Sunday, April 29, 2012

Beach Bums & Wanna Be Kite Runners


YAY!  My 1st time flying a kite

Me & The Boy have some BIG feet - Eeesh!

Photos taken by myself & The Husband with our iPhones

Unknown Mami

What's a Sunday like in your City?   
Unknown Mami wants to know!  

Go on over to Sundays In My City

Saturday, April 28, 2012

10 Things I Have Absolutely NO Patience For

When people meet me or see me with The Boy, they always comment on my patience.  It's true.  For The Boy, I am patient.  I can ask the same question or make the same request or read the same book 50 times in a row.  (Okay, maybe not 50...more like 15 to 20 - it just feels like 50.)

Patience was something I needed to learn.  Especially after The Boy's autism diagnosis.  And it's something that I am constantly aware of. 

By nature, I am the least patient person around.  I am the typical New Yorker who wants things done yesterday.  Here's my Top 10 list of things I have ZERO patience:

10.  Large groups of tourists.  The kind who gather on street corners trying to figure out where to go next. 

9. Waiting in line at The Gap, Duane Reade or the bank/ATM.  Even when I'm not in a rush.  I start tapping my foot, sighing really loudly, shaking my head or rolling my eyes.  Oh yeah, I can be that customer

8. Angry Birds.  I don't think this one needs an explanation.

7.  Waiting for my nails to dry when I get a manicure.  I hate sitting with my hands under that little machine.  I guess that's why I hardly get manicures.  

6. Internet Explorer.  At home, we use Fire Fox but the office has Internet Explorer and it SUCKS.  But Unknown Mami explains it best.  

5. Moms of "typical" kids who have no clue what it's like dealing the special education system who want to tell me how to handle my situation.  I have to walk away.  

4. People on the train who do dumb stuff during rush hour.  Like hug the pole or lean up against it.  Lovey dovey teens making out or when a girl sits on her boyfriends lap and I'm sitting next to them.  People who eat - especially when it's a meal that requires cutlery.  Or other stuff like crab legs (I swear, I've seen this - eewww) or sunflower seeds (and spit them out - more eewwww).  Couples who argue.  

3.  Shopping/trying things on in the fitting room.  I hate the process of taking off all of my clothes and trying something on to realize it doesn't fit or I don't like the way it looks.  Then getting dressed, frustrated and ready to leave.  And as I'm walking out the door, I spot something else that I may like and going back into the fitting.  It can be a vicious cycle.  

2. Calling customer service.  There is nothing worse than calling customer service, having to punch or speak a million different things before getting a representative that I can barely hear because they are located on the other side of the globe.  I miss the old days when you called a number and got a real person immediately.  

And the #1 thing I have absolutely NO patience for: 

The New York City Board of Education.  

Who or what tests YOUR patience?  

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ryan Gosling on Music, Food, Love and Thomas the Train

In case you can't read the disclaimer, Ryan is extremely considerate of food.  It needs to be: organic, GF/CF, no additives, no artificial flavors, no fructose corn syrup and without BHA, BHT, FD&C colors, MSG, BVO, nitrites and nitrates, Olean or Olestra.  Thanks Ryan!

Sure Ryan, I'm totally down!

A Wonderful Month of Autism Awareness & So Much More

It's been a while since I've linked up with the fabulous Mrs. 4444.  And it's been such a whirl wind of a month, that I figured the best way to piece it all together is through Friday Fragments.

It's been a long winter.  The month of March has been the roughest I've had in a while.  But April, has been pretty fantastic and full of exciting opportunities! And I'm hoping (crossing fingers and toes) that it's a sign of better things to come.

The first week of April, AutismWonderland was ranked #10 on Babble's Top Autism Spectrum Blogs for Parents 2012!  And they wrote such a beautiful description of my blog - here's a snippet "Autism Wonderland is as informative a chronicle of the ASD experience as Lewis Carroll’s book was about where Alice went." I am so honored to be included on this list. 

I spent part of Spring Break in Miami at Hispanicize - a Media/Blog Event.  Truly such a life/mind changing experience for me.  In addition to speaking on a panel with other special needs blog writers, I had the opportunity to pitch my blog on SOiTV.  I'm not used to public speaking and was extremely nervous.  Johnny, the gentleman introducing me, spoke so quickly in Spanish.  And um...I don't speak/understand Spanish - so I look like a deer in the headlights.  The blogger with the most YouTube hits gets to be featured on SOiTV for a month. 

Last month the wonderful Ellen Seidman of Love That Max asked me - ME! - to contribute something to...wait for it... 
My post, The Milestones That Keep You Going When You Have a Kid with Autism, was published on Monday, April 23 and I've been squealing ever since.

Last week, I attended a reading in support of my friend Keisha - a beautiful Caribbean poet/writer.  While mingling, I met Brendan Costello.  Brendan is a contributor for The Largest Minority Radio Show and asked me to be a guest.  Also on the air was Savannah Logsdon Breakstone - a young autistic woman and Savannah just gave me a whole new perspective.  Below is the link to download an MP3 of the show:

And then last night, I was invited to speak at New York Cares.  The room was filled with Team Leaders and volunteers all eager to learn more about autism. Also speaking was:
  • Alicia, the Executive Director of GallopNYC.  A wonderful program that "provides therapeutic horseback riding to people in New York City, using interaction with horses to promote the growth of functional and mental abilities in a safe, supportive and fun manner."
  • Elly, a program coordinator for a new program at Birch Family Services - the New Frontier. The New Frontier focuses on pre-vocational and social learning activities for higher functioning young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Kevin, also with Birch Family Services, is the Autism/Residential coordinator with the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Birch Family Services where he provides training, support and guidance to Birch residents and day habilitation programs.

Then this morning, I finally checked my personal email account.  After deleting all the SPAM, I opened up an email from the English Department of CCNY.  I won an award for a short story I submitted.  It reminded me that while I love writing this blog, I also love writing fiction.  It also reminded that even though I needed to take the semester off.  I need to get back and graduate.

I hope that all of these wonderful things are a sign that things are starting to look up.  I need a break.  And The Boy?  He needs a new school.  Cross your fingers that we find one and that the Board of Ed doesn't fight us too much.       

Play along! Don't know how?  
Check out Mrs. 4444
for more Friday Fragments.
Mommy's Idea

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"You Have To Own It" ~ My Lesson Learned From #Hispz12

I've worked in Corporate America for more than a decade.  I've always been the minority.  The receptionist, the secretary - the person no one wants to hear from.  The person whose opinion does not matter.

And being a Creative Writing major in Graduate School?  I am still the minority.  Even though my school is in Harlem.  While I've been told my writing is good, I've heard how much harder it will be for me to get published - because I'm Latina.

And whenever I go into any kind of meeting for The Boy, I'm treated as if my thoughts regarding my own child mean nothing.

So it's easy to feel, well...?  As if no one is listening.  And that what I have to say - doesn't matter.  

I mean, this blog started out as a class assignment.  And out of 30 students in my class? Only 3 people read it - including my professor (he was grading me, after all).

So when I was invited to speak on a panel - Blogging for Cause - at Hispanicize 2012.  I was surprised.  Because...who the hell am I?  

I walked into the JW Marriot, not knowing a single person in real life - not even my roommate.

It was overwhelming those first few hours.  A whirlwind of fabulous Latino bloggers,  journalists, philanthropists, film makers, writers, celebrities, media folks - all jam packed into one place.  I don't think I've ever been in a room with so many influential Latinos.  It was truly inspiring. 

And then there was me?  And I thought to myself, "I have no business being here."

I'm not a professional.  I don't get paid for writing this.  It's just something I do, because I like to write.  It's a distraction for many things.  And since I don't have the time or the energy to focus on writing fiction - this blog, keeps me writing.  

I know why this blog is important to me.  But I never considered it to be important to anyone else.  

Sure there were bloggers that I had established an on line relationship but I can be painfully shy.  I'm not the kind of person to walk up to a stranger and say "Hi!  My name is...blah blah blah."  No matter how many comments we've exchanged on line.  And I could quite easily hold up a wall.

So when I started to mingle and introduce myself, I was hesitant.  Assuming that no one in that room had ever even heard of me and my little blog.   

Obviously, it's a great big blogosphere, so there were people who did not know me.  But they were interested in talking to me.

Then there were the ones who knew of me.  Like AngelicaBrenEva and Aurelia - who greeted me with open arms, telling me how happy they were to meet me.  And in my head I'm all like, "Seriously?  Me?" 

And then I met a mom blogger (I'm not tagging her because I don't think she writes publicly about her son) who cried when she met me.  We hugged and cried for a good ten minutes.  Then I met another mom blogger (again, not tagging because I don't believe she writes about her son) who said "Had it not been for your blog, I would have never known what to look for."  I don't even have the words to say how moved I was by these two women and listening to them speak about their children.  And there were a few more mom bloggers who had children on the spectrum, who I connected with.

Even after all this, I still had that feeling of not belonging.  

And then on the second day, after lunch a few us were sitting around chatting with Piera aka Jolly Mom.  We had attended her session earlier in the day and were picking her brain.  I expressed some of my insecurity.  And she said five words I'll never forget:  You have to own it.

I knew she was right.  I don't own what I do.  Don't get me wrong, I believe in what I'm writing.  And I believe that my writing is good.  But I am too quick to dismiss it.  I am too quick to think that I don't have a place within the blogosphere.  And I've been suppressed for so long in other aspects of my life, I find it hard to believe that my voice matters.  

My three days at Hispanicize, I learned that it does.  

I want The Boy to believe in himself and take pride in the things he does well.  I want him to be confident and know that he has a place in this world.  I want him to own whatever it is that he does.  

How can I expect these things from The Boy when I have such a hard time expecting it of myself?   

I have to look in the mirror and raise my own expectations.  I have to get out of my own way.  I have to assure myself that my voice matters.  That this blog matters.  And I have to own it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What Do You Do When Your Child's Special Education Teacher/Aide is The Bully?

This is going to be a short post because I want you to go right to the video - it's about 15 minutes long.

NO PARENT should have to experience this.  And NO child - certainly NO SPECIAL NEEDS child should have to endure such humiliation and torment by a teacher or aide.  These are the people we trust will take care of our children. 
What kind of special education teacher/aide calls a 10 year old autistic boy a bastard? 
What kind of special education teacher/aide openly discusses drinking, parents and complaining about their husbands?

This New Jersey father, Stu Chaifetz, - so desperate to know what was going on with his son, Akian, sent him to school with a wire.  And what Stu discovered...was appalling and disgraceful.     

Watch the video.  Share it on Facebook and/or twitter.  Email it to friends and family.  And then - sign this petition -->

As a mother to an autistic child - Norrin cannot tell me about his day.  He cannot tell me when someone hurts him.  He does not have the capacity to speak up when he is wronged.  I am his voice.

And Stu, is Akian's voice.  Please listen.  

Scripting? Sass Talk? Age Appropriate Response?

A recent conversation with The Boy - 

So...what say you?  Is The Boy's response: 

A. Scripting
B. Sass Talk
C. Age Appropriate Response
D. Progress
E. All of the above

Monday, April 23, 2012

Top 10 Favorite Books

I really do love linking up with Stasha on Mondays and today is all about books.  As an English major - how can I possibly resist?  Pay no attention to the number order - it means nothing.  Every book listed, I've read several times, during different stages of my life and each time I read it, I discover something new. 

1.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I will never forget the year I read this book.  I was a junior in high school - wait?  Maybe it was sophomore year.  Whatever, it was in Ms.  Schwartz' class that I know for sure.  Even though the book is set in Brooklyn in the early 1900s and even though the Nolan's are Irish-American - I identified with Francie Nolan and her family in a way that I never connected with a character before.   

2. Kindred  by Octavia Butler. It was the first book I read in college.  I read it in less than 2 days.  Anyone I have recommended this book to, has come back and told me it was one of the best books they've ever read. 

3. When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago.  This book, this woman - changed my life.  I wrote a whole blog post about Esmeralda Santiago being my Latina Literary Idol. "...never had I read about a girl like me; with black hair and brown skin and brown eyes with a name too difficult to pronounce. For me, the name Esmeralda Santiago rolled off my tongue easily. And even though I didn’t speak Spanish, I understood every word that was sprinkled throughout. It was the first time a book had spoken to me, the first time I could truly identify with a narrator and I could so effortlessly hear the sound of her voice."  You can read the rest here.

Me with my Latina Literary Idol
4. New York: The Novel by Edward Rutherford.  If you're a historical fiction junkie - especially when it comes to New York history - like I am.  READ THIS BOOK NOW!  Warning: this book is bible thick - 880 pages.  But it spans from 1664 to 2001 - there's a lot of stuff going on.  But it is so worth it.  

5.  A Garden of Earthly Delights by Joyce Carol Oates.  I love anything Joyce Carol Oates writes.  Period.

Here are a list of my favorites by category -  

6.  Play: A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams.  Nothing moves me, the way Tennessee Williams moves me.  And Blanche DuBois is probably in my Top 10 of favorite literary characters.       

7.  Pulitzer Prize winning book.  The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.  I've read everything Junot Diaz has ever written.  I went to a reading at the 92nd Street Y and he was fantastic, such an inspiration to me.  So down to earth, witty, charming.  I waited on line so that he could sign my book - I told him I was a writer too.  We were even FB friends for a while.  And then I deleted that account.  When I tried to friend him again, he didn't accept my request.  :( Junot - if you're reading this.  Friend me, K?!   

8. Guilty pleasure that I'm embarrassed to read in public:  The Twilight Series.  Please don't judge me.  I'm so embarrassed, I'm not even going to include a link.  (I would say the Hunger Game Series but I'm still working my way through the second book. But Katniss totally kicks ass - I not at all embarrassed by her.)   

9. Children's BookOh, The Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss.  I read this book as a child and enjoyed it.  But I remember reading this book in the 8th month of my pregnancy.  I was setting up The Boy's room, arranging his books, folding his clothes.  And I sat in the rocker and read this book out loud.  I cried because I had so many dreams and I couldn't wait to hold and smell and kiss my baby boy.  After the autism diagnosis, this book took on a whole new meaning.  I make it a point to read this book to The Boy at least once a month.  I want to drill the message into his head.   

10. Autism Book: Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm.  It was one of the first books I read on autism after The Boy was diagnosed and it really gave me a different perspective. I think it's a book everyone should read. 

So there it is.  My Top 10 Favorite books.  What are your favorites?  And be sure to click on the pic below and see what everyone else loves.      

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Words With: Christina Mendez ~ Model, Mom, Advocate

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to talk with Christina Mendez.  If you follow the NYC hip hop fashion scene or are just a fashionista in general - you'll recognize her face.  I had seen her face before but it wasn't until I read her story on Latinas Inspire that I realized we shared a common bond.

We are both Latina (I'm Puerto Rican.  Christina is Dominican).  We both are native New Yorkers.  And, most importantly, we are both autism moms.  

You know in the first five minutes of talking to someone whether or not you click.  Within the first few minutes of talking to Christina, I knew we clicked. Especially when she said, "I'm hustling just like you." We both immediately understood each other.  We laughed like old girl friends.  Our "story" is similar is so many ways.  And we both want the same thing for our sons - acceptance, understanding and respect.     
When did you first realize there was something "wrong" with Damian?

I was young when I had Damian.  As a first time mom, I didn't realize.  I just thought that Damian was a late bloomer and that every child is different.

How did you/your family react to the diagnosis?

I was shocked.  At the time, Damian was enrolled in day care.  His teacher suggested we have Damian evaluated.  At 2 years old, Damian was diagnosed with severe autism.  Doctors and specialists told us Damian would never speak, read or write.  Damian was diagnosed in the mid 1990s, no one was really talking about autism the way they are now. 

The diagnosis was extremely difficult for Damian's dad.  He refused to believe it.  

As for my mother - she is in denial, even today.  She will never say that Damian is autistic. She says "he has problems."  But Damian is her baby, she spoils him.

What was your defining moment of acceptance?

Even though the diagnosis was a shock, I didn't go crazy over it.  I was at peace knowing and somehow I knew the diagnosis wasn't a death sentence.  

I remember during my senior year of high school - I was a bit of a wild child but in my last year - I had an internship working with autistic teenagers.  We were around the same age, but I was helping to take care of them and I just fell in love.  When Damian was diagnosed, I felt that God had prepared me for raising a child with autism.

How did you get involved with Autism Speaks?

I used to work for Verizon and was involved in the Hispanic Support Organization (Verizon employee group).  Every year we selected a charity to donate money.  The money we raised through the group, Verizon matched.  One year, we raised money for Autism Speaks and I developed a friendship with Jena Greco (Autism Speaks NYC Walk director).  

Do you think Latinos are as aware when it comes to Autism?

Not really.  I've been working with Autism Speaks for 6 years and there isn't an A-List Latino celebrity supporting the organization.  Autism isn't something Latinos openly talk about.  And I believe as a community, we need someone to say it's okay.  (Christina made reference to an article on SheKnows - Celebrities with Autistic Children)      

What has been the most rewarding aspect of being a special needs mom?  

Seeing how far Damian has come.  They said he would never speak.  He now speaks both English and Spanish.  It's not always age appropriate - he still talks about Elmo - but he can communicate his needs and wants.  We never knew the progression was going to happen and it has.  Damian has worked really hard to get where he is - he's taught me so much.  He has taught me to appreciate the little things.  

Check out Christina and Damian - 

SOCS: I've Boarded the Train There's No Getting Off

One of my very favorite poets is Sylvia Plath and my favorite poem is Metaphors - the last line especially: boarded the train there's no getting off.  

The poem is about pregnancy - no, I'm not pregnant - and that last line reflects how I've felt ever since becoming a mother.  I've boarded the mommy train and there's no getting off.  There's not even a chance of it slowing down.  It just keeps going and going.  

I'm looking out the window and the world is whizzing by.  The Boy is 6 1/2 now - where did the time go?  Its going so quickly.  I'd like it to slow down just a little.  

It won't.  The train just goes faster and faster.  

The baby fat is gone, the fat bands around his wrists and ankles are gone.  His baby teeth are starting to fall out.  He looks less and less like a baby.  He's one of the big kids.  He wants to do things on his own.  We still walk hand in hand, but the day will come when he'll want to let go.  

He barely fits in my lap.  And so he sits beside me on the train.

One day, he'll be old enough to jump the train.  And board a train of his own.  Maybe our trains will go in the same direction.  Maybe it won't.      

Will it be a successful journey?  I have no idea - but so far, so good.


This is my (2nd) 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Go ahead, give it a whirl. Here are the rules…
  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Link up your post HERE.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

What I Would Do If I Had 24 Hours To Myself

It's Saturday morning and I'm drinking a cup of semi warm coffee, catching up on blog reading.  The Boy is in his room with the iPad.  

This morning I'm inspired by the Oxygen Mask Project and Alysia's Mary Poppins Game.  The game is easy.  Alysia writes:  
Let’s pretend that Mary Poppins floated down from the sky at 6am and said “I’m here to take care of your kids for 24 hours.  Go.  Do something for you.”

Just the thought of it, made me smile.  24 hours just for me?  How can I possibly resist the opportunity to let my imagination run incredibly wild.  I mean, I am so rarely alone.  The only time I'm truly alone is when I'm at work and I go to the bathroom.  That's pretty sad.

So if I had the next 24 all to myself, this is what I would do ~  

Before handing The Boy over to Mary Poppins (and it needs to be Julie Andrews Mary Poppins - hey, it's my fantasy and I want Julie), I'd ask her for a spoon full of sugar and special medicine.  Because last night, I turned the wrong way and seriously f**ked up my neck.  I pulled a muscle or something and haven't been able to sleep comfortably.  It hurts to move and I'm crabby.  I'm certain Mary Poppins has something in her big black bag for that.

After Mary's magic medicine and after she leaves with The Boy to do something cool like hop into a sidewalk picture or dance on roof tops, I go back to sleep. 

Because wouldn't it be lovely to go back to bed and wake up at my leisure on a Saturday morning?  

After I wake up - not too late, because I want to make the most of my 24 hours - I will take a long hot shower.  Not once will I have to pull the curtain back and call out to The Boy.  I can wash and condition my hair.  I can take my time to shave my legs - no razor cuts.  I can actually take time to do my hair instead of putting it up in sloppy ponytail.     

After my shower, I'll make a cup of coffee.  I'll finish my coffee while it's still warm.  At that point, I'll look around the apartment and may be tempted to clean something or start a load of laundry.  But the next 24 hours are just for me, so I'll say 'screw it.'

I'll head over to the neighborhood spa and get a massage.  Because I deserve a massage and some time to unwind.  After my massage, I'll get a manicure and a pedicure.  I can take my time, there's no need to rush.  

NOT me.

Feeling rejuvenated and fabulous, I take myself on a mini shopping spree and buy myself a pair of shoes.  Not a pair of sensible flats with the proper arch support.  No.  A pair of shoes that needs a reason to be worn - and we all know, the reasons are always few and far between.  Shoes impossible to run in.  Shoes that cannot be stepped on.  Something like...
these!  These will do just fine.  
Since I'm buying a new pair of shoes, I'll need a new dress (duh).  And in my 24 hour of alone time fantasy, I'm back to a size 6 - so finding something I love isn't an issue.

I'll come home and it's quiet.  I can sit on the sofa and eat a snack without a certain little boy snatching the food off my plate.  I can catch up on my shows like Glee or Revenge.  I can read a book - not an autism book but something absolutely meaningless, like that book every woman I know is talking about.  You know The Book I'm talking about?  Don't be coy.    

The Husband comes home and tells me he's made reservations to our favorite restaurant.  I waste no time getting ready.  It's been months since we had a romantic date night.

When we get to our favorite restaurant, we order a bottle of wine and I order the lobster macaroni and cheese - I am ecstatic to find out it's only 250 calories (again, this is my fantasy).  

 The view from our favorite restaurant*
The mac & cheese!! 
We order dessert.  Something rich, gooey and chocolatey.  (Sorry no pictures of dessert.)

We drive home...and well.  Need I get into those details?  Me thinks not.   

I am able to get ready for bed not really worrying if all 3 locks are locked.  But I will lock them anyway.  I will walk into The Boy's room, out of habit and wonder if he's having fun.  I will fall asleep in my own bed.  I will miss him but I will be sure to enjoy the last few hours of solitude.  And a guaranteed straight 7/5 hours of sleep.

If you had 24 hours all to yourself - what would you do? 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Through the Looking Glass - Flannery Sullivan of The Connor Chronicles

I am so excited to have Flannery guest posting today!  She has got to be one of my favorite peeps out in the blogosphere.  I admire her sharp wit and wicked sense of humor.  Please be sure to check out her original post - the photos are a hilarious!  (I would have added myself, but I'm totally being a lazy a-- this week.)

originally posted on 6/20/11

This past weekend it was 102 degrees each day, which meant it was the perfect time for the air conditioning to go out.  And so it did.  On Saturday, it started making strange grinding noises and then went out during the late afternoon.

We called around, and couldn't get anyone out until Sunday morning.  Fine.  We toughed it out that night and had every ceiling fan and box fan in the house going at full speed.

On Sunday morning the AC guy gave the motor a "jump" and said he'd have to get a replacement motor on Monday.  By 11am it was off again, and could not be jumped back into life.  By 5pm, we decided we'd be getting a hotel room for the night since it was 96 degrees in the house.

I learned some very important things during the great air conditioning outage of 2011, and they are:

1.  It can and will get hotter inside the house than it is outside the house, despite having insulation and five fans.

2.  In terms of survival, it's better to live somewhere cold than somewhere hot when modern conveniences cease to function properly.  If it's cold, there are several options for survival, including starting a fire, layering clothing, generating body heat through exercise, huddling together for warmth, etc.  If it's hot, you're pretty much just fucked.

3.  Boob sweat is the most disgusting of all the sweat produced by the body.

4.  ADHD overrides Asperger's when it comes to staying in a hotel, especially if the last time you were in a hotel was when you were two-years-old and you don't remember it.  There was mad dashing around the house to pack, followed by jumping up and down and pleas of "can we just GO now?"

5.  There are lots of things to do in a room that is 14x10.  First, you can amuse yourself by jumping from one bed to the other, while pretending the floor is hot lava.  You can also turn on and off every light in the room 15 times, just because the light buttons are different than home.  There are also numerous doors, cabinets, and drawers to be opened and closed repetitively, as well as a window with curtains you can pull open and closed until your mother's face turns so red from annoyance that it appears it may pop right off her shoulders.

6.  It takes enormous restraint to not beat a child senseless who has just lifted his ass off the couch cushion in the lobby, and let a huge, disgusting fart rip...3 feet from the refined looking Asian lady also sitting in the lobby.

7.  Setting the thermostat for 62 degrees in your room will make you giddily happy, and will result in peaceful slumber.

8.  Hotels do not get the full array of cable channels, and at 8pm the only choices for a child are the local news station or How I Met Your Mother, neither of which seems to be interesting or appropriate for a six-year-old.

9.  A grown woman who has narrowly avoided heat stroke can lay on a hotel bed in her underwear, happily playing Pumpkins vs. Monsters, for a solid hour.
 10.  Packing an overnight bag when you are about to pass out from heat exhaustion means you will be wearing brown pants, a fuchsia tank, and a white shrug to work the next day.

11.  I won't pay more than $1.69 for a loaf of bread, but I'll pay almost anything to have a comfortable temperature.

The next time we move, in addition to considering the cost of living, unemployment rate, school ratings, housing prices, and crime rates, we will also be considering the average daytime temperature and whether we could survive outdoors in a tent for more than 20 minutes.


Living on the Spectrum: The Connor ChroniclesI have a husband, a child on the spectrum, a full-time job, two dogs, three two fish, and a housemate.  And we relocated from California to Texas.  This blog might be the only thing keeping me on the ledge.

I am mom to Connor, our five-year-old son who has severe ADHD and mild Asperger’s.  He is our pride and joy, as well as our biggest challenge.  He was born in Southern California, as were my husband and I.  We relocated to Texas in 2007, and marvel at the differences every day.

I blog about whatever random amusement comes to mind.  Good luck making sense of it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

All I Want for The Boy

The Turning 5 process for parents of Special Needs children is tough.  And this year has been even tougher.  We're in the process all over again...

And I thought back to this post I wrote last year.  When I was in the midst of applying to schools, filling out applications and hoping for the best, ugh - I mean the most appropriate. 

Anyway, several applications asked this question:

What are your long term concerns and wishes for your child?

This is my answer -  

Our greatest concern is that we won't be able to secure the most appropriate academic environment to meet Norrin's needs.  What if there isn't a school that can nurture his strengths as well as his weaknesses?  And if we can't find a school that can nuture his strengths as well as support his weaknesses - how will that impact his future? 

We know for many parents, mainstream is the holy grail.  That does not matter to us. We are realistic about what he can and can't do.  If mainstream is a possibility, fine. And if not - then that's fine too. 

We would never want to push him into an environment where he may be set up to fail. We know that he's bright and that he has the capacity to learn.  We don't need general education to prove that. 

Norrin doesn't need to be the popular kid. But if he wants friendship, we want him to have the tools to develop one.

We just want him to be happy.  To feel good about himself.  To enjoy his life. To be productive.   

We want Norrin to be himself and know that he's okay.  We want him to know that he doesn't need to be cured or fixed.  Norrin is a lovable little boy with a charming smile.  He is fast on his feet, he has a quirky sense of humor, his laugh is infectious.  And we never want him to lose the qualities that make him special.  

We hope that as he gets older, people will appreciate him just as he is.  We hope people will want to understand him.  All we want is for him to have a place in this world.  All we want for him is to have the same opportunities as any one else. 

Isn't this what all parents want for their children?

What do you want for your child?