• autism,  COVID life,  teen years

    Life Skills

    We’ve been out of a washing machine since November 19. To say that a broken washing machine is an inconvenience for 12 days is a slight understatement. Remember, this is 2020, and we’re still living in a pandemic. I don’t know about the rest of you out there, but the Beck household goes through about 3-4 loads of laundry a day. We are an active family. Everyone in our house runs, which means we go through a lot of workout clothes. Because of all of those workouts, we also shower a lot, so there’s also quite a few towel loads to go through. J also has tactile sensory issues, which…

  • autism,  COVID life,  cross-country,  high school,  middle school,  teen years

    J won XC

    J ran his last XC race of his life on Friday, and I’m feeling all the feelings. I started this blog a few months before J started his XC career. It’s not a blog about J and XC, but running has become an enormous part of J’s life since he started XC back in 2015, and so there’s a lot of XC in this blog. Over the last hour or so, I’ve been scrolling through all of the XC posts, getting teary-eyed while at the the same time astounded at what has happened in the last six years. I feel like this brief summary doesn’t come even close to the…

  • autism,  high school,  teen years

    I need an ambulance!

    J’s first spontaneous phone call came Friday while Whitney and I were getting our hair cut. J was at home by himself and I texted him halfway through the hair appointment to see how things were going. Less than a minute later I get a spontaneous call from J, telling me things were fine at home in a perfect, little three sentence conversation. I’m telling you IT WAS A PERFECT PHONE CALL. (Hi mom, this is Josh. Things at home are going well. When are you coming home?) I didn’t text him to call me. He just called me in response to my “how are things?” text. The second phone…

  • anxiety,  autism,  post high school,  post secondary autism,  reading,  reading comprehension,  teen years

    2020

    I’m not into numbers like J, but 2020 is going to be an interesting year for our Beck family. And I’m trying to keep my 2020 outlook on my family because the year’s barely started and between the Australian fires and the Iran stuff happening (my sister lives in Saudi Arabia, so I’m always nervous when stuff happens out there) there’s some really disheartening things happening in the world right now and we’re only six days into the new year. So… We’re heading into that stretch of the “end of childhood and into adulthood” with J, which is equal parts terrifying and exiting. In May, he’ll be finishing grade 11.…

  • anxiety,  autism,  high school,  sensory processing,  teen years

    Is this normal?

    Last night we had lasagna for dinner and spaghetti and “meatballs.” I don’t usually make two dinners in one night but the Costco lasagna wasn’t vegetarian, so I warmed up some spaghetti and frozen “meatballs” for W and me. As the kids filled their plates, J grabbed the serving utensils and smiled as he reached for the pot, announcing: “Spaghetti AND lasagna!” “No,” I said. “The lasagna is for you and dad. The spaghetti is for me and W.” “No, I want both,” he snapped. “J,” I sighed. “The spaghetti is for me and W.” “Shut up. I want both.” “J, you can have as much lasagna as you want.”…

  • autism,  motherhood,  teen years

    Sarah Beck: amateur translator

    This summer I spent a lot of Sundays and a week-long church camp sitting next to a lovely teenager from the Democratic Republic of Congo. She’s smart, a little bit shy, loves music, and is an incredible artist. She moved to the United States in June as a French speaker knowing very little English. And so when the small handful of the true fluent French speakers in the congregation weren’t available to translate English church services into French for her, I would try my best to help her out. My French is decent enough for my own purposes (as in I can make my way around France okay and listen…

  • autism,  milestones,  teen years

    Wolf Boy to Mr. Rogers

    As we head into the last week of October I think of how our life looks so much different now than the other Octobers of our past. Holidays are one of the few times of the year where I can really “see” J’s growth. Maybe it’s because holidays are well documented with pictures. Maybe it’s because holidays bring activities and rituals that are so different from the regular routine of life. I’m not sure. But as J dressed up as Mr. Rogers to go to a church dance this weekend and I look through all the old pictures of Halloween costumes, I realize life has truly gotten a lot easier.…

  • autism,  cross-country,  motherhood,  teen years

    Stories Between the Pictures

    I look at the calendar right now and I’m in denial that we’re in the last week of September. I still feel like I don’t have a handle on the kids’ new school year. We’ve had rough start. But we’ve had a lot of great moments too. So many times we go online and we scroll through Facebook and Instagram and look at all the highlight reels of everyone else’s life and forget that there’s a lot of action that goes on behind the scenes. If you look at a lot of the pictures in this post, you’ll see a lot of great and fun things that have happened to…

  • 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,  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:…