MBA Mommy

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Archive for the ‘AUTISM’ Category

Progress

Posted by mbamommy on November 1, 2011

Remember —–>this<—– post about Halloween and snow?

Well, it can go suck an egg.  Not only was trick or treating a complete and utter success this year, but Z even let S ring the doorbell WHENEVER we told him to (meaning we didn’t prep him!!!!!).  Take that “inflexible to transitions”.

And, his comment to me on the first snow day?  “Mommy, can I wear my snow boots and snow jacket and hat and gloves EVERY day?”

Take that “sensory issues”.

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Angels Among Us

Posted by mbamommy on October 27, 2011

Last spring, I had the honor of being a judge for the Autism Society of Colorado’s Faces of Autism event.  I had the pleasure of being on a team that interviewed finalists and then had the difficult job of choosing just one winner.  The awards went to professionals in the field, volunteers, citizens of distinction and children who have made a difference.  So it was with enormous pride and quite a bit of choking up that I attended last night’s awards ceremony honoring these individuals who have made a lasting impact on the autism community.

On our way back home, I tweeted this:

Wonderful event. Caught up with friends. Good reminder of our challenges and our angels. Thank you #autismcolorado for a fantastic evening!

It was a wonderful event.  The ASC team did an amazing job with the silent and live auction, the awards presentations and the food was delicious.  But, here’s the thing, all evening long I could barely hold back the tears.  Both J and I wanted to congratulate one of the winners, who was seated at our table, but neither of us could at first.  And then, when we finally got ourselves together enough…we realized HE was as choked up as we were!

Since we came to Colorado over a year ago, J and I have been active with the Autism Society.  I’ve volunteered on their marketing committee and as a judge and J ran the Colfax marathon to raise money for them.  Not necessarily by choice, mind you.   We do it because our son is on the autism spectrum and we have a vested interest in generating awareness and supporting any organization that is there to help him.  We’re involved because we NEED to be.  Many of the people who were honored last night are involved because they WANT to be.  Because they recognize the desperate hole their support, money, time, and love fill.  Knowing that there are people out there willing to help us moves me to tears.  There are angels among us.  And they were out en masse last night.

Autism is not a sexy cause.  It’s scary and weird and most people want to ignore it.  Heck, half the time I want to ignore it.  People are terrified of autism and the mysteries that surround it. But it’s SUCH an important cause.  I won’t bore you with the stats on autism, they’re all over the news and I’m sure you’ve had an ear full.  Forget about the fact that autism costs our society enormous amounts of money.  Forget about the fact that autism diagnoses are much more common now than 40 years ago.  What you should remember is that there are millions of people affected by autism.  And when you’re affected, you can feel alone, scared, isolated, hopeless and helpless.

At last night’s ASC gala, I had a chance to get dressed up and join other people who are living with autism every day.  I had the opportunity to watch an autistic young man perform a beautiful original piece of music.  I had the pleasure of seeing three young women receive awards for their volunteerism.  One of these women has autism herself.  And I had the pleasure of congratulating these young people and I completely understood why they couldn’t look at me in the eye and why they reacted a little awkwardly when I spoke to them.  And, I saw the pride they felt in being recognized.  And the pride in a mother’s face when she heard her daughter converse with me…..even as she was helping her daughter put on her coat and reminding her that there’s a tag in the coat she needed to be aware of.

Last night was a chance to be in a community that understands. That gets it.  It reminded me how important an organization like the ASC is.  And I proudly honor all the angels who, willingly or not, are out there supporting, loving, understanding….and walking this path with me.

So, thank you Betty, Robin, Gwen, Bridget, Justin, Kim, Darlene, Beverly, Angie and all the finalists.  You are my angels and I applaud you.

If you want more information about the Autism Society of Colorado, visit http://autismcolorado.org/.  And, please, consider getting involved and becoming an angel yourself. 

Posted in ASPERGER'S, AUTISM, MOM | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Gifts of Autism

Posted by mbamommy on October 11, 2011

I’ve finally decided to write this post (it’s been on my list of topics for months now) because I just found out that very dear friends of mine are having their son evaluated for autism and they find out the results of the eval today.  I only know this through a very quiet grapevine and I respect their need for being secretive about it.  It took me months before I was able to speak openly about Z.  I didn’t start writing about it until at least 6 months after the fact….when I finally was able to breathe again.  But, I also know that they read my blog.  And, I’m hoping that they finds this post at an appropriate time….when they’re ready to start breathing again too.

Z was officially diagnosed in May of 2010.  But it took us 6 months to go through the process, which began November 2009.  Among all the advice and words and noise I heard from others at that time there was one theme that I just couldn’t wrap my head around.  It was the idea that there could be positives about having an autistic child.  I kept hearing all these Moms talk about the gifts their autistic child had given them, how they wouldn’t change them for the world, how much they had learned from them.

And I called complete and utter B.S. on all of them.  I figured that they were all these amazing women who were just better people than I was. Better women, better people, better Moms.  Because for the life of me I couldn’t think of one positive aspect about Z being autistic.  Of course I loved him.  Of course I would have laid down in front of a moving train for him.

But, the day to day?  The constant fighting and negotiating and meltdowns and trips to various therapists and fear and exhaustion and lack of understanding of my own son?  I would’ve been quite fine without all of that, thankyouverymuch.  I loved my son but I’m not sure I really liked spending time with him.  He was so……difficult.  I didn’t get him.  He didn’t get me.  And I was a bit resentful of him.  I had a lot of Why Me?  Why Him? going on.

I remember watching an episode of Parenthood when Christina went to a support group for parents of Aspie’s and a woman in the group was saying (paraphrased) “I feel like I’m stuck all day in a place where the rules are different.  And they don’t make sense to me.”

Boy, that struck me.  I could’ve said that myself.

And then there were these women….these annoying, frustrating, full of crap women, talking about how much they had learned from their kiddos.  Talking about how they were better people for it….more patient, calmer, more open, how they could celebrate the smaller things in life so much more intensely than a parent with a NT kid…because those milestones, those achievements were so much more challenging to get to.

I didn’t get it.  I guess I just wasn’t one of those women.  But….where were the women like me?  The angry ones?  The frustrated ones?  The ones who couldn’t see the silver lining on that gray cloud?

Well, the joke was on me.  These women were one and the same.  They were angry.  And sad.  And frustrated.  But, they also had the benefit of time and distance.  They were able to breathe.  They had time to understand their children.  They had time to recalibrate to their new lives.

It was about a year after his diagnosis that I started to (grudgingly) see that these women weren’t full of it.  I had read enough and educated myself enough that I started to understand Z.  And because of that I had more patience with him.  And all of a sudden, because I wasn’t so angry all the time, he started responding better to me.  And our relationship has turned into what it is today.  I get daily hugs and kisses.  I get daily “Mommy, I love you”s.  I can talk to him about anything and am just amazed at how that little brain of his works.  The meltdowns are rare now.  The enjoyment we get from each other is not.

Not only would I still lay down in front of a moving train for him, but I started to enjoy him in all his quirkiness.  I got that when he was bouncing around, making noise JUST to frustrate me and ignoring my repeated attempts to get him dressed and out the door, it wasn’t that he was trying to make us late.  It was that his little body was running a little too fast for him to calmly get dressed.  And, I finally knew what I could do to help him.  And, how amazing was it when I could actually calmly and gently implement a strategy to get his body to run at the proper level so as to get dressed and out the door without a meltdown!

And, what about the day when he first tried to make a friend at the playground….and was successful?  And, what about after working with his teachers and implementing various strategies to help him through his day…and receiving positive reports on his behavior….and how he was able to do the things that all the other kids were doing….only better…because his little aspie brain works differently than theirs?

You know what?  Those women….with the benefit of hindsight, time and distance….were right.  Autistic or not, all children are gifts.  They teach us a lot more than we teach them.  They teach us humility.  They teach us patience.  They push us to be better people.

I still don’t believe the line “God only gives you what you can handle.”  And, while I appreciate the “Z is lucky to have you as parents.” comments that our friends have said to us, I don’t quite believe that either.  What I do believe is that there are gifts that come with autism.

It just takes time to see them.

To my dear friends: I hope you read this.  I hope you reach out to me when you’re ready.  Because as slim as that silver lining may look right now, it’s there.  Just breathe.  And be patient.  The gifts will come.

Posted in ASPERGER'S, AUTISM, MOM | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Ready or Not….

Posted by mbamommy on September 23, 2011

As I mentioned in a previous post, I struggle a lot with finding a balance between ‘readying the world for Z’ and ‘readying Z for the world’.  I guess that’s true for any parent of any kid, NT or not, but it feels especially true for me with Z.

When we were first going through the diagnosis process, I was adamant about not allowing any special exceptions for him.  I wanted him to be able to fit into society, square peg and all.  I refused to be one of those ‘helicopter moms’ who always intervened and forced the world to bend to her child’s idiosyncrasies and always paved the way for her child.  Yes, I want to help my child succeed and be happy.  Of course I do.  What parent doesn’t?  But, I am also a realist.  I know I won’t be (nor do I want to be) around forever to protect and hand hold my children.  I want them to be independent and prepared for whatever the world throws at them.  I don’t agree with the new fad of not allowing winners or losers in sports and giving everyone awards just for participating.  I think it’s important for children to understand that you win some and you lose some…no matter how heart-wrenching it is for a parent to sit back and watch.  That’s life, right?

Well, as I started learning more about Z, I realized that we did need to make some accommodations, with the idea being that if we make accommodations now and helped him along he wouldn’t need them later.

And, I decided I was ok with that.  After all, it was still in line with my longer term goal of creating a fully functional member of society, right?  And so far we’ve had some absolutely wonderful experiences with the people who surround our son.  His SpEd team last year was incredible, working with him, accommodating his sensory issues and gently guiding him in his socialization experiments.  His private therapy team was equally amazing.  All together, they’ve helped Z make ginormous strides in a relatively short time period.  So much so that we’ve paused a lot of his therapies because he’s doing so well.  And he’s completely mainstreamed in a private school with no outside support.

But, I expected that from trained professional whose job it is to support him.  I did not expect it from the other teachers/coaches who work with him.  I take the kids to gymnastics once a week.  It takes about 45 minutes to get there and I could probably find a gym closer but I am so impressed with the way the coach works with him and the way he’s responding that I’m reluctant to make changes.  He also goes to yoga once a week as an after school club.  Yesterday, he was completely out of control to the point that the instructor couldn’t run the class.  They told me about it afterwards so I shared with her that he has Asperger’s.  She was surprised but was very interested in learning more about what she could do to make the class work for him and the rest of the kids.

Here’s the flip side of that.  Before we found our fabulous wonderful immersion school, I did a lot of research into different school options.  I looked at public, private, charter and everything in between.  We’ve even found a Plan B if it turns out a ‘typical’ school won’t work for either one of the kids.  At some of the schools (public), they knew all about IEPs and Asperger’s.  They’re required to by law.  But, there were definitely differences in levels of acceptance of even the idea of having yet another kiddo on the spectrum attend their school.  There was even less acceptance from many of the private schools.  I was told flat out by several (not mentioning names) that they didn’t have the support system in place for Z.  Period.  Without even meeting him.  They heard the big A and ran.

Can you guess who didn’t get our money?!

But, it all comes back to the dilemma and balance of preparing the world for Z and preparing Z for the world.  I’m hesitant to tell the parents and the support staff in Z’s class that he’s got Asperger’s because I’m scared he’ll be just a label to them for the next 10 years.  But, if I don’t tell them, like I didn’t volunteer it to the yoga teacher before she came to me, then his behavior problems are attributed to being a bratty unmanageable kid and not some underlying challenges that can be addressed if given the right tools.

J and I talked about it the other night and we’ve agreed that we should move forward with letting people know on an ‘as needed’ basis.  Meaning we don’t necessarily need to stand on top of the school with a bullhorn but we should definitely share information when appropriate.  It’s just hard sometimes to know when it’s appropriate and not too soon or too late.

I’m not sure this is the right path in terms of advocacy or raising awareness, but I think we do plenty on that front.  This is all about walking that tightrope of information.  To tell or not to tell.  To ready or not to ready.

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Part One….again

Posted by mbamommy on September 22, 2011

My second guest post over on Mile High Mama’s!  I re-read the original post the other night while dealing with 3am insomnia…. It brought back so many of memories.  I’m SO honored MHM wants to re-tell my story!

How would you react to an #Autism diagnosis? A glimpse at one mom’s experience w/ her son’s Aspergers

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You Want The Truth?

Posted by mbamommy on September 21, 2011

When you think of autism (and when I say you I literally mean you, not the collective you) what comes to mind?  Rainman?  Jenny McCarthy? Vaccines? Epidemic?

Those are the things that came to my mind before we started on this roller coaster journey with our Z.  We were sorely uninformed.  And why would we be anything else?  Autism….the big A….makes headlines only when it’s discussed in the most fantastic, terrifying, horrifying light.  Because….well….unfortunately, that’s what makes headlines.  The media throws it out there and we as consumers gobble it up.

And, once you’re required to become educated, you still wonder.  Even if you read all the scientific articles and listen to all the experts, you still wonder if all the hype is right and all the data is wrong.

But, here’s the truth…from me to you.  The hype?  The media?  It’s a load of crap.  Autism does not equate Rainman.  Jenny McCarthy is not a medical expert and she did not cure her son.  Vaccines do not cause autism.  Autism is not an epidemic.

Lemme break it down for you….piece by piece.

Rainman.  Autism is a catch all phrase for the diagnostic criteria outlined in the DSM-IV.  The technical name is actually Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  ASD encompasses a HUGE range of disorders.  Underneath the umbrella of ASD, you find Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD-NOS, “classic” Autism Disorder, Rett Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Syndrome.  On one side of the spectrum, there are the non-verbal, non-communicative individuals who truly live inside their own world.  They are what you think of when you think of autism.  On the other side of the spectrum, there are individuals like Dr. Temple Grandin, John Elder Robison, Einstein, Bill Gates (both of these are unofficial but lots of folks believe they’re on the spectrum)….and, my man Z.  ASD comes in all shapes and sizes.  No two individuals present with the same symptoms.  Some of the comments I’ve heard within the autism community that ring true to me are: “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”, “A Star Trek convention is code word for Aspie reunion.”,  and “Engineering?  Oh, you mean Asperger’s.”

Jenny McCarthy.  I have mixed feelings about our little Playboy Bunny.  On the one hand she’s done enormous good for folks and families living with autism.  She made it a household word and brought more attention to the issues than any every day type Mom could.  She’s famous and loud and outspoken.  So, thanks, Jenny.  I appreciate what you’ve done to raise awareness and I respect what you believe you’ve been able to achieve with your son.  I also respect your right to believe what you believe.

But, that’s where I stop.  I do not believe you can “cure” autism.  There is no cure for autism because it’s not a disease.  ASD are neurological disorders.  It’s the way an individual’s brain is constructed.  People on the spectrum experiences and understand our world in a much different way than we do.  Their brains are wired differently than us “NT’s” (neuro-typicals).  It’s not something to be cured.  And, anyone that’s on the spectrum and has a voice will tell you the same.  They don’t NEED to be cured.  They don’t WANT to be cured.  They want to be understood and accepted.  And, I’d argue that not only do we need to understand and accept them, we actually need THEM more than they need US.  These are folks who, because they view the world in a different way, can come up with different, better, newer solutions to the myriad of problems we have.  I’ve heard it argued that Aspies are actually the next step in human evolution.  There’s no denying that most are extremely intelligent.  And there’s no denying that if given the right tools, they can make extraordinary changes in our world.

OK.  So, no, I don’t think you can “cure” autism.  I do, however, think you can help.  These folks need to be taught basic social and behavioral skills that come naturally to us NT’s and are absolutely required in order to function in our society.  Take Z for example.  When he was younger he had no capacity for imaginary play.  That’s why his first instinct when he came across a new toy was to flip it upside down and spin its wheels…he was trying to figure out how it worked.  We literally had to teach him how to play.  We had to teach him to use his imagination.  It was a fascinating time.  At first, he would just hold his airplanes or spin the propellers or wheels.  We’d intervene and start flying them around the room, making airplane noises…..and he’d follow.  Then we’d start playing take off and landing.  And people getting on or off the plane.  And planes going to different places.  He progressed from copying us exactly to choosing destinations he knew about to making up names of places, things people saw there and things people did there.

We have to teach him basic social skills.  A good example of this was a few weeks ago at a playground.  Z was playing by himself with his airplane and S had made a friend and was running around with her.  As an NT, she took to the give and take and loosey-goosey structure of playing with another child naturally.  On the other hand, Z wanted them to do what he wanted to do….bury his plane in the sand.  And he couldn’t understand why they weren’t doing it.  So, he came up and asked me,

“Mommy, how come no one wants to be my friend?”.

After I picked my broken heart up off the floor, dusted it off and duct taped it back together, I said, “Well, Z, sometimes other kids don’t want to do what you want them to do.  They want to do what they want to do.  Did you ask the girls if they wanted to bury your plane in the sand?”

“No.”

“Well, why don’t you invite them over?”

…..”Girls, you can come bury my plane in the sand now.”

OK….not a perfect invite, but it worked.  Mostly because S adores her brother and is always looking to play with him.  The girls came over and buried the plane in the sand with him.  That is, until he got upset because they were doing it differently than he was and he tried to force them to do it his way.  At which point they got up and went off on their merry way…playing something totally different.  Again, it wasn’t a perfect attempt but it was a successful at bat and it gave me yet another teachable moment with him.

“Hey, buddy.  Why do you think the girls stopped playing with you?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, I think it’s because you wanted them to bury the plane your way and you got upset when they were doing it their way.  Sometimes it’s ok for people to do things differently than you.  It’s not wrong.  It’s just different.  I bet if you tried it again sometime you could get them to play your way for a little while if you played their way for a little while.”

He thought about it for a moment (it takes him longer than a typical kid to process things sometimes) and then jumped up and ran off to play on the jungle gym with the girls. “Girls…..I’m going to play with you now.”

Mommy 1.  Asperger’s 0.

Vaccines.  Vaccines do not cause autism.  Let me repeat that.  Vaccines do not cause autism.  The study that showed a link between vaccines and autism has been debunked multiple times and Dr. Wakefield, who did the study, has lost his license.  Here’s the truth.  Autistic traits don’t generally become apparent until around 18 months at the earliest….which is right around the time that kids get their MMR shots.  Autism is a neurological disorder.  Or, to put it in a more positive light, Autistic brains are wired differently than NT brains.  And, it has a genetic factor.  When you start learning about ASD, you start to realize that the traits associated with ASDs run in your family.  Or, at least, that was the case in my family.  But, and I repeat, Vaccines do not cause autism.

Here’s the other thing about vaccines.  All those sensationalized stories about kids developing properly until they got their vaccinations and then started losing skills?  Well….that’s a small subset of people diagnosed with ASD.  And it’s not entirely accurate.  There are kids who develop properly until they get to a certain age and then start losing skills.  It’s called Childhood Disintegrative Syndrome.  And, probably more than any other diagnosis on the spectrum, it breaks my heart the most.  I cannot imagine what the parents go through.  Here they have this perfect, beautiful, developing child and then for some unknown reason, their child stops talking.  Stops making eye contact.  Stops responding to their name.  Stops giving hugs.  It’s heart-wrenching.  And I understand why these parents search for answers and point fingers…they just want to know why.  And why them.  I would do the same thing.  But, I do stand by my belief that vaccines do not cause autism.

Epidemic.  Everyone’s seen the headlines: 1 in 110 children diagnosed with autism.  1 in 80 boys.  That’s up from 1 in 1000 a few years ago.  That’s scary as hell.  And, it’s true.  More kids are being diagnosed with ASD these days than ever before.  But, it’s not because it’s an epidemic (although I do believe that the crap we’ve been feeding our kids: GMO, chemicals, etc is certainly not doing anyone any good.).  It’s because more kids are being diagnosed with ASD.  Because the diagnostic criteria for ASD has been relaxed since years past.  Historically, the DSM required a ASD diagnosis to have something like 12 of the 15 criteria confirmed.  Now, it’s something like 6 or 9.  Asperger’s Syndrome as a diagnosis didn’t even exist until 20-30 years ago.  And it wasn’t until even more recently that it was lumped under the ASD umbrella (side note; they’re considering separating the two in the DSM-V because…wow…that spectrum is HUGE right now).

So, those little engi-nerds you grew up with?  The super smart but socially inept boys in your high school that you teased but still wanted them to help you with your homework that grew up to be multi-millionaires and hugely successful business men?  If they were children today, they’d probably be slapped with an Asperger’s Syndrome label.

So, is that uptick in diagnoses good?  Or are we labeling every childhood challenge unnecessarily?  I don’t know.  J and I struggled with getting Z evaluated and labeled but eventually decided to because we recognized he needed interventions.  Regardless of the label, we know he needs some additional understanding and some additional support.  And we needed to be educated in order to help him be successful and happy in his life.  We also struggle daily with how much to tell people.  We want to educate people and make things easier for him as much as we want to help him be able to function properly in society.  We want the interventions but we don’t want the fear  and mis-understanding that immediately comes when you say the word Autism.  Which, honestly, is why we go with the label of Asperger’s more often than not.

So, there’s the truth.  At least it’s the truth in my book. Think you can handle it?  I’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts.

“It is not enough to prepare our children for the world; we also must prepare the world for our children.”

Posted in ASPERGER'S, AUTISM, MOM | Tagged: , , , , , | 19 Comments »

Buy Wine….Benefit Autism

Posted by mbamommy on September 12, 2011

Calling all wine drinkers!!!!!

You know that sound when you uncork that amazing bottle you’ve been dying to try?  And, the sound of the wine sloshing into your glass?  And that first taste when it hits your lips?  Kinda makes your mouth water, doesn’t it? (or is that just me?  no way, I know you’re with me here).

What about if you could get that self satisfaction at the same time you’re supporting something that does such good things for our kiddos?  Well, you can.  At least today you can.

Check out WTSO.  You can get great discounts on yummy wine and if you order today, the proceeds go to the McCarton Foundation, who provides school, research and training for autistic kiddos.

Great cause, great wine?  I’m sold.

BTW, the reason I know about this?  Because one of J’s AMAZING high school friends brought it to my attention.  I have A LOT more to say about these fabulous group of guys but I’ll have to write about that in another post.  Right now I’m off to buy some vino!!!!

Posted in ASPERGER'S, AUTISM | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mile High Mamas

Posted by mbamommy on September 2, 2011

Well lookie here…

Wait, not here….

Over here

Take a look, spend some time over there and then come back here and I’ll explain everything.

Go on….I’ll wait…..

You back?  Great!  Did you notice that one of my old posts is on that page?  The one where I talk about Z’s diagnosis…or rather, the first in a 4 part series where I talk about that whole process….

How cool is that?  I somehow lucked out in meeting Amber, the editor of Mile High Mamas, online and she asked me to be a guest blogger, focusing on, you guessed it, Aspie’s.  I showed her some of my old posts and she asked if she could post the I Know How I’m Going To Die.  So, I of course said, YES!!!!  PLEASE!!!  I’d LOVE to share my story!

So….there it is in a nutshell.  I get to be a guest blogger about once a month on this super cool local Moms website, Mile High Mamas.  I’ll let you know the next time I’m over there.  Oh yes, I’m all about shameless self-promotion.  And, you should be all about promoting me too!  Tell your friends!  Tell your loved ones!!  Tell that weird homeless guy on the corner!!!  Wait…he probably doesn’t have a computer….you can probably forget about him.

And, while you’re over there, take a look around, make some comments.  Especially if you’re a Mom in CO.  It’s such a great site!

Posted in ASPERGER'S, AUTISM, MBA, ME, MOM, MRS | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Parenthood

Posted by mbamommy on September 2, 2011

I am not one to be all fired up about a new fall line up on TV.  The Emmy’s, Academy Awards, Oscars and all those other award shows surprise me every year when they’re on.  I don’t know anything about new shows, new actors, new anything.  And, it takes a lot of time for anything to really catch my attention.  Not because I don’t want it to.  Not because I don’t like watching TV.  Although I admit to only watching things I’ve DVR’d because I *HATE* commercials….ironic given I’m a marketer, I know…unless, of course you count the Super Bowl, then I’m all about the commercials and *HATE* when they go back to the game.  I actually would love to watch TV more and know more about pop culture (don’t get me started on my lack of music knowledge….it’s terrible….and makes me feel SO old!).

But, I just don’t watch TV much.  I wound up renting all seasons of 24, Sex and the City and now Dexter because so many people were talking about those shows I finally got motivated to order them from Netflix….and I was shocked that there were like 7 seasons. 7?!  You mean I haven’t know about this stuff for 7 years?  Where’s that rock I was living under….I want back in. (As an aside, once I’m done with Dexter I’m thinking about watching Lost…that’s supposed to be pretty good, right?  Please though…no spoilers.)

So, when we went public about Z’s Asperger’s, I had about 20 gagillion people tell me about Parenthood.  And about 20 gagillion more told J about it too.  So, we finally looked at each other and said, “Maybe we should watch it?”  So, typical of our timing, the season was over.  Luckily for us, in this modern day and age, if you miss something, you can just get it online.  And, that’s what we did.  Every night for 2 weeks we sat in my office, huddled around my 17 inch monitor, trading off the comfortable office chair with the uncomfortable stool….and being brought to tears nightly.  We were hooked for another season.

And then we heard rumors that they may not bring it back.  Something about a loyal audience but not a large enough one.  Excuse me?! If I wasn’t so damn busy with my own parenthood, I’d totally give you an earful Mr. TV Executive.  A BIG earful.

So, J and I have been (patiently?) waiting to find out if we get to have another season of Parenthood.  Guess what?!

WE DO!!!!!

And to answer some of the questions I’ve had when I talk about the show:

Yes, there are striking similarities between Max and Z.  Max Burkholder does a great job emulating a typical Aspie.  And, whenever Z’s obsession with airplanes starts to wear me down, I can always think “hey, at least it’s not bugs”.  And, the reactions/actions/mistakes Kristina and Adam have made are also strikingly similar to what J and I have done.  It’s actually given us a platform to talk about things like “How and when do we talk to Z about Asperger’s?” (note: we already have).

No, Max Burkholder doesn’t have Asperger’s.  He’s just a great actor.  I believe the writer or director or someone has an Aspie kiddo and that was the impetus for the whole show – to tell that story.

No, Z doesn’t wear pirate outfits every day.

Yes, Z has worked someone like Max’s behavior therapist.  And, no, J’s brother did not sleep with her.  He doesn’t even have a brother!

Anyhoo…..I’m pretty fired up for the fall.  Anyone else?

Posted in ASPERGER'S, AUTISM, ME | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Normally

Posted by mbamommy on August 29, 2011

One 4th of July when I was still in college, I was hanging out with friends, drinking beers (or, at least, that’s the type of intoxication I’m going to say we were doing on this blog….it is a family blog after all) and waiting for the fireworks to start.  My college friends were pretty typical for (and of) me: odd, funny, irreverent, loud, wild….and anything but normal.  We were making our typical ruckus, ignoring the looks from the other people around us and just having a good time when I sat down and actually started looking around and taking it all in.  I mean, we’re talking about small town America on the 4th of July: BBQs, beers, kids running around, hot dogs…all wholesome and normal and s*#t.  And I realized that I would never be that.  All wholesome and normal and s*#t.  And I decided I was ok with that.  I was having fun, enjoying my “individual-ness” and, anyway, normal is overrated, right?

Fast forward a few (not telling how many) years and viewing my life through the eyes of that college student, I actually look pretty normal.  Pretty wholesome and normal and s#*t.  I have the husband and 2 kids and dog and 2 car garage.  Hell, our rental house even has the white picket fence if you can believe it.

But, my life is FAR from normal.

Normal doesn’t have to deal with meltdowns that can last a full day.  Normal doesn’t have to strategically plan a play date or pizza night at a friend’s house so that we can avoid all hell breaking loose at the end of it.  Normal doesn’t have to know about ABA therapy and OT and Speech therapy and IEPs and paraprofessionals.  Normal doesn’t have to worry whether or not your 4.5 year old will run out of the grocery store and across the parking lot before you haul him back to the car.  Normal doesn’t have to see the looks you get when you’re hauling your 4.5 year old who’s hitting you while dragging your 3 yo after you while she’s crying because she’s scared of what’s happening.

Normal doesn’t have to be “THAT” Mom all the time.

But, in my world, that’s normal.  I guess I was right way back then. I will never be all wholesome and normal and s#*t.  Of course, the naive 20-something that I was thought that not being normal meant that I’d buck the trend and do something wild and crazy with my life.  Like travel the world and move to New Zealand and marry a kiwi and have fabulous adventures.

I didn’t quite expect my “normal” to look like this.  And, sometimes I wish I was one of those “normal” folks.  It looks so easy.  Yesterday, I definitely did.  I wish I didn’t have to special order a gluten-free pizza and buy special low sugar, no gluten desserts.  I wish I didn’t have to teach my son the necessity of common niceties like saying “Hello” and “Goodbye” and “Thanks for letting us play with your toys.”   I wish I didn’t have to feel disappointed and sad when those things don’t come easily or at all.  I wish I didn’t have to have a post-mortem with J after every social fiasco so that we can learn from it and hopefully not repeat the same mistakes again.  I wish that every life transition didn’t require me to put everything on hold so I can help my family get through it.  I wish I could have just one day where I didn’t have to plot and strategize everything to make it easier for him.

But, today I’m thinking that there’s no such thing as “normal” and behind all that wholesome-ness, everyone’s got their challenges.  And that we’re a heck of a lot better off than lots of other people.  And, that everyone has bad days and I had one yesterday and I shouldn’t make it more than it is: just a bad day.

I remind myself that I’m living in Holland now and not Italy.  And I take the mental break and give myself the outlets I need to continue living my life…..normally.

Yesterday was a bad day.  Today is a good day.  Tomorrow will be my own special brand of normal and wholesome and s#*t.

Posted in ASPERGER'S, AUTISM, MOM | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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