Behind starburst eyes

#HAWMC Day 7: Why I write about Autism

#HAWMC Day 7: Why I write about Autism. Tell us why you write. How long have you been writing? What impact has it made on your life? Write for 15-20 minutes without stopping.

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I write because if more people understand Autism than there will be less times that parents are ostracised and called out for their supposed flaws as parents. (Such as this)

I want to help show the parents of children that have just been diagnosed the beauty and wonder of parenting that still awaits them! I really am “Happy in Holland” and I don’t wish for different children. Instead I get my butt researching and thinking and planning on how to best help them to have a life they define as happy.  I’m going to repeat that, because I think that right there is a huge issue. I want them to have a life they define as happy. Nowhere do I say I want them to create the life I deem as happy, because it’s not about me, it’s about them. Just as my life isn’t about what my parents deem as a happy life, it’s about what my spirit says is personally fulfilling, and my children deserve the same right to choose their own happiness, as does every other person on this planet!

I write to help other parents see that they don’t need to feel helpless in their childrearing of Autistic kids; they can research and plan and create methods and ways to enrich their children’s lives and help them to access their fullest potential all without demeaning, or shaming them or their natural neuro-pathways. Such as ensuring their cortisol levels are decreased through regular physical activities so they have less overloading and meltdowns. Or making behavioural therapy plans while their waiting for ABA, or creating a sensory room, or finding ways such as massage or the creation of “nests” to make going to sleep easier for them.

I write about my sons’ health, about their “condition” because I want the world to understand the path they walk in this life. I want to share the beauty and wonder they bring to me, and to so many people around them. I want for others to see that yeah they’re different, but it’s beautiful and special and amazing and so incredible. I write about Autism because too many negative stereotypes exist and I can’t change them without shining a light on what Autism really is. What Autism really means and why neurodiversity desperately needs to be accepted by our society.

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#HAWMC Day 6: Sunday DInner

sadek_peacock_dinner_plate_P0000303856S0004T2 #HAWMC Day 6: Sunday Dinner. Who are 5 people you’d love to have dinner with (living or deceased) and why? Don’t worry we won’t be offended if you don’t choose those at WEGO Health

This post is late, mostly because it was actually a really hard one to write for me. If it’d been 5 people that were still living it’d be easy, but adding in that I could invite those no longer with me, well that puts a whole ‘nother emotional spin on it. I’ve lost many people I love over the years, 6 have been my own children, so to choose just 5 people is difficult.

I would invite my maternal Grandmother to learn more about my family, and because I miss her laugh. So I could tell her how much her colouring on the wall with me meant to me as a child, how the way she respected my emotions had such a lasting effect on me that I always strive to respect and actively show that I respect the emotions of my children even if I don’t agree with them. It is because of her that I say “I respect that you’re angry, and you have a right to your emotions, however you do have to express them in a positive way such as talking about them.”

I would invite my maternal Grandfather to learn more about my ancestors, and to thank him for the example he gave to me of what a strong person truly was. For the lessons he’s passed down through my mother to me and to my children through me of what honour, loyalty and devotion really mean. Not just meaningless words written in attractive fonts on candle holders or wall plaques for décor but something so real and true they are almost physical things that shape all my actions and words.

I would invite my Father to be able to say all the things I never got the chance to say, and to (hopefully) hear all the things I never got to hear.

I would invite my niece, so I could see her smile one more time. I think of her and miss her every single day. I ache for all of us that are left to deal with a life without Joy. I would invite her so I could ask her if she’s happy where she is now, and to tell her again just how precious she is and always will be to our entire family.

I would invite Ben, so I could tell him how sorry I was that my body refused to listen to my heart, and so I could see him just once in this life as I told him how much I love him. I would tell him how in the quiet moments of the dark nights I think of him, I imagine what he would have looked like, and I wonder if there was any way I could have fought harder for the doctors to listen to me. I wonder if he understands that I couldn’t hold him after he was born because I didn’t want to believe the moment was real, because I didn’t want him to be gone. I didn’t want to have the knowledge that until I gave birth to him he was alive, but not afterwards.

So there’s my dinner invitations, the 5 people I wish I could sit down and dine with, all of whom can’t ever dine with me again in this life.

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#HAWMC Day 5: Superpower day

#HAWMC Day 5“Superpower Day. It’s a bird, it’s a plane it’s….you! If you had a superpower – what would it be? How would you use it?”

assistance,business,businesswomen,capes,metaphors,people,rescues,superheroes,conceptsI’ve been thinking of this one all day, picking a superpower and discarding it as I think of all the problems it would cause instead of help. It’s gone like this:

“I know! I’d be telepathic!” But then I’d think of how difficult it is at times to have people say outright what they think is poor parenting when one of my boys is having a meltdown, never mind hearing them just think it. And so I decide, no that won’t do.

“I know! I’d be able to alter someone’s molecular structure with a simple touch!” But then I think of how I wouldn’t change my boys because I see the gift they are to me and to the world itself. And so I decide, no that won’t do.

“I know! I’d be able to teleport!” But with my sense of direction I’d just teleport to the wrong places all the time. And so I decide, no that won’t do.

“I know! I’d control the weather!” But then I think of all the times I’ve been in awe of a rainbow suddenly appearing, or laughed at walking through a random rain storm with the kids, but if I could control it, I’d miss the randomness that made those moments what they were. And so I decide, no that won’t do.

“I know! I’d have a siren’s voice!” Then I could sing songs that soothed instantly when either boy was having a meltdown. But then I think of how I won’t always be right beside them as they travel along their paths and giving them the tools to calm themselves are more important for them than just taking the upset away from them for them. And so I decide, no that won’t do.

Finally, I decide that if I could have any superpower it’d be be time travel. So I could go back to the me of a decade ago offer these words upon paper to be read all the times when it seemed that the world was against me and against my parenting, and against my beautiful boys.

Dear New Momma Me: There will be times when you want to cave and listen to what others say is the right way to parent, not because you agree, but because you are not battle hardened yet, and all you want is a life of love and acceptance for yourself and your child/ren. But you mustn’t! It will be hard to go against the grain and parent based on intuition, based upon the bond you have with your child, but it’s what’s right; for them and you. The times you will bitterly regret are the times you didn’t fight, the times you chose to cave to other’s opinions of what is best for your child. They are a part of you before they are a part of the rest of the world, and the bond they share with you is like no other bond that can ever be made or felt between two souls. Listen to your heart, for it beat for the both of you at one time, to tell you what is right and best for your child.

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#HAWMC Day 4: “Theme song”

#HAWMC Day 4“Theme song. Imagine your health focus or blog is getting its own theme song. Think “Eye of the Tiger” for Rocky Balboa. What would the lyrics be? What type of music would it be played to?”

 

So I totally read this wrong the first time around, it’s a darn good thing I re-read everything for that exact reason! I originally thought it as pick an already existing song, which would be “Let Me Be Myself” By Three Doors Down. (Lyrics can be found here) 

But since the prompt is actually asking for my own health focus’ theme song, I would say that the lyrics would be about:

The haunting sounds of a mandolin would weave the tale of finding the strength to travel through an unknown place, for I see the struggling steps my boys take each day in a world that sees their way of thinking as foreign.

Bitter-sweet notes played upon a violin about the struggle of trying to balance who they are with who society insists they be for acceptance.

It would speak of the moments when their spirits were worn see-through thin from the hyper-vigilance  they must enlist in all social settings to ensure their actions and words say what they want others to hear.

It’s chorus would be filled with cello’s sawing out sweet notes of love and unconditional acceptance, for nothing has ever or ever will be more perfect to me than my children exactly as they are, no pretences or false gestures of conformity will ever be required by me.

Dramatic pauses highlighted by an increased tempo upon resuming the words for all the times they pause to translate the pictures in their heads into words others will understand.

The same mandolin would have it’s haunting notes transformed through tempo to show the brilliance and capabilities they innately posses if they’re just allowed to be who they are.

And at the end of it,  all of the instruments would harmonize together to make the sweetest, uplifting, get up and dance because you just can’t resist the sound kind of moment because that is what they do to my heart each and every day.

 

 

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Today’s #HAWMC Prompt: Create a “Keep Calm” Poster‏

For today’s prompt I made the following poster:

KEEP CALM AND STIM ON!

 

I made it based on this post.

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It’s the little things, like ice cream…

  Often it’s the small moments, the little things that many could and often do overlook that show us we’ve been making progress even if we don’t feel like we have been. Tonight I had one of those small moments that was really huge; Mr. N offered Miss. G a lick of his ice cream cone. Now for many that wouldn’t be a big deal, the significance of that gesture could easily be overlooked. But for me, it was huge!

Since my niece’s passing Mr. N has been angry, and extremely aggressive with Miss. G, hitting her, pushing her, yelling at her to go away, leave him alone, saying things like “I don’t want her here” as in he doesn’t want her to even be in this house, in this family. While he was very against interacting with her awhile ago, this has been different. The anger, the full on contempt that she dares to even exist is totally different. Just recently he told me “Joy’s in the sky cause she’s here” and since that moment I have been trying to help him understand that Miss. G had NOTHING to do with Joy being in the sky. That NONE of us wanted her to go, that we all love her and mourn her loss every single day. While the hitting had basically stopped, the contempt and disdain he had for her hadn’t dissipated.

And then came tonight at Costco, after we were done shopping I offered to buy ice cream, everyone wanted a cone except Miss. G who wanted a sundae. I ordered and we all sat down, Mr. N had been hopping up and down he was so excited about his ice cream cone, and after a couple of licks he turned, walked over to where she was sitting and said “You can have a lick” and stuck the cone in her face. She had a couple of licks and I squealed/shrieked “Oh you shared!!! Great sharing!!!” so loud that people turned to stare at the odd pink haired woman with 5 kids in tow making such a racket. Not that I don’t get stared at from time to time regardless with 5 kids in tow (occasionally I also get asked by complete strangers if they’re all mine or am I a daycare provider but that’s a whole ‘nother post) so I didn’t really care that people stared and I certainly wasn’t going to hold back the utter elation at seeing this one small random act on his part that meant so much more to me than just sharing a bit of ice cream.

It says to me that he’s healing, that he and Miss. G will eventually find their way through this phase, and that it is in fact just a phase, that they are developing a bond between them that will help to see them through some of the times they are bound for. Because let’s face it, life isn’t always sunshine and unicorns and far too many friends are really just frenemies, so at least they’ll have each other; they’ll have their siblings to lean on, and to look out for, and to share the small precious moments with…like enjoying some ice cream. 

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Wonderland lists and helpful hands

parchment and quill

 

“Can I help!”

Sometimes I would cringe when I heard those words from one of my wee ones. It’s not that I didn’t want them to help, it’s just that I didn’t want them to help.
It’s faster for me to do a task such as carry up a bin of laundry to their bedroom, or sort the recycling or sweep the floor than it is for me to do it “with help”
Sometimes when the hours seem to be flying faster and faster and the chores and tasks to be done are becoming copious lists of “not yet” I get tempted to slough off offers of help. I get caught up in clock watching and list checking and trying to ensure everything I’d wanted to accomplish that day occurs.

For a time I would smile and thank them, but refuse their help. I would do it gently and with love, but I wasn’t truly present in the moment with them. I was still too much in my own head, amidst swirls of paper and lists straight out of Wonderland that magically add two more tasks for everyone I erase upon completion. I didn’t think of what I was doing by always refusing their help. I only thought of how much “more” I was accomplishing. Slowly though I’ve come to realize that I will always be able to find things that I didn’t get time to do at the end of each day. There is always the proverbial “more” to be done, more of this or more of that.

Now I look at their earnest faces and I see the caring heart behind the offer. I see that this is a moment to let them help, because in letting them help and praising them for doing so I’m teaching them to be caring, helping individuals. I’m teaching them to go out of their way for those they love, which is exactly the type of adult I want them to become. I’m also teaching them how to graciously accept help so that should they need it (and everyone does at some point) they’ll know how to acknowledge their appreciation to the person helping them.

Now I try to look at the extra time it takes to finish the task as not really extra time being taken away from other tasks…It’s time devoted to helping them grow into the good, caring people that others will want as a part of their village. That means a great deal to me, enough that I try to take a deep breath and push the Wonderland lists that swirl about in my head away enough to smile and say “I would like that, thank-you!”

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Easy = Right…Right?

There have been times during our homeschooling journey that I wanted to quit, I wanted to walk down the street a mere two blocks and sign Mr. C up for public school. There were times when I seriously contemplated it, I would write lists in my mind of pros and cons. All because at times it was oh so hard to homeschool. During times of stress, family issues, illness, and during pregnancies I struggled with homeschooling. In part I struggled because I was still trying to do it the way I’d learnt in school (small amounts of several subjects 5 days a week) in part I struggled because I worried about how much he was learning and at what pace, in part I struggled because I wanted to be able to do as much with him as I had when he was an only child.

But mostly my struggle came from a very mistaken idea I’d somehow become convinced was true…

I was convinced that it had to be easy if it was right, and if it was hard it must be wrong. Only life doesn’t work that way, children and parenting doesn’t work that way. Sometimes the best parts only happen because of all the hard that happens first.

It’s through the struggles that we grow as people, and it’s through the successes of surpassing some of those very same struggles that our greatest triumphs and joys occur.

With changing how many subjects we do each day we’re able to go much deeper into each one which balances out how often we’re doing them.

As for how much he’s learning, I believe he’s doing wonderful, I know what the current curriculum is for our region, I keep him apace of it, but I don’t make him stop learning because he’s “supposed” to wait until Grade X to learn something. Add in the fact that I still get to do tons of social skills learning with him by homeschooling him, seeing how far he’s progressed in the last 6 years and I know he’s learning more than enough to help him succeed in obtaining his version of happiness come adulthood.

I look at moments like the one that occurred the other day (And So a hero is born) and I know that I’m still doing just as much with him, because I’m teaching him something even more valuable than even math or grammar, I’m teaching him to be a good person. That dear readers is powerful beyond measure for his future, for his own happiness, and for his eventual contributions towards the betterment of society.

So while some days or weeks might be filled with hard it’s okay, because as I look at who he is as a person I can see that where parenting and homeschooling are concerned hard isn’t always wrong, and easy isn’t always right, sometimes hard = right.

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Banana Bread and Kesha’s Timber

I was cooking a batch of banana bread french toast (I make a bunch at a time to freeze. Then for breakfasts I can pop a few in the toaster, add a bit of fruit and yogurt and voila perfect for mornings I’m tired but want the kids to eat well without much cooking on my part) As I was making the last pan of them Kesha’s Timber came on the radio. There’s part that says “swing your partner round and round” and I couldn’t resist, so I grabbed Mr. C and we started to dosado round the living room. As our laughter rang through the house, Miss. G quickly rushed towards us, arms outstretched wanting to join, wanting to be a part of the laughter and love and fun being had. Of course we smiled and took her little hands in ours and started to simply dance in odd disjointed circles about the living room. Mr. N excitedly asked if he could join in as well, and so our circle got larger again, and we all laughed as we danced gleefully about the living room, our hands as intertwined as our hearts and our energies.

The last pan full of banana bread french toast were darker than I normally cook them as I’d left them on in my haste to enjoy the moment with the wee ones. I think if anything they’ll taste even better than usual for all the love that filled the house as they were left unattended on the stove, and if they don’t well that’s what maple syrup is for ;-)

 

P.S Banana bread french toast is just using an epic banana bread recipe like this one and substituting slices of it for plain bread to make french toast, an easy twist to a family favorite.

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And so a hero is born…

At the YMCA today Mr. C went to his homeschool group while Mr. N and Miss. G played in the gym. After it was over I stayed in the gym with them while my mom went to the program area to get Mr. C. He came into the gym and both siblings rushed to hug him as if he’d been gone for years instead of the hour it had been. Miss. G was trying her best to throw the basketball into the net. It didn’t really work, in fact it didn’t work even a little for her, she’d hold the ball above her head and try with all her might to throw it high, but it’d only go an inch or two above her head and then come bouncing down. Mr. C watched her and cheered her attempts on for a couple of minutes, but then he walked towards her and scooped her up. I watched Miss. G’s face light up with glee as Mr. C carried her on top of his shoulders towards the net so she could try and get the ball in the basketball net. Written upon her face was the sure and deep truth that he was her hero as clearly as if she’d said the words aloud, and my heart sang from being blessed to see this moment between them.

We hadn’t gone to Monday’s homeschool group in awhile, see it ends at 2:30 p.m, which is exactly when Joy would be picked up from the Y’s daycare. While my heart lurched and tears sprung to my eyes as the hands showed it was indeed that time, I’m glad I went. I would have missed out on the giggles as Miss. G raced across the gym to get the ball over and over, I would have missed out on Mr. N’s proud exclamations of “look at me, look what I doing!” as he tried to balance on his stomach on a basketball. I would have missed watching Mr. C and Miss. G bonding, and I would have missed the moment he stopped being just her brother and became her hero too.

 

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