wisdomfromthesisterhood

The Sisterhood is a place to bring your cup of coffee to. Heck, bring the whole pot :). Sit down, relax, and fall in for a while. No divas or meanies allowed. It's about boy brain, kiddos, food, one crazy labrador, autism and a cat in recovery from a back tire incident. Oh the places you'll go :)

Here is just a sample of the new blog, Autism Sparkles, just so you can get a peek ;).

Autism Sparkles

For my family and for my son who is on the spectrum, some of the best lessons we learn are when we are outside and exploring.  This picture is from the beach we like to go to that has MANY tide pools to explore but, really, exploring can take place anywhere…the mountains, the desert or just in the backyard as you dig up worms and get your hands in the dirt.  What we find is less important than the fact that we are exploring.  What’s most important is that we open our mind to the adventure around us.

I do believe classroom learning is important because, for my son especially, rules need to be learned and turn taking needs to be focused on because those lessons often don’t come easily at all.  Truly, everything in moderation.  You can’t spend all day outside but you can’t spend all day inside either. …

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Gifts From The Getty

The Getty Museum is truly an amazing place and I loved our day there.  There is SO much to see and it never stops giving these wonderful visual gifts.  The exhibits as well as the gardens are absolutely breathtaking.  Here is the side of a building…simple and yet exquisite architecture.  Gorgeous place :).

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Changes are a comin’…

I have been thinking a lot lately about the writing I do and the friends that I am coming to know here on the blog and I have decided to make a bit of a change.  I write a lot about autism because, let’s face it, it is a major force in my life.  I understand as well that not all of you are immersed in autism the way I am and some of my friends are.  That being said, I have started a second blog, “autism sparkles” that I will use to address more of the autism issues.  This way, if you like the pictures, you won’t have to wade through the autism to find them.  And, as well, the families looking for information on autism won’t have to file through all the dog, kitty and flower pics to get to the autism.

So, look for it soon :).  I am still getting the settings all set for “autism sparkles” but, honest, it’s coming!  It’s not completely finished yet, but you can check out the beginnings here :).  http://autismsparkles.wordpress.com/

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Reasons To Love Autism: Moment # 23

Everyday my boy who is supposedly “disabled” teaches me tremendous lessons.  Language does not come easy for him and he does not volunteer a lot of information so where you, as a parent, might be able to simply ask questions and get a whole diatribe of what went on in your child’s day, I have to go through a mild interrogation.   Inside these mild interrogations, I learn a lot and, if i am lucky, he leaves me speechless.

It started like this:

Mom: How was your day?

The boy: Good.

Mom: What was the best part?

The boy: I didn’t get in any trouble.

Mom:  Okay, that is what didn’t happen now can you tell me about something that did happen that made your day good?

The boy: The boy who sat next to me at lunch ate a fly.

Mom: How did that happen?

The boy: It was in the rice.

Mom: Did you eat rice?

The boy: No, he had cold lunch.

Mom: Which friend was this?

The boy: I don’t know his name.

Mom:  Aren’t you sitting with the same friends?

The boy: No, I was sitting at a different table.

This is where mom gets a little nervous because he is not sitting with the same boys he was with at the beginning of the year.  The safe boys from the elementary school we attended.  We are in seventh grade now and the social ramifications are more immense and I worry he will be targeted or bullied or made fun of and I appreciate the sameness of our lunch crowd because I know with them he is safe.  So naturally my radar goes onto high alert and I ask more questions.

Mom: What tables do you sit at now?

The boy: Any table where there are only boys.  Just boys, no girls.

Mom: And you don’t know the people you are sitting with?

The boy: No.  They are boys.

Mom: You sit with people you don’t know?  Why buddy?

The boy: Mom, I have lots of friends at lots of different tables.  I change tables so I can see them all.  How could I know all their names?

And that is when he knocks my socks off.  In my mind’s eye, I am worried he is the friendless boy who moves from table to table but, in his eye, he sees that everyone is his friend and he is trying to move from table to table to see different people.  I am not sure if he truly has devoted friends like you and I might define them but, in his definition, he has a lot of friends and I like that.  I love his eyes, I love his view of the world and because of his grace and who he is… he teaches me the big lessons, the really important stuff.  Love that boy.

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Reasons To Love Autism: Hysterical Moment # 81

I make it through my day by writing notes down on scraps of paper and today was another clean-up-the-hoards-of-scraps day at my house.  Here’s what I came across today.  I’d like to say he was in preschool when this happened but he wasn’t.  He was in fourth when this little event occurred.  His honesty is priceless.

Sensing my boy was having trouble starting his math homework, I tried to help him along.

Mom: Go ahead and write the six to start.

My boy: I can’t.

Mom: Sure you can, buddy.  You can write a six.  You’re smart, my friend.

My boy: No, I can’t.

Mom: Oh, I am so sure you can.

My boy: I can’t, Mom.

And, at this point thoughts about regression and seizures begin to crowd my mind and I wonder if something grave has happened that has stopped this fourth grade child from writing his numbers.  Has he gotten to the point of refusal because his fear of failure is so great?  Before I voiced these fears out loud, I decided to hold my breath and calmly ask him what might be causing his inability to write that six.

Mom: What is stopping you?

My boy:  My booger.  I don’t know where to put my booger and I can’t hold my pencil because that booger is in my hand.

Okay, I have to be honest.  At this point I was just trying to maintain my own composure so that I didn’t derail his homework any further.  I let out my breath and tried not to laugh out loud.

Mom: Perhaps in a tissue in the trash?

My boy: That’s a good idea, Mom.

Problem solved for both of us 🙂

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Pretty Things

 

 

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The Autism Sparkle

I call this moment my “number one reason to love autism moment” because, truly, it was the first.  This was the first time I realized there is some crazy magical stuff inside of autism and just when you think you understand it all, it will knock the wind out of you.  Yeah, in the beginning, autism is every bit of 100% scary and overwhelming and your moments of hiding in the bathtub become more plentiful as you try to hide from the thing you don’t understand and the thing that is slowly taking over your life.  It is either a dark pit to fall into or to pull yourself out of.  In that very beginning, there is no light, there is no positive and, clearly, there is no magic or wonder to be found.  It is mostly black and sopping wet from the tears that seem to be continually clouding your eyes and racing down your face.  And no, in those early days, there is no way to stuff down those tears because there is no happy place to hold on to.  There is only  black and wet.

And then it happens.  That moment when the autism sparkle sneaks up in the middle of the wooden blocks you and your son are playing with and you don’t even see it coming.  You’re all hunkered down in your blackness and the slipperiness of your sobbing because, yes, you are in a continual pity party and you don’t notice it until the sparkle wallops you hard and leaves you stunned.

Autism can do that to grown ups.  It can reduce you to this pitiful mess until that moment when the spark and the sparkle rise right up into your face so that you see it for the first time.  That’s when you stand back up, crawl out of the black pit and realize there is so much more to see outside the blackness if you open your eyes.  In that sweet moment when your eyes do finally open you get that first beautiful glimpse of the crazy magic sparkle that tells you to hold on to your hat because autism is going to be a wild ride.  As I discovered, it is so much more than you understand and sometimes the ‘sign’ you’re looking for will start as one tiny spark.

That’s where my son and I were when it happened.  He was playing blocks on the floor in our Ohio living room as the snow fell outside and the fire roared a few feet from us.  It was one of those profound moments that etches itself forever into your memory so that the details feel like yesterday. I’d like to say we were playing together and enjoying a precious mom and son moment but, really, he was stacking the blocks and I was trying to be with him.  That is how autism rolls.  Socializing, pretend play and together play are just not our best skills.  Side by side play and tolerating the existence of someone else is the kind of play we were involved in.  That morning, he was tolerating my existence near his blocks in the living room with the fireplace when it happened.

I remember him stacking the blocks and grunting his sounds that morning.  He was, according to all the bench marks, non verbal.  He made sounds here and there and grunted a lot but words were simply a dream we still longed to hear. Grunting and stacking and then stacking and grunting.  It was a bit on the monotonous side but he was at least interacting with the blocks and, for us, that was a step in the right direction.  So I watched him stack and I listened to him grunt and I thought of the other things I could be doing.  I thought this was me being present but, as that sparkle stood up in front of my face, I realized I’d been anything but present on that floor.  I had mired myself into my own frustration and dreaming about all the things I did not have until that sparkle stood up in my face.   I was so busy getting lost in the blackness, I wasn’t seeing the forest for the trees.  I wasn’t seeing the autism right in front of me because of the autism that surrounded me down in the black pit.

I almost couldn’t see the autism sparkle because of the blackened and wet wall of autism that I was letting take over me.  Yes, he was stacking and grunting.  He was.  But, when I came out of my own black pity fog, when I really looked at him, I realized he was counting the blocks as he stacked them and he was saying the words, one to ten, as he stackedBecause he could not enunciate words well yet, his words were hard to catch and I had truly missed them.  Autism is sneaky and quiet that way.

He was counting to TEN!  If I listened closely, he was saying the words!  He was speaking in a whisper and his words were not enunciated perfectly but he was saying them.  He could not speak and yet he was counting to ten!

Sometimes if you blink you miss the good stuff and I almost missed it that day.  That day I got the wind knocked out of me and that moment was literally a breath stealer.  I let out an audible gasp as I reached for the phone to call my folks and tell them about the sparkle in my living room. That was the moment when I threw the black and the wet out into the snow and realized how much my own pity party was crowding my ability to see my son clearly.

That is the moment when the sparkle opened up another side of autism to me that I had never understood.   If you choose to let autism be a game-ender then …well, it will be.  Game over.  But, if you choose to open your eyes to the sparks that are there, you can take those sparks and build on those strengths until they sparkle right out loud.  The sparkle didn’t mean the autism game was over and we had won.  Not a chance.  It didn’t mean my boy was suddenly cured.  It meant there was hope and it meant that autism is a huge mystery and if you check out emotionally, you may miss the very moments that are the mile markers of your journey.  In every child the strengths are there but you have to look for them.  They won’t always show up as a prodigy.  Sometimes they just peek out for a second and you have to be vigilant in your observations.   I guarantee you there will be NO neon signs announcing skills.  I promise.

After that day, I decided autism might just be the most scary brilliant thing I’d ever come to know in my life.  There could be so much radiance sparkling just under the surface if you looked closely.  I vowed right then we would not seal our fate because of the lack of expectation others held for him  and I would never again hand him over to the dark side of autism that gave up before it ever got started.  Truthfully, just because you can’t immediately see the skills or the ability on the popular bench mark day…doesn’t mean it’s not there.  It might just still be forming, more slowly and more thoroughly because, sometimes, that’s how autism is.   It has its own calendar and sometimes it runs s-l-o-w-l-y.  From that day on, I was all about the sparkles and making sure I was open to every one that came our way because if I was open enough to see the autism sparkles, I could build up every weakness I found.  And from the bottom of my sparkling heart, I will tell you the greatest gift you can ever give your child is to keep your own eyes peeled because you never know what sort of surprise might happen your way and you have to be ready for it when it comes :).

*the picture used is not my own.  Please let me know if it’s yours so I can give credit :).

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Caterpillar Brigade

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The Boy and the Butterfly

Yesterday was not one of my boy’s better days. The trip to the pumpkin patch and that stint in the Halloween Drama Zone did not do him any good.  Nonetheless, the butterfly saw goodness and light in the boy and took pity on him.  This butterfly must also double as the Boy Brain Goodness Fairy and she must have sprinkled a little butterfly fairy dust on him because after this butterfly landed on him, he seemed to become a little more sane and his brain seemed a bit more engaged.  Thank you Boy Brain Goodness Butterfly Fairy.  You made our day just an eensy bit brighter!…and you may have saved the boy altogether :).

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Sunshine On A Cloudy Day

 

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