So Beautiful.

I love watching J, whether it’s reading his books or watching his movies. How his face changes so dramatically while he looks, watches, ponders and analyzes what he is seeing. It’s his eyebrows, his mouth along with his eyes that carry all of his emotions so fantastically.

His eyebrows when they are all crunched up or in high arches for what he is pondering or getting excited about. His mouth with a smile or a large O for what is bringing him happiness or from the not knowing what is about to happen. And then there are his eyes that crinkle with myth and laughter which also makes his cheeks go quite round with happiness or when they fill with tears from a mistreatment or injustice that is being done to one of his beloved characters.

His face is truly his communication device; happiness, amusement, excitement, indifference, sadness, tiredness, despair and anger all reside so easily and true without complication on his little face.

There’s also other communication triggers to watch with J that show his emotions so readily. The flapping of his hands, the shaking of his head, the wiggling of his toes or the sprinting from the room because his anxiety about what he is soon to see for the hundredth time gets to the better of him.

There’s also the reaching for our hand to hold, the covering of his eyes or the request for a gentle head squeeze to help him regulate his emotions that may have become too much.

It has taken us years to understand how J’s emotions show themselves and even though we have learned a lot, there is still so much we are learning every day about how he sees the world around him, how he then interprets it, and then how he displays these feelings.

Watching J is a very fun hobby of mine, something that will never get old. My absolute favorite emotion, which no human being should never not be able to smile at, is J’s simple head thrown back belly laughter. It is absolutely contiguous and so beautiful.

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One too many…

One school shooting, one too many. One mass shooting, one too many. One AR-15, one too many. Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. Action needs to be taken. Policy and change is what’s needed. Congress needs to act now. I’m going to act now.

This just feels like the most common sense. This is a gun issue to its basic core. Yes, there are underlying factors of grief, depression and mental illness but those on their own don’t cause the loss of innocent lives until a gun is put into the mix.

Furthermore grief, depression and mental illness prevail around the world on a daily basis. Talking about how more funds and support should go towards these resources are all good, but hollow at the same time because those that want more emphasis in mental health illness over gun laws are the same people who have cut mental health budgets in the past. AND for this autism mother, these people have reduced spending and slashed the budget for those with disabilities recently. They go hand in hand! Those with mental health issues have disabilities.

Then there are those that think school staff members should be armed in school. Are you kidding me! I won’t go into all the reasons why this is absurd but I will tell you this: as an autism mom, I have already seen way too many children with autism being hand cuffed at school. What would happened if my J had a meltdown and became aggressive, which he does at times now due to sensory overload, lack of understanding or being unable to communicate. Handcuffing him would be a violation, but who’s to say that this armed staff member wouldn’t decide to pull the trigger on him because they thought that was the only option with J’s aggression? What if they didn’t understand or were aware of the situation and J’s autism?

I’m mad. Mad that I have to be worrying about all of this. Mad that this even has to be a debate. I’m mad at the reason all flags are at half staff. Our children should not have to worry about being shot at school with a gun that should be banned.

It’s not something that should be easily escapable. Innocent people, innocent children, lost their lives because our laws are broken. Something needs to give, something needs to change with the way people think about gun control.

Until it is changed, or better yet fixed, are all parents and their children waiting for their school to victimized next? Are we all just waiting for our life to be affected next? We shouldn’t have to worry about our children going to school, our family shopping at the mall, my son going to the movie theater or my husband & I enjoying a concert and being shot. We should have a better sense of knowing we are safe within our communities and country. That illusion has been shattered one too many times. When will one too many be no more?

 

Why I journal.

I journal for a lot of different reasons…

To stay organized. A lot of what my journal consists of is lists; to-do lists for housework, to-do lists for Jackson, blog prompt lists, podcast idea lists. Making lists help me through our busy life. Having the ability to check things off gives me a feeling of completion so I can move forward. Having this visual helps a lot.

To make a quick entry of an idea, memory, moment in time, short little blurbs of things that pop into my rambling brain. I write down quotes, websites I need to check into, craft ideas, etc. I partake in journal prompt ideas to get my writing juices flowing. I journal to blog, like this piece you are reading now.

To release both the good and the bad that is taking place within my personal life and within the life of my family. I find it hard a lot of the times to express myself verbally and doing so in written form comes so much easier. It gives me time to think and reflect. I write a lot of entries, but many will never surface on this blog. I share what I think shows a rounded true picture of the event and/or emotions that are taking place.

To share, to show others what life as an autism parent is like. To let others parents going through this journey know they are not along with their feelings or experiences. I follow a few other bloggers and autism groups too. Having them helps provide support, ideas and resources against going through this alone.

I don’t journal and then blog for pity. Though most of my emotions may seem sad, frustrating or angry that is because I need to definitely release these at times. When things are going good I often forget to write those times down. I sometimes wonder if that is a product of the world we live in.

I write for understanding, acceptance and awareness of the child we have, the type of parents we are, and all those living with or affected by autism whether themselves or through a loved one. Hopefully through my writing, people are keeping an open mind about judging those they don’t understand. To not be so quick to judge those who are different and their caregivers.

I journal because I love writing, I blog to share a glimpse into our life.

 

A complacent mom?

I’ve taken a hiatus from writing since my last posting. It’s allowed me to decorate, prepare and begin to enjoy the holiday season with my family. It has been nice and relaxed which is a new feeling for me. This brings me to my post for today.

In the recent weeks I’ve sometimes thought or rather felt that I’ve become a complacent mom. I haven’t stressed about how I’m going to work with J when I get home. I’ve given him his space. I’ve watched and observed and have engaged and participated when he is ready to allow me, rather than pushing myself onto him. I’ve let him do his own thing which includes flapping, bouncing and walking on this toes to let him have that simulation he enjoys without redirection. In essence, I’m letting him be the kid he is.

So have I become a complacent mom? Or have I come to realize this is the type of mom I need to be for my son, would rather be for my son? It’s a catch 22. I want my child to grow as much as possible; socially, educationally and cognitively. However, I think there comes a time for all special needs parents, at least this one, when the thought of how much of what I am doing in my life for my child’s life is actually working, being beneficial and is helping rather than hindering.

So yes I’ve become complacent, from how I was, but could it be that I’m enjoying my child? Worrying more about if he is getting enough play time vs. therapy time. I’m truly seeing my child for what he is, not what or how he should be through constant guidance and therapy in all the interactions we have. I’ve let him be a kid who loves to engage with his books, movies and cars with their racetrack. I’ve let him be a typical 6 (almost 7) year old boy who loves his toys over his mom nagging him through instruction and telling or asking him to use his words. With this change, I feel that my times with him now are more purposeful and meaningful as they are done when both he and I are ready. I’m letting him breath and come into his own without always feeling like I’m needing to partake in every minute of every day to make it a learning opportunity for him.

I really do love just watching him play. Seeing his face light up with emotions from how he is playing, how he wants to play. I absolutely love the feeling when he is ready and wanting me to play with him. It’s fun and doesn’t feel forced now. It might not always work out, there are still trial and errors on my part, as he may decide he in fact doesn’t want to play with mom or when he’s done, I know as, he’ll wander off to another activity without me. 

The last few weeks have probably been the least stressful I’ve had as being J’s mom. As this seems to be working now, I’m going to see where is leads. I enjoy spending quality time with J, making his play time fun and educational as it’s much more simpler to be on his playing level than trying to force, bribe or beg for him to be on mine. I like this being our new normal at home.

Instead of teaching your child to be great ‘despite’ autism, teach them to be great ‘with’ autism. Perspective is everything. ~Stuart Duncan