I’m in an E-Book! (Autimisms: second edition)

Today was one of those “Jekyll and Hyde” kind of days where Big C is sweet and cuddly one moment and kicking and screaming in my face the next. I swear, no matter what fun I had planned, he was bound to destroy it with wailing and embarrassing public temper tantrums.

Between meltdowns, I allowed myself a few minutes to indulge in social media on my phone, leading me to an email, letting me know the Second Little E-Book of Autimisms was published and ready to be shared with the world.

I had completely forgotten that (a few months back) Jodi of Geek Club Books had invited me to be a contributor to her collection of anecdotes from parents of children with autism.

Talk about perfect timing.

Reading the words of fellow parents really did lift my spirits and remind me that I’m not alone in my frustrations. Sometimes, just knowing there are other parents out there dealing with the same stuff is enough.

Naturally, I enjoyed a glass of wine (or two) as I read.

I encourage you to do the same!


~Chaos Contemplated (for now)

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My Mom Jeans: Live on Mamalode!

I'm Published by Mamalode!

I’m excited to share the lovely site, Mamalode, has published a poem I wrote! It’s called “My Mom Jeans.”

Went out of my comfort zone when writing this one, but it was totally worth it!

If you’d be so kind, take a moment to head on over to the site and read it. I promise it will make you smile.

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There I am under the “Witching Hour!” (claps and squeals in delight).

 


~ Chaos Contemplated (for now)

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I’m on The Mighty!

I’m so excited to share I have a piece featured on the inspirational site, The Mighty. It’s a version of one of my favorite pieces, originally titled, “What my Special-Needs Son CAN Do.”

On The Mighty, it’s called, “8 Reasons I Don’t Need to Write about what My Son with Autism Can’t Do.” If you have a moment, show it some love, as well as the many other heartfelt pieces you’ll find there.

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I do believe that says 134 THOUSAND likes. Wow.

~ Chaos Contemplated (for now)

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Raising the Socially Awkward Extrovert

extrovert: noun. an outgoing, overtly expressive person.

awkward: adjective. causing difficulty; hard to deal with.

You see the dilemma, yes?

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Me! Pick me! I know! I know!

You know this child.

He pushes his way to the front of the line, to the front of the class, to the front row of the photo. His hand is the first one up, his answer shouted out before he’s actually called on. He sings the loudest, dances the most exuberantly, appears the most confident.

That’s my child.

I love him to pieces.

His desire (and demand) to be noticed is commendable.  How many of us would rather shirk in the sidelines?  He makes me proud on a daily basis for his passion and confidence.

He also worries me.

We all know this child is – let’s be honest – kind of annoying. He’s the one the teacher initially appreciates, but eventually gets frustrated with. He’s the one the other kids start to dislike because he comes off as a know-it-all and interrupts them constantly.

My worry is that my child won’t pick up on these social cues. He won’t realize when he should keep his hand down so others have a chance. He won’t realize he’s actually blocking someone else when he rushes to be in the front row of the picture. He won’t realize that when he’s shouting out answers, he’s actually disrespecting the teacher.

My son has autism. The social world doesn’t make a lot of sense to him. He wants to be a part of the world – oh, yes – but he struggles with how to do this in a way that respects others. He misreads cues. He assumes others know what’s in his mind.

As an example, he told me a few weeks back that “Johnny doesn’t like me.” When I asked him why, he said, “He doesn’t want to play with me.”

Yet, the very next day as I was dropping him off at daycare, Johnny walked right up to my son and said hello.

My son didn’t acknowledge him. I tried to ask my son why he didn’t say hello, but I couldn’t get him to look at me or respond. He had already moved on to the next task. My theory is that, in my son’s mind, he had said hello. He assumed that Johnny knew he was happy to see him.

But what happens when kids stop saying hello because they don’t get a response or even the acknowledgement of eye contact?

What happens when my son becomes more than just a boisterous little boy whom we can forgive because he’s four and simply becomes that awkward kid who’s always making a scene?

These are the thoughts that race through the mind of a mother whose child has struggles, but is brave and outgoing, nonetheless.

While nerve-wracking, I recognize there are far worse issues he could be facing.

But I’m a mother. Forgive me if I continue to worry.

What worries do you have for your child? 

 

SensoryBlogHopNew

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

This post also appears on Sammiches and Psych Meds.


~Chaos Contemplated (for now)

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Lightning Bolt Underwear: why you need a pair

talisman: noun. an object that is thought to have magical powers and to bring good luck.

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Boy runs. Mom weeps. Parenting.

My four year-old son ran his first race: a 3K.

It started with a declaration to the lady handing out bibs and shirts: “I’m wearing lightning bolt underwear!” He was convinced his underwear would give him powers to run quickly.

They did.

When the bull horn went off, he took off like, well, a lightning bolt. Of course, it didn’t last long. He gassed out after a minute or two, and it wasn’t long before he was experiencing the grueling middle of a race that runners know so well.

But he persevered. Sure, he may have fussed, whined, even cried, but he worked through his unique struggles. He kept going, even though so many passed him by. He persevered.

When the finish line drew near, his adrenaline sped up as he realized he could do it.  The lightning bolt underwear’s magical properties kicked in and suddenly his feet took over. He wasn’t stumbling along – he was running! The crowd cheered as this skinny little boy – all elbows and knees – pushed himself to the breaking point, literally sprinting.

As I watched him near the finish line, shouting “Rescue Bots!  Roll out!” and smiling profusely, I couldn’t help but marvel at what a metaphor for his young life this first race was.  He starts every task with a firm belief he can do it. Often, the initial confidence transforms into anger, frustration, and self-pity, but with the right encouragement, he always perseveres, despite so many obstacles.

Naturally, once he did cross the finish line, he took the time to assume a super hero stance, flexing both of his arms.

The boy loves to show off the guns.

If there’s anything to learn from this little anecdote, it’s that everyone needs a pair of lightning bolt underwear, that tangible something that reminds us we can accomplish our goals, that nothing’s beyond our reach.

Did I mention my son has autism? If a race full of hundreds of people isn’t a recipe for sensory-overload, I don’t know what is.

I’m telling you: lightning bolt underwear.  Go get a pair.

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~Chaos Contemplated (for now)

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Hiding Spots for Mothers: a Practical Guide

Hi everyone!

Wondering where you can go for a few minutes of solace from mommy hood?

Check out my latest post over at my blogging buddy’s site, Sammiches and Psych Meds.  You’ll want to read more hilarious posts once you’re there, I guarantee it!


~ Chaos Contemplated (for now)

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Happy Blogiversary!

Blog: noun. a website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences,observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other websites (as defined by Dictionary.com).

Blog: noun. a life-saving tool (as defined by Mommy Catharsis).

Today I celebrate my blog’s one-year anniversary.  Over the past year, I’ve managed to post 40 pieces about my life, and in doing so, I’ve joined this cyber-world of bloggers I never knew existed.

It has completely transformed my life.

After years of remission, I can finally call myself a writer again.  After years of struggling how to understand my son, I have finally found a community to teach me how to be the best mother I can to him.  After a lifetime of harboring anxiety, I have finally found a healthy outlet to simultaneously laugh and cry.

To honor a year’s worth of writing accomplishment, I have chosen three pieces to re-share that I feel best showcase this year’s writing focus, as well as my growth as a mother.

“He’s a Bad Boy!”
As my very first post, this will always be one of my favorites.  It’s a personal anecdote about what motherhood was like before I knew my son has autism.

Typical Tuesday Night
While hard for me to read, this is one of my more honest pieces, void of any humor.  I wrote it immediately after the kids were finally in bed, so it’s a very raw account of why I have to write. Being the mother of a son with autism is tough.

What my Special-needs Son CAN Do
I’m most proud of this piece because I know I couldn’t have written it without this blog. Through writing about my experiences with parenting two young boys, especially my oldest, I have come to realize what a great gift my son’s autism can actually be.  I come back and re-read this post whenever I feel like I’m failing.

To my loyal readers, thank you for pushing me to keep going;  somehow, you manage to re-inspire me at the times I need it most.

To the newbies out there, I hope you can take something from my experiences to help you in your own life or, at the very least, get a little chuckle or nod of understanding.

Let’s see what the next year brings!

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~Chaos Contemplated (for now)

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The Elusive Dipped Cone

Catastrophe: noun. an event causing great and often sudden damage or suffering; a disaster.

This story is not.

interpunct / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
interpunct / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

It’s been a month, so this event is actually pretty funny to me now (ah, Time, you good ‘ol healer).  When it was happening though, it really sucked.

This is the story of me, my four year-old, and his side-kick autism on an epic journey for the ever-elusive chocolate dipped ice cream cone.  Brace yourselves.

Big C (my son) and I had just finished a phenomenal field trip at the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum.  As a sensory-seeking child with little impulse control and a tendency for aggression, my son was put to the test on this sensory-overloaded field trip.  When the trip was over, I swear to you I could hear a choir of angels singing.  The trip went off without a hitch!

Hoping to capitalize on our good fortune and the beautiful spring day (our first this season), I asked Big C if he’d like to go for a walk and get an ice cream.  Naturally, he said yes, and we were on our way.  I had already taken out my phone and Google-mapped a place a few blocks away.

Oh, did we have fun!  I let Big C hold my phone so he could watch our dot get closer and closer to our destination.  My excitement built along with his.

As we walked, he made sure to ask me (several times), “They have my kind, right?”

“What’s your kind, honey?”

“The white kind, with chocolate on top.”

“Oh, you bet!”  I felt a tug on my heart and sweat beginning to bead on my forehead.  I think I knew what he meant, but I wasn’t sure.  My memory was racing. He liked chocolate-dipped vanilla cones, right? It was tricky because “his kind” could change on a dime, dependent upon his mood.  I had total confidence, however, that this place would satisfy his needs for vanilla ice cream and chocolate.

About fifteen minutes later, we arrived at our location: it was closed.

Due to open in TWO days.

Dammit.

I quickly recovered as I witnessed my son’s crumbling face.  “No, problem!  We will just use our map to find a new place!”  My son smiled, readily agreed, and we soon found ourselves at Kilwin’s, just a few blocks away.

Then events turned ugly.

Immediately, the place had an icky feel to it.  It was small and the smell of fudge was overpowering. Right away, Big C was not happy.  “Oh, look!” I pointed, my voice dripping with forced enthusiasm.  “There are so many choices of ice cream to choose from!”

Big C looked aghast.  “They don’t have my kind!”

“Well, why don’t you try a few samples, and see if you like a new kind?”

He grumbled in response.  Feverishly, I began asking the woman at the counter if we could try the different varieties of vanilla they had.  She agreed, but all samples were met with a look of disdain and growing frustration by my son.

Trying to help, the woman calmly handed him a little spoonful of Mackinac Island Fudge.  “Here, my children love this.”

Big C took a little taste and proclaimed, “That’s disgusting!”  Amid my apologetic looks and rising blood pressure, Big C began pacing back and forth from one end of the ice cream counter to the next, humming in a high-pitched tone.  It was a full-on stimming episode, and I felt powerless to stop it as I tried to ignore the judgmental stares from patrons and workers.

After about five minutes, I couldn’t take it any more and grabbed him by the arm, and as gently (but firmly) as I could, escorted him out.

“Are we going somewhere else for ice cream?”

I was tired and frustrated, so I responded with, “No, we’re out of options.”

Mistake.

The ten-minute walk back to the car was accompanied by his full volume wailing.  I thought the stares in Kilwin’s were awkward.  Bah!  I kept waiting for a police car to pull up beside us and ask if everything was alright.

But then, a glimmer of hope joined our, thus far, failed mission.  Once we got to the car, Big C said, “I’m sorry I disappointed you.”

A direct stab to the heart.

“It’s okay,” I blubbered, hugging him hard.  Then, inspiration struck.  “Hey, why don’t we try McDonald’s?  It’s right on the way home.”

His eyes lit up.  “Okay!”

So we were on our way again, sure to be victorious on our quest for ice cream.

About twenty minutes later, we pulled into the McDonald’s parking lot and, hand in hand, skipped in and ordered.  No problem.

Then another curve ball came.

“Hey, we don’t have dipped cones yet.  They’re seasonal,” the sloppy-looking, presumed-manager, barked from the back.

Noooooooooo! 

I glanced furtively over at my son, his eyes welling with tears.

“Maybe a sundae?” the teenage girl working the register kindly suggested.

That’s not going to work,” I snarled at her.  Poor girl.

But then I realized I had no alternative and, with some convincing, Big C begrudgingly agreed to try a sundae with chocolate syrup.

Once he saw what it was, his eyes lit up.  He took a bite and said, triumphantly, “Mmm…yum!  That’s my kind!”

As he finished his treat, I sat beside him in the booth, enjoying those ten minutes of silence, filled with the occasional sounds of Big C licking his spoon. At that point, I wasn’t in the mood for ice cream.

Besides, McDonald’s didn’t have my kind.

Once home, exhausted, but not willing to neglect the beautiful day, I texted our neighbor with children the same age to suggest a walk to the park.

Her response: Sounds great!  Be home in ten.  At Dairy Queen just finishing up. It’s free cone day.

[insert expletive here].

 

So, what does your child “need” to have?

Note: this post is part of a blog hop. Click the link below to read more blogs about what it’s like to have a sensory-special kid!

SensoryBlogHop

 


~Chaos Contemplated (for now)

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