Friday, March 9, 2012

Elli's Antics

Elli, Elli, Elli...

What are we going to do with her?

Anyone who has a child with severe autism knows what a rollercoaster ride it can be. Elli can go from laughing to screaming to singing to screaming to quiet to screaming (are you getting the theme here?) for no apparent reason. For the past few months, the screaming and sadness seemed to be the overriding emotion and it was becoming extremely difficult for everyone. We decided to start her on some meds to try to stabilize her moods a bit.

Results were quick! We felt like we had our Elli back. She became more verbal and sweet and happy. Along with that came a whole new Elli.

We call her Miss Mischievous.

Elli's newfound energy and contentment (which, by the way, is by no means constant-- she still knows how to scream, but overall it is much less) has been channeled into wreaking havoc upon our home. In any given 5 minutes, she can destroy an entire room. Whereas before she would tend to stay in one area for long periods of time, playing with her music toys, she now roams the house constantly, exploring and making messes. One of her favorite new things to do is to go into the bathroom, climb in the tub fully clothed, and turn on the shower. This was funny perhaps the first couple of times it happened, but quickly got very old. After several stints in the shower, Jeremy purchased the "childproof" plastic doorknob covers to put on the bathrooms. It helped for approximately one and a half weeks. Yesterday we were out at parent teacher conferences all afternoon and left most of the kids home with Taylor and Parker.

Speaking of parent teacher conferences, we visited with over 20 teachers. Eight kids and two in junior high make for a lot of visits!

But back to Elli. We got a phone call from Taylor that went something like this, "Dad, Elli found out how to open the bathroom doors and went into the shower again."

"Oh, I'm sure someone just left it open."

"That's what we thought the first time, but it's happened twice now. She knows how to pull apart the plastic on the covers and can get in. She's showered twice."

Seriously, what are we going to do with her? The other day she went in Jeremy's office for a few minutes and managed to create a huge mess that had Jeremy pulling his hair out. When I went to get her the other morning, she had pulled off the closet door in her room and was sliding down it. She's broken the piano bench and ping pong table. She tears pictures off the wall, "clears" off the kitchen table, pulls all of the blankets and sheets off beds, and every other thing you can think of.

Whatever you're envisioning, it's worse. I'm actually very worried to find out what she's doing this very moment! But believe it or not, it's better than the constant screaming. She seems happier most of the time. So I'm not sure what to do! It's impossible to watch her every minute of the day. She's kind of acting like a one year old, but can do so much more damage because of her size and strength.

One thing that has come to mind is getting her more musical toys. She has a TON already, but she plays with them constantly, so the novelty can wear off. Every time we get her something new, it provides hours and hours of mess-free Elli. But it kills the budget. So... if any of you readers out there happen to live in my neighborhood and have musical toys that would just go to the DI, PLEASE ask if we have them, and if not, send them on over here! You could be saving an entire house from utter destruction! (:

I'm not even kidding.

We do love you, Elli! It's fun to see you come alive. (:


  1. It may be worth 'cycling' the toys i.e. putting some away for a couple of months or so and then getting them out again and putting others away. It gives them a fresh appeal!

  2. Sounds like an interesting time at your house lately. I read you blog often but I thought today was finally the time to chime in ;) I know you said new toys are not exactly in the budget all the time but if you don't happen upon any free ones, have you seen the sites that are essentially Netflix for toys? Here are a couple links: or The "baby plays" site has a plan starting at $20 per month. Not really cheap but would keep a steady supply of new music toys rotating through your house. Hope that helps, even if it's just something to keep in mind for the future.

  3. It sounds like she needs the nickname "Taz" for tazmanian devil. That is what i pictured from the cartoons. Y'all are true saints!

  4. OK - I get everything you just said - and wow, feel your pain - but - just in case you didn't notice - her creativity and intelligence seems boundless! I mean - door off closet and into a sliding board - that's pretty danged smart!

    And if I had a suggestion - I promise I'd share it - and will after a ponder for a bit!

    hugs - aus and co.

  5. Wow! Are you part of any "Parents with autistic children" type of group? Maybe even online? That could be a resource for ideas.

    I have to say you are amazing to keep such a great attitude!

  6. Door alarms--Menards has a four pack of basic door/window alarms for about $8. At least you'd know when she was going in the bathroom.

    1. This is a good idea...we'll have to think about it. Thanks,