Sunday, September 12, 2010

Thank You Jenny

So yeah, this song probably wasn't written in mind in what it means to how I interpret it, but it touches at me.

"We all have a weakness; but some of ours are easy to identify, look me in the eye...
So when weakness turns my ego up; I know you'll count on the me from yesterday if I turn into another. Dig me up from under what is covering, the better part of me..."

For about 3 or 4 months, I've felt something is off with Sammy.  I hate to admit, but I am a cynical person.  I'm not outwardly pessimistic at all, anyone that hangs out with me would probably describe me as a lot of fun to be around. I was a counselor at a camp for special needs kids for 2 1/2 summers.  I had the autistic and ADHD kids in my groups those summers.  I know what autism looks like for sure.  But with Sam, I kept it all inside to myself.  Maybe I didn't want to admit it?  I made up tons of excuses for everything. 

Why does he have no interest in Little People and their playsets like Dylan did?  Sam just thinks that sorta thing is boring I suppose.  He loves trucks, but not to roll them around; he wants to spin the tire and moan at it for an hour.  He is just really super smart and mechanical minded like Cliff is all!  That's why he likes opening and slamming a door for hours - just figuring out how it works.  Oh, that's kinda cute, he's making himself dizzy spinning around in circles.  He's just teething right now, that's why he's not talking so much right now.  He walked early.  Sam is just more focused on moving around to chase his brother instead of talking and playing with toys.  He's independent, that's why he won't sit in my lap for me to read to him.  -- This list of things seriously just goes on and on. --

Then I started to realize the only words he says anymore are "Momma" and "Daddy".  Then that even condensed down to "Ma" and barely any "Da" sounds.  He used to even say Spongebob and kitty cat for goodness sakes.  Why won't he answer to me when I call him?  Why doesn't he point?  Or clap?  Or at least shake his head yes and no?  What has happened?  I took him to the doctor and since he's only 19 months, Sam is "classified" for right now as suspected autism or however they wanna word it.  I don't want this, but it feels good to know I'm not crazy and there really is something going on with my Baby Sam.

I never got "oh woe is me" about all of this, which surprises me actually.  I'm a little offbeat and easy-going, never like those perfectionist Stepford type wives.  If my child gets weird looks for spinning in circles and moaning, I'm the type that would join in with him.  I'm not trying to make this about myself, because it definitely isn't; but this is sort of a little pep-talk I give myself.  God knew I was strong enough to handle this.  I've always been about preserving the child-like spirits in children, catering to their little quirks so they can become their own person.  It may mean I have a rambunctious child - a.k.a. Dylan, my oldest son - but when I hear his imagination and creativity when he tells me the stories he makes, I know all is worth that.  So if Sammy wants to walk around the outside of the yard and pass his hand over the chain-link fence instead of playing on the kiddie slide, I'm okay with that.

Word got around about Sam and tons of well-meaning people were soon calling me and emailing me.  I'm not embarrassed about Sam at all, but it was just something I didn't want to discuss with people that I am just acquaintances with.  And all these people seemed to think autism meant my son wouldn't hug me anymore, be in some sort of catatonic state, and would start confusing symptoms with all sorts of crazy things.  Being the Southern raised girl I am, I smiled and nodded; but oh my goodness, I was done with even listening to any of this anymore.  The tid-bit that would make me roll my eyes the most and I kept hearing was about how Jenny McCarthy cured her child with a diet.  I was at the point that if one more person mentioned Jenny McCarthy and if it wasn't related to MTV, I was going to scream!  Then, that day a family member dropped off her book to me at home.  May I mention it was a family member I barely talk to and found out about Sammy through a chain of 3 people - all which none I had told myself.  But again, I smiled and nodded and the moment the door closed, threw the book across the room.  I got us all ready for church that night and was taking Sam for his first time to Awanas where he would get to play with children his own age.  I stayed with him and that's when all of this really hit me.  Seeing him in comparison of all the other children is when my heart really broke.

I got over myself and read the damn Jenny McCarthy book.  And holy crap, besides the seizures, her child and Sam could have been twins - all the way down to playing with straws and slamming doors for fun.  Then it dawned on me, Sam's speech regression started around the same time I was weaning Sam from his bottle of soy formula to Lactaid to sippie cups of whole milk.  I started the autism diet the next day.  It's been about two weeks now and there are DEFINITE improvements.  I don't care what any news article or doctor wants to tell me, it works.  We had to get rid of his favorite nutrigrain bars and no more spaghettiOs, but it's a lot easier than I had originally thought.  I make up a huge batch of a dinner type food like lasagna or a casserole at the beginning of the week and pop in a portion in the microwave.  Sam is a picky eater and likes eating the same things over and over.  I add the veggies he hates by grating them in to hide them.  Thankfully, he loves fruit and yogurt.  I know these foods that cost more and all the explaining I have to do to family members that want to give him Oreo's and Cheetos is all worth it when I see my husband bust into tears because his son looked him in the eye and said, "Daaaaaaaaaaaddy" with his arms open to him.  He's not looking out of the side of his eyes.  He's cut down on all the stims/tics/obsession type things.  He's recognizing people.  He's saying words again - UP!, Dylan, Martha, Papa, No, Ba-ba.  When he looks at things, it seems as though he's finally looking at them, almost like he had cataracts before and that's been removed now.  There's a lot more, this is just what comes to mind now.  Family members can tell as well, so I know it's not just me imagining things with too much hope.  Everything about him just seems genuine now.  Even if this is the most improvement that results because of the diet, it's still worth it.  And no matter what, I will strive to let my Sammy be Sammy.  I love him.