4th Time in 4 Years…No Guilt

I seem to be publishing more videos on Youtube recently than writing here on my blog so, if you want to keep current with what I’m up to, check out my Youtube channel here: I’m A Mom Too.

I’m writing today because I’m enjoying something and wanted to share it with you. Ii’m currently enjoying…

a chai latte…

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caesar salad…and sweet potato fries.

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This may not be a big deal to some and normally, it’s just a little treat to be able to go out and enjoy these foods at a cafe, on a weekend when the kids are at their dad’s, and where I didn’t have to cook.

Today however, it’s a bigger deal. See, my ex-husband (the kids’ father) asked last week if he could pick the kids up from school tonight. Random request, even though our Court Order states that he is supposed to pick the kids up from school every other Friday for the weekends they are with him AND also every Wednesday night for an overnight. He doesn’t. I drop the kids off at their dad’s at 7pm every other Friday and he doesn’t do the mid-week visit because he works out of town.

An added thorn in my side is that, despite being in Court twice and mentioning that he has never talked to me about whether it’s ok if he doesn’t do the mid-week visits (which frankly, it doesn’t matter to me…but I’m sure the kids would love to see him every Wednesday). He even emailed me months ago asking if the kids can come back to me mid-week when they are at his place over the summer for “four non-consecutive weeks”, stating how “important it is” for the kids to see each parent throughout the week…umm, I know. I’m the one cleaning up the pieces every time they tell me they want to see him more often than for four days per month. He’s also never taken me up each time in Court when I suggest we “switch” some of that mid-week time to one-on-one time for each of us, with each of our twins, on one of the weekends they are supposed to be with me in a month. His response is always “we’ll see”…which I’ve learned to translate as “no, but I don’t want to outright say that”.

So, here I enjoy the FOURTH time in four years where I haven’t had to rush to pick the kids up from school, IBI therapy or meet my son’s bus…three of those four times were when I had to arrange for the kids’ dad to pick them up from school because I had an out-of-town event (the 4th time, my boyfriend picked them up).

This is the FOURTH time in four years where I’ve had the time flexibility to chit chat with my colleagues after my shift is done because I’m currently at placement related to my return to school in Fall 2013.

This is the FOURTH time in four years that I haven’t had to make the kids’ after school snack because they are “starving” and haven’t “eaten in forever” as soon as they walk in the door.

This the FOURTH time in four years that I have been able to enjoy a leisurely way to get home. To stop at a cafe, enjoy some youtube videos, people watch, see the mom and little girl in the booth next to mine on a “mother-daughter date”, and write just because I enjoy writing. Not write an essay or assignment for school (although I should be because I have logs I have to submit for my placement, but I don’t feel like it).

I’m just spending some time doing NOTHING. I don’t have to be anywhere for another three hours. I may go for a walk along the waterfront after I’m done in the cafe. Who knows? I have three more hours to waste…and I’m not going to feel guilty about it. I’m going to enjoy my chai. Enjoy the sun shining outside. Enjoy this fourth time in four years.

Cheers!

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#WorldAutismAwarenessDay 2015

2nd Annual World Autism Awareness Day photo montage:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/I5_aw8XBdDI“>

Last year’s montage is available here: https://youtu.be/9V51KVuGAr4

My family’s journey: https://youtu.be/siP4DLOm-YU

Please leave any questions you have below. I will answer them as best I can. 🙂

Dear Mom Who Called My #Son With #Autism A Delinquent

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A mom (we’ll call “Mom 1”) came running into McDonald’s screaming something like “a big kid is on a little kid in the playplace”. Immediately, I got a pit in my stomach…that big kid was probably my 9 year old son, in the playplace with all the other little kids. All parents went running into the playroom to see what was happening. We all saw the little girl who was crying and her mom (we’ll call “Mom 2”) was understandably being protective of her, while all parents were trying to figure out what happened. I just *knew* that my son did something, completely innocently, that scared this little girl, probably trying to hug her but, because he’s big for his age and she was maybe 4 years old, I can totally understand her fear. They were both way up in the top of the playplace, where no one inside the McDonald’s could actually see what was happening. I do not deny that he probably scared her but the situation got out of control VERY quickly.

Both Mom #1 and Mom #2 started yelling at him so I told them to stop, that he has Autism and doesn’t understand the language they were using.

Mom #1 said “Autism? Well then you’re stupid for letting him be in here unattended, and you shouldn’t even let him out of the house. Why are you in public with him?”

I’m sorry…but what??!!

I told her that he’s a child and is allowed outside, plus we haven’t had problems in the almost 10 years we’ve been going to that McDonald’s location. I tried turning my attention to Mom #2 to see if her daughter was ok. Her daughter was scared but physically ok. Mom #2 was understandably angry and upset.

Mom #1 kept yelling obscenities at me and my son. She even started claiming the little girl had peed her pants…which she hadn’t.

I’ll admit that I yelled back at her to stop yelling because it wasn’t helping the situation.

My son was calmly standing beside me, waiting because he clearly didn’t understand what was happening. I took him out of the playplace, got his winter stuff on, had him sit down while I got my stuff on…and Mom #1 started telling other parents how he has Autism so he’s a delinquent; he’s pure violence; he needs to be locked up; etc. I said “Excuse me, but I’m right here, and you’re talking about my CHILD. Stop spreading lies about him and Autism”. She started yelling and telling me how horrible of a parent I am; how dare I bring him out in public; he needs to be thrown away. I’m not proud but I lost it and told her that it was time for her to leave because she wasn’t helping the situation. We left as soon as we collected our things. My daughter was upset for leaving so quickly. My son was oblivious to what had just happened. I was ticked off. The kids’ grandfather was confused and wanting to protect all of us, but also get us home as soon as possible.

On our way out, I was glad to see Mom #2 taking her daughter and the other kids they were with back into the Playplace. That helped me feel better that her daughter was ok.

A few hours later, I’ve had time to calm down and think about the situation, and I’ve decided I would like to thank her…So, kind Mom #1…thank you…

Thank you for making me realize that I still have a redheaded temper (it’s been YEARS since I’ve seen it).

Thank you for bringing out my mama bear.

Thank you for changing the focus from the little girl to you.

Thank you for not allowing me to talk to Mom #2 to ensure her child was ok (I could see the child was ok, but I still wanted to check in, and offer to pay for their meals, etc).

Thank you for escalating the situation to pure emotions so I couldn’t ask you what you actually saw, which would mean I can then teach my son not to do that, thereby stopping it from happening again…because let’s face it, that’s what needs to happen.

Thank you for insulting my son over and over again.

Thank you for bringing my parenting into question (which I just laugh off…my ex husband tried worse after we split)

Thank you for spreading lies about what Autism is and who children with Autism are.

Thank you for motivating me to finally sign up for crisis intervention, basic breakaway and joint locks training, in case I have to protect myself and/or my children in the future, even if that’s to subdue my ever-growing 9yo, who is the size of a 12yo, during meltdown. I’ve been putting off signing up for it, not wanting to face the reality that he’s getting too big for me to physically intervene in a meltdown (which we experienced about a month ago, for the first time in over a year) and, dear Mom #1, if all that over-stimulus had caused a meltdown for him, you aren’t the one who would need to help him through it for hours or days. I am because I’m his mom.

Thank you for making my daughter get upset because she witnessed her mom yelling at another mom for the first time in her life.

Thank you for making me cry out of anger and frustration when I got home.

Thank you for showing me how much more awareness is needed out there because Autism is NOT pure violence, nor does it mean he’s a killer like you were claiming.

So, Mom #1, thank you for being the biggest motivation I’ve had in a few years to continue furthering my education to become a Social Worker to officially help other parents because, sadly, this type of situation happens all the time.

Thank you for making me even stronger.

Meghan

But #Moms Can’t Have #Concussions

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Last Saturday, I was at an event where I ended up getting hit in my left eye socket with someone’s mask (it was a costume type of event). It hurt but it was manageable. Sunday morning, I was pleasantly surprised to not wake up with a black eye. Started having a headache later throughout the day but again, manageable with some Advil. Went to bed that night with an ice pack on that side of my head because the headache seemed to be getting worse. No big deal. A good night’s sleep will help.

Monday morning, I woke up with an almost migraine and after finishing the last school drop off, I called my chiropractor to get adjusted, hoping I wouldn’t have the sore eye socket AND a migraine. Told my chiropractor why I was there, and surprisingly, he was able to adjust my eye socket and jaw (which had also gone into a spasm), as well as everything for the almost migraine. He confirmed that he believed I have a mild concussion. Later that day, there was a bit of darkening in that eye socket, but it was gone by Tuesday morning.

Tuesday morning, I had meetings at the kids’ school, which had been scheduled prior to Christmas so I couldn’t cancel. I followed as best I could because I was still pretty fuzzy-headed. Thankfully, someone else takes minutes for one of the meetings so I look forward to reading them when they come out…make sure what I remember from the meeting actually happened. I took notes, but seeing them today, there isn’t much context unfortunately.

What has been amazing throughout this, is my daughter. She’s been constantly checking in with me, asking how I’m feeling, telling me she loves me even more than usual, and even opening my car door for me. Yesterday morning, I told her that I wasn’t sure if I was starting a fever or just having a really long hot flash. 😉 Next thing I knew, I could hear her in the kitchen and she brought me an ice pack from her lunch, wrapped in a paper towel (photo above).

Last night, when we got home, she told me to go lie down on the couch. Again, I heard her rustling around in the kitchen. She brought me a cold water (ice cubes and all) and a snack, which of course consisted of her favourite snacks: goldfish crackers and a rice cake. No wonder why she received the Empathy Award at school last year!

She has been so amazing through all of this, and I can’t wait to be all better (even less fuzzy-headed would be helpful, but at least I can see the computer screen properly today…although it’s tough work!)…but while I’m healing, it’s amazing to see how much she is mini-me in trying to take care of me; tuck me in; bring me snacks. I’m in awe of her empathy, and her natural ability to help look after someone else. She amazes me.

My #Daughter…the #DentalSurgery Superstar!

On Tuesday, my daughter had dental surgery to pull four baby teeth that were in the way of her adult teeth coming in. We went to the pre-op the week before and she had been voicing a lot of nerves and anxiety around the whole procedure. After the pre-op appointment, those fears were gone…her biggest concern was that she wasn’t going to be able to eat breakfast the morning of her surgery. She even “warned” me that she would be eating more for the few days before her surgery to “make up” for not having breakfast that morning. 😉

 

The morning of her surgery, she was in great spirits. We had to check in an hour and a half before her surgery time so we read a book, she played with the other kids in the waitroom, and she was really proud when she built a “person” (the red at the bottom are the high heels – lol!) and a tree:

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She was even in great spirits when she wrestled with her housecoat that was “attacking” her:

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We even got to have some cuddles and kisses time:

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I got to take her into the operating room, and be there with her, holding her hand while they put her to sleep. So hard to see her go to sleep but I just kept telling her how much I love her and that I’ll see her soon. When she was in the operating room, my man and I went across the street to grab me a Starbucks chai to try to help me calm a bit. She had chosen two stuffed animals to take into surgery with her, and of course I became “custodian” of them during the actual surgery so they came with us. Spike the dinosaur tried stealing my chai!

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I was fine just reading my book while we were waiting (even remember what I was reading on each page!), but when that hour and a half mark came and went, and I hadn’t heard from hospital staff to go in to be there when she woke up, I started getting nervous. Shortly thereafter, her dentist came out and told me everything was fine and gave me her four cute little teeth…in a little treasure chest. Glamour, my daughter’s other stuffed animal of choice, decided to guard her teeth until she came out of surgery:

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About 20mins later, while my man was trying to help me remain calm, they came out and told me it was time to go in. She looked so little in the recovery bed, but I could see her beautiful red hair from across the room…and her face was a bit swollen. Poor thing! They offered her a popsicle, and she discovered how yummy lime popsicles are.

After she woke up completely, they gave her some pain medicine, they wheeled her into the recovery room, where she got more popsicles…and my man got her some balloons for being such a trooper!

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She fell asleep in the car on the way home, and again on the couch before bedtime, but not before more popsicles, Jello, chatting with neighbourhood kids, and even eating some solid foods. Yesterday, she even went to school because she missed her friends after the long weekend, and then being away for her surgery. She was an absolute superstar! I’m sssoooo proud of her!

#MarchBreak fun

My kids were at their dad’s for March Break this year…so, what does one do when they find themselves childless for a week? Go to their parents’ place, of course! 😉 And in my true form, I started my March Break with a Starbucks chai for the drive to the farm.

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When I got to their farm, I needed to study and work on an assignment due that night at 11pm. Easy, right? Tried getting online in their office…nope. Went into the house where I know my laptop connects to the wireless internet (yup, a farm that has wireless internet…cool!)…and nope. Not working. We tried rebooting the router and doing all the magical stuff we knew of to make it work. It was another 2 days before it worked! I was shaking…thank goodness for my Blackberry so I could still access the internet, otherwise, I’m sure I would have been going through complete withdrawal.

 

But then there was a big problem…I still had an assignment due for my ONLINE course by 11pm that night. Plus, I’m in Small Town, ON where everything closes at 6pm at the latest. Sigh. No worries, I was going to Medium-Sized City, ON that evening to tape the 2nd episode of the Many Faces of Autism so I figured I could go to a Starbucks and submit the assignment as long as I had everything done before I have to leave. So, I finished all research required and wrote up the assignment, got ready to be videotaped (eek!) and headed to the family’s home (thanks Vimi and family!). We taped the episode (Vimi did AWESOME!) and, while we were waiting for our tech guru to do his magic on his end, I was able to submit my assignment while my laptop was connected to her wireless internet – yay! Got an A on that assignment too…so double yay!

 

The next day, I got to cross off something from my “bucket list”…take my parents’ four-wheeler in for service. I know, you all have it on your bucket list too. 😉 Who knew that taking it in for service meant taking it to a Honda dealerships…where the showroom was filled with beautiful motorcycles. I’ll take them all! 😉 Spent some time with my dad though, so it’s all good. Later that night, my mom needed to sew some things so I FINALLY sewed on a button on my jacket that has been on the verge of falling off for most of the winter (silly, I know but I have a sewing repair kit around here somewhere…).

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Have I mentioned that my parents’ live in the snowbelt? And that my dad uses a tractor to clear the snow? This is a picture taken BEFORE the snowstorm hit on the day I was supposed to leave. Reminder: I’m 5’10”!

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Then the storm hit. We didn’t get too much snow, but it was whipping around horizontally and the wind was really strong so it wasn’t safe to drive anywhere…but a lovely girlfriend of mine (who has snowtires on her car…alas, I do not) made her way to the farm for a tea before the storm really hit. She even brought tea biscuits that had bacon in them. A woman after my own heart!

 

I stayed an extra day because of the weather…but it was all good because the internet repair guy also made it out before the snowstorm really hit that day and was able to fix the internet. So, I was back online and able to continue working on my assignments and write an exam while we were snowed in. Insert happy dance here!