanding her, and so much more, on days like this, it is hard. When I see her getting along better with a 6 year old than she does with the 8-11 year olds, it makes me sad. I'm happy she is playing, but I'm sad because I know they think of her as so different. She doesn't understand why they don't want to play the same things she does. Then she gets mad, and alienates herself from them, but doesn't understand she has done this.

On days like this I just have to say, autism stinks.