"I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "plans to give you a hope and a future."

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Day in the Life of Aspergers

When people find out Nathan has Aspergers we get a wide range of replies.

“Are you sure?”

“What is it?”

“But he is so smart!”

“But he seems just fine!”

Aspergers is a funny thing because it does not affect the way Nathan looks and we have days where it does not affect the way he behaves.

But then there are days like yesterday and today where living with Aspergers is more real, more evident, and definitely harder to deal with.

Yesterday was a gorgeous day and the sun was shining. We went to a Healthy Lifestyles Expo. Anyone who knows us knows this thing is true: The Tidball’s love a good deal and we love FREE! They serve a healthy (free!) lunch at the Expo and have vendors that give away chocolate and cookies, pens, notepads, reusable shopping bags, and magnets. Nathan did pretty well but being around crowds tends to make him anxious. He does not worry or fret but he gets upset and whiny and we know he is uncomfortable. We didn’t stay too long and Nathan did well.

You have to keep constant vigil on him because he has a tendency to wander off or to daydream and not follow where we are going.

This morning started off with a tantrum. Chris made breakfast and announced he was making fried eggs. Nathan thought this meant eggs with French fries so he freaked out and ran to his room and cried for a good long time. We couldn’t calm him down until I said, “Nathan, calm down and come eat or you can’t come with us to the egg hunt today.”

He complied but only ate parts of his egg. He said, “This part of my egg is hard and I am not eating it!”

Chris said, “It’s not hard. That’s bologna!”

Nathan, always literal, replied, “No. I said it’s a hard egg not bologna, dad.”

Next we went to Branch Creek community church for an Easter Egg hunt. This place is huge! There were so many people there. They had everything indoors due to the rain. Everything indoors was great to avoid the rain but a nightmare for Nathan who was being bumped and crowded at every turn. It took about ten minutes for Nathan to get agitated. He began to whine and cry and moan and complain. Chris asked him, “What is bothering you?”

Nathan said all the people and the noise were bothering him. Before his diagnosis we would have thought he was being cranky and whiney and not having fun. It would have frustrated us as parents as well.

Now we understand. Now we “get” it.

Chris kept him close and held his hand and I rubbed his head. He likes when I rub his head. Nathan asked to leave several times but it wouldn’t have been fair to Emma to miss out on all the fun.

Nathan did break down in tears but we calmed him down and got him to stop by telling him if he wanted his face painted he had to stop or else they wouldn’t be able to paint his face. He stopped and let them paint his face.

We didn’t stay much longer but the time we did stay was spent trying to keep him calm and reassure him that he was going to be all right.

Most of our time spent at activities and family outings are spent keeping Nathan calm and in line and trying to avoid tears and tantrums. Sometimes it works and sometimes like today he is just overwhelmed and you have to deal with his breakdowns as they come.

Emma had a great time and patiently waited in lines and played the games and helped herself to plenty of candy. She high-fived the Easter bunny and held hands when she was supposed to.

Chris and I often question whether or not we should take Nathan to these sorts of things. He always ends up frustrated, upset, and anxious, and pretty much always ends up in tears.

But when we ask him if he had fun he says he did….. sometimes I think Nathan does have fun but gets easily overwhelmed. Sometimes I think it’s less fun for Chris and I as we constantly deal with having to keep him calm, talk him through situations, and comfort him when the tears come.

We have also realized that Nathan finds electronics soothing. Whether that means letting him play on his computer, play his V-Smile, or even watch TV. That is how he decompresses. And after a day like today I think we all need a little decompressing.

After the egg hunt we went to Nana's for lunch and a visit. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Blowing Raspberries

I have little to say but for those who are wondering how today's appointment went....well...if I could blow a raspberry and you could hear it...I would. 

It was a frustrating and annoying and somewhat disappointing experience.  I nearly walked out after the first 10 minutes.

For those who didn't see my other update: Nathan and I met with a psychologist from Creative Services today.

The man was.... ego centric??  I don't even know.  I didn't like him.  I didn't like what he had to say.  Hey, maybe he lost a few of his marbles along the way....

I did not like his "let me pin every diagnosis I have ever seen on your kid and medicate him up and I am the coolest psychologist in the world and I have helped famous people." 

All right, all right.  So maybe he didn't say those exact words but you get the picture right?

In the end I came to the conclusion that I don't care.

He agreed with a diagnosis of Aspergers....I think...let me tell you that this guy talked so stinkin' fast and used so much crazy terminology that I walked out with my head spinning.

So if Nathan  ends up with services that is great.  If not... well, I will be happy to wash my hands of that guy!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Today I did something I have been wanting to do but emotionally I wasn’t ready. Completing my project meant I would be done with my little memory box and have no real need to go back inside and look through the contents. I am free at any point to open my memory box and shift through the contents but today marks the last “need” to do so.

I made a frame in memory of baby #3. You can see the picture below.

On either side are dried flowers from bouquets that were sent to us. And in the middle a picture of an adult’s hand reaching out to a child’s hand. It might be hard to read what’s in the middle frame so I’ll type it out here.

Below the picture it says: Baby # 3 We loved you from the moment we became aware of your precious life. You went from my womb and straight into the arms of Jesus. The Lord is faithful. Due date August 11, 2011.

Then the following quotes were used below that:

“An angel in the Book of Life wrote down my baby’s birth; then quietly whispered as he closed the book, ‘Too beautiful for earth.’”

“The best and most beautiful things on the world cannot be seen, nor touched, but are felt in the heart.” Helen Keller

“Dear Lord, I would have loved to have held my baby on my lap and tell them about you, but since I didn’t get the change will you please hold them on your lap and tell them about me?”

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21

I am not yet sure where will hang the frame. The kid’s really liked it. Nathan said, “Let’s break a hole in the wall to hang the picture.”

I am part of a Miscarriage and Grief support forum and my heart just breaks when someone new joins our group. The question most asked is “Why?” or “Why did my baby die?”

Some of the same people who in one sentence will type, “I don’t believe in God or some plan He has for my life,” will type a little later, “Why did God take my baby?” They say they don’t believe in God but blame God for taking their baby.

The truth?

Deep down we all know who really made us. His name is etched into our inmost being that He skillfully and carefully formed. We want to ignore God, deny God, push Him out of schools, our home, and even our churches. There is no place for God in our modern day society. God is outdated. And yet when tragedy strikes who do we turn to? People cry out to a God who they previously dismissed. They blame a God they claim does not exist. Do you not see this warped way of thinking?

I look at my box of mementos that contain a few memories of our third child and sometimes I ask myself, “Why?” Why is it so healing to hold onto to these things?

Because we are human and we want something tangible to see and hold and touch. It’s a confirmation of life.

People want a confirmation of God’s existence too. They say, “But you believe in God who you have never seen.”

True. I have never seen my Savior face to face but that does not mean He is an unseen God. You have never seen the wind. But you believe the wind is real. Why? Why believe in something you can’t see or touch?

Because you can see the effects of the wind; you see the trees sway and you feel the wind in your hair. You know it’s real because you have experience it. I have experience my Savior. I have felt His arms around me. I have felt the peace that passes understanding. I have seen His hand leading and guiding me all the way. I have seen His light shining in the darkness of my grief. I felt His love wrapped around me.

Let me make this clear. I do not believe in an emotional gospel. I do not have to “feel” saved to be assured of my salvation. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” All you have to do is ask. All you have to do is believe that you have sinned and you deserved death. And deserving death we face the penalty only to be freed and have our chains broken by Jesus who took our place on the cross. He has paid it all. There is nothing left that needs to be done because on the cross Jesus declared , “It is finished.” Trying to earn your salvation by being good or going to church or performing rituals or crying at every church meeting will not do you any good. Jesus has paid what was owed. This is one area where you can not buy your way into a place.

Salvation is free and readily available to all who will but ask. But the Lord will not extend His mercy forever. There comes a day when your time is up. As Jesus hung on the cross two thieves hung there with him. One ridiculed him and mocked him but the other said, “We deserve to be here but this man does not!” He then asked Jesus to remember him when he entered into his kingdom and Jesus assured the thief that very day the thief would join Him in paradise. It was right after that moment that darkness fell. What of the other thief? It was too late. His time was up. Darkness fell and he was lost. One lost. One saved. Both offered the same salvation.

I’ve seen bumper stickers and have heard people say, “God is my co-pilot.”

What a flawed way of thinking. If God is co-pilot you are sitting in the wrong seat. You are probably flying off course and heading in the wrong direction. God should be your pilot. He should be leading and guiding and directing you and you need to follow in His footsteps. His yolk is easy and His burden is light. He will not lead us somewhere where He is not able to see us through.

So as I find a special spot to hang my little frame, my small but tangible reminder of a life started and a life lost. I will always hold close to my heart the promises of my dear Savior to finish a work which He began in me, to walk with me all the way, to carry me when I can not stand, to hold me when I am broken, to mend the brokenness, and to heal my heart. He will never leave me. He will never forsake me. His promises are sure. I stand on a solid, immovable rock and face the storms of life. Never alone. Never forsaken.

“Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?

Precious Saviour, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? take it to the Lord in prayer;

in his arms He'll take and shield thee, thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Saviour, Thou hast promised, Thou wilt all our burdens bear

May we ever, Lord, be bringing, all to Thee in earnest prayer.

Soon in glory bright unclouded, there will be no need for prayer

Rapture, praise and endless worship, will be our sweet portion there.”