Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

I've been purging our home, for the 3rd time this spring. Preparing for our upcoming final yard sale. Where did all this stuff come from? Whoa, we still have stuff.

Funny thing... I seem to make huge mess getting rid of things in an attempt to get organized. Why is that? Why is cleaning so messy?

A couple of Memorial Day videos to remind us of this holiday...

We have so much to be thankful for!

Happy Memorial Day 2009.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Autism & Environment? (And Kleenex)

I read a lot of books and I also spend a lot time reading blogs, chasing down reliable and accurate information on the web... and often crying.

Not for myself, silly. For the kids whose parents don't try to recover or cure them. Poor kiddos... Are they trapped? I think they are... and it makes me sad. I am sad and mad a lot these days.

Often, I am frustrated that people who know nothing about autism, ASD's, Asperger's, ADHD or any of the other related "situations", well - they think that they can just freely give me advice. I am open to suggestions or theories, but - I am not open to ignorance or to people who just have the need to talk to feel important. Oh, please God - help me to show grace and protect my heart from what could easily be another thorn in my life, bad memory or just whatever. Crap - it's this kind of crap that parents like myself deal with and there' s not an easy way to avoid the situation. This is one of those things that unless you've been through it, you can not relate. Those of us who have "special" kids, we have a bond, in an unspoken way... that we wish we didn't have. We wish our kids were healthy and I believe that most of us will find a way to heal our kids. We won't quit trying, that's for certain.

I've been around relatives... can you tell?

None of them have a clue and I don't expect them to. I just want them to accept the fact that as Nicolas' parent, I can do what I want to, to help him and it's not drugging the poor boy. He doesn't know that he's "special"! He's 7 years old and we do not use the "a" word around him, other than "allergies". Dang, I am all wound up and I think I might need a magnesium cocktail myself tonight.

I read a great blog every now and then -- that I am going to send you to. It's called Adventures in Autism. The owner referenced an article that quotes the CDC admitting that autism can be environmental. I've read it so many times that I should be able to quote it.

Again, I am sad. Sad that those relatives who trust their doctors... they don't know about this. I am not going to tell them either. If I were to live my life defending every action and belief, I wouldn't have time to focus on my children, our home or any of the rest of my responsibilities.

I am not going to allow ignorance to invade the little peace I have and distract me from what's really important. No diversions. No thanks...

Later this week I'll post about MCS, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. Some pretty interesting stuff.

Hubs and I are waddling and staggering tonight. We've been putting our garden in. Ouch. He'll have to fight me for the icepack and oils tonight! That's ok, we've fought over worse... much worse.

If you want a little "heads up" about toxic chemicals that affect kids, go hang out at EWG for while. ((I betcha I end up there weekly.)) It's worth your while, I promise.

Pesticide in Soap, Toothpaste and Breast Milk - Is It Kid-Safe?

I'm still on the triclosan wagon, apparently...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Can't Go Back to What Used to Be

Here's a few memories of what life was like before Nick's change. Common occurrences in a little boy's life: catching a fish, going to the zoo, spending time at grandma and grandpa's house.

I can't go back and change the past. So often, I wish I could though. For whatever reason(s), God has allowed and given us a child with special needs. When I look back at Nicolas, and I see him -- as he was, when I know he wasn't how he is now... well, it's sad. Really sad at times and at other times, it's ok. We are working toward a goal! Nick's recovery!

It's often sad to me, because I took the pictures and I remember what was going on when I took them. Nothing. Nothing unusual or bizarre. Nothing out-of-the ordinary or strange. No growling, crying, loud antics, fighting, yelling, drooling or screaming. Just a happy little boy with a little sister.

A little boy, growing up in a safe, happy world without being tormented in his head or in his body. A little boy who could go to his grandparent's home and be welcomed and played with. All things that I would have simply considered "normal". It's all in the past now. I live in a different world now.

I am so thankful for our church. We have the best pastors in the whole wide world. They each have their own gifts, personalities (of course) ... and catch phrases too. I've heard one pastor say that we can't wish life to go back to usual and that in the kingdom of God, as well as in finance - it's no longer "business as usual". Ooooh, I love that thought! It's so true in my life.

Once I really understood, to the best of my human ability - just what Christ's death and resurrection meant, sin no longer had the same meaning. Sin lost it's pull and yes - its glamor to me. I was still tempted - of course... about a million times a day! But - with the understanding that there is an enemy of my soul and Someone who died to save my soul... life itself had a different perspective. Still does. Oh my - yes, I still sin... but - it's hard to whine and complain about temptation and imperfections (a.k.a. excuses for laziness) when Someone died to allow me the right to spend eternity in glory, ya know?

When I realized how precious and short life is, I changed my attitude about trying to make everyone else happy. The One whom I need to be concerned about pleasing is our good God in heaven; not silly (annoying) humans. I tend to let things bother me and have had to learn to "thicken my skin", although it's oftentimes still not easy.

And since I've covered my spiritual awareness and my perception of life, I might as well touch on money too. Money. There have been times when I thought I was broke and I wasn't; there have been times when I thought I was secure financially, and I wasn't. It was my perception, at those specific times. Yet - I still judged other people, unconsciously; whereas now - I try not to. I am in a totally different season in my life right now. I would like to think that I won't go back to any former attitudes, whether right or wrong. I just want to go forward! It doesn't matter if you drive a new car every 3 years or drive the same old beater for 15 years. Or if you buy a Coach purse or go to Walmart or a garage sale for that matter, to buy personal items. What the heck does it matter? It doesn't matter at all, in the big scheme of things. Nope, not one bit.

Most of our friends home educate their children, because they believe it is what they are supposed to do or they feel led or called to do so. But, not all of our friends. I can't imagine sending my children away when we love home educating. Focussing on and addressing strengths and weaknesses in a positive, safe and encouraging environment can't be beat.

And, most of our friends do not immunize or vaccinate their children. But, some do. Does it bother me? Yes, it does. Can I do anything about it. No, not really - but , I can pray for their children's safety and that they will be wise in their parenting and healthcare decisions for their own families. It's a tricky place to be and yes, my heart does ache at times... very much so. Especially since Nicolas was non-symptomatic until age 4 1/2. Honestly, I think things built up in his poor little compromised system. This is what I think today. A year ago, I only had suspicions and I was a wreck. Oh my goodness, Nick was so... well, he was how he was... let's just end that thought there.

Until Nicolas is recovered, I believe that I will keep investigating areas of concern regarding his sensitivities. What did I just attempt to say?

Nick's system is imbalanced . While in this state, and even after his recovery, I want to give his body the best opportunity and chance to heal. One way (out of many, many) that I am doing this is by removing allergens and environmental toxins.

Here's some of what we've done so far:

  • Changed Nick's diet to be gluten free, casein free, yeast free and sugar free. (Huge noticeable results in just 3 days...)
  • Started using as much organic and pesticide-free foods and whole foods, as we can.
  • Added specific hypoallergenic supplements to his diet, such as essential fatty acids, follinic acid, metal-free multi-vitamins, extra magnesium, etc.
  • Switched over to a dairy free probiotic.
  • Changed our cookware to include using cast iron and glassware instead of evil Teflon.
  • Eliminated all alcohol-based (vanilla), artificial colorings, preservatives and flavorings.
  • Began using fresh herbs and spices to cook and bake with; instead of only using dry
  • Use aluminum-free baking powder.
  • Complete avoidance of known exitotoxins such as Aspartame (Nutrasweet & Equal), Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and carrageenan, which many people are allergic to.
  • Store food in glassware and use plastic products much, much less.
  • Use sea salt instead of iodized salt and use gluten free spices.
  • Removed all high fructose corn syrup from diet.
  • Monitor all cartoons, video games, etc. - for over-stimulation in his brain...
  • Avoid nitrites and nitrates as well as BHA, BHT and yes... even soy.
  • Steer clear of triclosan and other carcinogenic chemicals.
  • Use shampoos and soaps that are free of metals, toxins and sodium laurel sulfate.
  • Never use anything "smoked" as it has hidden forms of MSG.
  • We have decided to speak positive to and around him, regarding his diet and we focus on what he can have, not what he can't have.
  • Use Amway sensitive laundry soap.
  • Discontinued all fluoride use.
  • Stopped using OTC cold medicines and starting using natural and herbal remedies.
  • Use high quality essential oils for treatments and preventions - health related.
  • Decided to laugh, joke and have fun when things get way out of control. Usually just going outside and playing catch will have a positive effect on the kids' attitudes.
  • Add ph balanced, oxygenated, microclustered Perfect Water to his diet, daily
  • Lastly, I have started juicing. Juicing fresh fruits and vegetables for him.
Want to know what else has changed? The amount of dishes that I do in a day's time! Wow.

My social life... well - it's rather... non-existent. It's not anyone's fault. I am thankful that we are blessed to be close to my folks; the kids love seeing them. In the country, we can be loud, run, play and pretty much do what we want, when we want to do it. This is a precious, precious freedom and not a day goes by that I am not thankful for what we have and for our home.

It's Memorial Day weekend and we'll be home -

putting in our garden. I may not be able to walk or move next week, but- we'll get that garden in. This year, we need it more than ever! Fresh fruits and veggies fit right in with my plan to help Nick's body continue to heal. After all, that's what we all want. Health.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Coffee Addiction I

I am not a sissie or a wimp. I know my strengths and I can easily find my weaknesses too.

I am not perfect - yet.

I need to lose a lot of weight and focus more on my own health. 'Tis true...

I need to volunteer less and spend more time maintaining and caring for our home. I really, really need to do this, not just think about, talk about and pray about this. Hubs is not one to be organized; he needs me. Boy, does he need me. And, I need to get organized and get rid of some of the chaos around here. One of the ways I have started to de-clutter is by selling our precious "stuff and junk" at friends' garage sales. The money is certainly helpful in combating medical bills and the cost of Nick's supplements, that's for certain. Getting ready for garage sales is a lot of work and took a lot of time. Thanks to coffee, it worked out just fine!

I like to go full-speed ahead from the time I wake up until the time I go go bed. It's not healthy, and I rely on my loving cups of java throughout the day and night -- to get me through. Hubs and I grind our beans every morning and he uses a drip coffee maker and I use my grandmother's Farberware percolator. The sound of a freshly perking coffee pot puts me in a good mood!

In the mornings, after reading the Bible, I like to sit and plan the day. I have lists, goals and time lines for Nicolas. I plan and organize fairly well when it comes to our children and homeschooling. So, why then do I neglect myself? Laziness? Avoiding the inevitable? Procrastinating? I don't procrastinate too often though. I think it may be because I just can't take another failure. I have tried so many things that have failed or not worked out as I would have thought or liked them to. Plus, I never know what the day will bring and how Nick will be. Even my best-made plans have failed, due to created chaos. Still, I do not exercize or even walk the dogs often enough and I drink way too much coffee. Why this neglect?

Fear of failure, maybe. Or maybe I am just being realistic and wise. Yes! That's it!! I am wise in my older age, I just know it. It's gotta be true. Right?

My wisdom tells me that I need to cut back on coffee. I have. My teeth are far from white and sparkly. Coffee isn't cheap and... I don't need an acidic body. I have enough stress!

Here are my coffee related resolutions:
  • Drink only 2 cups of coffee per day. Not 2 pots or 2 giant to-go travel mugs of coffee. Nope. Just 2 cups.
  • Drink skim milk in my coffee instead of cream.
  • Try to drink black coffee. BLECH! It really takes away my desire for coffee, when I have to drink it black.
  • Drink at least 5 glasses of water per day. I am on day 4. So far, so good.
  • Do not drink coffee after 3 pm. I had a cup at 8 pm, on my way to Royal Rangers... oh the shame... darn it. I forgot. What an excuse... (Wonder where the kids get it from?)
  • Go to bed before 11:30 pm.
  • Get up and out of bed by 6:30 am.
  • Spend more time in prayer. I know, it's not coffee related, but it is needed in every area of my life. I drink coffee when I pray too. Makes it a holy drink - wouldn't you say? Oh, I kid... I kid. (Kid=tease.)
Do you remember that old song from the 70's with the lyrics that went something like, " In heaven there is no beer... that's why we drink it here!" Some people feel that way about beer. Not me. I hate beer and probably haven't had a sip in over 10 years and a whole glass since I can remember... Ew - the smell... the taste... yuck! But, coffee on the other hand... I could write a song like that about coffee! Lucky and coffee sort of rhyme, don't they? Anyway... moving on...

Nicolas has had to change his drinking habits, his eating habits and just about every habit he ever had. Certainly, I can cut back on coffee. Wouldn't you agree?

Maybe you should come over and we can talk further about all of this. I promise to make a fresh pot of coffee... and we can talk. Coffee talk - anyone?

I know, I am hopelessly pathetic. Pray for me... ((smile)) Really. I never refuse prayer.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Re-wire Our Brains? Maybe...

I've been plugging away, continuing to work on reducing toxins, pesticides, and other exposures to Nicolas. I am not going to spray weeds around the parameter of our home this year... I think it will be a good year for weeds! And, I am not going to spray for bugs either. For the bugs, I am going to try peppermint oil mixed with water and spray... we'll see. I am trying to remain un-skeptical, but - we do live in the country and where nature is, bugs live.

I've also been sprouting nuts and using other whole foods to provide him with as much natural, healthy, whole nutrition as I can. There's always more that I could do, I am sure of it. But, being a mere mortal mom (on a budget), I can only do what I can do.

Late at night, I stay up and read about enzymes, the brain and our body's ability to self-heal, given the right conditions. One of the conditions is nutrition-based. It seems so simple: what we eat affects of brain. Of course it does. But -- it comes as a shock to me that not everyone subscribes to this notion. To many, it is but a theory. Theory shmeary... I keep reading.

I also found a TED video and then found the same info on Dr. Mercola's site, about re-wiring your brain. I'll paste some of it below:

Eight Tips for “Rewiring” Your Brain Naturally
One of the simplest methods, as Merzenich pointed out in his talk, is to keep on learning.

People often compare your brain to a computer, but there is an important difference. While a computer's hardware does not change, the size and structure of neurons and the connections between them actually change as you learn. This can take on many forms above and beyond book learning to include activities like traveling, learning to play a musical instrument or speak a foreign language, or participating in social and community activities. Another important method? Brain aerobics. As with learning, challenging your brain with mind-training exercises can keep your brain fit as you age. This can be something as simple as searching for famous people whose first names begin with the letter A, doing crossword puzzles or playing board games that get you thinking. Going one step further, you can also change your lifestyle to boost your brain health by making the following changes:

1. Take omega-3 fats. The omega -3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) keep the dopamine levels in your brain high, increase neuronal growth in the frontal cortex of your brain, and increase cerebral circulation. Krill oil is an excellent source of omega-3, and may even be superior to fish oil.

2. Exercise. Exercise may encourage your brain to work at optimum capacity by causing nerve cells to multiply, strengthening their interconnections and protecting them from damage.

3. Sleep well. It’s during sleep that your mental energy is restored, and a lack of sleep may cause your brain to stop producing new cells.

4. Eat healthy. Like the rest of your body, your brain depends on healthy foods to function. While protein is the main source of fuel for your brain, vitamins and minerals from fresh veggies are also important, as is limiting sugar.

5. Get out into the sun. This will help you maintain optimal vitamin D levels. Scientists are now beginning to realize vitamin D is involved in maintaining the health of your brain, as they’ve recently discovered vitamin D receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system. There’s even evidence indicating vitamin D improves your brain’s detoxification process. For children and pregnant women, getting enough vitamin D is especially crucial, as it may play a major role in protecting infants' brains from autism.

6. Turn off your TV. Allowing children under the age of 3 to watch television can impair their linguistic and social development, and it can affect brain chemistry as well.

7. Protect your brain from cell phones. Recent studies have found that cell phone users are 240 percent more prone to brain tumors, and a study back in 2004 found that your risk of acoustic neuroma (a tumor on your auditory nerve) was nearly four times greater on the side of your head where your phone was most frequently held.

8. Avoid foods that contain artificial sweeteners and additives. Substances such as aspartame (Nutrasweet), artificial color and MSG, which are common in processed foods, can damage your brain. For instance, consuming a lot of aspartame may inhibit the ability of enzymes in your brain to function normally, and high doses of the sweetener may lead to neurodegeneration. And there you have it. Simple, succinct and smart strategies to encourage your brain to function at its best, and continue to grow and make new connections, whether you’re 19 or 90.

You can find the rest of the article, including the video here. Take it or leave it - but, realize that it doesn't hurt to investigate -- right? Maybe all those enzymes really are doing something... maybe. I'd like to think that all I go through for my family is worth it. As with many things, I have come to believe that time will tell.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Go to "Adventures in Autism" on Mother's Day

I am not a writer. I am a blabbing rambler... In fact, I can barely type with long nails. But, I can read and what I just read was so good, that I must share it and I think I need to read it again. Wow...

Blessed Are the Autism Moms Who Make Themselves Poor

Still on the Triclosan Wagon

Too busy again... making adjustments to Nick's supplementation schedule. Trying to homeschool and work. Getting ready for another garage sale too. Still, I keep finding more information about that darn triclosan. Gotta share it. From what I read, it kills algae, is found in earthworms and stays in the soil and sediment; it's bad news for our earth.

Here is a fact sheet about triclosan, updated in March of this year. My goodness, it's nasty! Go read for yourself. An informed parent (or person) is a smart person.

You can also go here and read some more about it too. Interesting thing is that no matter how many pages I end up at or do a search on... they all seem to mention triclosan and chloroform in the same sentence. Am I so old school that this is scary? Wait - don't answer... let me live in naivety, but - only for a season. My ignorance has never been bliss. ((Sigh))

For those of us who are working so hard to help our childrens' bodies (sp?) heal and regain optimal health, it is so important that we look at environmental factors that may either be hindering or harming their health and/or recovery. (Was that one sentence?!?) Toxins in their environments... Not just irritants, but - toxins? They've gotta go. And so do I - to bed, that is. I nearly pulled a couple of all-nighters last week... and I am feeling it tonight.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms. Hope your day was special.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Triclosan - Steer Clear of It!

Are you a nail biter? My kids are nail biters, which is rather odd, since I haven't had natural nails in over 23 years... One of these days I'll boot the chemicals out the door; but - until then, please - let me cover my gray and paint my nails... it won't be long.

By the time you're done reading this, you'll run to the bathroom to check out your hand soap - I promise! Let's see if I can explain, copy & paste to get the point across: First a bit of science...

Antimicrobials are natural or synthetic substances which kill or inhibit the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi. This capability makes antimicrobials unique for the control of infectious diseases caused by a large variety of pathogenic bacteria.

Antimicrobials are pesticides and must be regulated within the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in accordance with the Federal Insecticides, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). There are more than 5000 antimicrobial pesticides registered with the EPA. When used in or on the human body, however, antimicrobials are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Even though antimicrobial and antibacterial are often used interchangeably, there are many antimicrobial substances on the market designed to work specifically against bacteria. These are known as antibacterials.

Triclosan is a broad spectrum pesticide found is a many products, including soaps and toys. Despite its wide-spread use, its health and environmental impacts are only now being studied, although I don’t why.

“Triclosan is the focus of a campaign undertaken by a coalition of health and environmental groups led by Beyond Pesticides, aimed at removing triclosan from the market. Triclosan, one of the most prevalent antibacterial compounds found in products, is the focus of a campaign undertaken by a coalition of health and environmental groups led by Beyond Pesticides, aimed at removing triclosan from the market. Studies have increasingly linked triclosan (and its chemical cousin triclocarban), to a range of adverse health and environmental effects, from skin irritation, allergy susceptibility, bacterial, endocrine disruption and compounded antibiotic resistantance, tainted water, and dioxin contamination to destruction of fragile aquatic ecosystems.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Monday Madness & Created Chaos

Yesterday was Monday. The kids had Monday madness.

Which meant that I had Monday madness.

The first part of the day did not go well...

There was much, much more screaming than usual. More fighting, more crying, more of everything.

I hate Perler beads today. They're still everywhere. Usually, if we're having a bad day, the beads do the trick... quiet, calm sitting and counting... but - not yesterday. It was a lot of just screaming.

Desperate times called for desperate measures!

When the going gets tough, the tough go outside...

And, who should show up just when we're going out?

Andrew and Katie!


Forget school - forget the dishes - forget the mess! Let's go jumping...

This boy needs a new attitude.
Some jumping is exactly what he needs!
No cowboy boots on the trampolines, please.

In the country, the winds blow strong and blow tons of little (and big) sticks out of the trees. We burn them in our fire pit or in the garden, if it just happens to be springtime. This was our 5th burn this year. Good thing we have 2 trampolines because the wind switched 3 times while we were out jumping. Back and forth... back and forth... to avoid the smoke.

Sadie keeps a good watch on the fire.
Let's call her "Sadie the Fire Dog"!

Lots and lots of jumping tires the poor college boy out!

Hey - where's Sadie the Fire Dog going?
She's sneaking off while Andrew jumps.

Andrew shows off...
Doesn't notice the sly dog...

Lots of flips and somersaults!

Crazy kid!

Even while resting, there's cell phone action...

Katie thinks that maybe Andrew needs to be tickled?

Or maybe we need to jump some more to get him up!

Uh oh... where's Sadie?
She's headed towards Grandma and Grandpa's house!
No, Sadie - come back! You're supposed to watch the fire!

No fire dog present...

Nick brings her back to her rightful guard dog duties..
through the freshly tilled garden.

Olivia, why are you so upset?

What do you need to show me?

See - white dare... white dare (right there) it is!

Andwew bounced my shoe away!!

Katie and Olivia do some "girl jumps".

I think Katie was glad when Livi needed a rest...
It was good to hear so much giggling!

Where's Firedog Sadie!?!
Andrew notices that Sadie is (again) missing from her post.

SADIE! Come home!

Look at Katie's ponytail and Andrew's feet!

The kids invented a new game: one person jumps and tries to make everyone else turn into popcorn. The person who pops up first is "it".
Jump - Katie, jump!

Andrew's turn!
The kids "get their seat belts on" - have a grown up hold onto them...

Nick tries to jump high!
(No wonder Olivia loses her shoes...)

Livia tries - no one pops... but it's fun!

C'mon Hubs - get my gardens tilled!

Sadie is once again the loyal fire-watching dog.
Keep an eye on the fire - Sadie!

Where's that darn dog?

Trying to sneak off into the fields is forbidden!

All in all, it was a great way to end the screaming and fighting. For now...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Shoulda - Coulda - Woulda

Last month, I searched locally for non-alcohol-based vanilla. I don't know why I didn't just give in and order it online. I guess that maybe I am trying to save a few bucks on shipping and handling... or something like that. We're not that far from the city, and I'd like to support the economy in my own state... but - I should have known better. I should know better than to take both of our youngest children to Whole Foods, or anywhere together. I should know...

The only thing predictable about Nicolas, is that he is unpredictable. And, Nicolas had a "situation" or an incident everywhere we went. Everywhere. In or at every single place that we went, on the day that we found our vanilla. What I experienced and what I noticed was pretty amazing though. Quite like a miracle, actually.

The scene: Whole Foods. I am on a mission for non-alcohol based vanilla and raw organic almonds. I am controlling Nicolas from having a fit, because he can see all the foods that he can not have. He's grumbling (in a whinny and obnoxious way) about blackberries and cheese... Olivia is begging for strawberry yogurt covered pretzels in the bulk foods section and I was hoping that she wouldn't just stick her hand in the bin, grab a handful and start eating them... I ask the nearest employee where the organic raw almonds are. He shows me and I see dollar signs... $14.99/lb. ouch! I have to have them. I have been promising Nick that I will make him a home made apple pie just for him, ever since Easter. I need those almonds for the crust. I get the almonds and then I see the plain (not organic) raw almonds and decide I had better get some of those too, and make 2 pies so the whole family can enjoy apple pie together. I ask Nick to get me another clear produce type of bag, as he is standing next to the bags and I go over, about 6 feet -- to where Olivia is squeaking and repeating herself about those darn pink strawberry yogurt covered pretzels... Yes, it worried me that she obsesses too! I get her 7 little pretzels, turn to look at Nick and he's got his arms full of the clear, plastic bags and is continuing to unwind them off the roll. They just keep coming and coming, round and round... I didn't yell, but - he must have seen the look of horror on my face and calmly said, "When will these tear off?" Poor boy... He didn't realize that they were perforated and that you have to manually tear the bag off from the roll. Before I could get to him, a kind employee just walked over to my child, and his 15 feet of baggies...and rolled all the bags back onto the roll, that Nick had unrolled. They both just looked at me and I realized that "thank you" would be appropriate. ((sigh))

I could have scolded Nick, belittled him or gave him "a look". I could have made excuses for his lack of common sense and made myself look like a victim to the WF employee. I didn't though. I think I even surprised myself. It could have been worse. And it did get worse a few times in the store, but - even after Olivia used all of her tactics and her manners, I still would not buy her a Hello Kitty water bottle for $19.99... and she didn't pitch a fit. In fact, she helped put it back. ((I nearly fainted... from shock...)) I have worries about her, watching Nick's behaviors and so forth. My first answer was "no" - I am not buying a water bottle for $19.99, no matter how cute it was... and I never change my mind, once I have given my kids the answer. The answer was no and it remained no. I've regretted being so hard-nosed about it at times, but - my no's mean no the first time. I was easily persuaded with our oldest child, who is almost 21. I've had many conversations with him about all the "stuff and junk" he got as a child. End of discussion.

Now then, would most kids have known to rip the bags off of produce bag rolls? Maybe. Nick did not. In his mind, he didn't do anything wrong. To everyone else, it looked really strange and that's just the way it is, everywhere we go. My poor boy looks strange to most people. Some people understand and it always surprises me when they do.

One such time was at church. Nick wanted a napkin from a coffee bar area, that was located too high for him to reach. I was busy with Olivia, told Nick to wait and that I would be right with him. He is an Italian and was born with a deficit in the patience category, same as his father. ((Smile)) He needed a napkin and decided to slide a rather large lounge chair with a wooden frame across a stone tiled floor. It was so loud! Didn't phase Nick at all... he just slid the chair all the way across the room, climbed on top of it, got his napkin, wiped his face and then proceeded to slide the chair back across the room, making another hideously loud noise. At church! I was embarrassed and one of the gentleman who was sitting in the area looked at me, so I apologized for Nick's actions and he shook his head and told me "Now that's the kind of boy I would have hired years ago... one who solved his own problems!" Hugh? It stunned me; annoyed most people - except for that man. Obviously, I will never forget that little scenario and again, Nick didn't see anything wrong with what he did.

These are just small and mild examples of what has become normal to me. God has given me patience and has helped me not to over-react. I know that I get worked up about a lot of things that Nick does... and I've been humiliated to the point where I wonder if I could recover. I blame myself, because I know how Nick is and I should have known...

I should have been more prepared. I could have just gotten him the napkin and abandoned Olivia. I should have done a lot of things... a lot of times... and if I could do things over - I absolutely would. I would love a do-over. But, I can't. I can't change the past. I can only learn to prevent the same situation from happening again. Living in a state of mind that only says "shoulda, coulda and woulda" doesn't help the present and sure isn't very inspiring for the future. I am working on not allowing my regrets to take over and distract me from the moments of happiness and the joys that my children bring. It is a decision and I have decided... that this is just the way it is, instead of "shoulda, coulda and woulda".