• autism,  Education,  IEP,  motherhood,  special education

    Ave Verum Corpus

    When I was about eight or nine, I remember standing in the middle of my classroom choir on our first stop of our little elementary school musical tour, wanting to crawl in a corner and hide. I knew every single note of the song we were about to sing, but I didn’t know any of the Latin besides the first three words: Ave Verum Corpus. Being good little Canadian kids, this was about the same time we were also learning French. Boy did I love French–I was really, really good at French. I was the master of the weekly French dictee. Not only was I really good at learning language,…

  • autism,  motherhood

    Timing is everything

    This winter in Fargo has been rough. We’ve been enduring headlines like this for the past three months: Winter storm to bring snow, colder weather after Christmas, With up to 15 inches of snow expected, Fargo-Moorhead prepares for winter storm, Ground blizzard possible in Fargo-Moorhead area on Wednesday, Thursday; windchill could hit -40, Fargo likely to break February snowfall record set 40 years ago. On March 7 we hit 59 consecutive days of weather below freezing. Contrary to what most people might think, this isn’t a typical Fargo winter. Yes, Fargo gets extreme cold and snow, but we get days and weeks of extreme cold and snow, not months and…

  • autism,  Early Intervention,  Education,  handwriting,  motherhood

    When he was little

    When he was little he used to throw tantrums all the time. I have the scars on my hands to prove it. When we’d leave a store out of the “wrong door,” I’d try to pick him up off the ground and somehow he’d find a way to dig his nails into my hands and wrists to show his protest. I’d have bruises on my shins. Strands of my hair in his fists. That was life with an autistic little. Any excursion outside of the house was an enormous—catastrophic—disruption for both of us. I hated that he barely spoke. He would point and grunt even though he had the words…

  • autism,  family,  motherhood,  siblings and autism

    The Right One

    This post was supposed to be about Monday night’s trip up to Crookston, Minnesota to watch Temple Grandin speak but that will have to be next week’s post because something else has hijacked our week. We brought a dog home. Everyone in this family has been wanting a dog ever since we had to put Fred down (you can read about that here). Everyone, that is, except for Steve. For a year and a half, the kids and I have been begging Steve for a new dog. Finally, in December, Steve agreed to one and we surprised the kids with this card on Christmas letting them know we could start…

  • autism,  motherhood

    The last seven days

    In the seven days after Christmas, we’ve had a blizzard, a trip, and some meeting and missing family. Here’s a quick recap: I think this has been my favourite Christmas as a mom. Before I had kids, I thought the Santa part would be the best part of putting on Christmas. I learned really quickly that it takes a few years for kids to figure that out, and even if they’re the “right age” for that to happen, it doesn’t mean it will happen. And even when they finally do, there are only a few short years of the Santa magic. J and W haven’t believed in Santa for a…

  • family,  mental health,  mindfulness,  motherhood

    Let’s talk “neurotypical” stress

    This time of year is a stressful time of year. And right now I’m not talking about autism stress. Steve and I have been talking about the next few weeks and the things that are stressing us out. It’s funny. As “neurotypicals” I find that we talk about stress in a very different way than when we talk about J’s stress. We talk about it in the abstract. It’s something to dance around or endure. We use vague words like “busy” or “responsibilities”  or “I’m just stressed out.”  And as a writer, I feel like I should know better. I should be using my words better, because when I describe…

  • anxiety,  autism,  Early Intervention,  motherhood

    The Power of a Box of French Fries

    Have I talked about French fries before? Surely I have–just because it’s such a significant, random, reoccurring force that pops up periodically to make life a little uncomfortable and remind me that no matter how well I think I understand J’s anxiety I know absolutely nothing about it all. To J, French fries are like the numbers 67 or 142 or 55. Terrifying. I have absolutely no idea why. But they’re also not like the numbers 67, 142, or 55.  “Tainted” numbers change all the time. J gets stuck on bad numbers and eventually we can condition the fear out of them. I know one day 67, 142, and 55…

  • autism,  motherhood

    A Life Outside of Autism

    24 revisions. It took me 24 revisions to get chapter 3 of my novel right and I’ve been slugging away at that beast for at least 4 months. Longer than that, really. Versions of that chapter have been emerging months before that. For most of last week, I was up until 1:30 am working on that chapter. Thursday, at midnight, I finally finished it. Those 24 revisions are in a folder titled “Revision 4” under a folder titled “Thesis Revisions.” Since graduation in 2012, I’ve been trying to revise my thesis into a fully robust, sound novel ready for publication. Revision 24 of chapter 3 isn’t good enough right now…

  • anxiety,  autism,  cross-country,  motherhood

    A Tale of Two Meets

    It’s been interesting to watch the last week two weeks go down. After the Minneapolis fiasco last weekend I’ve been high alert for J’s triggers while looking back to the days leading up to that weekend, trying to understand why he just couldn’t pull through things like those two darn numbers. J had two cross country meets in the last two weeks. The first one was in Wahpeton/Breckenridge (North Dakota/Minnesota) on the Thursday before the long weekend. Historically, this meet has been one of the worst meets for J. I’m not talking worst times–I’m talking worst because of not finishing the course/having a meltdown during the race, so Steve and…

  • autism,  exercise,  high school,  motherhood,  teen years

    Without a doubt

    Back in April, I blogged a little bit about my anxiety and very real struggle of signing up my autistic son for a new extra-curricular activity. Especially extra-curricular activities where J is the only special needs kid in the room or team. Signing up J for the Sanford Power Summer Weights Class at his high school was a really nerve racking choice for me. Going into it, I really knew nothing about the program. I knew some of J’s XC teammates were signing up for it. I knew the class was run by trainers from Sanford Power alongside some of the high school football coaches and that’s about all I knew. I knew…