Clothes

And sometimes it just goes all to crap…

by Tim on August 10, 2010

“I’d piss on a spark plug if I thought it’d do any good!” – General Berringer, “War Games”

Well, as they say, “$h!t happens.” And so it did.

Our most recent in the Developmental Achievements We Could Do Without series was the J-Man’s newly-discovered ability to climb out of his crib. We’ve dreaded this to be honest as one of those points of no return that would mean we’d have to nuke the existing sleep routine we spent months and years building and basically start over. Within the last few days, we did discover that he’s figured out how to climb back in his bed, which is certainly a plus except that he actually has to want to.

Through our own flavor of Spy vs. Spy, we got him to at least stay in his crib by employing technology he doesn’t yet understand in some warped assertion of power by us the alpha parents. Believe it or not, that much is still kinda working. He has been staying in bed recently until he falls asleep.

However, here’s where it hits the fan, or lands under the fan as the case may be.

When last we talked about this tale many months ago, the J-Man was stripping down while still in his bed, which led to all sorts of fun and funky stuff to deal with in the mornings. For months we’ve been winning the battle thanks to our at one time desperate but in hindsight rather genius idea of putting some sort of shirt over his sleeper to stop him from getting out. Even the Great Flexi-Houdini J-Man wasn’t able to figure out how to get out of it. But as often happens, at some point a wasn’t can easily turn into an is.

It was a good run, but it appears that all good things must come to an end. And some of those must fail in a big pile of excrement, particularly one that results from an almost-five-year-old getting nekkid before it’s time to.

And this is often how changes announce themselves in life. Sometimes you get a religious epiphany, a double rainbow, perhaps the Voice from God, and maybe you simply hear that still small voice. And then there are the times you get a bunch of turds in the floor. However it happens, it’s pretty clear that when any of this happens, a wind of change is coming.

I really don’t know how to deal with this except to say “it happens” and try to come up with something before we run out of sheets, his pajamas, laundry soap, Clorox wipes, latex gloves, and bleach. It’s not like we’re flush with cash, the patience to work it out, or the time to sit and ponder it forever. We just weren’t quite prepared to deal with this latest assault.

This really wasn’t the week to have another load of stuff dumped on us. Yeah, none of us really have time for this crap, but what do you do? It’s not like he’s trying to be a butt about it. “All behavior is communication” is a fundamental principle for autism, so we just have to get to the bottom of it. We’ve just run out of ideas in our arsenal.

Maybe we’ll come up with another desperate but astute idea to wipe out this problem, but it always feels like we’re behind wherever he is. Perhaps if we could just crack the code of potty training, this much of it would come to an end. What a relief that would be! I know we have a good track record of ascertaining the solutions eventually, but at the moment, that’s not very assuring. Just feeling kind of bummed about it all. Well, this too shall pass, I suppose.

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This is Part 2 of our series “What’s Your Autistic Toddler Like Now?”, a journey through what’s happening these days in the life of our autistic 3 1/2-year-old son and sequel to our very popular original article, “What’s Your Autistic Toddler Like?”.

Note: Wherever you see “DSM-IV” below, this means that attribute is part of the diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fourth Edition or DSM-IV. In medical terms, a specific combination of those DSM-IV criteria is what brings about a diagnosis of autism.

Same obvious disclaimer as before: We are not advising you on how to evaluate your child. Go get them evaluated by professionals with extensive experience with autism. Don’t just rely on some random people on the Internet – namely, people like us.

If you haven’t already, go back and read Part 1. If you have, let’s continue on!

Characteristics That Are Significantly Present (continued)

Difficulty with social awareness (a bit better but a lot to work on) – I don’t know whether this has an official meaning, but I think of social awareness in a very broad sense as being aware that there are people around you and that they can be engaged with at some interpersonal level. For some time, we referred to other kids in the room as ‘part of the furniture’ as our son didn’t interact with them much differently than any other object in the room.

School has helped him in this regard in that he has regular time every school day with the same children and is involved in activities with them on an ongoing basis. You still get the sense that he’d usually be content without them, but often the emotions of an autistic toddler are inscrutable.

He does enjoy watching other kids do funny things, but watching rather than playing with children is one of those possible signs of autism, and this is a fairly accurate description of where he is right now.

That said, it is nice to see that he’s aware that other people have names, and he can use a name to refer to a person, though usually now that’s only with some prompting.

Continue on with Part 3! [click to continue…]

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Many times over, our “What’s Your Autistic Toddler Like?” post is the most read article on this site. It’s also the post people most often cite as the reason why they write us and become regular readers of our blog. We are gratified by your response to our story about our son and hope all this has been helpful to you and your family.

In celebration of the 1st Anniversary of our blog, I decided to write a multi-part series, revisit that popular post, and update it for what the J-Man is doing now almost 9 months later. The original “What’s Your Autistic Toddler Like?” gave you a snapshot of what an autistic toddler might be like – or at least what ours was like – about three months before his 3rd birthday.

[click to continue…]

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[The original post is here. If you haven’t read it, go read it first. You definitely won’t want to miss The Rest of the Story.]

This was so utterly bizarre that it deserves its own post.

So after the Great Sleeper Escape the other day, we just pitched the sleeper into the laundry not knowing – or wanting to know – what foulness lived in its fabric. When it came time to fold the laundry, we noticed something absolutely astounding. The Great Sleeper Escape turned out to be a complete understatement. You have to see this to believe it.

[click to continue…]

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Not the Fine Motor Achievement We Had In Mind

by Tim on September 25, 2008

[Bewildering update to this post available here.]

This has been the roller-coaster week from Helena, and this morning got off to a rip-roaring start, as if we needed that.

You may remember from the Houdini post that J-Man is the David Blaine of sleep clothes. One minute he’s clothed and then you blink and everything he’s wearing is piled on the floor and he’s jumping up and down in the bed butt nekkid. Thankfully, David Blaine hasn’t tried that on prime time TV yet.

So we had given up on two-piece pajamas for a while and have been cramming him back into sleepers again. The stress of having to run into his room the second he woke up in the morning to prevent endless sheet washing just got old. His sleepers are zippered and snapped and fit him so snugly that it’s hard for him even to completely straighten out. He’s chewed on the neck area of them a lot, but they’ve stayed on and always zippered up, which has thankfully thwarted any more ecstatic fits of aerobic urination in the bed.

Well, at least until this morning.

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Some days start horribly and show no sign of improving. The day easily could prove to be a total write-off. Being one beat off the normal daily rhythm can send your kid into meltdown. Some days, your only real goal is to make sure everyone is alive when the day ends and that any damage to property isn’t permanent. The only way to salvage anything positive might be to find even the dumbest thing in your day that didn’t go wrong.

Here are five things you can do to ensure that your day has at least something like that in it. The sad thing is that each of these has actually happened to us. Like they say, rules exist because someone broke them – like the fact that you can’t mail yourself through the US Postal Service.

  1. Look down and make sure you are wearing something more over your behind than just underwear before you walk out to your mailbox. This is particularly positive if your mailbox is at the end of a driveway and you have a lot of neighbors.
  2. Speaking of underwear, when you pick up your clean undies from the laundry basket of clothes you didn’t put away, before you try putting a pair on, make sure the cat (or other animal in your house) hasn’t peed on them.
  3. Find some way to covertly figure out whether your child is still clothed before the laughing in your child’s room in the morning that may indicate that he stripped down and decided to stand up butt naked and pee all over the wall begins. Bonus points – If you install said device (say a video monitor), try not to aim the camera such that you might see something you’d really rather not, particularly at 6:30AM when you aren’t sure whether you woke up in the right house.
  4. Assuming your kid stayed clothed, if you go to pick them up in the morning or after a nap and they are wet, verify the nature of the wetness before proceeding. Remember, it is difficult to see colors in low light, and this is very valuable data to have.
  5. Don’t put the diaper cream you keep in the bathroom on your toothbrush. As a safety fallback, verify the nature of the substance on your toothbrush before putting it in your mouth.

Yeah, it’s a reach. But some days setting the bar incredibly low can help you feel like you accomplished something.

And you gotta admit that diaper cream doesn’t foam well on a toothbrush and putting on clean, dry underwear is better than the alternative.

Well, gotta go. My kid is laughing in his bedroom…

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I’m not wearing pants!

August 12, 2008

Because the J-man has recently gone to wearing 2-piece pajamas (I’m telling you, we tried to keep him in sleepers for as long as possible!), we have had some issues. Some of it is good: the J-man is learning more about self-care. He is very good at putting his arms through shirt sleeves, and working […]

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My Name is (WHAT?)

June 13, 2008

The J-man has a new and exciting talent – the ability to say a whole phrase. That phrase? “My name is ‘J-man’!” It goes like this: Mama: My J-man: muh-muh J-man: na-na Mama: name J-man: i-i Mama: is J-man: na-na! Mama: ‘J-man’! [We assume you know that neither ‘na-na’ nor ‘J-Man’ is his name, and […]

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