Sunday, June 20, 2010

Every dad has his challenges

Autism is a marriage-ender. That's what I have read. The overwhelming amount of divorces occur because there is little to no time to work on the couple that started it all. Individuals in the marriage miss the needed attention to some part of the couple's relationship that had to take a backseat to the 24/7 micromanaging of autism. If what is missed is missed acutely enough, the marriage dissolves.

These realities cause me to write today with gratitude about my husband, who also happens to be the father of my children, both of whom have ASD. I can't imagine trying to raise the boys on my own, but I also can't imagine a better choice for a dad than theirs. Granted, we both have moments of sheer and utter despair. Moments when Max screams directly into his ear and he can't hear for about 10 minutes. Moments when, because something wasn't put exactly where it needed to be put on the table, we need to hold the contents of the table, and all of its chairs, while the meltdown ensues. Moments when all we want to do is make a "quick" run to pick something up at the store, but cannot just go in and out without making plans similar to military combat tactics. Moments when we ask Ignatius to follow multi-step directions only to be met with his confused face. Moments when our 13 year old is frustrated to tears as to why he cannot handle stress the way some of his peers can, and why they think it's funny when he has a meltdown.

However, despite what is difficult in our parenting, my husband loves our children. It is evident to me on a daily basis. He helps them when they need help. He muddles through his frustrations to work with their issues. The boys adore him, quite literally. And when they draw something that is amazingly creative, or say something particularly profound, or finally reach a developmental milestone on which we have been working for what seems like forever, or simply when we watch them sleep in a peaceful slumber, his face shows how much he adores them in return.

Is he perfect? No. But neither am I, and it's never been my expectation that he would/should be perfect. He does the best he can with what he has each day. I think that's true of ALL good fathers. They do the best they can with what they have each day. So, to all fathers out there doing the same, I applaud you and say, "Happy Father's Day!" Your children (and their children) are the true beneficiaries of a strong and loving dad.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Is there some sort of spray for that?

Yes, I know it sounds bizarre. And yes, I know it has some variables, as it is dealing with the human condition, which is neither stable nor completely predictable. Still, after months of considering this, I have finally purchased and started using a bodybugg. The idea behind the bodybugg
is that, during your waking hours, you wear an armband. This armband has sensors that detect, in essence:
  • motion
  • heat flux (release)
  • electric current on skin surface
  • skin temperature
Using these four main components, the bodybugg records your caloric output--the amount of calories you burn. It includes the stuff of being alive and upright--getting dressed, doing things around the house, sleeping, and the like. When I awoke, it estimated that, between 12 AM and 7:30 AM, I expended about 640 calories. From the time I put the band on until now (about 8 hours), just doing "stuff," it has recorded a 1000 calorie expenditure. I have not formally "worked out," other than doing a set of 20 sit ups for a Facebook challenge (which expended less than 100 calories).

Along with the band, I also purchased a display which can be worn as a clip or a watch. Without the display, I would have to hook the bodybugg up via USB to my laptop and gather this information. The display refreshes every 60 seconds, and tells you calories burned, steps taken, activity, and the like (I wish it did heart rate) for today or yesterday (when I have worn it more than one day). It's synced to the armband. You don't need the watch, but it's nice to have the info right there.

At the end of my day today, I will sync the armband with the website. Throughout the day, I have entered calories consumed on the site. Data will be transferred to determine a calorie deficit. The science behind this is, if you have a 500 calorie deficit per day, you will be setting yourself up for a 1-lb per week weight loss. It's a measuring device to help you track what was not so easy to track before... how many calories you were actually burning.

So, we shall see. Having the bodybugg does not make weight come off. It's a way to keep yourself accountable. I have been doing activity for months, but I have not been keeping myself accountable about what I am eating as much as I could. This is the next step. I'll keep you posted!