Monday 30 January 2012

Pra Somchai and his 'special babies'

I've been thinking a lot about Mylo and how he came to be who he is.  I go through stages of beating myself up for passing on genetic material that has in some ways, let him down.  I wonder if it was something I did or didn't do when I was pregnant with him.  After all, my pregnancy from 21 weeks on was an exercise in pure agony for everyone involved.  I know that in a muted way, babies, in the comfort of the womb, experience and understand all that their mothers feel, hear, live.  And so, I sometimes sit and wonder if the trauma Mylo endured before even making his grand entrance and that which he surely experienced in labour and delivery, laid the groundwork for the solitary, mysterious world Mylo now calls his own.  I will likely never know. What I do know is that in at least one strange way, Mylo was pre-destined for Rogan and I. 

In 2008, Rogan went to Thailand with his best friend.  They went to travel and island hop and Rogan also carried on to visit his mom who lives in Chang Mai.  I tried to tag along, but at the time, work was very busy and I couldn't quite make it happen.  Sadly, I have still not been and don't see it happening in the foreseeable future.  24+ hours of travel with an autistic toddler?  Akin to many sharp sticks in many eyes.  I need a good few more years of skin-thickening to attempt that.

One of R's adventures took him to a small temple atop a mountain on the island of Koh Pangan.  They found it accidentally and met the monk who lived and 'worked' there.  According to Rogan, Pra Somchai was a 60 something, chain-smoking, cat loving dude, who had a cell phone so he could receive text messages. It seems that Pra Somchai had a very important purpose in life and was revered and sought out by people around the world (his big claim to fame was that he was the personal monk to the lead singer of Jamiroquai...I know, could it be any weirder?)   Pra Somchai's purpose was to provide 'special babies' to those who visited him.  It seems that he would bless them and work his monk-y magic (no disrespect intended) and a special baby would be created.  Women with infertility came to him from all over and according to him, his success rate was very high. Alrighty then.

Now, to be clear, R and I were not in the market for a baby at that point in our relationship, no sir, but Pra Somchai insisted R receive his blessing in the form of a woven bracelet around his right wrist. He told him that the bracelet and the blessing would provide R with a very 'special baby' when the time was right.  He also told him that the bracelet would fall off when it's work was done.  Two things:  1) It has not yet fallen off.  2) most days I get down on my knees and thank Pra Somchai for keeping his promise and sending us the most incredible baby boy who teaches us, shapes us, and helps us understand a whole new reality.  And other days, I just want to haul off and kick that monk in the nuts and yell, Autism was NOT the kind of 'special' we had in mind. Does that make me a bad person?  I hope not.

Thursday 26 January 2012

a good man as defined by an old dried up zucchini.

Behind every good man, there's a good woman?  Isn't that the saying?  If so, in our household it should undoubtedly be the opposite.  I am not sure if I am a good woman, but I can say, without a modicum of hesitation, that the man I am married to and who also happens to be my baby daddy (sorry, that was just too good an opportunity to pass up) is the best man there is.  Period.  No equivocations.

I hope all wives/mothers feel this way about their mates and if not, I implore you to go out and find yourself a Rogan....or a close approximation, as I guarantee he is the only one of his kind.

I know you are all on the edge of your seats wondering why I am so passionate about this topic, enough so that I am devoting an entire blog post to it.  Let me lay it out for you.

Firstly, my husband cooks.  I know, you are all jealous, as you well should be.  Not only does he cook, but he used to do it for a living and LOVES it.  This love translates to wonderful, beautiful, creative food on our plates almost every day.  I am all about esthetics in my home, but am usually far too lazy to apply this to my food (baking is another story) but Rogan makes sure every plate, no matter what it contains, is a work of art.  This is something that my freakish, OCD, esthetically inclined brain loves.  I think this first point is enough on it's own to make my husband such a good man...but, can you believe it?  There's  more.

an old dried up zucchini
He is sensitive, compassionate, understanding, intelligent, creative, devastatingly handsome and  the best dad Mylo could ever hope to have.  He supports us, he loves us, he bites his tongue when I go off an a crazy girl tangent, he has more patience in his little finger when it comes to Mylo and his meltdowns then I could ever hope to have.  He works hard every day so that I can stay home and take care of our son and never gives me grief about it (even though I have major guilt issues about no longer bringing in an income).  And he makes me laugh, in fact, he makes me laugh my ass off all the time.  Do you know just how important a sense of humour is in a partner?  I'm betting you do.  The MOST important.  And lastly, if all of the above didn't convince you of Rogan's awesomeness and my dumb luck at nabbing him, this picture should make it all clear.  It was taken last night.  I was on the phone for a good long while talking to another ASD mom (hooray for support!) and I hang up to find this note sitting on the kitchen counter.  Rogan had cleaned out the entire fridge, dumped, scrubbed and reorganized it and in the process found this little beauty.  Cleaned fridge, made me laugh my ass off.  A good man.

Now don't misunderstand me, R can be just as big a douche as all of us, but I'll take a little bit of douchery and a whole lot of awesome any day.  Also, did I mention he can cook?  :)

Wednesday 25 January 2012

How to fool a lazy liver with artificial exercise

And so, here I am at the beginning of another new adventure, the mysterious world of blogging.  I feel like I've been at the beginning of so many new adventures in the last few years, that I have been hesitant to add anything else to the ever growing list of things that I should be doing.  I've been pondering a blog of my own for some time and have been following some awesome and inspirational peeps on their blogs to get a feel for it.  Last week I suddenly felt like I was ready.  So here I am.  Now what?  

I digress.....first of all, the title to this first post has nothing to do with anything.  It is the title of a newspaper article from a Vancouver newspaper article printed in 1902.  I have the sheet of newspaper mounted and hung on my bathroom wall.  There are many ridiculously funny articles, but as I sit perched on the throne, this is the one that always recaptures my attention and makes me chuckle.  The article underneath is so old and worn, that I really have no idea what the title could possibly mean.....I can make out something about bowels and indigestion but prefer to just imagine a liver being carried around on a bicycle or something.

This week has been a particularly rough one for us.  We are in the middle of Mylo's private autism assessment, which means we are paying an ungodly amount of money for three specialists (a developmental Pediatrician, a child psychologist and a speech pathologist) to assess M's development and determine if he falls on the spectrum.  Now M is as young as one can be to be granted a diagnosis in Canada and honestly, from what we have seen, the criteria for assessment in wee ones is sorely lacking (but they sure don't consider that in their final bill).  All the tests and questionnaires are for kids between 0-5 and really, about 95% of the questions don't even apply to a toddler of 18 months.  Having said that, in the two appointments we have had thus far, the info. we have been given on his development (or lack there of) has also served to break our hearts a little more.  We have already been given the unofficial diagnosis of classical autism and global developmental delay and will get our official diagnosis and funding paperwork on Feb 3.  We have known this was coming for some time, but to say that it doesn't rip our guts out, would be a total fabrication.

I'm not one of these moms that is going to sugar coat his diagnosis and say, I wouldn't change him for the world or autism is a gift from God.  Nope, not me.  I think autism sucks.  If I could keep all other aspects of my boy and banish his autism, then I would happily do it in a second.  I want him to communicate, I want him to want to play with toys, I want him be less frustrated, I want him to interact with people instead of ignoring them completely.  I don't want these things only for him but for us too.  That may seem selfish or too real for some people, but dammit, I want my kid to experience life and I want to watch him do it.  R and I plan to unleash the hounds and access every resource possible for M.  We will get on every wait list, go to every workshop and support group, even if it is has absolutely nothing what so ever to do with autism (obviously not).  Kinda like Fight Club, but not really.

I think I'll end my very first blog post with a cute little story about the fine young boy we are proud to call our son.  Obviously, as he is only 18 months, M is still in diapers.  We cloth diaper and I like to let his dangley bits breathe as much as possible, which means, I let him run amok sans diaper often....perhaps too often?  No biggie, we have wood floors and what's a little pee here and there.  It can all be cleaned.  Well, the boy also seems to enjoy the odd poop while in the buff.  It happens.  What is so fantastic about M though is that he has a very special place he likes to leave his mark.  Our coffee table.  Picture it, adorable little pork chop, perched on our lovely antique coffee table in a squat, watching baby Einstein.  We turn our backs for a second and hear this awesome grunt.  As you can imagine, we laughed for a good long while at the result.  The best part is, it happened again today, just when I needed some comic relief the most.  I'd say this is probably the 5th or 6th time he's done it (including in front of company...that was the time he also peed on dads xbox!  Awesome!).  Apparently we don't learn very quickly!  :)