Life On The B Side

Taking all that life throws at us one moment at a time

Changing Dynamics July 5, 2018

We are fully immersed in the summer now.  The kids go to an all day camp where they do arts and crafts, go on field trips to amusement parks, watch movies, go bowling or to the library, play board games, enjoy sports and all sorts of other fun activities.  Shaunie and I, well, we go to work as usual.  Adulthood.

A couple evenings ago we were at our community pool.  I do love that we have a pool that’s only open and available to residents of our housing development.  We can walk and be there in less than 5 minutes.  As usual, we had brought snacks.  It’s what we do in the evenings.   Go to the pool; snacks in hand.  Some days we are armed with chips and cookies and assorted other goodies.  On this particular day though we had only brought one pack of Shirley biscuits: a Jamaican favourite, and water with ice of course.  The smell of sun block surrounded us as everyone does their best to keep their families protected, while having fun.  There were 3 other families at the pool that day which seems to be pretty standard as it hasn’t ever been crowded when we show up and we are always able to get a table with an umbrella.  We’d rather have a table with an umbrella than lounge chairs with uninhibited sun exposure.

So far, nothing about the scene seemed out of the norm.  Business as usual you might say.

The kids jumped into the water which was surprisingly warm and began their usual antics.  Spraying each other with water blasters, swimming, diving – you know the drill.  After a while, they began playing with the other children who were there.  One such child is new to our neighbourhood – And state.  He is an only child and will begin the 7th grade (the same as Ace) in September at the same school Ace attends.  As kids are wont to do, they hit it off pretty quickly and began some sort of game that I did not care to learn the intricacies of.

The next thing I heard was Ace complaining that Jay was “spying” on them.  Remember, they were in a pool.  There really was nowhere to “hide” but nonetheless, Jay was spying and it was annoying his older brother who was busy having fun with a peer and had no interest in playing silly games with his little brother.


It’s something I’ve noticed more and more lately.


Jay got invited to a classmates birthday party and when I asked Ace if he’d like to attend as well, because I was sure it would have been fine with the mom, he declined.  Instead he and I watched a movie at home.  Beetlejuice since I know you want to know.  And no, it wasn’t as good as I remember it being when I watched it back in 1988.

When Jay asked me to initiate a play date with a friend and basically told Ace that he would come too, Ace flat out said NO.  He was not interested.  Jay has been steadily trying to convince him to change his mind.  Ace is unwavering.


Also, he no longer likes shows such as Teen Titans, and does not care that they have a new movie coming out.  Last year it was his and Jays fave and they were eagerly anticipating the movies release.


Yesterday was the 4th of July; Independence day here in the United States and that meant a lot of people had the day off work.  Typically, it’s a day spent with family and friends, having bar-be-cues or going to the beach and when it gets dark the skies are lit up with fireworks.

Together with 4 friends (family really), we went river tubing.  Ultimately it was a fun and mostly relaxing way to spend a day off, knowing we all had work the next day.  All, except my teacher friend that is, who has off all summer, but I’m not jealous at all.  Like, NOT ONE BIT.  (I’m lying 🙂 )

We had done this same activity at the same river last year so we thought we knew what to expect.  This year though, for some unknown reason, everyone in the state decided to go river tubing, at that river, at the time we got there, so from the time we parked, stood in line to pay/get wrist bands, sign waivers, get tubes, get on the bus that takes patrons to the top of the river and actually get in the water, it took about an hour and 45 minutes.  A lot longer than the 20 minutes it took us last year.  Everyone was hot and sweating but doing their best not to let it affect their good mood.  At one point Jay was messing with Ace; As brothers do.  Ace wanted no part of it.  He wanted to stand there quietly like the rest of us, inch up slowly in the line, get a tube and chill.  He just wanted no part of being silly or goofy and I had to intervene and tell Jay to leave Ace alone.


I cannot believe I just typed the words “[Ace] wanted no part of being silly or goofy”.


That tone continued the entire time we spent on the river.  Ace wasn’t being surly.  He was just being … more mature?  He lounged in his tube.  Hopped out to help bring us back together when someone in our group drifted away, passed drinks from the cooler to whoever asked for one and offered to help anchor us when we wanted to stop going with the tide.

Jay spent the nearly 2 hours we were on the water, jumping in and out of his tube, splashing people as they are chips, dropping his empty chip bag in the water which meant I had to go rescue it and put it back where it belonged with our other trash, being loud, making me belly laugh, climbing onto me and nearly toppling me over, “sneaking” up on Shaunie to splash her and just all round having a great time; the way a little kid would and should.


I do believe we are entering a new stage here folks.  They have always been each others play mates and my boys do still enjoy each others company but Ace is becoming more serious; more teenagery; more grown up.  The dynamics are changing in our house.  Change is not bad.  But it does mean that some adjusting needs to happen and I think in this case, instead of my mama heart, it’s Jay who is about to have the hardest time accepting it.


8 Responses to “Changing Dynamics”

  1. mel Says:

    Hi there,

    I stumbled on your blog when I googled “giving up hope Autism”, and one of the big hits was from another blog finding coopers voice. I know the google search might sound bad but it was more that I was hoping for my son to talk and he’s getting there but so slowly that I was looking for ways to manage my hope and expectations.

    I started reading the cooper blog but her son wasn’t similar to mine but then I read comments and I saw one of your comments where you said something about your son not being verbal and eventually said I love you to you. Which really touched my heart so jumped here.

    I just want to say thank you for blogging your experience! I have two sons also not as close as yours they are 3 years apart. My youngest (Let’s call him L) was born Jan 2015. We were told he had mild Autism around July 2017 and it’s been a whirlwind ever since. It seems like your son was diagnose at the same age and you were going through the same stuff we are going through now but back in 2010-2011. We live in California though and I went through early start with the state so during our IEP with the school I had a case manager on my side there from the state so I was lucky with the boxes being checked for things like summer school. But still thank you for writing about that. It made me double check my IEP pdf I have on my computer.

    I love reading your blog because I feel like at your July 2011 is things I am going through right now, and I read through Dec 2011 made me cry a bit because just maybe L would get there like Jay progressed. Jay really progressed from July to Dec of 2011 and I’m so happy to read Jay progressed so fast and it gives me a lot of hope for L. I know every autistic kid is different so I know our story won’t be exact but still knowing Jay is out there gives me warm feelings for L.

    Everyone has actually been really kind to us about L, I feel so lucky. It is just occasionally I get a little down but your blog really picked me up.

    Anyways I just want to give you a shout out and give you many thanks from this worried mom in California that you have brighten my week with your blog. So if you see a lot of hits from past entries, that’s me.

    Take care and Thank you!

    – Grateful mom from California

    • The B Side Says:

      Hi Mel … I am beyond touched that you find my posts (new or old) helpful and that you took the time to write me that message. Seriously. It means the world. I wish everything good for you and your family. You are right that everyone develops differently but I also understand needing something to hold onto. You are certainly going to have a wide range of emotions on this journey, including some unpleasant ones but please don’t ever give up hope. Reading other ppls blogs was a lifeline to me back then and I’ve made what I consider to be good friends through the blogosphere – and becoming FB friends with a few so we can cheer each other on in more ways – (even though we’ve never actually met). All our children are progressing differently but just knowing there is someone who understands what it’s like in a fundamental way has been amazing. I’m here if you ever wanna bounce around an idea or if you have any questions. xoxoxoxoxo

      • mel Says:

        Thank you! I’m still reading through your blog backwards. I’m in Jan 2012. I’m weird like that. It has been immensely useful and comforting to read. So I wanted to just thank you for writing. Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts, it’s not something that’s easy to do sometimes. Thank you because your words really validated a lot of feelings I am going through. Thank you Thank you Thank you! For being you! Thank you for the offer! I will definitely ask questions if I think of it but your blog has answered a lot already so I’ll just read through that first. Thank you!!

  2. mel Says:

    Hi there,

    Sorry to bombard you for comments. I realized after re-reading my comment that I didn’t really say much about L! I did imply that he was similar to Jay but not very clearly.

    L was non-verbal or more like he had sounds but no words. When he was diagnose last July 2017 at 2.5, he was babbling but no words. He knew a lot! If you ask him what is green or any color, he knew. I read to him a lot. He knew his numbers, he knew animals. All he did was gesture to them. At the time of his evaluation he didn’t do much eye contact and he was agenda driven aka they couldn’t break his focus.

    In July they said he’s autistic! Most likely mild. Here is some info… good luck! We were like what?! Luckily my hospital had a class for all newly diagnose parents and they told us how to get some services. I was able to get L ABA and speech by the end of October. Still no words so they taught him sign language to communicate which was awesome! Just about 3 months ago (April) he started using the “ah” and “o” sound when asked and about a month ago he started making more sounds and using word approximation for requesting. He has currently abandon all his signs for words/sounds now. He can say open for getting things open like snack bags and toy boxes. He can say out when he wants to get out. No prompting!

    I’m terrible with expectations though, I’m like why can’t he do more … faster!? I guess I’m too demanding.

    One of your posts really touched me that said “Talking is not the holy grail” and what you wrote about Jay is similar to how I feel about L. If only he could talk and we can communicate, a lot of our issues would be solved. L does stem but very little, he runs in circles for a few minutes before bed time and he doesn’t do that every day but I have been told that’s counts as stemming. Okay fine I guess he stems. L is super affectionate like Jay. Loves hugs and kisses and his eye contact has improved a great deal since the initial evaluation. I know that’s rare for autistic kids so when I read that with Jay I was really hopeful!

    Anyways that’s some background with L.

    Take care and Thank you!

    – Grateful mom from California

    • The B Side Says:

      🙂 Keep em coming. I’d love to be able to keep up with you and L. Can only do that if I know where he’s starting from. Jay had only vowel sounds for quite a while. (Maybe 2 years or so). It wasn’t until he was about 5 that we really started hearing actual words and then there was just an explosion.

  3. mel Says:

    Hi there!

    Wow for some reason I really wanted to find your blog again. I lost it when I got new a computer luckily I was able to find you again!

    I was looking for this comment. Wow I can’t believe it’s been over a year!

    I’m glad to see you are still blogging!

    You were so right! L had vowel sounds forever. Then at 4 he would say one word for things he would want. Like “out”, “more”, “milk” – Sometimes “chocolate milk” but I was told this counts as one word because he always says it together and he’s not stringing it together. Okay fine… I was hoping it would be two words. Those speech therapists are tough cookies. Ha.

    It wasn’t till about 4 months ago when he was 4.75 years old that he started stringing words together. Like “I want chocolate milk, please!”. Now he’s really exploding! He is talking more BUT it’s not super understandable. Given what’s going on, we can usually figure it out but if we can’t, he starts to get upset and cries there sad little tears till I distract him with chocolate. Luckily that doesn’t happen too often but it does break my heart the few times it happens.

    Now that he is talking, I can see more of what he knows. He can read! Well he might have memorized books or at least figure out sight words. He can do math! Which is great to know. It really opened up a lot to know about him.

    I sort of had a ping that he might have speech apraxia and his speech therapist is testing him out for that because after all these years she finally thinks I might have been on to something. She feels he will be at peer level for speech by the end of elementary school. (I feel like that is very similar to Jay!) He may or may not have speech apraxia but we might soon find out! Unless of course his speech really explodes and they stop testing him for it.

    Whenever I hear things that seem to be in the timeline of your Jay, I am again grateful that I found your blog back then and how much hope it gave me and how L seems to be following in the same path.

    Thank you again for writing this blog. Many many thanks!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    -Grateful from California

    • Deenie Says:

      Hi Mel. This comment just made my day. I haven’t actually really been keeping up with the blog but I am so glad that it’s still helpful. It’s also really nice for me to have a reason to think back on Jays earlier years. He’s now 12 and in 6th grade with pretty much no accommodations and he actually got straight A’s last term which blew my mind. I was just so proud. But better than that, HE was so proud. I absolutely wish all the best of life for you and your son. Don’t ever assume that something is unattainable or that some skill is impossible. Jay still has challenges and I obviously don’t know how his life will turn out but I fully believe that if there’s something he wants, he can do it – Even if it takes him longer than the average person. *Sending lots of love your way*

  4. mel Says:

    Hi there!

    It’s me again. I hope you are still reading comments on your blog.

    It’s been almost 2.5 years since I commented last. This pandemic lasted a lot longer than I thought it would.

    L started Kindergarten as a distance learner in SDC and he did ABA and speech through Zoom also because of the pandemic.

    Amazingly he excelled even with Zoom. They graduated him out of ABA and Speech at the end of last year so mid-way through first grade. He had a few in person session before he gradated which was nice.

    He was still SDC when they started in person for first grade. He now goes about 50% to main stream for Math and Reading. It turns out he’s a math whiz and pretty good at reading also. His writing could definitely use some work. I am hoping he will have more time in second grade but I’m not trying to rush it. The main stream teacher thinks he’s doing really well.

    He talks fairly well right now but his speech pattern is still a bit off and his sentence structure still needs work, we try to correct it as much as possible and it’s getting there. His speech person before he graduated said that most kids like him fix their speech pattern around 2nd grade because they read more and see more examples of correct sentences. I hope that does turn out.

    I am hoping he will be fully main streamed someday… maybe 4th or 5th grade, a lot of his service people predicted he would catch up to everyone by the end of elementary school. So it looks like that might actually be happening!

    I do feel your blog still gave me the most hope when I was the most down about thing and again I’m so grateful you took the time to write down your experience with Jay. I hope your family is doing well. Big hugs and thank you for your blog!

    – Grateful mom from California

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