• autism,  milestones,  teen years

    Macaroni and Cheese. Ramen. Spaghettios. Repeat.

    Mondays through Thursdays this summer, I’d come home at 12:20 pm to find an empty pot of Macaroni and Cheese, Ramen, or Spaghettios in the middle of the kitchen table, the bowl next to it encrusted in remnants of Parmesan cheese. Parmesan cheese, of course, is a mandatory condiment for every lunch. This summer’s insane schedule has required J to do things I don’t normally ask of him. Here’s an example of what just Mondays looked like (I wrote up a daily schedule for our moms to help everyone be where they needed to be, when they needed to be there when Steve and I were in Europe). 8:20 am:…

  • autism,  family,  motherhood,  travel

    The boy in Barcelona

    Across the street from Gaudi’s gingerbread church the boy in Barcelona sits sandwiched between his mother and older sister. His arms flail as he squints and stutters sounds of protest in a language I don’t recognize. Scandinavian, I think. Something Nordic or Germanic. White blonde hair and blue eyes. Tourists like me. Like most of us in the park. There’s almost nowhere to sit. Steve and I sit hip to hip next to another man who might be a local and might be a tourist. The Lonely Planet and Rick Steves books say that Barcelona (like Lisbon and Rome) is a hot spot for pickpockets and I’ve developed the habit…

  • anxiety,  autism,  family,  travel

    Knowing when enough is enough

    I can’t believe we’ve passed the Fourth of July hump. Once you’ve hit the Fourth of July, you have only a month and some change of summer left and then it’s back to school again. I can’t believe we’ve passed the Fourth of July hump because I still don’t have my summer act together. I feel like I’m flying by the seat of my pants, just trying to make sure everyone is where they need to be and all of the things that happen in the in-between time happen too. Like I said, I feel like I still don’t have that under control yet. But that will be another post…

  • autism,  high school,  milestones,  teen years

    The Cat Job

    I wasn’t sure how kitties and autism would work, but J and dogs has been working since 2014, so when my friend Sarah (who is also a talented writer!) was looking for someone to cat sit while she went out of town for a few days, I asked her if she would be okay with J taking the job. J has never had a job before and the only person J has ever had to take care of is himself (he can make a mean bowl of spaghettios, soupy Kraft mac n’ cheese, and a salty bowl of ramen topped with about a cup of parmesan cheese—we cycle through a…

  • autism,  teen years

    Big Dogs

    The first night we brought Rudy home I bawled–even though I mentally prepared myself that those first weeks were going to be rough. The first few weeks of bringing home a dog are like bringing home a baby. It’s emotional. You know nothing about the dog or how to communicate with it. Yourroutine is suddenly interrupted and there are potty accidents and there’s a lot of stress. Because we had Fred (and went through that entire “new” experience before) I reminded myself that the first few weeks were tough before we brought Rudy home. It didn’t matter. I still ended up bawling a lot. The one adjustment I hadn’t expected…

  • autism,  mental health,  motherhood

    Today

    I navigated today with no plan. That’s not how I roll. Autism requires planning. Lots of planning. And backup planning. Plans B, C, and D are all necessary requirements for the survival of both parties (mom and child) to make it through the day. But today, I intentionally decided to have no plan. I decided we would navigate the first day of summer holidays by just “feeling out” how the summer is going to go. Yes, both kids had the first day of their camps today. J had a visual therapy appointment. But I planned nothing for the in between times. I planned nothing for the evening. And that’s not…

  • motherhood

    Mommy, were you in a fire?

    A few years ago, I was in a sports bra and shorts headed downstairs looking for a shirt in the dryer when W looked at me mortified. “Mommy, what’s wrong with you! Were you in a fire?” “No?” I said genuinely confused. “What are you talking about?” “Mommy,” she said with her mouth gaping. “Your tummy. It looks like you were in a fire.” I suddenly realized that this was probably the first time W had ever seen my bare stomach and it kind of does look like something catastrophic has happened to it. I’ve had two kids and two abdominal surgeries (an appendectomy with an umbilical hernia repair and…

  • autism,  exercise,  family

    1+1+1+1=26.2

    Steve and I were pretty confident that J and W weren’t going to qualify for their EDC track meet (their conference before state). My kids run long distance but they’re not fast runners. All-star runners or not, they love running, and it’s been a family tradition to run the Fargo Marathon 5K for the past few years but this year we decided to change it up. Since we knew their track season would be over before the Fargo Marathon, (student athletes are not allowed to run road races or participate in extra-curricular competitions outside of their track or XC season), we decided to try something different this year. We decided…

  • anxiety,  autism,  high school,  teen years,  track

    The stories we tell ourselves

    Self talk. It’s that narration we use to look through at the moments of our life. That voice in our heads that tells us that we’re having a good hair day or that we look fat in that shirt. The voice that tells you that you’ve done a really good job getting through something tough or that you’re a complete failure and always will be. J’s had a lot of training in self-talk and coping skills, but he always needs someone to walk him through it, because usually he’s in a state of distress when he needs that motivational story told to him. This week was the first time I’ve…

  • anxiety,  autism,  Early Intervention,  Education,  high school,  mental health,  middle school,  modifications,  special education

    Violence in the Classroom: From an Autism Mom’s Point of View

    Violence in the classroom has become a really big issue. In Fargo, it’s been in the paper and on the news. And it’s something that’s been happening across the country. Here’s a news clip from a Utah TV station: This is a topic I have really struggled with over the last few years. I have a son who sometimes does those things. I have a daughter who witnesses those things in her classroom or in the hallway. I have teacher friends. My mum was a teacher. I’m a teacher (I’ve taught at the university level as an adjunct and at the preschool, elementary, middle, and high school levels as a…