The nicer weather has FINALLY arrived, so I try to schedule a walk with one of the local moms groups at least once a week to get some exercise and grown-up time at the same time. Usually a couple other moms and their babies join me, and we go for a walk around the waterfront. Yesterday, no one else made it out. I had the thought that I would just go home and get some things done around the house before the kids came home but then I realized there was no reason why I couldn’t go for a quick walk myself.
Although I didn’t have the companionship, I was able to go off-path (because no strollers were with me) and enjoy some solitude, get some exercise, breathe in some fresh air, while taking some beautiful pictures. I really love the waterfront!
Met some companions along the way:
And some lovely fragrances:
It turned out to be a lovely soul-enriching hour.
My son’s new after school routine (within the last month and a half or so) is to get out of the car, run to the driveway of our neighbour 3 doors down, run back, play with his shadow, and then hang out on another neighbour’s porch for a while. Some days, he can be there for a good hour or so. If those neighbours are outside, and needing to go in and out of their front door, they just say hi, move around him and head inside. They even asked after we moved in late last summer how to communicate with him! How awesome are our neighbours?!
Until now, this after school routine has been a bit difficult for me, trying to keep an eye on him while my daughter is going in and out of our home, and honestly, trying to find somewhere comfortable for me to be for the hour or so he takes for this routine…especially when it’s raining (and the couple of days it snowed). A couple of days ago however, my man’s parents gave us some new-to-us lawn chairs and table (they’re even my favourite colour: green!). While my son did his routine last night, I was able to bring backpacks and everything inside, get the kids an after school snack, and make myself a chai. I then sat down in our new chairs on the front porch with my feet up, reading my book (shocking that it’s about Autism!), drinking my chai and still being able to keep an eye on my son.
A bonus too, is the view of and lovely fragrance resulting from the bush in my front yard:
Not a bad routine to have to “endure” each and every day!
My neighbour’s son brought home this math homework, to prepare for an upcoming test. She showed it to me for another opinion and I was confused. She’s good at math; I’m not (so I’m expecting not to understand, tee hee!). This is Grade 2 math.
Here are the first set of questions. My daughter and my neighbour’s son can easily add the initial problems:
But not when they want the Grade 2ers to solve them like this example:
Then it gets even more complicated where they want them to “fill in the doubles”. Not sure what the point of adding three other calculations to figure out the initial math problem. Can’t they just rearrange the numbers on top of eachother and add them that way? Seems like a huge “make work” project.
Math was NOT my strongest subject in school. In fact, I was a solid 64% or 68% in all math classes in highschool (compared to 90s for my other subjects). I’m sure if I had to learn it this way, it would have been even lower. This gives me a headache just trying to figure out what they are asking for, let along if I was a 7 or 8 year old in this Grade 2 class. I’m really hoping this homework doesn’t come home with my daughter, who is also in Grade 2 but in a different school this year.
I’m happy to be writing for a relatively new online magazine called Autism Parenting Magazine. They publish on iPad newstands, and soon will be available on Kindle and Android. This month’s magazine theme is “all things related to therapy”. My article:
I attended the local monthly autism support group this week. Normally, there has been two or three families but this week, there were nine different families; some of us who have been on the journey for a while, and two who just received diagnosis (last month!), and one who has been fighting for diagnosis for seven years (SEVEN YEARS!!) and is still fighting. There were lots of tears. Tears of being overwhelmed by the “newbies”; tears of understanding from us “veterans.”
One of the newbies is a grandmother to the little one who has been diagnosed. She has been a superstar and went through everything to get diagnosis for her grandson, while her daughter (the child’s mother) is still in denial that there’s anything “wrong” with her son. The child lives with his mom, and grandmother is very involved. Superstar grandmother!
While shedding tears, grandmother confided in the group that she’s worried about doing something “wrong” with her grandson but she refuses to keep him hidden from the world. He still needs to experience everything…grocery shopping, park, playing with other kids, etc. She asked the group what the best thing is to help support her grandson. I spoke up…love him, and get support for yourself, too.
As parents (grandparents/caregivers), we are so good at searching out for the newest and “best” therapies, tools and strategies for our children. I argue there’s something different we need to ensure is in place in all parenting plans for all parents’ of kids with special needs: Look after yourself too!
Subscribe through your iPad Newstand or click here to read the rest of the article (pages 17 and 18).
Also, be sure to “Like” Autism Parenting Magazine and my blog (if you haven’t already) on Facebook.
I had the honour of speaking at #MomsMeTimeTO conference on Friday (I’ll blog about that later), and then I came across this sticker on Facebook today: (sorry so big but it’s the only way to see all the steps)
So, I thought I would share this picture that was taken of me (being 5’10″ and wearing 3″ heels, which put me at 6’1″) and one of the fabulous attendees, Christine from Life On Manitoulin:
Our huge smiles show how funny we thought this was and it sure puts across that we’re both pretty comfortable in our own skins. We both shared the photo on our personal Facebooks, our Pages and now our blogs…with the caption “Funniest picture ever”.
Sure, I would like to lose 5 or 10lbs (don’t we all?) but at the end of the day, I don’t do anything to achieve that so it obviously isn’t a priority for me….and I don’t guilt myself about it. I’m tall and embrace it (I’ll admit that it’s easier now that I’m with someone who is 6’3″, compared to my ex-husband who is 2″ shorter than me). Mind you, being a natural redhead gives me a lot of confidence.
Question from one of my friends when I invited them to ask questions on my personal Facebook:
“I want to know just how wide is the diagnosed spectrum?”.
Well, the saying “When you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve only met one person with Autism” is true. Some children are considered to be low-functioning, some high-functioning, and some in between, all in comparison to other kids without Autism of the same age. So the width of the Spectrum is frankly, huge…but always presents characteristics and behavioural traits that lead specialists to diagnose that child with Autism. The definition of Autism according to Wikipedia is:
“as a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired
social interaction and communication,
and by restricted and repetitive behaviour”
Common characteristics that parents initially present to their family doctor include some and/or all of the following:
- no eye contact
- don’t point using their index finger
- using someone else to point
- start talking and stop
- line up items such as toys, etc
- stimming (repeated body movements such as hand flapping, rocking, head butting)
- unusual responses to people or attachments to objects
- resistance to changes in routines
- sensitivities (hyper- or under-) to things like sounds, tastes, etc
More information is available on the Autism Ontario website.
When we started on this journey, we approached the doctor when my son was 18months old, saying that he had been talking but stopped (whereas his sister started a bit later but kept on talking), didn’t make eye contact with anyone but me, used his father and I’s hands to point to items, and was lining up all his toys. It took another 2 years to get official diagnosis, where he was classified as “severe” but for those who know my son in person, they are amazed as this. He’s a happy little boy, with a smile that lights up the room, can work his way around Youtube like no one’s business, has made amazing developmental leaps in the last couple of years, is a funny dancer, and best of all…is talking! He doesn’t speak the way other 7, almost 8 year old little boys do, but his speech is one of the sweetest sounds I’ve ever heard…primarily because I’ve waited so long to hear it.
I’ve been pinning lots of recipes lately on Pinterest. Yesterday, I was home with my daughter who felt under the weather so I figured I would try one in particular since it seemed so simple: Dried Strawberries. The recipe claimed you just put whole or halved strawberries in the oven at 200 degrees F for 3 hours. Simple, right?
3 hours later, the strawberries look like shriveled somethings, they were soggy and looked unappetizing. Figuring every oven is different, I increased the temperature to 250 degrees F. Checked them an hour later and nothing changed.
Here’s the picture from Pinterest: (They even look like cute little hearts!)
5 hours later, my strawberries look dead:
And shockingly, when I tasted them, they tasted like slightly burnt rubbery strawberries, a far cry from the candy taste the recipe claims. I’m not deterred though…I still plan on trying some more recipes from Pinterest. At least one of them has to work!
I played Solitaire the other day…with real cards! So many happy memories of playing with my grandfather as a kid.
Started going through a lot of physical pain, just in spurts at first over a few weeks. A couple of weeks ago, I had to call Telehealth after waking up with sharp pains in my diaphragm area and tingling down my arm. I was having a hard time breathing but it was from the pain, not a difficulty of breathing. Telehealth was busy so reception took my information and called me back about a half hour later. In the meantime, I’m pacing around the house, trying to breath, taking some Advil for the pain, etc. Had the crazy thought that if someone walked in, they would think I was in labour! Honestly, I thought I was having a heart attack but it was strange that the pain was in my diaphragm (which I’m very familiar with as a former woodwind musician).
Told the Telehealth nurse my symptoms and she told me to go to the emergency room. Being stubborn, I told them I had FINALLY found the first comfortable position in 3 hours (it was now 5am) so when it was no longer comfortable, I would go. I woke up at 8:30am without any more pain but the area around my diaphragm was VERY tired and sore. I took it easy that day (Sunday – thankfully the kids were at their dad’s that weekend so I was able to rest), and called my doctor’s office on Monday. I already had my overdue annual physical appointment for that Thursday and we agreed that if I had that type of pain attack again, then to go to the hospital immediately, but otherwise, come in for the annual physical, and they would order some tests.
Initial diagnosis from my appointment was a bleeding ulcer. Fantastic. Do you know how stressful it is to know that your stress levels are so high you now have an ulcer?!! Catch-22 situation. A whole bunch of tests were run (may I just include here how much I LOVE being Canadian…free health care!) and I finally got the last ones back today. It’s not a bleeding ulcer (yay!). It’s 2 gallstones instead. Ugh.
At the end of the day, and despite living in Canada where medical things are FREE (thank you OHIP!), I have done the usual thing that mothers do…ignored my own needs to ensure I’m healthy. So please, if you haven’t had your annual physical in the past year/5 years/since your kids were born, please go. You never know what’s “brewing”. In my case, it’s 2 gallstones that may require surgery if we can’t manage it through medication and diet.
Some girlfriends of mine (from IRL) posted these prompts on their Facebooks and were supposed to give whomever commented an age to fill in the prompts. I used age 20 as that was the age they all started with, I was given 26 as my age to write about, and then added my current age range. Just some silliness for a Monday.
At age 20
I dated: Steve
I drove: Nothing. Got around by bus or walking.
I worked: Part time at a medical non-profit, while going to university full time.
Wanted to be: A fundraiser.
At age 26
I dated: My soon-to-be husband
I drove: A 4-door Honda Civic…miss that car!
I worked: Full time at a medical non-profit
Wanted to be: A fundraiser, which I was so all was good.
Now, in my late 30s
I date: My wonderful man, and am happily divorced.
I drive: A schmexy green station wagon.
I work: Full time SAHM, Autism advocate, and am a blogger too.
I fear: Someone hurting my kids, something happening to me so I can’t look after my children, letting my children down, not being able to support them in achieving whatever goals they have in life.
Want to be: Happy