Saturday, August 31, 2013

September Events at #SesamePlace

I am a Sesame Place Blog Ambassador. I was not compensated for this post but was provided with a 2013 Season Pass for myself and complimentary admission for my family. All opinions are my own.

Related Post: Navigating Sesame Place When You Have a Kid with Autism 


Labor Day Sunday, September 1, 2013 
(8:25 PM - 8:35 PM)
 “C… is for Celebrate!”
Don’t miss our ALL NEW fireworks show, set to Sesame Street music!  Rock out with Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Cookie Monster and Count von Count, as their music fills the air and the sky is covered with colorful bursts of brilliance. 
Fireworks will begin immediately following the 8:00pm evening performance of the "Neighborhood Street Party" Parade.

September 7 - 8 
Super Why LIVE: You’ve Got the Power!
Super Why is coming to Sesame Place for the first time ever! 

Show Times: 
Saturday and Sunday 11:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 4:30 p.m. in Monster Rock Theater
Reservations are required and limited to five reservations per family for one of the six shows.

September 14 - 15
Some special Gabba friends are heading to Sesame Place to jump, shake and shimmy with their friends! Join Yo Gabba Gabba's DJ Lance Rock and his friends Muno, Plex and Toodee as they get the sillies out at Sesame Place this fall!
Show Times:
Saturday and Sunday 11:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 5:30 p.m. in Monster Rock Theater

September 21 - 22
Caillou's Musical Playdate

Growing up is not so tough, especially with a friend like Caillou! The irresistible four-year-old is always up for an adventure and has the most unique way of looking at the world. This interactive live show is packed with dancing and sing-along songs that are guaranteed fun for all!
Show Times:
Saturday and Sunday 11:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2:00 p.m. in Abby's Paradise Theater
September 28 - 29 
Celebrate Zoe’s Birthday with a Monster Mash Dance Party at Sesame Place! Join Zoe and your favorite Sesame Street Monsters for singing, dancing and an all-you-can-eat buffet!
Saturday and Sunday, September 28-29, 2013 at 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. in Dine With Me!
Adult (ages 10 & Up)- $26.99 + tax
Child (ages 2 - 9) - $16.99 + tax
Infants under 2 are free but require a reservation. Park admission ticket is required.

September 28
Season Pass Member EXCLUSIVE!

The park is open just for 2013 & 2014 Season Pass Members from 6:00p.m.-8:00p.m. on Saturday September 28th for an exclusive event to kick off The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular!
Be sure to pick up your wristband upon entrance to the park to remain after hours for the party.
3rd Annual Season Pass Member Halloween Costume Contest
Come dressed in costume and enter to win our Halloween Costume Contest. Prizes will be awarded to the top three Family costumes.
Season Pass Members will also enjoy:
  • Extended Trick or Treat hours during the event  
  • Exclusive show times for the three character Halloween shows
  • Photo opportunities with your favorite Sesame Street friends in their costumes
  • Hayrides with Sesame Street story time (until 4pm)
  • Dry attractions open, including all Halloween mazes  
  • Come early to enjoy the Halloween themed Neighborhood Street Party Parade
  • and more!

For more information regarding reservations and prices visit the Sesame Place Events Page:

I am a Sesame Place Blog Ambassador. I was not compensated for this post but was provided with a 2013 Season Pass for myself and complimentary admission for my family. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Mother and Son Date: The B-Side

The Boy & I on our Mother & Son Date
I had this idea to have a mother and son date. The Boy and I are together all the time but our outings consist of errands, doctors appointments or shuttling him between boroughs.

On the weekends, its me, The Boy and The Husband. 

But The Boy's finally on summer vacation and I had a few days off. With no appointments or therapy on our schedule, I wanted to do something fun. Something memorable. Just us two.

If you follow us on Twitter or Instagram, our pictures look like we had a great time. And we did have a nice time but it came with more than our fair share of challenges. 
This post is what the pictures don't reveal about our day.


We arrived at the Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) shortly after opening. Within seconds, I felt unprepared and wished The Husband was there to help. The first floor was already packed with kids - many of them younger than The Boy. All running, laughing, playing.  Their parents watching from the sidelines, flipping through magazines, chatting on their phones. I followed The Boy around, hovering like I usually do.  My eyes scanning the room for exits and places he could hide.

The Boy darted from place to place, a grin from ear to ear, laughing too loudly. "Oh wow!" He yelled with much more excitement than the other 7-year-olds in the room.

We moved through the rest of the museum but none of the other exhibits excited The Boy as much as the first floor. So that's where we returned for one last run around before heading out to lunch. The room was still crowded.  But the boy was content playing on the slide. And for the first time that morning, I could sit and watch.

That's when they walked in. A group of special needs children and their aides - most likely part of a day camp respite program. Their ages must have ranged between 7 and 10, their disabilities varying.

There was one boy who caught my eye. He was overweight his belly hanging over his sweat shorts. He wore a button down shirt with only the top three buttons buttoned. And his undershirt was pulled up, exposing his large belly. I waited for one the aides to assist him, to pull his shirt down. None of them did.

I don't know why it bothered me so, but it did. I am so conscious of how The Boy looks, so aware of his appearance. It's the one thing I can control. If The Boy lifted up his shirt in public - I would have fixed it immediately. 

The aides wandered the floor aimlessly holding the hands of their kids. Not bothering to engage with them or show them around. The aides were too busy talking among themselves to bother with the children. The children were unlike The Boy, they were quiet, calm, content to be led rather than run.

Then I noticed the room got quiet. Really quiet. The packed room was suddenly empty. All the typical kids and their parents had moved on to other parts of the museum. It was just me, The Boy, the group of special needs kids and their aides. 

Was it too close to lunch? Or did those parents want distance from the kids with disabilities? It hurt too much to think about. 

Later, when I spoke to a friend about it she said "Not everyone is used to kids with special needs. Sometimes it makes people uncomfortable. They don't know how to act.

I know this is true. I have seen the way people try not to notice us. At times, I don't know what's worse - the blatant staring or acting as if we're invisible. My sister is in her twenties and has an intellectual disability and I have seen people shy away from her (not always strangers either - friends, in-laws and members of our family).   

If The Boy was a 'typical' kid, would I have left too?


After lunch, The Boy and I took the bus across town. There was a large playground and The Boy wanted to go in. The playground was much bigger than any one we'd ever been. Too many blind spots, too many pyramids and tunnels - too many places to lose him.

Again, I noticed the groups of parents sitting on the benches secure knowing that when they called out a name, their kid would return.

I bribed The Boy with the promise of an ice cream so that we could leave. 


We walked to La Casa Azul (a book store specializing in Latino authors) and The Boy was on the verge of a meltdown. I shouldn't have taken him inside. I should have just left. Instead, I held both his hands while I browsed. The Boy wanted to leave. But I wanted to make a purchase. And I so badly wanted to buy him a book from La Casa Azul.

The whole time he kept saying "I'm going to break all the books. I'm going to spit on the floor." For a fraction of a second I let go of his hand and The Boy grabbed hold of a statue - I thought he was going to crush it. I freed the statue from his grasp, grateful I was the only one who noticed what The Boy had done.

At that point, I knew we were done. I purchased my books and left.


On the train ride home, The Boy asked if we could go to the playground. It was still early and since he didn't have a chance to play in the big playground, I agreed.

It was all good until a little girl (about 3 years old) started to cry. And that. Set. The Boy. Off! He always gets upset when he hears/sees another kid crying. He stopped playing and just stared at the girl. The Boy's chest started pumping and tears welled up in his eyes. "She's crying. She has to go home," he cried pointing to the girl.

I walked over to him and led him to a nearby bench. He was sobbing and shaking. The Boy climbed up on my lap, burying his face in the crook of my neck. 

I asked if he wanted to go home but he wanted to stay. I should have just taken him home. Instead I sat there cradling and consoling my 7-year-old son while the other children in the playground stared.

When he was ready to continue playing, I told him we were going to stay for 10 minutes. "Put the timer on," The Boy said. 

A group of boys were gathered around the water fountain, filling up their water guns. I have to watch whenever The Boy gets too close to the fountain. (The last time we were in the playground, he saw a kid drink water from the fountain. Thirsty, but not knowing how to work the water fountain, The Boy attempted to sip from the pool of water that hadn't drained.) The Boy, watching the kids at the fountain, ran up and splashed them all with water. I made him apologize and led him out of the park. 

The Boy burst into tears again. "I'm going to break all my toys," he repeated. "I'm going to spit." He dug his nails into my hand. 

"Stop!" I yelled. "You are not going to break all of your toys. And don't even think about spitting."

Walking up the steps to our building, I saw The Boy gathering his saliva, ready to spit. I swatted his mouth. "What did I say about spitting!?"               

He pulled his hand out of mine and started to run away. He didn't get far.

Once inside our apartment, The Boy yanked off of his shoes and threw them at the mirror. Then he spit on the floor. I yelled at him again, grabbed him by the arm and marched him to his room for a time out. I needed space. I hate losing my temper with The Boy. I know it doesn't make a meltdown any better. I know I'm not setting the example. But I am human. I'm a mom. And sometimes, I completely lose my shit.   

That's when I started to cry. If The Boy can be this challenging for me now, what will happen when he gets older? When he gets too big and too heavy for me to send him to his room. Will he 'grow out' of this behavior? Or will it get worse? 

Why, I wondered. Why did a simple outing - a day that was supposed to be fun - have to be  so difficult? Why couldn't I ignore the behavior? Why couldn't I redirect him? Why couldn't we just have one day without a major meltdown? Why couldn't I get through to him? Why did The Boy have to have autism? That's the why I hated the most. I hate myself when that why creeps in.

I thought about the group of special needs kids and their inattentive aides. The parents and kids who left the room. The kids in the playground who stared as The Boy cried. The Boy playing alone in a playground full of kids.  

Was this to be our life? Or was this just our day? Sometimes it's hard to know the difference.

Monday, August 26, 2013

10 Things We Haven't Done This Summer (And The One Thing We Did)

The last few weeks of summer are dwindling down. Every season is the same. It flies by too fast and we wonder where the time went. And yesterday The Husband and I couldn't help but think of all the things we have not done this summer.

We haven't been to a BBQ. The Husband is very upset about this. He's missed out on hamburgers, hot dogs, coleslaw and potato and macaroni salads drenched in mayonnaise. 

We haven't been away for a long weekend. This year we haven't taken a vacation. When The Husband had off in May, The Boy was in school and I couldn't get time off. The Husband won't have vacation again until October. I'm really bummed about this. I thought we'd be able to squeeze in a weekend getaway but just didn't happen.  

We haven't been to the beach. I repeat. We have not been to the beach. Have I mentioned we live less than fifteen minutes away from the beach? 

We haven't walked along a boardwalk. There's something so romantic about walking along the boardwalk, breathing in the ocean air on a early summer evening.

We haven't been to Great Adventure. We really wanted to do that this year. We've never been to Great Adventure's together. 

We haven't been to City Island. For those who live in the NYC area you know that City Island is great summer destination for good seafood and fruity drinks. We live 15 minutes away from City Island and we haven't had fried shrimp or calamari or a Mojito or Pina Colada all summer.

We haven't seen fireworks. Because...well...this

We haven't gone fishing. Um, I could care less about this but The Husband seems to be really upset by it. And I'm not sure why considering he hasn't been fishing in the entire time we've been married. (We've been married ten years.)    

We haven't been to Coney Island. As a kid we always went to Coney Island. We've only been once with The Boy. 

We haven't gone to the aquarium. Not sure why we haven't, we have the membership and a parking pass.

My list could go but I'll stop at 10 because all in all - it hasn't been a bad summer. And there are still a few more weeks left to cross some of these off the list. Except for the fishing. That ain't happening.    

And the one thing we did do is...

Register for the NY Road Runners 4 Miles of Hope race. We are all running on September 7th. 

Tell me about your summer so far. What have you done? What have you not done? 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

AW Sunday Review: The Boys' Guide to Growing Up

Disclaimer: Woodbine House provided me with a complimentary copy of  The Boys' Guide to Growing Up  for review purposes only.  The opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way. 

The Boys Guide to Growing Up (available at Woodbine House, $16.95 ) is written in clear and simple language (3rd grade reading level) and paired with age-appropriate facts, realistic illustrations and photos, The Boys' Guide to Growing Up, explains in detail the many changes of a boys body. 

The book is written for boys 9 - 16 with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, fragile X, or other special needs, this book is the companion to The Girls' Guide to Growing Up (2011), also by Terri Cowenhoven. 

The Boys' Guide to Growing Up also discusses feelings and discretion while emphasizing personal safety and privacy.  

Its reassuring, matter-of-fact tone shows boys what changes--inside and out--to expect during puberty, and how to manage them:
  • Growth spurts and bigger muscles
  • Voice cracking and deepening
  • Blemishes and oily skin
  • Body and facial hair
  • Moodiness
  • Crushes, flirting, and sexual feelings
  • Erections, wet dreams, and masturbation
The Boys Guide to Growing Up concludes with a Q&A to prompt conversation.

I've already started to see small changes in The Boy. And I'd like nothing more than to close my eyes, stick my fingers in my ears and shout "Lalalalalalaaaa I can't hear you!" But I can't. The Boy will hit puberty soon and I need to be prepared to handle it and talk to him about it. The Boys Guide to Growing Up is much as a preparation guide for me as it is for The Boy. 

If you have a son with special needs, this is the book that can help answer all those really tough and sometimes uncomfortable questions. Just like with any other kid, we need to be open about sexuality. It will keep them safe.

Terri Couwenhoven, M.S., is certified in Special Education by the AASECT and specializes in working with individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, their families and professional support. Couwenhoven is also a mom who gets it, her eldest daughter has down syndrome.  Terry Couwenhoven, M.S. writes with professional expertise and maternal sensitivity. 

Have your kids hit puberty yet? How have you handled it?

Disclaimer: Woodbine House provided me with a complimentary copy of  The Boys' Guide to Growing Up  for review purposes only.  The opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.  

Friday, August 23, 2013

This Month On

So in case you missed it...check out my Babble posts for August. From Back-to-school to Body Image 

August is Family Fun Month: 31 Ideas to Celebrate
Did you know there's a whole month dedicated to Family Fun? This post I'm sharing 31 easy ideas for families on any budget. Your kids will love them! (So will you.) 

I Only Have One Kid. Stop Asking When I’ll Have Another.
Asking a woman if they want or when they’ll have children is a completely invasive question and yet always on the table for discussion. It's not something that can be easily answered with a yes or no. And I wish people would stop asking me.

6 Ways I Wish I Were Like My Son with Autism
George Bernard Shaw said that "Youth is wasted on the young," but this does not apply to my 7-year-old son with autism. Raising a son with autism has taught me many things but there are still a few lessons I have yet to learn. How I wish I were more like him.

7 Back-to-School Essentials for Kids with Autism
It's almost time to send our kids back to school. And if you have a kid with autism, these items could make their school days a little bit easier. From tops to bottoms to a few things in-between, here are 7 items we cannot start our school year without.

Be Kind to Humankind Week
Aug 25 - 31 is Be Kind to Humankind Week. I am raising my 7-year old son with autism to be kind and compassionate. 10 ways I incorporate simple acts of kindness in our day-to-day lives. 

Think Like a Girl: A Lesson About Body Image and Self-Esteem 
Every day before walking out the door I take one last look in the mirror. And almost every day I find fault with my body and how I look. My husband of ten years, tells me I am beautiful (he’s a really good guy) and that I have a distorted sense of body image – like Pablo Picasso’s painting Girl Before a Mirror

I'd love for you to click on any (or all) of the links...share with your Facebook friends, tweet or pin. And if so inclined - leave a comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Life Beyond Diagnosis | I'm Speaking at #LATISM13

I am really excited about this year's Latinos in Tech Innovation & Social Media (LATISM) conference. This year is going to be extra special. 

This year is LATISM's 5th year and they are returning to New York City! Which means it's only a subway ride way for. And it's at the Waldorf Astoria.

It's September 19 - 21. My birthday is on the 18th so I get to celebrate my first days of my 38th year with some of my favorite bloggers.

I'm SPEAKING! I am truly honored for the opportunity to speak at LATISM.

I am truly grateful for all the opportunities LATISM has given me. I was recognized as a Top Bloguera and invited to a White House press conference. I was awarded the Best Latina Health Blogger at the LATISM12 Conference.   

Last year I was excited to present on the Blogging 101 session. But this year, I'll be on a panel discussing a passion much closer to my heart.  

Beyond Chronic Illness and Special Needs: Life Beyond Your Diagnosis
Saturday, September 21 • 12:00pm - 1:00pm
I'll be with four amazing Latinas: Eileen Carter-CamposChristina McGeough, Eliana Tardio and Laurita Tellado. To learn about them and more on the panel topic click HERE.

To view the full agenda visit -

I cannot thank LATISM enough for giving me the opportunity to share my journey, to tell my son's story and to inspire others to share theirs. It is important that we do this. In the world of mainstream bloggers, a Latina blogging specifically about autism is rare. Two years ago when I attended the BlogHer Healthminder (Special Needs) day - I realized I was the only Latina in the room. A room of maybe 80 women - all special needs bloggers. I was the only one. And it bothered me. Because I know there are many Latina moms walking in my shoes. We need our stories heard too. 

So if you're a Latina Blogger and you blog about autism or raising a child with special needs - let a sistah know in the comments okay. Leave a link to your blog. I'd love to see you representing at a blog conference. And if you're in the NYC area - I hope to hug you at LATISM.  

But until then...join us for the weekly  Twitter Party tonight (Thursday) at 9:00pm EST! We’re talking HEALTH at !

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Celebrate Back-to-School at #SesamePlace

I am a Sesame Place Blog Ambassador. I was not compensated for this post but was provided with a 2013 Season Pass for myself and complimentary admission for my family. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, August 24, 2013  & Sunday, August 25, 2013 at 5:00PM 
Big Bird’s Riverside Pavilion

Summer fun isn’t over yet! Enjoy a Back-to-School Bash with everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends.  Celebrate the start of a new school year with singing, dancing and a BBQ style meal in Big Bird’s Riverside Pavilion.  Our themed desserts will be sure to cure those back-to-school blues.

Adult (ages 10 & Up)- $26.99 + tax
Child (ages 2 - 9) - $16.99 + tax

Infants under 2 are free but require a reservation. Park admission ticket is required.

Click HERE to make a reservation.

Pass Members save 30% on character dining experiences. 

Related posts

I am a Sesame Place Blog Ambassador. I was not compensated for this post but was provided with a 2013 Season Pass for myself and complimentary admission for my family. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Build Your Own Disney Infinity Toy Box

Disclaimer: I was invited to the Disney Infinity Launch event and provided with a complimentary Disney Infinity Toy Box. All opinions are my own.

Yesterday we attended one my favorite Blogger events ever!

The Disney Infinity Hack-a-thon at the Nintendo Store in New York City  

For those who know us in real life you know that The Husband is a hard core gamer and that he's been really working with The Boy to play video games. Recently, The Boy has been into it. And it's something we like to do together. Well, they play. I usually just watch. 

Top: The Boy with Little Lady & Little Man of GUB
Bottom: Me, The Boy & Jeff Bunker and Me & Ruby of GUB
Disney Infinity will be in stores today, we had the opportunity to play yesterday. And you know who taught us the ins and outs of the game? Jeff Bunker - the artistic director for the game. It was so cool. 

And then we got to meet up with one my favorite blogger amigas:  Ruby of Growing Up Blaxican. 

This was our first Blogger Event as a family and I was nervous about how The Boy would do. But I was really proud of him. He talked and made eye contact. He didn't try to wander away or have a melt down.  

The Boy had a BLAST playing with the Disney Infinity game. He was really interested in playing with different characters and switching out disks. He was curious and asked questions. He was focused on playing. He played for 30 minutes. 30 MINUTES! And whenever The Husband tried to help, The Boy would brush him off and say, "I can do it all by myself."

I think video games are so important for kids with autism. I've written about the impact games have made with The Boy. Disney Infinity really allows a child to use their imagination. They hold the power to play the game they want to play. To build their own world with their favorite Disney Characters.     

What's great about Disney Infinity is that there is no such thing as losing. So it's the perfect game for me. No pressure, you know. But it's also great for kids like The Boy because they can just play freely. And the free play allows kids to really learn how to handle the control pad. It could be a stepping stone to other games.  

You don't have to be a hard core gamer to play Disney Infinity - its truly a game the whole family can play and enjoy. And I am really looking forward to creating many new adventures.    

About Disney Infinity Disney Infinity is an all-new video game initiative starring the beloved characters from Walt Disney and Pixar Studios’ most popular franchises. Players can place real-world toy versions of their favorite Disney characters onto a device called the Infinity Base and transport them into the virtual game worlds of Monsters University, the Incredibles, Cars, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Lone Ranger, as well as into a giant Toy Box.

The Disney Infinity Starter Pack includes:
(retails for about $75.00)
  • 1 Disney Infinity Video Game
  • 3 Disney Infinity Figures (Captain Jack Sparrow, Mr. Incredible and Sulley)
  • 1 Disney Infinity Base
  • 1 Power Disc (may vary by pack)
  • 1 Starter Pack Play Set piece
  • 1 Web Code Card  

Additional Figures and Power Discs Sold Separately 
Circular Discs
  • Bolt’s Super Strength – Character that you’re playing with does 10% more damage
  • Fix It Felix’s Repair Power – Character you’re playing with has 20% more health
Hexagonal Discs
  • Mickey’s Car – Drive Mickey’s Jalopy in the Toy Box 
  • Sugar Rush Sky Skydome – Adds a “Sugar Rush” theme from “Wreck-it-Ralph” to the Toy Box sky
  • Alice’s Wonderland Texture Set – Adds an “Alice in Wonderland” (animated film) theme to Toy Box terrain objects
  • Nome’s Seascape Skydome – Adds a “Finding Nemo” theme to the Toy Box sky 
Rare Hexagonal Discs
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant – Adds the Dumbo ride from the Parks in the Toy Box

You can play Disney Infinity on all of your favorite game consoles, PC and iPad. 

Disclaimer: I was invited to the Disney Infinity Launch event and provided with a complimentary Disney Infinity Toy Box. All opinions are my own.