Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk, or Spilled Coffee


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Yup, that title has a literal translation. I’m actually in the middle of cleaning up my coffee off the girls pale pink rug. However, I had to stop for a minute and reevaluate my method of stomping on the towel to try and to soak it up. The towel isn’t working and either did the tub of baby wipes I used first. I’m sure Oxyclean will get it out, but I’m afraid the amount I’d need to use would bleach the carpet. Sigh. Nothing can be as simple as enjoying a cup of coffee while playing house with a two year old.

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But as I sit here almost to the point of trying to lick the coffee from the carpet to get that caffeine fix I need; I think back to earlier this week when in a 5 second time span Diva and Bug doused the kitchen floor with cups of non-staining water. Was my reaction so lax and unfrenized? I can guarantee you it wasn’t.

Why do we have double standards for our children? I think that we also have different standards for our neurotypical and Autistic children. But why? I have mentioned before how I personally treat all my children the same despite their diagnosises. I know this can not always be the case. In our family we are fortunate we can. However, I don’t. I treat my children differently then I treat myself; I shouldn’t I realize now.

So next time one of the kids spill anything,  I am going to treat them the same way I acted today; with a lax attitude and standing onto of that towel to stop the mess up. However, from now on there will be no tears for us. I have tried hard over the past years to be a better me. It is never easy to change old habits,  but sometimes you have to.

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Mommy Moment Monday…Naked Preschoolers and Dirty Chicken Sandwiches…


Good morning, all.  I like to think that with all the years of working with kids that I had before starting my own family and the 6+ years in parenting I have under my belt that I have seen a lot.  Not it all, but maybe close to it?  Not making me an expert of any sort, but at least there should be very little that surprises me or knocks me off my game.  I had a day this past Memorial Day weekend that kicked me to the ground.  And then kicked me again while I was down.  It was not the best side of my parenting and I definitely lost my cool with my family.  Not super proud of that but mommies can always apologize and promise to try to do better, right?  : )

I don’t know if any of you are like me, but I always have incredibly unrealistic expectations for weekends.  Holiday weekends, even more so.  So this past Memorial Day was no different.  Here is a partial list of what I thought we could do/ had planned for those four short days:

BBQ with friends, attend a birthday party, remulch and weed the landscaping, move some plants around, go to the store and get a deck box for our patio chair cushions, set up the patio with the furniture that was still packed away from the winter months, go to the zoo, clean the house, catch up on laundry, build a bench out of a headboard/ footboard set I’ve had for years, catch up/ skype with family, get groceries, cook, make a dent in our DVR list, relax, take a nap, take a bubble bath, and so on…

So, therein lies the problem.  I know it’s not a realistic list.  But I still give it a try and then am so disappointed when things don’t turn out the way I want. Hubbs just stands to the side with an expression on his face between a cringe and amusement.  He knows how this is going to turn out.  And he knows that it’s probably not going to be pretty for me, him or the kids.

Take my unrealistic to-do list and add in the craziness of military life and raising two kiddos on the autism spectrum and half the time I feel like we should be starring in our own sitcom.  Not a slapstick one but the kind where the characters can’t even see the humor of their own situation because they are so thick in it.  That was us this past holiday weekend, in the thick of it.  After a morning of trying to get things done at home and having trouble because many of those things required our boys to occupy themselves doing something safe and constructive.  Well, bless my kiddos’ hearts, they were having none of that.  So after a few hours and some frustration we decided to take a family outing to Chick-fil-a and grab some lunch, give the boys a chance to play and get their wiggles out.  Surely after that they’ll want to go home and rest and we can start checking things off the list, right?

It all started fine as we got our food, got the kids’ shoes off and started them playing.  Hubbs and I were eating and I was enjoying being able to have an actual conversation with him.  By the third bite into my chicken sandwich, I was feeling pretty good about the rest of the day.

Why do I get so aggravated with my family? I thought to myself.

Why in the heat of the moment do I forget how blessed I am?

I made a mental note to do better and that is when I saw my son’s naked tush through the finger-print smudged glass of the play area.

Um, excuse me?

I blinked and shook my head a little but the view stayed the same.  My youngest son running and laughing hysterically without a stitch of clothing on from the waist down.  In hot pursuit was my oldest son, also hysterically laughing.  I could hear some of the nearby tables kind of laughing and whispering and for some reason that made me really mad.  Not at them, but at my kids.

Why couldn’t we be just a normal family?  Why can’t we just have a nice holiday weekend, get stuff done, and enjoy a lunch out without a crisis?

I grabbed my son and realized the reason he had taken all of his clothes off was because his diaper was wet and had leaked onto his shorts.  He didn’t like it so he just took everything off and resumed play.  To his credit, in his four year old mind he had solved the problem.  Modesty is something he is just not aware of yet and we will definitely be working on it.

I handed him and his pile of wet clothes to my husband who made a quick escape to the car.  I grabbed my other son who couldn’t understand why we were leaving when we had just gotten there.  I mean, the kids hadn’t even eaten yet.  

We went back to our table and I began to pack up the kids’ lunches and the partially eaten lunches of my husband and I.  Add my purse to the mix and the fact that I have to hold my oldest’s hand in a parking lot for safety reasons, and it goes without saying that my hands were full.  Beyond full.  And the stack of stuff I was carrying was precarious at best.

He and I made it to the car to find my husband and younger son already there and belted in.  The youngest is crying because he didn’t want to leave and he is sitting in his car seat naked because his mommy didn’t have any emergency clothes for him.  Mommy fail, which made mommy even madder.

I started kind of tossing everything onto the front passenger seat starting with the kids’ meals in their bags, and setting down the drinks in the cupholders.  When I went to put down the two cardboard chicken sandwich containers, mine being on top, it slid off and onto the ground where it promptly popped open and the sandwich landed  inside out.  I’m not afraid to admit that at this point if I had a swear jar it would have been making bank.  I saved the other box though so at least it wasn’t a total loss.

What happened? asked my husband with that aforementioned look of cringey amusement on his face.

I dropped my sandwich.  I said, in a not so pleasant voice.  But the good news is that I saved yours.  

I opened the box to show him and that was when we saw the box was empty.  My husband had already finished his sandwich and just left the empty box on the table.  In my haste and embarrassment to get out of there, I had just grabbed it without checking.

Clink, clink, clink.  More money into the swear jar.  Not my best moment, I told you.

I yelled at my husband, my kids, and made myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when we got home.

Later, I apologized.  After thinking about everything I tried to get to the bottom of it all.

Why had I gotten so mad?  Sure there had been a few annoying things to happen that day, but nothing that should have made me that upset.  I realized it had been the other patrons kind of whispering about our family while their kids sat and ate quietly.  It made me mad.

Why did we have to be different?

It’s not an easy question to ask.  I do feel that hubby and I are matched for a reason and the same goes for our boys.  They are ours.  That is no accident.  Is it always easy?  *%&^$# no, it isn’t.  My husband and I have talked about this in the past and he made a point that stuck with me.

We get to experience what it really means to be a parent.  We have to work twice as hard for them to do half as much.  They don’t just pick things up easily from the world around them.  We are in the trenches, gritting our teeth, sighing, blinking back tears, and encouraging each other.  We can do this because we have to.  Because they are ours.

I’m writing all of this down to refer back to in the next heat-of-the-moment.  I know there will be another.  And another, and another.  But, just think of all the great stories, we’ll have to tell?

Have a great week!

 

Tip{py} Tuesdays: How to Be the WANT in Your ASD Child’s Life


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It is mentioned over and over again that one of the amazing characteristics of ASD children (and adults) is their true nature to latch onto a topic or hobby and emerge themselves in it becoming a subject matter expert. Sometimes they even mature into self taught masters of a skill or talent. Everyone needs to start somewhere. We, as parents, can choose to simply admire their capabilities or engage them in them. Personally, there has been a time with each child that I find it hard to relate to them on a personal and most basic level. I admit, I still have this issue with Diva. With Bug, he is a boy, and it was harder for me to relate to him based on gender and the ASD. With Diva, it is the ASD and just her. I struggle every day to figure out a way to connect with her. So I took a step back and looked at what I did to forge a bond, that I felt should have been natural, but was forced with Bug.

I remember watching him one day. I wanted to sit next to him so bad and play what he was playing. I wanted to talk to him about dragons and ninjas and simply have a conversation with him. However, ever time I walked near him and his playing field, he would yell at me and tell me to go away. He wanted nothing to do with me; I didn’t interest him. And due to the ASD, I never would. But I love him. I wanted to be accepted into his world. So I sat and thought. Until I realized I needed to interest him. I didn’t need him to need me, I needed him to want me. I think as parents we all want that feeling of being wanted. You need air to survive, but you want the things that make you happiest in life. I needed my son to want me. So, I found a way into his world.

Last week, Diva came into our den and sat next to me staring at my hands as I did some cross stitching and then some hand embroidery work. She sat and sat, watching my hands move the needle and floss in and out. Eventually, she ran off. A little while later she came back to show me something. She had found the crayons and paper and drew, what to her, was a copy of the project I was working on. So then I knew a way into her world.

Like her mama, she loves arts and crafts. She draws dozens of pictures every day, staples stickers to every flat surface she can find (thank you Goo Gone!) and will literally fall apart if she sees one of her masterpieces fall into the trash. The next day I went to Wal-Mart and walked into the joke of a craft section. Picked up supplies and brought them home. Super Bowl Sunday we sat down on the couch in the den together and worked on her first cross stitch. It wasn’t easy, but she did a few stitches. As soon as I saw her getting frustrated, I told her to go watch TV for a minute. So off and on we worked on a few stitches at a time. At this rate I think we might finish the one simple heart in a year. However, everyday since she has asked to work on it; if only for a few minutes and stitches at a time.

I just found a bowl of cereal in my bathroom…


Motherhood can drive you nuts sometimes.  I used to be a pretty stylish lady.  I could put together complete sentences, read books, and then have intellectual conversations about said books.  I could shower, fix my hair, and put on make-up every day instead of just picking one of the three and calling it good.  

I didn’t have drips of milk running down my walls, orange cheetos-smudges on my windowsills, or a package of wipes within reach no matter where you sit in any of my rooms.  I didn’t come across random bowls of cereal in the bathroom (that really happened, and not too long ago). 

All of this chaos leads to mommy moments where you question, “what did I do to my neat, organized life?”  Well, in my case, my life was never that neat.  But it was my mess, dang it, and I liked it.  All of these feelings are normal and temporary.  Temporary because your little kiddos are growing every  minute, right before your bleary, sleep-deprived eyes.  It may seem like the days are dragging as you wash the bottles, tie the shoes, change the diapers, remind of the manners, bake the cupcakes.  But these days won’t last forever.  

One of the mentor moms in a MOPS group I attended shared the following poem and it has stuck with me years later.  It’s called Wet Oatmeal Kisses and it’s by Erma Bombeck:

The baby is teething. The children are fighting. Your husband just called and said, “Eat dinner without me.” One of these days you’ll explode and shout to the kids, “Why don’t you grow up and act your age?” And they will.

Or, “You guys get outside and find yourselves something to do. And don’t slam the door!” And they don’t. You’ll straighten their bedrooms all neat and tidy, toys displayed on the shelf, hangers in the closet, animals caged. You’ll yell, “Now I want it to stay this way!” And it will.

You will prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn’t had all the olives picked out and a cake with no finger traces in the icing and you’ll say, “Now THIS is a meal for company.” And you will eat it alone.

You’ll say, “I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around, no pantomines, no demolition crews. Silence! Do you hear?” and you’ll have it. No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti, no more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent, no more dandelion bouquets, no more iron-on patches, wet, knotted shoestrings, tight boots, missing mittens, or ponytails falling out.

Imagine, a lipstick with a point, no babysitter, washing clothes only once a week, no parent meetings, carpools, Christmas presents out of toothpicks and paste.

No more wet oatmeal kisses.

No more toothfairy, giggles in the dark, or knees to heal.

Only a voice crying, “Why don’t you grow up?” and the silence echoing,

“I did”

Brings me to tears every time.  When I am in the midst of all the craziness I try to remember this poem, hoping it will give me some perspective.  Then, if that doesn’t work, maybe I’ll eat a bowl of cereal in my bathroom and cry.  🙂

Mommy Moment Monday…There’s a trike in my kitchen!?!?!?!?!


So, we are getting ready to move in a few weeks….I’m trying to whittle down my belongings to only the necessary items like every piece of artwork my kids have ever done and my collection of books that I read before I had kids and that I will read again, so help me, so I am not getting rid of them!  (You know, those kind of necessities 🙂 )

So, yesterday brought a lot of time in the garage, while my kids and cat played in the downstairs of our house, sometimes keeping me company amidst all of my chaos in the carport.

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I came in the house for more coffee and a quick break and was having a chat with hubby.  All of the sudden I heard the sound of plastic wheels turning on tile floors.  I turned the corner and realized my youngest had gotten his cozy coupe up over the garage step into the foyer and was proceeding to drive it into the kitchen.  Like it was completely normal!  (My perception of normal is changing daily, by the way)

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I laughed hysterically.  I couldn’t help it.  Maybe it’s the stress of the move, some family stuff that’s going on, the military lifestyle, raising two boys with autism spectrum disorder, you name it.  I could not stop laughing.

Then my older son got into the mix and climbed into the driver’s seat, while my younger pushed him.  Again, like it’s normal.  Like we always play with cozy coupes (clearly an outside toy, am I right?) in our kitchen.

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Through my laughter, I asked, “What are you guys doing?”

Then, like it was the most natural thing in the world, my oldest replied, “I am driving in the  car!”

Not a big deal for a five year old, you might think.  But an amazing thing for ours.   From single word utterances, to two-word phrases, to repeating back word for word any question that is asked, to answering a question accurately, relevantly, while laughing and interacting with his brother!   I had already been crying with laughter and this brought fresh tears to my eyes.

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Then, I turned around and saw the trike sitting in front of the open refrigerator.

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What the ?!?!?!  Who cares…  That’s normal, right?

Have a great week!