Monday, August 27, 2012

Birthday Fun with Preston and Grandma!

Last weekend was Max's nephew's Yo Gabba Gabba one year Birthday party. Everyone wore their swim suit and a Yo Gabba Gabba shirt for the awesome occasion.  The birthday started at eight, but we got there 7:30 on a beautiful Saturday morning. Decorations were amazing that Max's sister in law Haylee made and the food was delicious. Max had fun playing on the splash pad with his nephew.  
After eating, singing Happy Birthday and watching his nephew unwrapped his gifts we left for home. 


Max helping Preston and Haylee open the gift we bought him.

Later that day we drove to cooler weather to see Grandma and celebrate her 80th Birthday. Max loved listening to my Ipod on the way and was disappointed when the battery ran out. Didn't bring a charger with us. Darn!
Max's Aunt Debra invited us to go to the Mortimer Family Farm to see the animals, corn fields and other attractions before Grandma's celebration. Max and I rode the Train Barrel ride and it was a blast. His Uncle Darrel drove the tracker and pulled us all over the farm. Max wanted to sit in the very back barrel and I sat about four barrels in front of him. When we finished our barrel train ride we jump out quickly and headed straight for the hayride. Max sat next to his Aunt Vivian and brother Malachi. Aunt Vivian asked him how did he like the barrel ride and Max response was
"It was like a roller coaster ride." 

 Uncle Darrel telling Max he was going to get him.
Max having fun with his Uncle Darrel

Max on a tracker
Later that evening we went out to eat with Aunt Terese, Aunt Delia, Aunt Vivian, Aunt Debra, Uncle Darrel, Debra's parents, Max's dad, brother and Grandma to
Texas Road House.
Max ordered Mac & Cheese and a hamburger. After our experience with Max on our last excursion to a restaurant where he order seven different dinner plates without the waiter telling us he did. We were seated at a different booth with Michael and Haylee. Malachi and him were seated at the another. When we got up to leave we noticed seven plates in front of him. He ate food off of only one of the plates. That was one expensive breakfast. Learned my lesson...need to make sure to be with him when he orders food.   
 Max loves Grandma
What a blessing it was to celebrate both Grandma Reynolds 80th and Preston's one year birthday.  It was a joyous busy day...Max slept the whole way home.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

One of Max's Best Friend...Irvine

Irvine and Max
Max has a dear friend...who I have neglected to acknowledge on his blog. A friend who has been there through many difficult trials in our family. He has share compassion, friendship and even support during the death of both my parents. His dear wife has done the same.
Back when Max was none verbal, unable to express his thoughts or needs Ivrine stepped up to the plate and added his gentle hand. Max would run the halls at church and scream making church a very unpleasant experience. Irvine requested the opportunity to work with Max when he was two, three, and four years old. He walked the halls with him, walked him around the church grounds and introduce him into the world of friendship.
Now Max still talks of his best friend Irvine. It never fails when Max is asked who is best friend is his response is Irvine.
Irvine is a father, husband and son...he is a delightful soul who cares about Max and his welfare. He is someone who took the extra time to get to know Max and help him feel wanted and needed.
Thanks to Irvine and his sweet wife.
Max will never, ever forget you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday'S Breakfast with STRAWBERRIES!

Max's bus arrives at 6:55am and that has been the norm for Max since the age of three. The ticket for Max to have a successful morning is making sure everything is in order before I even wake him up. Make sure his egg is in the pan, toast in the toaster and milk poured. For about two months now I have been letting Max pick out his own clothes combinations.  Shirt and shorts. After twelve and half years of dressing him, I'm glad we graduated to the next step.  For the most part Max does a awesome job. Sometimes though, he feels if his pants have a pattern in them, so should the shirt. I feel blessed that he can now dress himself. 
This morning was off to a good start. Max walked into the kitchen put his red apron on and sat at the table. I have struggled these last six months to find a jam or jelly that he would like, to no avail.  I decided to do what I did as a kid. A little sprinkle of sugar. Max loves to talk about random stuff and while he observed his strawberries on his plate he anxiously shared he had homework.
"Oh, did you sign my PE form...I need my tennis shoes." Max returns to the table with shoes in hand. "I have to take my shoes today."
I took a deep breath and exhaled with discouragement. His dirty shoes sat near my feet.  I failed as a mom, not catching earlier how dirty his tennis shoes were after Boys Scout camp. "Max, Mom needs to wash them before you can take them. I will send a note to the PE coach about the shoes."
Max moved his body in my direction. "Mom I have to have my shoes and you need to sign my paper." 
I stopped myself from looking at the clock, knowing the bus should be here in the next couple of minutes.
Max continues holding the strawberries.  "Mom these strawberries have mold on them. Look mom, look at these strawberries. I can't eat them they will make me sick. Why can't you buy the good ones at the store mom, the ones that are good?" 
I contemplated whether I could put on the mean hat and tell him he needs to eat it or should I place the gentle hat on and tell him he doesn't have to eat it. I told myself several times over the years that I can't let him get away with everything because of the autism.
"Max you have been upset with me when I don't buy you strawberries and now you won't eat the ones I buy.  You have to eat.  You are a big boy now and you need to eat what is on your plate."
Max holds up the strawberry.  "Look at the mold mom.  Look how moldy it is."
Max had two strawberries on his plate and time was passing quickly. He still needed to finish his homework, brush his hair and teeth, and I needed to get his lunch in his back pack.
"Max, I would never give you strawberries with mold on them. You need to eat one of them."
I was proud that he took the strawberry and ate it.

He quickly moved to the other side of the table where I had his homework. Max has a hard time using a pencil because he pushes to hard on the paper and ripes it. I have bought mechanical pencils for him hoping it would help. He placed the mechanical pencil in his hand."Mom there is no lead in this pencil. I frantically look in my pencil box near the telephone. "Use this one."
Max runs his fingers over the paper. "What do I do on this paper, Mom?" 
I read it out loud. "What is the best way for you to learn?"  Right next to the question Max had printed the word "tactile".  I guess he wrote that in class yesterday.
"Well Max what helps you to learn? I think you like to touch the item and feel if it's hard or soft. You like to look at it to see how it's made. Think about your Lego's and how you decide to build your buildings and airplanes."

"Mom this is not what I mean. I can't understand what the question is."
"Max it's asking you how do you best learn or understand stuff. Are you a visual learner, hands on learner or do you like to read the instructions?"
Max got very frustrated and dropped the pencil on the table. His eyes met mine with a overwhelming need for help with the question. I decided the time was running out and I heard the engine the bus was at our doorstep.  I picked up the paper place it in his folder and told him to finish it at school. 
Then I placed his lunch sack in his back pack and we walked to the restroom to brush his hair and teeth. When he walked out the front door with the viola strap and back pack on his shoulder.  I was pleased that he has grown into the sweet loving boy that once was difficult to handle. He continues to take one step forward and two steps back, but in my heart he has grown two steps forward and one step back.
Sunday he asked me what charity meant and what does it mean to be humble. Honestly I believe those are two words that describe my Magnificent Max.

Friday, August 10, 2012

NeW sChoOl, NeW TeAcheR, nEw ScHeDuLe

A train in Tombstone.
Cowboy Max

Last weekend we went to St. David for my nephew Matthew's wedding. Max loved playing with his favorite cousin Sammy who is a couple of years younger. Max always talks about Sammy even though they may only see each other once a year.
After the reception we drove to Tombstone and walked the wooded sidewalks that hugged the famous old buildings. Max found a mood ring for sale in one of the stores. He didn't ask me to buy it; he never has been a child who begs for stuff. During the last two vacations, we let the kids get a ring as a token to bring home. I thought since we didn't take a vacation this summer why not buy him one.  You should have seen the smile that spread between Max's ears as I told him he could pick one.
On our way home Max looked at the ring to see the color and then he looked at the card to find out what mood it was saying he was in. He was so happy each time the color turned royal blue and validated that he was normal. He would look at the ring and then at the card. "Oh, I'm normal."
Max on his first day of junior high
Junior High tiptoed into Max's life quicker than I think he thought it would. It came out of nowhere. Sneaking in, it gave him a new world that I think he likes, but he is having a hard time coping. He is surviving the change, and it's a positive change. The new environment made him feel like he has began to feel more typical. I wonder if deep inside he wants to be normal like all twelve year olds. But after going to meet the teacher  on Tuesday and observing how different his self contained class looked from what a typical junior high classroom, I had to fight back my tears as it hit me that my Magnificent Max is not typical. He loved the room! Five desks placed perfectly in a semi-circle and around the teacher's desk. His name placed in the upper right hand corner of the desk, like I remembered seeing when my other children started kindergarten. A string with a bead attached to a paper with numbers one through five was taped to the upper left hand corner. I knew then my son needed added resources to help him share how he feels emotionally by moving the bead to the number to tell the teacher if he was happy or sad.
The child psychologist guided us into the joining room and spoke with enthusiasm.

"This is where Max will learn life skills."
 My jaw dropped as I scanned the room and I couldn't believe right in front of me was a full size washer, dryer, refrigerator, microwave, stove, oven and dish washer.

Next we toured the cafeteria, library, and then we visited with the orchestra teacher. It warmed my heart when the teacher told us that the principal gave an okay for Max 
to be in orchestra. As we journeyed home from our hour and a half voyage around campus, Max seemed quiet and that isn't the norm for Max.
Yesterday I picked Max up from school about twenty minutes before school got out, because he missed his allergy shot the day before, because the bus dropped him off at five.

Max waved his arms as he spoke. "Mom why did you have to pick me up?"
I gently pushed him to walk with me. "Because you need an allergy shot."

Max stopped me. "Why couldn't you pick me up tomorrow?"

I looked down and noticed I must have left Max's water bottle on the counter in the school office. "We need to go back to the office and get your water bottle."

Max followed me and continue to talk. "Why did you pick me up today?" 

I walked about two feet in front of was scorching 113 degrees and I knew he would want water. "I told you that you need to get a shot. Are you upset that I didn't give you warning that I was coming?"

"What does warning mean? Why didn't you come tomorrow and not today?"

Once we were buckled and driving out of the parking lot. "Did you want to know ahead of time that I was coming to get you?" 

Max opened up his water bottle and took a drink before he spoke. "What does "ahead of a time" mean?"

By this time, I was unsure what else I could say to him. "I know you like to be told what is happening next and maybe you are upset because I didn't tell you earlier."

Max taped my arm. "Mom, this teacher makes me feel respected. I wanted you to come get me tomorrow. If I treat her with respect, she will treat me with respect."

"I'm happy you like your teacher. Yes, respect is important and it can make you feel good inside. Max you are in the car and we are going to get your allergy shot. If I came tomorrow it would be a waste of gas."

"Mom you can always go get more why did you pick me up?"

 For fifteen minutes the same question was asked. When we entered the doctor's office and Max noticed the sign that said; "Closed after 11:30 tomorrow".

Max pointed at the sign. "I now know why you picked me up today."

Finally after his shot, going to Albertsons, Costco, and then home to put the milk away. We left again for speech therapy. He was tickled that he could share his pictures, that we got from Costco, with his therapist. On our way home from speech Max talked about how much he missed his brother Malachi and he wanted to go home to be with him.

Within seconds after I turned off the car Max dashed to the house to greet his older brother Malachi.