• autism,  high school,  motherhood,  siblings and autism

    Friday afternoon

    Friday afternoon, while W and I were waiting for J to get out of XC practice, a reporter came up to our car with her microphone and camera. “Can I talk to you two about the incident at school this afternoon?” W leaned over to me and said, “What incident?” At around 4:15 that afternoon, I received an call from the kids’ principal, relaying that a teacher had suspected a student to have been under the influence of marijuana. Upon further investigation with this student, they discovered that the student was sober–however they also found the student had brought an unloaded gun to school. The school’s student resource officer was…

  • anxiety,  autism,  family,  mental health,  motherhood,  siblings and autism,  teen years

    Trying to protect my kids’ sanity

    Eleven days of school. We’ve had eleven days of the 2019/2020 school year. It feels as if it’s been an eternity. J has struggled, struggled oh so much these past eleven days. We have tried, what feels like, a million different strategies to put his mind at peace over the fire drill. Nothing has worked. The anxiety for August’s monthly drill had been building since his first XC meet, (August 24) and last week the anticipation for the end of the calendar month built up so much that he ran out of the school with severe panic Wednesday. I sat with him the morning of the drill Thursday. Friday, after…

  • autism,  cross-country,  mental health,  motherhood

    This week I cried over running shoes

    Wednesday night, hours after J told me that he was going to handle the first day of school (only after I assured him that it would be a stupid idea for his principals to have a fire drill on the first day of school), I sat in bed and cried over his running shoes. “His pronation is worse in those shoes,” I bawled to Steve, “he’s had them only four days and he looks like he’s going to sprain his ankles he’s wobbling so much in them. I know if we don’t get his shoes fixed right now, he’s going to get injured, and he’ll only be able to run…

  • 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…

  • 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,  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…