• autism,  sensory processing

    Rattle and Hum

    Thursday we got a new fridge. A beautiful, stainless steel, French door fridge. You know–the type of fridge that probably everyone else has owned since the early 2000’s. We’re now one step closer to having all of the kitchen appliances match. Even better–we are now proud owners of a monolith masterpiece-meets-organizational-miracle machine. At least I felt that way two hours after the Home Depot team installed it. We were elated that the installers were able to move our old fridge down our two narrow staircases and into the basement. Is the second fridge absolutely necessary? No. But can we have two fridges? Yes. Because this is America and why not.…

  • 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…

  • autism,  family

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone! We are so grateful for friends and family and hope you all have a splendid holiday. J sang this song for church a few Sundays ago, and we recorded it again yesterday so you can enjoy J’s song of praise 🙂 After J’s church performance, a friend came up to me and said she bawled through the whole thing. “He’s not an opera singer, but he sure was brave and sang with his heart.” My sentiments exactly 🙂

  • 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,  high school

    To Be J.B.

    Friday was a day. Not a terrible day, but not a great day.  J’s got a great support team at school. He’s paras are and case manager are phenomenal. He’s got great peers in his classes who help him out and encourage him when he needs it. But even with that support structure in place, to J, school is a really, really stressful place to be. Friday was one of those stressful days. J was on his way to PE and during the passing period, overheard someone say the word “evacuation,” and the rest of the day was spent getting J off the edge of the panic attack cliff and…

  • 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,  exercise,  high school,  milestones

    Practically Glowing

    J has just completed 1 month of running on his own. I call it the “off-season off season.” It’s that time after regular season XC finishes and before the “off season winter running” begins. Because we’ve had an early winter and J’s a better runner, I haven’t been able to trail him with my bike or run a close distance behind him like I have in the past. J’s been running almost every single day after school, on his own, on the XC practice routes that run closest to our house and have the minimum amount of road traffic or intersections. As proud of him as I am, it made…

  • autism,  Imagine Dragons,  teen years

    Imagine Dragons Love

    Tuesday afternoon I unpacked J’s backpack and I found a newspaper article folded up carefully, tucked inside the side pocket. The article had no note or explanation–no indication who it was from. But it was apparent that whoever tucked it into J’s backpack knew J very well: The backpack article wasn’t the first notice of the new Imagine Dragons album. One of J’s XC coaches was talking to him about the new album when I picked him up after school and the look on J’s face when Coach L told J the news was priceless–in fact, I wasn’t quite sure if J really believed him. The new album came out…

  • anxiety,  autism,  high school

    This Time I Remembered

    If I ever were to write a memoir, I’d have to write about the Novembers. There’s at least three chapters worth of Novembers. J and November have a thing. I’m not sure exactly what it is. But it’s a turbulent, hostile thing. For the last three years, during the second week of November, J has been kicked out of school. The gales of November? The witch of November? The Ides of November? I feel like it should have an official name or diagnosis. And since there hasn’t been any logical explanation for the annual event, I feel like there must be some almost supernatural force behind it. Because that’s what…

  • autism,  high school,  home strategies,  learning strategies,  math,  sensory processing

    My Black is Your Navy

    For as long as I can remember, my dad has struggled with colour.  I remember him rushing out the door to get to work, asking my mom one last time, “is this shirt blue or grey?’ or “does this shirt match this tie?” There were a lot of questions about socks too. “Are these socks black or navy?” and the guaranteed followup question: “Are you sure they’re navy? They look black to me.” My dad is red green colourblind, but he also has a hard time sorting out cool greens and light greys; light blues and light greys, light pink and light greys, brown and greens.  When he was dating…