It has been a cathartic past few days. I literally stayed in my room all day on Thursday. Terry stayed home from work to take care of his "sick" wife. I left the room at about 5:30pm and we left the house to eat (at Pelancho's, speaking of margaritas, Kara, I just had a few sips though because I'm such a lightweight) and go to Borders to do some research. I usually work on Thursday evenings hosting a training event, but I have some wonderful people that I work with and they "took over" for me so that I could veg. I think I had just gotten to the point where I didn't have anything left to give and literally and physically had to shut off to recharge.

So on Friday I'm out of the house by 9am and took the kids over to the church to play while I volunteered for the mom's group at the children's clothing sale we had this weekend and then came home long enough to feed the kiddos and then took Eric to the eye doc to get his new glasses. I'm excited about these with the cable arms because 1) Eric picked them out when I blatantly had him choose between 2 identical frames but one with the cables and he chose these each time I asked him (you have to take a large enough sample size to get an accurate estimate when you have to dish out over $200 for frames and it is the 3rd pair you've purchased in 1 year) and 2) hopefully with the cables we will have less trips to the eye doc for adjustments, less falling off the face, therefore less losing of the glasses, and less glasses purchases! Anyhoo, then we got back and Cris took them to the park while I typed up an "Eric manual" for his teachers for Monday and got ready for date night. Terry and I went to the pre-sale and got Eric a bike for $5!!!! and of course some Thomas stuff and some non-button shirts suitable for church and the game Hullabaloo (I've wanted this game ever since it came out and Eric was about a year old!). Then we went for sushi (we do this every friday for date night) to a new place (new to us, that is) in Farragut by Steinmart - nice - they had a Go Vols Roll which we got. And of course went to a different Borders to continue our research.

On Saturday I marveled at the 2 days on the extreme ends of social interaction and how incredibly balanced I felt at that point (actually makes me a little anxious though). Anyhoo we had a great weekend at Volunteer Landing for the Dragon Boat races. The kids played in the waterfall there and put some training wheels on Eric's bike and played Hullabaloo (so fun!).

I had followed a thread in the angry wives club forum and in the effort to be positive and helpful to someone who was debating on leaving her man, I reinforced to myself just how blessed I am to have Terry and that he is willing to work on this together for our benefit and the benefit of our family. Like the Mozart and the Whale quote "Aspergers is a funny animal," how can someone appear so "normal" on the outside have autism? Where I have a daily struggle in communicating with HIM, his daily struggle is with communicating with EVERYONE. What is harder is sometimes he is aware of the struggle and sometimes he isn't. If you haven't watched the movie with the screenwriter's commentary, I recommend that you do. It was very insightful for me personally into the the leading lady's role, who is more like Terry - Appears normal, though eccentric and quirky, but has a real disability in certain situations which his comments helped me to understand the deeper meaning behind her character. She made eye contact, she had a job, she had friends at work, she had compassion and empathy for others in the group and could often communicate gracefully to them (and other times not so much). I am learning to stay on my toes and be flexible and adjust my responsibilities in our family without enabling him or being condescending. That goes for Eric too.

I'll need to finish the Eric Manual before his first day of school tomorrow. I used 2 books as reference: Understanding Autism for Dummies, which I was incredibly impressed with chapter 5 on Aspergers and the "Rage Cycle" and how to deal with it at each of the 3 stages, and Parenting your Asperger Child, which had a very insightful 2 chapters on "Identifying Asperger Subtypes" and "Reasons behind the Behavior." I am taking things from each book that are specifically Eric (since it is a spectrum, most books can be incredibly general and vague when you are trying to understand just one child). We bought the latter book. The 2 have probably been the most helpful to me in dealing with the day to day issues both the major and minor. It is interesting, the more I understand AS, the more traits I see in Eric and the more compassionate I become for what he has to overcome daily. It is a funny animal. I'm so grateful that he is being raised in a generation where there is more ASD awareness than in my generation. Now I just have to reach more of my generation to enlighten.....

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