Saturday, December 19, 2015

2015 Year In Review

Another year in the books...and what a pretty good year it's been for my little family. 

The positives

Autumn became officially potty trained and has maintained being potty trained in all areas as long as she goes before bedtime. That was one of the biggest hurdles, but as with everything Autumn, once she was ready, she was ready. 

Autumn also started preschool full-day this year. It's been quite the adjustment, but so far she's doing pretty well. She enjoys the routine and structure that school provides and she loves her classmates who have already become life-long friends. 

In addition to the above, Autumn also learned how to swim. She attended swimming lessons from March to November as well as swam in our pool over summer. She LOVES the water. Watching her during her swimming practices became a favorite past-time of mine that even though we put her swimming lessons on hold for winter, a huge part of me wants her to attend them again because she loves swimming so much. 

There were also other little moments throughout the year that brightened this mother's day: 

Reading to her class on her birthday and Autumn being extremely excited and welcoming to my visit. Hearing her tell her daddy that she loves him for the first time and meaning it. Seeing her embrace her grandparents and other relatives without it being forced. The joy and laughter on her face while playing with her cousins. Trick or treating on Halloween. The most special moment for me: her little smiling face looking out the window on her bus ride home, waving and saying "mama". 

2015 wasn't a year filled with any major anniversary milestones, big birthdays or festive celebrations, and vacations. It also had some rough moments as well. 

Autumn having a few ear infections and administering her meds became commonplace. She also probably had the croup as her momma also ended up with laryngitis, which is the adult form of it! A month later, and my voice is finally getting back to normal. 

Aside from the sickness that circulated our household throughout the fall months, we also started to see a different side of Autumn. Her rigidness and need for routines and structure has become worse to the point that she will go into a full-fledge meltdown if things aren't precisely where she wants them to be. Her scripting and perseverating has also increased. Her aggression as well. Then there's the bus situation that has all of our heads spinning as Autumn loved riding the bus until one day that changed and we don't know why. 

Even though Autumn's overall communication has become better with time, her OCD-like behaviors, including her sensory issues and screaming meltdowns, have become worse. Of course I wonder if I should take her back to her private OT too in order to help break some of these new sensory concerns she's been experiencing (even implementing the appropriate sensory tools at home for this seeker isn't always enough). 

However, her weighted blanket has been a godsend for nighttime and bedtime routines. A follower on my blogpage suggested laminating pictures and providing a picture book for the bus ride to/from school to help with the bus when she returns next week so that's what I've been working on (I even bought a laminator machine to help). I've even come to the conclusion that I may have to take her to school daily again if that helps some with breaking up her bus ride. Whatever it takes to get her over this hump, I'll be willing to try! 

Overall, 2015 was a good year for me personally. The goals I set forth in regards to implementing a healthier lifestyle were achieved. I was able to loose approximately 25 pounds and maintain my weight loss. In addition to, I was able to jog/run several 5k without stopping, but realized along the way that running is hard on my knees so I prefer to jog and do interval trainings instead. I also reconnected with my love for swimming and enjoyed much time swimming over summer alone and with Autumn. 

I've been able to maintain working part-time as a therapist for early intervention while also being a SAHM/housewife when I'm not seeing my families. Finding a balance in all of the above has been the biggest challenge to date. It's exhausting some days, but I'm managing! 

Thus, for 2016, I plan on focusing more time on bettering myself in order to continue being the best mom Autumn needs. I hope to spend more time off-line and with my family and friends. I also want to get back into working within the mental health profession, even if it's just one day a week, because I miss being a counselor and want my professional license someday too! Still, despite some of my feelings I've been having regarding EI and trying to be more separate, I know that my families need me and appreciate my journey. They learn from me and I learn from them. It's a team effort for sure. Therefore, in 2016, I will learn to put the "autism mom" cloak aside at times when necessary and to also step out of my shell, even if the outcomes may be downright frightening. I need to do this for Autumn. I am learning that despite her autism and some of the troubling behaviors she's been experiencing, I can't continue to segregate ourselves from the rest of the world. 

Thus, we will be going out more, do more family fun things, going on a few vacations- one, which will be to visit family out in IL for Easter and despite this being the most scariest thing we've (my husband and me) done with Autumn, we have to do this for her. 

I'm sure in 2016 I'll have my moments, my ups and downs in regards to life, but I have a feeling this will be another good year for the most part and like everything else in life, I'll be taking things one day at a time while cherishing the present. 

So here's to another year filled with good health, hope and happiness, less drama and sadness, minimal anger, but more love, strength, courage and faith. May we all find a bit more solace in 2016. 



(Our only good family picture taken in 2015 by our lovely neighbors-Me thinking 2016 a family photoshoot is in store!)