Thursday, February 28, 2013

Autistic Kids Are Awesome...Just Ask The People Who Love & Understand Them

Earlier this week, I read a post promoting an Autism Positivity flash blog carnival to raise awareness regarding autistic adultsInitiated by autistic blogger, Alyssa of “Yes, That Too” after the pro-autistic Facebook page Âû  (Autistic Union) shared disturbing Google search auto options forAutistics are and Autistics should. The carnival welcomes bloggers to share their stories of Autistics are and Autistic should ”[to change] search strings and the search results by way of putting good things out there.”
The post led me to search Autistic Kids Are and Autistic Kids Should and the results were equally disturbing.
Read the rest of this post on Babble Kid --> Autistic Kids Are Amazing. Autistic Kids Should Be Understood. I asked some autism moms to share some amazing things about their kids.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A New iPad App to Help Individuals with #Autism

For my complete review of AutisMate check out my post on ---> HERE

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Lower East Side #NYC (Sundays in my City)

Before I was a mother, I used to spend most of my time was spent wandering around Lower Manhattan.  And in the years before The Boy, The Husband and I walked hand in hand up and down streets with no destination in mind. But in the recent years, there just hasn't been to wander, roam or window shop. I had miss the richness and the history of those streets.

Earlier this week, we three found ourselves in the Lower East Side. It was too cold to roam. But I am longing for the warmer weather. So that we can all walk hand in hand up and down streets aimlessly. 

Unknown Mami

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Why I Will NOT Watch The #Oscars (and 8 Things I'll Be Doing Instead)

I love movies. And I love Hollywood gossip and glamour. But I just can't sit through the awards shows. I don't watch any of them. Not even The Oscars.

There are 2 two mains reasons why I will not watch The Oscars®:

I haven't seen any of the Oscar® picks (at least I don't think I have). I'm not even sure who's nominated. But I keep hearing something about Argo and Les Miserables. (I know who's in them...just haven't seen them. I mean, I just saw The Artist - last year's fave.) The Husband and I love movies. We have a pretty impressive DVD collection. But we don't actually go out to the movies. We so rarely have a night out together that going to a movie together is impossible. 

The last movie we saw together was The Hobbit - and we took a vacation day for a day date. And before that, the last movie I went to see was the last Twilight movie and I saw that on a Sunday morning by myself. And The Husband That's what going to the movies have come down to for us - the rare vacation day/day date and going to the movies solo.

I have no desire to watch people at a fabulous party. Because that's what I feel like The Oscars® is - a big fabulous party to which I am not invited. I mean if your next door neighbors were throwing a huge gala would you spend three to four hours staring out your window? Probably not. I guess that's why people have Oscar® viewing parties - so they feel like they are in on the action. But I'm not hosting people on a Sunday night when I have to work the next day and I'm certainly not going out on a Sunday night when I have to work the day so...

Why bother watching?

What will I be doing instead?

  1. Writing - I have lots of deadlines and exciting stuff coming up.
  2. Trying to get The Boy to go to sleep.
  3. Prepping for the week - folding clothes, getting The Boy's clothes together...
  4. Washing dishes - because there are always dishes to wash. 
  5. Washing my hair - it's a process
  6. Scrolling through Facebook and Twitter reading everyone's update.
  7. Contemplating whether I should tune in to watch after reading someone's update to see what they're talking about.
  8.  Asking The Husband for the remote control for 2 seconds so I could change the channel and watch a few minutes. Because ultimately, I'm a nosy neighbor and I can't resist just sneaking a peak. (He will most likely say no. And I'll be okay with it.)
Will you be watching? Have you see any of the picks?

And if you won't be watching and wondering what to do instead, may I suggest catching up on my Babble posts this week? (And even if you are watching ...there are always the commercial breaks and the categories no one really cares about.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Why Can't Every Weekend Be a Three Day Weekend?

Wouldn't it be amazing if every weekend was a three day weekend? 

If corporate work weeks for low level employees like me could have a four day work week? At the same pay rate. (Obviously...)

It's Tuesday and I went to work. Yesterday was President's Day and I had the day off. A wonderful three day weekend.

As a full-time working (outside the home) mom, I feel like I'm constantly playing catch up. Now that school has started, my time is even more limited. 

But when I have a three day weekend - I feel like I get soooo much done. 

Like all the laundry. I even folded it. And I set up The Boy's outfits for the week.  

I went to the supermarket and Target. I even cooked a meal or two. 

I cleaned and organized. 

I wrote a post that made me all teary and sentimental. I got to read an A M A Z I N G book and it made me cry the ugly cry.  

I took the time to just be a mom.

We even took The Boy for a pony ride. He liked it! He really liked it! 

I even wasted a few seconds on that WeeMee nonsense. I'm not gonna lie - I think mine came out super cute. Way better than I'm looking these days...she even got to go to Paris.

And then today the madness started all over again. The tooth brush battle (The Boy fights me every morning). The rushing to get out the door. Fighting my way through the D train crowd. Trying to get through emails and setting up meetings. Then rushing back home, hoping to get to the gym - only to sit on a delayed 6 train for half an hour. So that by the time I got home, I was so hungry and cranky I skipped the gym. So just I cooked dinner. And maybe I'll wash the dishes before I go to sleep. Or I'll leave them for the morning.

When it all starts over again... 

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Boy Went for His 1st Pony Ride & I Saw a Difference!

If you saw the photos from yesterday's post, you know that we took The Boy for his first pony ride.

We took him to the The Bronx Equestrian Center. I can't tell you how often we've driven past and said, "We should take The Boy there..." We point out the horses and the The Boy looks impressed. 

When we asked The Boy if it's something he wanted to do. He yelled out yes and it's all he  talked about. I'll be honest, I was skeptical. I mean, The Boy won't even go on the carousel. I wasn't sure how he'd react to a pony.

We parked the car and walk through to the stables. The Boy made me laugh because he put his fingers to his nose - I've never seen him do that before. But I guess the smell of horse manure will do that to a kid. 

As The Husband lifted The Boy to place him on the pony, The Boy started to protest. "No no no. Get me outta here!" The stable man assures us this is normal and that once The Boy starts, he'll be fine.

As soon as The Boy is seated, they are off. Within seconds The Boy is smiling. After the first lap, he tells the pony to go faster. And after the third lap - The Boy insists on another on another ride. We happily oblige. I think I would have let him to do it all day but it was super cold. We promised The Boy we would return. 

And I don't know...that afternoon, The Boy seemed calmer. Able to concentrate and focus. I wondered if it had anything to do with the pony. 

I'd heard about hippotherapy before and kids with autism. I knew a girl who went riding - her mother swore by it - and I met someone from GallopNYC and we spoke about the benefits of therapeutic riding. But I'd never seen the results.

When you have a kid with autism, you want to try every and any kind of therapy you think may help.  And I've put this one off for a while because I was uncertain. Because it can get expensive and there's always the time (because who has time for another therapy). But The Boy isn't in any extracurricular activities and if this is one that he'll enjoy and can benefit from - then I'm willing to make the time and find the money.

Would love to know if you've tried therapeutic riding? What differences have you seen?

The Husband & The Boy

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Bronx Equestrian Center (Sundays in my City)

I can't believe we got The Boy to ride a pony! For details on experience click - HERE

Unknown Mami

AW Sunday Review: Jim Henson's PAJANIMALS Play Date

Last weekend was perfect for curling up on the sofa with a fun DVD. The Boy was really excited about the Pajanimals Playdate and couldn't wait for me to press play. When I was growing up, my mom never had the time to sit and watch TV with me. I know The Boy appreciates when I do and I don't mind taking 60 minutes to just chillax with my son. Sometimes, I ask questions and engage dialogue and other times I just want be a mom and enjoy our time.

I had fun watching the Pajanimals Playdate. I loved seeing The Boy get excited and dancing along. And I loved the stories and songs - it all fit with what we are working on with The Boy. 

Our favorite stories were:

  • I'm Sorry, Really Sorry
  • Share Day
Our favorite songs were: 
  • Our Friendship Song
  • Brusha Brusha Brusha

In “Pajanimals Playdate,” the Pajanimals love to play games, sing songs and go on great adventures to meet new friends.  Each story resolves a challenge typically encountered during every preschooler's day. Through their imaginary journeys, these friends discover fun ways to learn daily life lessons. Snuggle up with the Pajanimals for a magical adventure and play date that encourages a bedtime routine! 

Follow the NEW dedicated PAJANIMALS Facebook page:

Follow The Jim Henson Company:
Twitter: @hensonparents

Follow Sprout:
Twitter: @SproutTV

Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary copy of the Pajanimals DVD, all opinions are my own. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Did you get to hear me on NPR? [NYC School Bus Strike Takes Toll on Disabled Kids]

Earlier this week, I was interviewed by Yasmeen Khan for NPR regarding the NYC School Bus Strike.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Our Valentine's Day

Valentine's is a day of love and remembrance. Some memories are painful. We honor the loved ones no longer living. And embrace the ones who are. 

Our Valentine's was like any other day. The Husband and I went to work. The Boy went to school. And after work, I went to class and The Husband and The Boy picked me up. 

We got stuck in traffic. And The Boy puked in the back seat. So...that was fun. We came home, I threw the puke clothes in the wash and cleaned The Boy up and got him ready for bed. 

The Husband and I dined on chicken nuggets and chips. Because we're fancy. 

The Husband gave me a pair of running sneakers to go with the new workout pants he bought me...he's trying to give me a big hint.

And when I opened The Boy's school bag, I found this. My heart melted a little. 

Valentine's Day 2013

If you're feeling extra lovey dovey...check out my other posts of the day. 
No Words Required on Babble

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Many Hats of an Autism Mom

Being an autism mom isn't easy. There are too many hats to wear. And only one woman to wear them. I am: teacher, therapist, chef, chauffeur, caregiver, provider, money manager, secretary, social worker, translator and lawyer.  

You get the point.

But there's one hat in particular, I wish I could where more often.

After The Boy was diagnosed with autism, we started working with an ABA therapist. Once a week, the therapist would give us homework. Nothing major, just activities for us to work on when she wasn't around.

One of our assignments was to read Brown Bear, Brown Bear - three times a day. As a working mom, doing anything three times a day with my son was difficult. But I made the time. We woke up a few minutes earlier and I read Brown Bear at breakfast. When I come home from work, I read it before dinner. And at bedtime, I read it again.

But I wasn't just reading the book, I was pointing at pictures. Taking his fingers and helping him point. Asking questions on each page and answering them myself because he didn't have any language. 

I was doing this three times a day, every day for months. Months. The same book.

Now, I'm a reader and I was reading to The Boy since he was in the womb. And after he was born, I loved rocking him to sleep with a good book. But suddenly, this assignment took our bonding time and turned it into work.

Read the rest over on Babble Kid - HERE.

Who's the New Blogger at #Babble?

In case you missed the announcement last week on Facebook and Twitter - It's ME!! 

I'll be over on Babble Kid blogging 3 days a week.

I can't even tell you how excited & grateful I am about this new opportunity. When I first started blogging, it was something that began just for my blog, my writing has turned into so much more.

Check out my first three posts: 

Blogging is So Much Cheaper Than Therapy

The Inevitable

I Broke a Rule in Front of My Kid

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

When Pretend Play Goes Wrong

When The Boy was first diagnosed with autism, the doctor told us he lacked imaginative play skills. Since then we've been working on building The Boy's imagination and working on pretend play.

In the last year, The Boy's imagination has been slowly emerging. And it's been wonderful to watch! 

For instance...last night The Boy pretended to be a barber.

So um, YAY for pretend play. 

BOO for big piece of hair missing.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

"How Are You?"

"How are you?"

It's a question we are conditioned to ask. Even when we could care less or are too busy to talk. Asked as a greeting and often in passing. By strangers, coworkers and friends.  

It's a heavy question with a rote answer.

Because more often than not, our answer is usually the same. "Fine."

And I think of all the times I'm asked "How are you?" and I answer "Fine."

Even on days when I'm not. 

On days when the pain is unbearable.

On days when I doubt and question every what if.

I think of how I ask the question of others and I hear the same answer.

We can't all be fine.

And sometimes people just need to be honest and own their feelings. Sometimes they real answer needs to be coaxed out. 

The next time you ask someone "how are you?" 




And you will know whether or not they are really fine. 

And if think they are not fine, ask them "Are you sure?"

Saturday, February 9, 2013

I Wouldn't Call You Selfish. But I Wouldn't Say You Understand Either.

During my final semester as an undergrad student, I was sitting in my Greek Mythology class when a girl asked me for some of the answers on the 30 question study sheet the professor handed out the week before. She had the nerve to say, she didn't have time to answer them all.
Side note: During this time I was working full-time, applying to graduate and having The Boy evaluated for Early Intervention.
It had been the third time during the semester this girl had asked me for the answers to something. Which was annoying for many reasons but mainly because she had spent the first day of class bragging about how Greek Mythology was "her thing."

Now usually, I'm the nice girl in the class. Ready to share my notes or lend a pen. But this time I needed to put my foot down. And this is how our conversation went:

Needless to say, she never asked me for another answer for the remainder of the semester. I mean really - she compared babysitting to being a mom. A babysitter gets paid. A babysitter gets to go home at the end of her shift. A mom's shift never ends.

And last week I was in class and sitting between two women and the conversation turned to motherhood. Once again I'm the only one in the class with a young child.

And one woman said, "It's annoying when my mom friends tell me I don't know what it's like to be a mom just because I don't have kids."

The other woman said, "I know right! I mean, I can imagine. And I hate when they tell me that I live a selfish life."

While I said I wouldn't dare call any woman who didn't have kids "selfish," I politely agreed that you can never know what motherhood is like until you're actually a mom. 

I don't think they appreciated that but it's true. Imagining life as a mom and being a mom are two completely different things.

Because you can't possibly imagine waking up in the middle of the night, night after night to calm a crying kid. You can't imagine the amount of preparation it takes to run out for a quick trip to the market. Or having someone puking, peeing or pooping on you and just shrugging it off as no big deal. Or how quickly your heart stops when you think something has happened to your kid. 

And you can't imagine how good a hug can feel. Or how a smile can make your heart melt. Or the pride you feel when you see your kid do something for the first time. 

But it's so much more than that. Motherhood changes a woman. At least it changed me. Before The Boy, I occasionally imagined what motherhood would be like too. I had all these ideas about the kind of mom I would be and how I would raise my kid.

Now I have a really good imagination. And I was wrong about almost everything.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Who Will You Remember This Valentine's Day? #HeartofHaitiLBC

Valentine's Day is the day to celebrate the ones you love. But if someone you loved died on Valentine's Day, it becomes a reminder of loss. 

This is what Valentine's Day has meant for me and my family for the last eleven years.

I grew up very close with my godparents. They were my parents best friends. My Mother and Madrina knew each other as girls - growing up on the same block.  Their families intertwined. When they married, their husbands became best friends. They were in each other weddings, baptized each other's children. And they loved each other's children as if they were their own. 

And I remember as a kid we spent holidays, vacations and lazy summer days at the beach together. Some of my best childhood memories are of all of us together. 

Watching my parents and godparents together, I knew that was the kind of friendship I wanted. And I'm grateful that I do.

When my Padrino died eleven years ago - I was devastated. We all were. On the eve of his wake my Madrina asked if I could say a few words. At the time, I couldn't. 

But I would've said he was a good man devoted to his family. The kind of guy who'd greet you with a smile after he came home from a long day of work and offer you his last beer. He loved the Yankees and every summer he'd urge me to participate in a game of baseball even though I lacked coordination and the interest. And I will never forget that summer when I was eleven, we all went to Puerto Rico. He drove up and down the mountains, one arm dangling out the window, a lit cigarette in the other hand, his hand barely on the wheel. I was terrified and thought we would drive off a cliff. But he'd laugh, assured me he knew what he was doing and kept telling me to enjoy the view of the mountains.        

When I think about all of our family memories, it makes me sad that The Boy never got the chance to meet my godfather. And I'm sad that my godfather never got to see me as a mom. And my godmother has moved to another state, so we don't see each other as often as I'd like.

The Boy has a special relationship with his godparents. And I want The Boy to know that I have a special one with mine. 

And I realized the other day, that I didn't have a single photo of my godfather. So when I received my Heart of Haiti frame, I knew what picture I'd want to place in it.

Valentine's Day will always be difficult for me. But I am grateful to have had my godfather in my life, even if it was for too short a time. And it's my day to honor his memory. 

My Godparents

To learn more about the Heart of Haiti products and initiative click HERE.

Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and Heart of Haiti. No compensation has been received, however I did receive the frame and the Heart of Haiti pendant. All thoughts expressed in this post are my own.  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My Least Favorite Household Chore

I grew up in the kind of home where one could easily eat off floors. My mother prides herself on that.

However. I wouldn't recommend eating off my floors. Not even with the 2 second rule. Though that doesn't stop The Boy from doing so. And on the rare occasion when he does, I just have to not think too much about it.

Don't get me wrong. We don't live in a sty. I will dust, do laundry and wash dishes. But there's just something about mopping that I absolutely hate.

I'm more of spot cleaner. (With the exception of the bathroom, I clean that floor thoroughly twice a week.)

But I'm home for the day and just looked at my floor and said - ENOUGH.

So I mopped. Brought out the bucket and everything. I poured in my Fabuloso and went to town. It's the only thing that I love about mopping. The scent of Fabuloso throughout the apartment and the gleam of my floors.

Though I am sure either The Boy or The Husband will spill something on my squeaky clean floors before the day is done.  

Because mopping happens so rarely I decided it was blog worthy. Because one never knows when it may happen again.     

What's your least favorite household chore? 

Unknown Mami

Disclaimer: This is a non compensated post. I am just a huge fan of Fabuloso. If they were to decide to send me a case of Fabuloso upon reading this post, I may mop more often. (I'm lying. I totally wouldn't. But I'd still appreciate the gesture.)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Autism Awareness (jewelry) Collection by Magic Dog Studio

Back in November, my mom blogger pal, Jennifer Bunt, who writes Fasten Her Seatbelt shared her jewelry  collection and the inspiration behind it with me. She asked me to feature it for Small Business Saturday and I happily agreed. Except, I was in my last weeks of school and my professor was driving me loca with all the last minute assignments. (And okay, fine, I was a bit of a procrastinator and was scrambling around reading and writing papers.) But I'm sharing it now because Jennifer's collection really is beautiful and I think her jewelry makes for a great gift. (HINT: Valentine's Day and Mother's Day is coming up.)

Please read the inspiration behind Jennifer's Autism Awareness jewelry collection.   


The creation of the AutismAwareness Collection was inspired 
by my personal connection with Autism Spectrum Disorders,
 as well as my belief in giving back to the community. 

When our daughter was four years old, my husband 
and I were told Emma was on the Autism Spectrum - 
PDD-NOS to be exact. Since her diagnosis, we have worked 
hard to ensure Em could be the best that she can be. 
Em has an amazing team of people working with her and 
for her - each day I am amazed at the person she is: 
compassionate, artistic and incredibly intuitive. 

Many of my designs are inspired from Emma... 
my feelings, my hopes, my dreams for her. 

Each piece has been handcrafted in studio, from 100% 
recycled sterling silver - it's the ethical thing to do! - 
and features unique pieces designed to 'start a conversation'.

Although there is something for everyone in the Collection; 
The unisex 'Puzzle Disc' bracelet ($45), the 'Hammered Puzzle' pin 
($35) and more, the 'Build Your Own Awareness' Necklace 
has been very popular, as charms can be added over time. 
Charms start at $45 and range to $95. 

Each charm is unique 
and conveys a message using a combination of symbols, and 
initial charms can be added starting at $10. 

$10.00 from the purchase of each item from the Autism Awareness 
Collection will be donated to a participating non-profit of your choice. 
($5.00 on items costing less than $50.00)

Disclaimer: This is not a product review. I have not been compensated in any way by sharing this information.