Jsack's Mom's Blog

Welcome to my blog where I share my special needs parenting journey with my heart, truth, and love, one story at a time. ❤️

It takes a village

I recently took a physical for life insurance purposes. My nurse was kind and polite and when I was asked why do I take an anti-depressant when your otherwise healthy? I simply replied “I’m a special needs parent who’s always advocating, teaching, learning, researching, and loving my family I have to cope somehow.”

The look of surprise that crossed his face was something that I’ve seen before. I’ve had people ask me how do you do it, deal with autism, ADHD, ODD, SPD, and a genetic neurological disorder that affects everything from motor skills, to recessive language delay, to selective eating issues due to textures, smells, and shapes of food.

I have no other answer other than I don’t think about it I just do it. All of it needs to be done always. I need to advocate for my children so that they can have access to resources, funding, and therapy inside the school system and outside within the community. I need to keep up with the latest research on my son’s genetic disorder so I know how to help him specifically and what other co-morbidities I need to be aware of. I also need to teach him about number and letter recognition so he can begin to print what he knows. I have to deal with regression as it’s the part of his brain that’s affected by his micro-duplication.

I need to check, double check and help my son re-learn when he’s lost his ability to process what he’s learning in school. He’s come a long way with his progress from screaming if I tried to help him hold a crayon in preschool to printing his name confidently in elementary school. Now his world’s growing bigger as he attempts to make sense of all those letters on the page and learn to read. I remember what joy I felt when my Mom introduced the magical world of books to me.

I long to see that light in my son’s eyes that I know appeared in mine. Yet I see him stumble on three and four letter words and in frustration throw the book across the room. At the moment we’re working on his reading comprehension so that he can create the story from what he sees illustrated on the page. As for the phonics and word recognition I’m using a multi-sensory approach as well as his special education resources teacher does in the classroom.

1. First I print the word then I get him to to tell me the letters and we sound it out and say it together.

2. Next I have him build it with his alphabet letters on the line below.

3. After he prints the word with his pencil.

4. Then we go over the word and use it in a sentence and repeat with the remaining words.

Sometimes he only has enough patience for three words but to me it’s quality over quantity. I learned the Write, build, print method from an amazing website called Understood. I love this website as I now have a resource that’s there to help us both on our learning journey.

When I see the furrow in my son’s brow as he concentrates to maintain his alligator grip on his pencil I marvel at his independence. He sings a little song as he does so. Alligator grip then my pencil doesn’t slip. Then when he’s completed his task his beautiful smile makes his whole face light up. I’m excited to incorporate building Lego into his learning as we work on math next.

I have five months to prepare him to catch up with his peers and continue onto the next grade. He has an excellent team at school who’ve been there to help with his frustrations, transitions with the use of visuals and successes. My son teaches me just as much as I’m teaching him this why I choose medication for myself and seeking the guidance of a therapist.

No parent is an island and it takes a village to raise a child. When it’s a child with special needs it takes strength, courage, and a bigger, non-judgemental village. I need to be able to cope with this roller coaster of a life we lead. I need to stay on task and ten steps ahead of a sensory overloaded meltdown. Most importantly I need to take care of myself and repair what I feel is broken. My mental health and the well being of my children depend on it.

Welcome to Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from special needs bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo — from Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia! Want to join in on next month’s Voices of Special Needs Hop? Click here!

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Sensory Processing Disorder in the classroom

My son has had a long journey in his five years. He was born a month premature and didn’t open up his eyes for his first five days on the earth. Even back then he knew he was sensory overwhelmed with his welcome to the world. Most Moms have babies crying when they make their exit from the spa into the brightness of a hospital OR. Not my son he was sleeping in my OB’s arms as he was brought over the sheet to check his vitals. 

From that day forward he found his voice and expressed himself fully with the power of his lungs. He was a cuddly baby that never like to be put down to sleep and was rolling back and forth at 4 days old! Then he grew into a bash and crash toddler that scared me with his antics of climbing up a five shelf bookshelf and jumping onto the couch. Now he’s grown up so much I wish time could slow down and I could swaddle that sweet baby he used to be. 

He’s 5 now and recently diagnosed with autism and co-morbidities to watch out for, and attending kindergarten and I have routine  that I do for him in the morning to prepare him for the day. He’s not a morning person after two years with obstructive sleep apnea so every morning is a little more jarring to his central nervous system. We start slow and easy in the morning with the routine of wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed, and get his backpack ready for school. All shown with his visual pictures to keep him on task. 

Regulation 

 He needs to be emotionally and physically regulated with his central nervous system before he steps into his classroom so I have a morning cuddle with him and give him a deep pressure massage to wake up his senses slowly. He then gets fed, dressed, washed, and then coat, shoes, backpack are put on. If he’s feeling antsy I have him jump on his minitramp for 1 minute. That amount of time can balance him out and then crab walks to the door with some heavy work to prepare him for sitting. 

Stimulation

Now that’s he’s awake and ready to start his day he can become overly stimulated by what he sees around him. I help him focus by putting on his glasses so he can single out each object. His classroom is a busy place so I know this cuts down on all the visual distractions. Noise and commotion are difficult input for my son to process so he has his noise cancelling headphones in his backpack to block out the overstimulation. If he doesn’t wear them he will stim and compete with the noise with his vocal power to cancel out the offending auditory trigger. 

Oral Fixation

My son tends to chew on his sleeves, cuffs, collar of his clothes so after he’s dressed I make sure he has his chewlery. He’s a shark and ocean marine life lover so he has his shark on a cord and wears it as a necklace. He doesn’t always like to wear it but I tell him that sharky’s there to help if he feels nervous. It saves his clothes and gives him the sensory input he needs for his low muscle tone in his jaw. 

Motor Planning

He has difficulties with  transitions so I make sure that I use visual supports to keep him on task. First we use his visual picture cards so he can see his morning routine. Then I draw them on the white board in a 3 step format of first, then, after. As he completes each task he erases it feeling accomplished and ready to start his day. 

Zones of Regulation

Each day my son and I will go through the zones of regulation where he will tell me what each colour is to express a feeling or action. When he’s unable to express how he’s feeling verbally he will tell me a colour. 

  • Blue is feeling sad or tired. 
  • Yellow is feeling scared or nervous. 
  • Green is happy and smiling.
  • Red is angry and frustrated. 

Verbal Diahrrea 

My son enjoys talking so I need to show him how to take turns with having a conversation as his receptive language skills are severe. He can have tunnel vision and want to be the only one talking and expressing his thoughts. I have a Popsicle stick that he coloured with one side is red and the other is green. He holds the stick and when it’s green he’s a go for talking. When it’s red then he has to stop and let someone else talk, namely his teacher. 

The visuals keep him on track and help with his slower processing time. We all know the adage it takes a village to raise a child. When you have a child with special needs that village grows. Now we prepare for him to be assessed by the school psychologist so he can qualify for an aid in the classroom. It’s not an easy process because sometimes my son doesn’t want to be organized and given direction so it becomes more of a dance. He takes a step and we each take turns leading. One thing I know that everything we do is to prepare him for success in the classroom. 

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthlygathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution  . Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo!

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Sensory Processing Disorder and me-friend or foes

I’ve shared a lot about what it’s like being a parent to children with SPD. One is an avoider of sensory input and one is a seeker and can’t get enough input in his bucket. He keeps emptying his bucket over and over throughout the course of the day. Whereas his brother after a long day of school has a bucket that’s overflowing and can’t take one more cup of input. This is when Mom becomes the referee and I need to separate my sons before World War 3 happens! I do my best to keep them emotionally regulated but it becomes a full time job and I wind up exhausted and depleted. Like my oldest son I also have SPD Sensory Defensiveness in particular. Loud, sudden high pitched noises bother me, more than one person talking to me at a time is like chaos for my brain and body. My central nervous system processes sensory input most of the time effectively. Then there are those days when the world is too busy, loud, bright, and overwhelming. Sometimes I feel so hypersensitive to the world around me I can hear the energy crackling like a campfire. 

Those are the days I put up my hood and read a good book with a cup of herb tea or escape to my bed with my soft, fuzzy blanket and put on my headphones and listen to my meditation music. I need comfort in those moments when my ears feel like they’re bleeding from listening to my children squabbling over the iPad while three different TV’s are playing in the background. I have to resist the urge to bite my fingernails with the anxiety I feel inside. All I want is to chew on something soft and rubbery like an eraser but I don’t because my kids have gnawed on all the pencils like a couple of beavers. In those moments when I feel like the world is closing in on me and I can’t breathe I rock myself gently and I sing. Whenever I was a little girl my Mom would hold me on her knee and rock and sing with me. She’d rub my back and give me deep pressure Mama bear hugs. I’d give anything to go back to those memories and pluck her out them so I could have her in my comfort zone. But unfortunately that’s not possible as she travels a heavenly path while I’m earth bound. My Mom never made me feel like I was wrong or different. She told me I was a special child of God and my “quirky” nature made me uniquely me. When I was a child I spent a lot of my time reading the Classics like Shakespeare, Dickens, Louisa L. Maycott, and Lucy Maude Montgomery. 

I related so much to those characters who thought out of the box and wrote stories and climbed trees like I did. The poetry and beautiful descriptive writing of William and Charles made me want to write like them and capture the worlds interest with my words. So I wrote getting lost in fantasy worlds, epic battles, and fascinating history. This is when the world was a quiet place as I scribbled away in my notebooks filling pages with my prose and poetry. I’m still like this as an adult where I require quiet time daily and my sons are forthright about asking for their private bubble to decompress in. The stress chemicals can build up throughout the day and we need to release them or end up sending our central nervous systems into sensory overload. No one wants that to happen so we give each other the space that we require. Now you add in a few more letters of the alphabet like ASD, ADHD, ODD, and OCD you’ve got a melting pot of hot soup that no one can handle. Those are the times where I ask my children what they need to make their bodies feel better. Or how fast is your engine using the zones of regulation, of which my youngest son has a thorough understanding of this concept. 

Since facial expressions can sometimes confuse him and his recessive language with conversational verbal fluency is severe. He will then tell me what colour he is or ask me what colour I am. It’s an excellent way for him to communicate and be receptive to others feelings.  A breakdown of the colours and their meanings:

Blue- feeling tired or sad

Yellow-feeling nervous or scared 

Red-feeling mad and angry

Green-feeling happy and smiling

With my oldest son who has a better grasp on receptivity I have a diagram of a thermometer and I will ask him how fast his engine in his car is, and he can tell me or show me using the zone regulation colours. Sometimes are tempers are short, our explanations are long winded, and our bodies not regulated  and we react to the stress and pressure of the hot soup and we blow up. That’s when it’s important to remember forgiveness and our brains are just wired a little differently. It’s amazing what love, a deep pressure hug,  and a cup of hot chocolate will accomplish when words fail to save the day. That’s when I feel that even when SPD appears to be a foe when dealing with the chaos and it’s just too much ; I take that moment to breathe letting myself inhale the positive and exhale the negative and realize that it’s my friend after all guiding my family and I to better days ahead filled with love and patience.
Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo!

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Wearing my heart on my sleeve 

I’ve always been an emotional person the wear my heart on my sleeve kind of gal. There’s times where I think I need to have a thicker skin or put my heart away so I don’t get so easily hurt. It comes part and parcel with being empathic I feel people’s feelings, and I can “touch” people’s energy. I know when someone isn’t good for me or my loved ones and I can stay clear. 

I do my best to give people the benefit of the doubtand not judge a book by its cover. It will still happen to me and someone I love, that’s the way of the world unfortunately. Today was just like any other day before preschool filled with excitement an anticipation.  My son loves going to school and he wears and shows his feelings with his whole body. He was so excited to stomp up the stairs and count with me. He loves seeing his teachers and playing with his favourite toys there.  For the last month him and I have considered this a safe, fun, and educational place. Today though something happened and I’m still trying to process it. 

I have something brewing in my mind and my heart. If I don’t get it out I think I will combust! I was sure as I mulled it over to see how I could’ve handled it differently it would evolve into a blog post at some point. Today I was waiting with my son for preschool to start. There was a couple of families there and a little girl was staring at my son. He was standing there stomping as it’s his new thing that he does to feel comfortable in his environment, to gain sensory input. It’s an eclosed narrow hallway so his stomping is quite loud with its sound vibrations. 

I asked him to please quiet his feet inside and a classmate of his looked at him and announced to her Mom that he was crazy. The Mom (who did not acknowledge me besides with nervous laughter) said to another parent at that age crazy is good. I stood there stupefied, angry, and hurt for my son. I told him you’re awesome and don’t let anyone change that! My son isn’t crazy he’s very busy and full of kinetic energy and must move to learn. He has Sensory Processing Disorder #SPD and this how his eight senses react to sensory input. 

We all know we have our five basic senses of touch, taste, sight, hearing, sound, and smell. There’s many more types of senses but I’ll focus on the other three I was referring to:

  1. Propriocepetion- gives you the ability to know where your body is in space within your environment in relation to your other body parts. Think of the song Head, shoulders, knees, and toes. 
  2.  Equilibrioception- relates to our vestibular sense that’s found in the inner ear. This sensory sense is all about our ability to balance and have agility. 
  3. Interoception- relates to our body’s sensory system to know when we’re hungry, thirsty, or the urge to eliminate. 

My son is constantly seeking sensory input as all these senses build up inside his brain, body, and central nervous system and cause a traffic jam. Some of his senses are strong and some are weak and how he needs to seek out input looks different to everybody.

 This misguided observation we encountered didn’t bother my son at all. He doesn’t see himself any differently from other kids. He continued stomping while I stood there stewing in my furiousness for this hurtful remark. He made music with his feet, all be it loud music and made a little girl dance. Then that started a chain reaction and another classmate started twirling and he was still smiling and stomping. 

Although I saw his happiness I felt my heart crack for my child. He’s not different he’s different abled and is receiving therapy from his team so that he can function better in a world that can at times misunderstand and judge him. On Oct. 8 th it’s Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness please spread the love, awareness, and educate for SPD. 

   
  

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Taking back me challenge continues on 

 

*Image found on Facebook , and not my own.*

 


What was your week like with meeting your fitness goals?

Jsack Mom:

I had a great week I worked out everyday and completed my four week fitness challenge. My clean eating was on target and my stress levels were managed. 

Tracy on the Rocks:

This past week was tough. I had an event out of town so it was hard to control what I ate as well as I could have if I had been at home. I did my best to make healthy choice though, and I brought workout clothes so I could hit the gym at the hotel! 

How many times did you work out during the week?

Jsack Mom: I worked out everyday this week for 30-45 minutes a day. I’ve been taking more time to stretch since I saw a massage therapist last week. She said my back was a mess of knots. After a year of going without a massage or chiropractor treatment it didn’t surprise me. 

Tracy on the rocks:

I squeezed in 3 workouts last week. 

How was your eating plan, did you stick to it or cheat a little? 

Jsack Mom:

I ate well for the first four weeks of my first fitness challenge. Now I’ve been eating a very strict menu plan. I’ve allowed myself to have a handful of nuts at the end of the day. I find its just what I need for the tummy growlies, and helps me sleep better. 

Tracy on the rocks:

I actually got a stomach bug at the beginning of the week, and then at the end of the week I was out of town and “cheated” as well as drank wine! So hopefully not being able to eat much at the beginning of the week balanced things out! 

Do you allow yourself to have a cheat day? 

Jsack Mom:

I was on a new fitness challenge so the food menu was quite regimented for results. I had an extra snack later at night because I was starving and I couldn’t sleep. 

Tracy on the rocks:

I had a book signing Thursday with some of the other contributors to an anthology I am in, so yes, I cheated. Mostly with wine. And some sweet potato fries at lunch! Eekk

How are you feeling, sleeping better, eating clean, stress relief wise?

Jsack Mom:

This was a detox fitness challenge so it was tough on me physically, emotionally, and mentally. I felt good the first couple of days then mid week I developed a cold with headaches. That made for difficult sleeping habits,and not getting enough rest made me stressed out. The workouts and drinking tons of water, (at least 2 litres a day) helped a lot. 

Tracy on the rocks:

I am entering my 3rd week and I am sleeping better, waking up a little easier and overall have more energy! When I work out, it makes me WANT to keep eating healthy! 

Have you noticed any results since you began your fitness challenge? 

Jsack Mom:

I have never owned a scale not since I was at my heaviest. But I take measurements and I lost 2 inches around my hips, waist, and I lost a pant size! This is after one month and recovering from my back injury!

Tracy on the Rocks:

I’ve lost a total of 7 lbs so far! 

What do you hope to gain from your fitness challenge?

Jsack Mom:

I hope to gain more strength, endurance, and the knowledge to eat a clean, and healthy diet. I’m changing my mindset so this is not a “diet” for me this is a new lifestyle change. 

Tracy on the rocks:

I hope NOT to gain- I hope to lose…weight! Haha But, I hope to gain healthy habits too! Joking! 😉

 

*Image found on Facebook, and borrowed from my coach Ryan Luhning.*

 


What’s the one thing that’s keeping you motivated throughout this time? 

Jsack Mom: 

Knowing that I’ve had Tracy to team up with has helped me a lot for support and accountability. My Beach Body coach Ryan Luhning with http://www.yycgamechangers inspires and motivates me everyday with his positive charged up attitude, expertise, guidance, and never ending energy!!! Him and his wife Carolyn are an incredible team who’s passion for fitness inspires my own again. And after a long time of putting myself last it feels incredible again to have that support. 😃

Tracy on the rocks:

Fitting into my skinny jeans!!

What’s been your favourite meal that helps fill you up and still have you eating healthy?

Jsack Mom:

I’ve recently been eating brown rice again mixed with steamed veggies and skinless chicken. I forgot how much I loved brown rice. I stopped eating it because of the convenience factor. But I made a big batch of it and had some for lunch and dinner.  

Tracy on the rocks:

This is more of a condiment- I put hot sauce on everything! And that helps make bland food like chicken and vegetables have some zip without the sugars of other sauces. 

 Do you have a favourite snack?

Jsack Mom:

For my go to snack I’ve fallen in love with Greek yogurt mixed with oatmeal and fruit. The creamy texture and sweetness of the berries fills me up and satisfies my sweet tooth. I will include the recipe at the end of the interview. 

Tracy on the rocks:

I have been trying to cut back on snacks, but my mom had dried out a huge bag of sliced apples and I asked her to send me some more because they are good when I need something sweet, but still healthy! 

Did you clean out your cupboards to avoid temptations? 

Jsack Mom:

No I didn’t, there really wasn’t a point because not everyone was eating the same meal plan as me. There’s trigger foods in my house all the time I just avoid them, or eat them in moderation. 

Tracy on the rocks:

No, because my roommate and I live like bachelors and we never have any food to begin with hahaha. 😉

Have you weighed and measured yourself since you started a month ago? 

Jsack Mom:

No I didn’t weigh myself I only do that once a year at my Dr’s physical. I did measure myself though, my best method is to how well my clothes are fitting. I also took daily pictures to motivate me and keep me on track. 

Tracy on the rocks:

I only weighed myself. I should measure myself and take pictures. But I don’t want evidence of the “before,” just hurry up and get to the “after” portion! 

What are your results?

Jsack Mom: inches lost and down a whole pant size! 

Tracy on the rocks: 7 lbs down total! 

What’s the next goal for yourself? 

Jsack Mom:

I’ve been invited to participate in another challenge, the Beach Body 21 day fix. And another personal one with a friend and her team. I will weigh out the commitments to each and make my decision from there. 

Tracy on the rocks:

I am hoping to continue at 2 lb loss increments 

Will this become a lifestyle change or is just to drop some weight? 

Jsack Mom:

Absolutely lifestyle, I want to teach my children more about healthy choices and eating clean. My oldest son already eats very healthy, but he’s a big snacker. Now I have healthier options for him to choose from. My youngest has a lot of food texture issues so I just try to get him eating lots of fruits, and he’s content with carrots so I don’t force the issue. I make the sneakiest and healthiest pasta sauce because I blend up tons of veggies in there. Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook Deceptively Delicious is pure genius with her methods of incorporating vegetables into a family food menu.  

Tracy on the rocks:

Lifestyle! I don’t want to yo-yo diet! The fitness part is definitely something that I need to incorporate into my life and not just as a fad. I also realize I was drinking alcohol way too often. Before I started keeping track of what I was eating, it was easy to make drinking a glass (or a bottle) of wine nightly a habit. 

Do you keep yourself accountable to a group, friend, or partner? 

Jsack Mom:

Yes I’m accountable to myself, my Beach Body coach Ryan, my fitness teams, and of course to Tracy and all you wonderful readers following along. I’ve been blessed to have many supportive friends and family in person and online cheering me on as well. 

Tracy on the rocks:

Myself and knowing I’m going to have to report my results in this challenge! 

Name 5 things that are keeping you motivated today. 

Jsack Mom:

  • 1. Keeping track of my progress through pictures, posts, and hard work. 
  • 2. That wonderful feeling of adrenaline and euphoria before, during, and after a workout. 
  • 3. Beach Body fitness trainer Shaun T. His workouts are geared for results. His exercise progressions are small in increments but very powerful. His ecouragement and his hotness factor are motivating me too. 😉
  • 4. My energy level at the end of the day is amazing. Before I was dragging my butt at the end of the day; I could’ve carried it to bed with both hands. Now I feel so much better and what little sleep I get (die to my son’s sleep disorder) it’s solid and rejuvenating now. 
  • 5. Being pain free with my chronic back pain is my goal. As well as being an active Mom who teaches, learns, and grows with my children. While teaching and implementing healthy habits for my whole family to use. 

Tracy on the rocks

  1. Fitting into my jeans 

  2. All the sacrifices I’ve already made will be for nothing if I don’t stay on track

  3. Fitting into a new dress for my friend’s wedding (which happens to be on my birthday) 

  4. Umm…being too busy to eat

  5. That’s all I’ve got. 

 Name someone who’s been supportive of you meeting your fitness goals.

Jsack Mom: Tracy on the Rocks! She’s been incredible with cheering me on and always so supportive with my posting schedule when answering her own fitness questions. My coach Ryan from YYC Game changers is a bottomless well of health, enthusiasm, advice, and motivation. Him and his lovely wife Carolyn really walk the walk, and talk the talk. I’ve been following their fitness journey on their blog, and now their motivating You tube channel as well as Instagram. They live, breathe, and promote their passion daily with Beach Body health and fitness.  

Tracy on the Rocks: Jsack Mom! 

Everyone’s actually been really supportive! My roommate is getting married so she’s doing her own challenge and my girlfriend found out I was doing Medifast and she told me she did it too so she keeps checking in. Everyone wants me to succeed! 

Is there anything that’s sabotaging you to not meet your goals?

Jsack Mom:

Yes right now with this detox challenge it’s the yummy, tantalizing foods I can’t have. My husband brought home a honey ham for dinner and I had to leave the house. It smelled so good I was afraid I was going to cave. So I took a quick jog around the block and felt better when I got home and everything was put away. Honestly though it was a long night and I sulked while eating my salmon salad and NOT having a beer while watching the hockey game. 😝

Tracy on the Rocks: Not yet….

Recipe: Greek yogurt and berries

Here’s my favourite new snack so easy and so delicious. 

  • 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of fresh fruit (raspberries or strawberries or both.)
  • 2 Tablespoons of oatmeal. 
  • Mix together in a bowl and BOOM 💥 you’ve got a delicious, healthy snack. 
So there you have it Tracy on the Rocks and I will be back next week to share tips, recipes, and what’s making us feel great on the #takingbackmechallenge. Thank you for coming along on our journey. ❤️

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To the woman who judged me #mommitment 

To the Mother who judged me, I lay awake thinking of what you said. How you blurted out your casual comment not knowing it was like a serrated knife to my heart. Or maybe you did know that and didn’t care. It felt like you had an agenda the first time you laid eyes on me. We were on a busy commuter bus, going to the same destination; and I thought I’ll never see you again. But I asked you to back off and you didn’t. This is me wearing my heart on my sleeve and pouring out my pain in that moment. 

The Judgement Bus

How can you sit there and judge me? 

While people just stop and stare. 
I’m shocked by what you said to me. 
I didn’t ask you to share. 
You don’t know me or my child, or what’s his story. 
You just spouted off your ignorance and didn’t even say sorry. 
I was staring at the smugness on your face. 
I said he has autism and his meltdown I wanted to erase. 
I didn’t know what to say as my hot tears stung my eyes. 
I could see you watching my child with disgust, which was no surprise. 
I’ve seen people like you where I have to hold my anger inside. 
Buckle up son, it’s the judgment bus coming through. 
And it’s going to be a bumpy ride. 
I won’t let them see that one shining tear. 
As I could fill an ocean of denial.  Sadness lives here. 

As I look back and read this poem, tears are streaming down my face. I recently became a proud member of The Mommitment Movement, dedicated to putting an end to “Mom Wars.” Its mission is to promote love, acceptance, and kindness instead of judgment. 

I’m adopting the motto, ‘I won’t judge you as a Mom, so please don’t judge me.’ We all came into this world the same way, with a beautiful newborn baby – without an instruction manual. The experience I had on the bus made me realize how much I have to reinforce this positive message in my life. I immediately wanted to hurt her like she hurt me and my pride. My son wasn’t even bothered; just happy to have a seat, and to watch life out the window.  I won’t change my thinking, my thin skin, or the fact that I wear my heart on my sleeve. I will abide by this code in my backyard, while I tend to the flowers I’m growing. I’ll respect your right to tend to your flowers however you see fit. 

After the bus incident, I’m more committed to Mommitment than ever. I can’t change the world around me. I can’t make people accept my son and his special needs. But this is Autism Awareness month, and I can help change his world by spreading more awareness, education, and understanding. Having the force of the proud and powerful Mommitment movement along with a parenting support network behind me, I finally don’t feel so alone on this journey. 

To learn more about this game changing campaign, please read the post that started it all.   

And here you can sign the pledge and be part of Mommittment. ❤️

Next Life, NO Kids
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Ready, set, go! 

I have so much to do and I’m already overwhelmed thinking about it. I have never ending overflowing laundry baskets and I’m totally my laundry room’s bitch for the past two weeks. I’ve got a wicker basket full of stuff I need to do, and the paperwork monster is threatening to grab me in a choke hold till I cry uncle! I know I can take things one day at a time but it’s my brain that never shuts that doesn’t get that message. 

Last week I had a meeting with my respite worker she asked me if I was a list person. I replied yes I love making lists, a lot of my blog topics start out that way. She asked me to write things out instead of using my notes app. So I did and it’s amazing how something so simple, can be so affective. Today I made another list and each day I cross off my accomplishments. It feels good to see that I’m taking care of things, but my overwhelm is with all the things I still need to do. It’s easy for me  to dispense out advice to friends and say look after your priorities and the housework will be there tomorrow. Like death and taxes laundry will always be something you can count on happening. 

I feel like I’m at the start of the race and I’m waiting for someone to be standing there with a pistol saying ready, set, go and I’m off like I’m lit on fire when I hear that shot go off! On one side of me is my calendar jammed with appointments, and on the other is my phone loaded up with texts, emails, and blog topics I need to return and write. At times we’re neck in neck and I literally feel the sweat pouring down my brow. Then I’m wiping it, dying of thirst, and I fall behind and struggle to keep up. 

There are many phone calls to be made, test results to track down, letters to be written, paperwork to be signed, and faxed. I’ve literally been held paralyzed with anxiety that I have to complete all the things and do it record time. The finish line appears to be so far away and my eyes are getting blurry as exhaustion starts to overtake me. Must be the fact I’m dehydrated and in need of something to quench my thirst. And that pesky cataract starts to bother me when I’m tired. So I start veering off the track and daydreaming while I can scarcely see my opponents in the distance. My vision doubles and I start to yearn for my couch. 

There I can have my fuzzy blanket and security while watching Lawrence of Arabia and enjoy eating a bowl of ice cream. This parenting gig can be hard at times. Add in a list of objectives, goals, and lists and you’ve got another job. Sometimes I just want to say &@@@ it and leave for someone else to do. But if I do that then my children won’t get the services they desperately need. I can’t miss out on that, no matter how mentally, emotionally, and physically, exhausted I am. It’s not fair to them or to me if I fail, there’s a lot of resources and a lot of families in need as well. The autism journey can be a bumpy one at the best and worst of times. I’m learning new terminology everyday and as my brother says ATL’s (another three lettered acronym). 

He told me that last week and I laughed so hard, for about fifteen minutes as my life has become all about the letters. When will it all begin, when I’m assessed for funding, get a case worker assigned to me, or get a therapy team in place. There will be more people joining our small circle, lots of transitions, more appointments, and more trips into the city. I will be requesting a lot of home visits in the beginning. Getting my youngest son prepared for these upcoming changes and strangers in our reclusive world. This is never easy and I can use all the PECS (Picture Example Cards) available, but if he has anxiety about it all it’s just not going to happen. 

I honestly don’t know what to expect from branching out into this new world of programs, people, and personalities. I’m thinking as positively as I can and preparing and educating myself as well. So off I go into the sunset leaving worn out ideas, speculations, and false truths behind. From now on its facts, concrete results, and verified diagnosis’s that will matter. I owe it to my children to get them all the help I can. And I owe it to myself to know and believe this age old wisdom from Yoda. That little green guy’s wisdom has touched my life with its simple but gifted advice more times than I can count. Special thanks to http://lindaghill.com for the writing prompt. I couldn’t think of anything to use it for till now. It’s funny  how I just looked at this picture and words started flowing. Green man wisdom for the win!

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Pull

I find I’m struggling with myself lately. I’m feeling this pull to my past. Where I felt really happy I had a great group of friends I saw daily. I didn’t feel lonely or shut in like I do now. I had my respite worker recently say I needed people. I know she was right, but that didn’t make me like less of a loser. I feel so pulled to my old life where I knew who I could call, count on, and have my back. Now I try to navigate a new town and new people feeling so unsure of myself. I’ve never had trouble making friends but I don’t know this time around I do.

I need to pull myself up by the bootstraps and just keep trying. Having children with special needs doesn’t always open the door to having friendships. I’m afraid of taking my son to a playgroup and he reacts to too much noise and stimulus. Or if he’s sensory seeking and he gets to aggressive with another child. The times I’ve gone I’ve sat on the edge of my seat drinking my tea, and waiting and watching. I find the pull of my friendships and lamenting that I haven’t found a group. I have a few friends and they lead very busy lives.

So I connect with them when it works with their schedules. I don’t complain, I don’t demand, but I do cry silently at night when everyone else is asleep. With that pull from my heart I have to decide if I’m going to stay stuck in my past, or push myself forward with my future. I’ve been attending a support group and its been helping. I’m hoping to connect and get to know some parents there as we walk the same path with our children. I find more and more each day I have to resist that pull and push myself towards my future.

With that push I’m hoping to gain some more confidence in myself. I have a dilemma with my online life colliding with my reality. Online I’m admired, respected, appreciated, and yes even loved. I’m told I’m beautiful, brilliant, talented, and yes even funny. In my reality I struggle with being social. I have children with special needs. I have to keep them calm, regulated, and comfortable in their surroundings. If I don’t there’s hell to pay. Not to many know my struggles. And honestly I don’t ask for pity just a kind word, an invitation, a smile or a hug.

I don’t ask to impose on people’s lives but maybe just maybe I shouldn’t have blogged about this. Because honestly reading it back makes me sound quite pathetic. I have hid in my online world that makes me feel whole. Today I chose to be brave and put it out here because this is, what is is. My online world meeting my reality, the whole ugly, beautiful, poignant truth of it. Written by me a lonely, heartbroken soul just looking for a friend to understand. I have to pull myself out of my self imposed depression. I’m starting with baby steps and going to attend a playgroup geared towards children with special needs.

I’ve been in denial that it’s what my son needed but no Mom is an island. And the potty training blues have gotten me down and I’ve been stuck inside the house for too long. So time to pull up my big girl sexy panties and get this social thing on the go. No one is an island we all need inhabitants to create some sort of bond, a family.

This has been my submission to Ash’s Sunday confession from http://www.morethancheeseandbeer.com. Check out her brilliance, anonymous confessions, and all the other talent that link up. Thank you for reading my blog today.

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