Posts Tagged "amazingness"

Good Vibe University

Posted by on Oct 2, 2011 | 2 comments

Good Vibe University

Last month I had the joy and honour of joining Good Vibe University‘s “Follow Your Feel Good” conversation about the Gifts of Autism.  I chatted with some wonderful women about how autism has changed us, enlightened us, and brought us gifts we’d never imagined in our pre-autism lives.

I invite you to take a listen.

What are your thoughts?  What “gifts” do you believe autism has brought into your life?

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Posted by on Aug 23, 2011 | 7 comments


If my child didn’t have autism, my world would be different.

My children would have furniture in their bedroom and decorations on their walls instead of mattresses on the floor.

My son would nap when  he’s tired instead of pacing and jumping and screaming and encouraging his brother to join in.

We could go out and enjoy the world in the evening instead of having to wrangle exhausted children into bed early.

Mealtimes would be spent enjoying each others company instead of constantly reminding my son to sit in his chair and not lay across it or pace around the kitchen.

We could stay with family when we travel instead of always having to stay in a hotel.  And I wouldn’t be quite so afraid to fly with my children.

We could have a lazy day at home without worrying if the children have had enough physical activity to make it through the day without a breakdown.

We could go to the movies or a show or a concert or a parade without worrying about the sound and light levels.

We could get a babysitter without worrying about his/her welfare.

We wouldn’t have to explain why we can’t always have friends over or why we can’t always make playdates or why we can’t be super flexible all the time.

We wouldn’t have to always explain how autism affects our entire family, not just my son.

We wouldn’t have to explain that my younger children do not have autism, even though sometimes they act just like their big brother in stressful or exciting situations.

We wouldn’t have to wonder if our two neurotypical children will eventually learn to model their peers and not their brother’s erratic behaviour.

I wouldn’t feel like I’m a warrior, in constant battle for my child’s life and my own sanity.


If my child didn’t have autism, my world would be different.

I might not have learned to be patient and trust that my child will figure things out.

I might not have appreciated the sheer magic in watching a child acquire language, through any means necessary.

I might not have learned all the valuable tools for learning that I’ve shared with my younger children.

I might not have learned the subtle art of negotiation with a child that allows him to flourish and gain control of his life while still guiding him.

I might have missed the necessity of an afternoon downtime.

I would have never met the community of amazing people it took to lift my child up and put and keep him on his path.

I would never have met the community of amazing people it has taken to lift me up and put and keep me on my path.

I might not have had such a compelling reason to rediscover my joy of writing.

I would never have known about the beauty found in the tiniest details of life around me, as pointed out by my son.

I wouldn’t have the unbelievably amazing child who is my oldest son.  My beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy.


My beautiful boy.


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But I’m Not A Hero

Posted by on Jun 8, 2011 | 2 comments

But I’m Not A Hero

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about self-care, mainly, the preservation of my own sanity. The second we decided to have a third child, heck the second we decided to have our first child, I willingly signed away my mental health. I’m ok with that, I accept that mothers need at least a modicum of insanity to survive the toddler years.

(I’m assuming the same goes for the pre-teen, teen, young adult and older adult years as well, but I’m not there yet. I’m sure I’ll let you know as it happens).

Autism has, of course, added its own extra spice to my life. Any stressful situation involving keeping multiple small children alive and unharmed is that much more intense if the sensory overload beast raises its ugly head.

On top of everything, I have had a horrible spate of computer tragedies. My laptop got a nasty virus, and while I was uploading the entire contents of my hard drive to Carbonite* (an online storage service I have since built an altar to in my home), it imploded. Indeed, the drive looked more like a bad rotor from my minivan than a computer component. I moved everything to my geriatric PC… which lasted about two weeks before the motherboard blew out.

My suicidal hard drive. Or a brake rotor. I’m not exactly sure.

I’m not sure what I did to drive my computers to depression and suicide, but I hope they’re at peace now.

I have been trying to find my Happy Place to compensate. I have joined several amazing Facebook pages that bring me Zen straight to my news feed**. I am making a concerted effort to take time for listening to music, which always makes me feel human again (yes, I watched the Lady Gaga concert on HBO by myself. And yes, I sang and danced along). I’m going to find a drop-in yoga class.

But mostly, I’m going to take some time to heal myself.  I believe in the amazing powers of the human brain.  How can I not?  I have Jack, who every single day shows me how magical brain power can be.  Somewhere along the line I got caught up in the mire of my life and forgot that I have the ability to create my own happy.

The other day Jack came home from school with his usual gusto.  “I’m back! Hey everyone, I’m home!” he shouted as he charged in the door.  He rushed into my arms for a hug, and as he looked into my eyes, I remembered.  My child is happy, even though his days are a challenge.  My child finds joy in returning home, returning to me.  My child is, so often, my teacher.

“I love you, baby,” I told him.  “You’re awesome.”

“But, mama,” he said.  “I’m not a hero.”

I beg to differ.

My hero

*I am not paid to sell you Carbonite – I just love them because when BOTH of my computers crashed, my files were safe.  I also love that I can get to my files from anywhere, including my iPhone.  Carbonite has not compensated me in any way for my endorsement – although I wouldn’t say no to a discount.
**Please join and enjoy Connors Gift ~ Embracing Autism in This New Age, Little Bird, You Are Perfect,  and many others – find them all on the AIT Facebook page
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Jack the Explorer Giant

Posted by on Feb 22, 2011 | 0 comments

Jack’s imagination fascinates me nowadays.  He has entire worlds in his head, and I’m getting glimpses of them here and there.  Lately, he’s been talking to his fingers.  Rather, his fingers have been talking to me.

Brother and Sister

It took me a bit to realize the stilted voice he was using during play was “another person,” as I initially thought he was talking for his toy trucks and trains and planes.  As I listened while making dinner one night, though, I caught pieces of a three-way conversation.

“Who are you talking to, Jack?” I asked.

“Brother and Sister are riding in the plane,” he said, simply.  He had his hand in a small plane as it flew around the room.  I called him over to the stove and started asking questions about “Brother and Sister,” desperately hoping we weren’t heading into “The Shining” territory.

What I discovered is “Brother and Sister” are Jack’s fingers.  They don’t have a dad and a mom, but they’re not lost, because they have Jack. They do not have a house.  They go to school with Jack, but they don’t need to learn French, because they don’t have any language.  When Jack speaks English, they speak English, and when Jack speaks French, they speak French.

His fingers say Jack is a giant, but he’s an explorer giant, not a scary giant.

Brother and Sister are around a lot.  They ride in the van, they play in Jack’s trains and other toys, and sometimes they converse with Lennon, too.  Mainly, though, they are Jack’s little buddies.

I wonder how long Brother and Sister are going to hang around with Jack the Explorer Giant.  Considering I never thought Jack would have an imaginary friend (or two), I’m pretty happy they’re here.  At least as long as Brother doesn’t change his name to Tony.

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Mama's Christmas List

Posted by on Feb 16, 2011 | 1 comment

My kids love Christmas.  Not a surprise, I know, but it’s still exciting for us.  My husband and I have waited eagerly for the time our children would finally “get” the holiday and all of the traditions surrounding it.  Finally, at the ages of 5, 3 1/2 and 2, they collectively figured it out.  Christmas fever ran rampant in our home from American Thanksgiving on (we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving as well, but since it’s in early October, that’s a bit early to bring out the tree).

We love the whole circus that is Christmas.  We have countdown calendars for each child, we hang lights and decorations, we have a big tree with a star on top, stockings (actually two apiece, one for toys and a smaller one for treats), we spread “reindeer dust” (oatmeal and glitter) so they can find our home, we leave cookies and milk and carrots out on Christmas Eve, and, of course, we go visit Santa.

Until now, the Santa visit has been simply an opportunity for the boys to see the man who brings toys in person, and a photo op for mama.  They love the idea of him, they’re tickled to see him in person, they reluctantly speak to him and have their photo taken.   Last year all three boys asked Santa for a train, and they got trains.  I didn’t push the idea of a list too much, and they didn’t seem too interested.

This year, before we went to see The Man Himself, I asked my children once again if they wanted to make a Christmas list.  They had all decided to ask for a Polar Express train (conveniently suggested by me), and that seemed enough for Lennon and Kieran.  Jack, however, was intrigued.  He wanted to know more about this magical way to get more stuff.   After I explained that Jack could write a list to give to Santa telling him what gifts he’d like for Christmas, he was all about it.

I recall sitting on my bedroom floor as a young child with the huge Sears, JC Penney and Toys-R-Us Christmas editions spread out before me.  I compiled novel-length missives to Santa, including things I had never even heard of but discovered in the depths of the catalogues.  I rarely got a fraction of what I asked for, but it wasn’t about that.  For me, just the thrill of having the whole world of toys available for the asking was good enough.

Jack didn’t need a catalogue.  He was ready to go.  He started telling me what he wanted, slowly at first, then with breathless abandon.  I had to go grab a pen and paper.  Jack wanted a fire truck, a book about “strange things happening,” the aforementioned Polar Express train, a new water bottle, some new clothes, new sheets for his bed, and on and on and on.  Together, we wrote out his list for Santa, and I mailed it to the North Pole.

With regards to Jack, that is rarely that.

About a week before Christmas we were returning from a quick trip to the US for supplies (cheese is a lot cheaper there, and we’re quite the cheesy family).  Sitting in line at customs, Jack was telling his Daddy about his Christmas list.  When he realized that Daddy didn’t have his own list, Jack decided that he needed to rectify the situation.  He then told us what Daddy would be asking Santa for for Christmas:
1) new headphones (Daddy sleeps listening to Old Time Radio and goes through earbuds quickly)
2) a new phone (Daddy goes through mobile phones quickly, too)
3) a new mask (Daddy wears a c-pap to sleep, and the boys like to take it apart)
4) a new light bulb for the house (the light bulbs keep burning out in our new place, so this is just practical)

Not bad.  Some fun stuff, some things he needs, all in all a well-rounded wish list.  On a roll, Jack turned to me.  I was eager to see what I would be asking Santa to bring for me. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been so excited.
1) a tent for camping (we have never camped, not even once)
2) baby gate (we got rid of all of our gates when we moved, and maybe I miss them?)
3) baking soda for throwup (all of us had a wicked stomach virus before and during Christmas)
4) a red flag to wave to stop the van for when daddy forgets me (he learned about the red flags for stopping trains – not exactly sure why Daddy would be driving off without me)

No toys, nothing fun, unless perhaps he thinks I get some joy out of cleaning nasty things up with baking soda.  That’s it.  He was adamant about it, too.

For some reason I didn’t get anything on my list.  I can’t wait to see what I ask for next year.


What I Want for Christmas

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