Some people say babies are expensive, and that can certainly be true if you aren’t budget conscious! Having a baby can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Babies are simple creatures and require little. It is the older kids that suck your bank account dry.
That being said, babies do need some things during the first year of life, and since we all have different budgets, I’ve broke my list into two categories: things you need and things that are helpful.
Things You Need
Things that are helpful
I can’t write this post without sharing my personal pet peeves for useless baby crap. I'm sure some people love these products, but I can’t share that love!
So, as you can see, there are some big purchases to make for baby, but it isn’t such a long list as Babies R Us would have you believe. You can get by on very little, and, sadly, before you know it, your baby will have outgrown that swing any way.
If you have any must haves or pet peeves to share, please a comment so we can all benefit!
Every child with Autism is different, and every family is different. This is my take on Autism. I don’t pretend to speak for everyone impacted by Autism, just myself.
Autism, to me, is a way of experiencing the world and a way of thinking that differs from the majority of people. This way of thinking and experiencing is a challenge because it is hard for us typical people to understand, and people not impacted by Autism don’t care to understand. (Not judging. It was me once too.) There are plenty of other challenges people with Autism face, but it seems to me a lack of acceptance and understanding for neurological difference is the root of many challenges people with Autism face.
Autism makes Drake different and being different isn’t bad. It makes life more difficult, and Drake will have to work hard to overcome people’s misunderstanding and discrimination. But his difference is important. Having people in our world who see things differently and think differently is essential and important for progress in our society. Drake’s different way of thinking shouldn’t be stamped out of him, but nourished.
I don’t want Drake to conform for the sake of fitting in with the rest of us, for making us more comfortable. I don’t care if he acts like other kids or adults as he gets older as long as he is happy and living a personally fulfilling life. Autism is part of who Drake is in a meaningful, sometimes difficult, and often wonderful way. I would never want to change who he is. I love him for who he is. I want only for him to be his best and most authentic self and to find happiness in this world wherever he can. It is what I want for all my children.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that our living room is a play room. There are no toys in the boys’ (already small) room as I encourage them to think of it for sleeping and because I like to be around the kids while they are playing (havoc making).
So the living room is full of toys, toy boxes, and kid’s decor. It isn’t the best way, but it's the only way we’ve got! In general, the kids’ toys are organized. I try to keep sets together and similar toys together. We also have miscellaneous toy storage bins for the random stuff.
Here’s Why I Bother to Organize The Toys:
When I clean up, I always resort the toys, but I don’t pick up them all up every single day. Some days the clutter and mess just hang out.
Here’s Why I Don’t Clean Up?
Overall, I roll with the punches. I pick up or don’t, but I do it knowing that the kids are just fine, mess or not.
At the end of the day, I lay in bed wondering how it all went to pot so quickly. Where did my patience go? Why did the kids do that? Why hadn’t I reacted the way I normally do or the way I want to? What is that sticky stuff in my hair? Did I do the dishes?
We’re all human. We all have bad days including our kids. Drake has periods of time (weeks to months) where he becomes especially stubborn and emotional, and these times have a negative impact on us all. I’m sure Devin will have them too as he gets older.
During these times, I struggle to be patient, calm, and happy in my life as a mother, and these times are when Drake needs me to be patient and calm. It isn’t that I don’t love being a mom because I do, but some days, weeks, months wear you down to the bone. The endless screaming and crying and mess making and no sleep and what the hell happened to my body? It isn’t the kids fault or my fault. The culprit is mom burnout pure and simple.
A nice hot bath and some good old-fashioned rest go a long way towards helping keep me out of this mood. They are necessary to my emotional upkeep, but when I hit the burn outs hard, it takes more than rest to bring me back to myself.
How I Get Through It:
Above all, give yourself time. It takes more than a day. It takes more than a week sometimes. Be gentle with yourself, and soon you will be the mom you remember.
I'd like to say I prepared for potty training Drake. I'd like to say I researched effective methodology, bought pull ups and appropriately sized undies, prepared a goodie bag of rewards, and had some kind of plan. Of course, there was no plan. As with many things, I woke up and decided that today Drake would wear undies, I would pull the potty chair out, and we would see where things went. No pressure and no commitment.
I wasn't very optimistic. Drake is not usually the most cooperative and had shown no inclination to use the potty or wear anything but diapers. And despite what everyone says about structure and routine with Autism, it really doesn't work for Drake most of the time. He likes to know what to expect, but too much of a routine irks him and he refuses to take part.
So I put (too small thanks to my poor planning) underwear on him in the morning, popped on Thomas and Friends, and sat him in his potty chair. He sat, and sat, and sat. Nothing happened. We continued. When I wanted him to sit, I gave him a distraction, and he'd happily sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Screen time was at its height in our house. Close to noon he had an accident, but I directed him to the potty even though he had clearly finished what he needed to do on the floor, and he cooperated with me.
A few hours later, with the help of too much watermelon, Drake peed on the potty! Startled, he looked down at himself peeing, then up at me like "what the heck is going on mom!?" I praised him, gave him a cookie, and praised him even more. I was proud, elated, and optimistic. That day he didn't do a number 2 at all, but he used the potty two more times after I directed him to sit (and had a couple of accidents).
The next day was the real kicker. He did number 2 multiple times thanks to all the watermelon he consumed the previous day. I don't think I've ever been so happy about a poop in my life. He even went to the potty himself while I did the dishes although he did forget to pull down his undies, which kind of defeats the purpose. It seems pooping on the potty makes more sense than peeing though as he has never once done that on his own.
Since we started a few days ago, we've had bad days and good days. When we leave the house, I put pull ups on him or a diaper as we are not ready for public restrooms. (Can't they have kid sized toilets?) So if we have a busy errand running day, he doesn't get much practice. If I'm not paying close attention to the time and providing distractions while he sits, accidents happen, but I'm hoping over the next month he will make the connection. I don't expect miracles or an overnight success. That's not Drake's style, but I think we are on the right track.
Here's what I've learned so far:
Both Drake and I have learned a lot these first few days of potty training. Even though I didn’t have a plan, things are going smoothly, and I’m beginning to wonder if his success was helped BECAUSE I didn’t have a plan or expectations.
Welcome to the family!
We are a laid back, fun, family of four living on a dime in 700 square feet. Life might not be perfect, but every moment of every day, it is beautiful.