About Me

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Just a single mom of two small boys somewhere in the middle of Minnesota. My older son has been diagnosed with autism. Both sons have been diagnosed with awesome.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Moving Day!

My blog has a new home!

No new posts, I’m just setting things up so things might be a little hairy for a while…Wish me luck!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Random Picture Day

I'm trying to learn my way around my new camera. To be honest I think I've been a little intimidated by it, so I decided to dive in and play with it today.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In Other April News: My Baby is Growing Up.

April is a busy month for our family. Not only is there Autism Awareness Month but there are quite a few birthdays. One of them happens to be mine. Another is Sam's. His birthday is on the first of the month, also known as April Fools' Day. I guess if that is a good thing or not depends on your point of view.

Sam turned 4 this year, making it harder and harder to ignore the fact that my baby is no longer a baby. Not to get all maudlin or anything....

Monday, April 25, 2011

Support For Special Needs

Julia Roberts from Support for Special Needs asked if she could re-post my last blog entry. Of course I said yes. I feel like I have made the big time! ;-)


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Autism Awareness Month: If I only knew...

my blog has a new home at:

this entry can be found there at:

It's April. Autism Awareness Month, and the month is almost over. As the mother of a seven (almost 8 year old son) on the spectrum, I felt like I should say something. In fact it's been weighing on me greatly, just what I should say.

The truth is I have written and re-written this post what feels like a million times and was never happy with it. I wanted to say something, but I'm no expert of any kind. I'm just a mom, not even one of those Autism Warrior Moms you hear tell about. I'm just an ordinary mom of two regular type kids, one of whom happens to have autism.

So then I started over from scratch. I thought, if there was one thing I wish someone could have told me about autism before my son was diagnosed, what would it be?

So here goes...

There is a saying you may or may not have heard, "If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism." It's seems sort of obvious doesn't it? Not all typical people are exactly the same, why would those with autism be. But it's a truth that I think many people don't fully grasp. Before my son was diagnosed, I didn't get it. Not at all.

I thought I knew a fair amount about autism. I'd read a couple of books. I'd met a handful of people who'd been diagnosed with it. I knew about Temple Grandin from when I was taking animal husbandry courses in jr. high and high school. 

But the truth is the image I had in my mind was a very stereotyped one, and it was an image that did not match up with my son. Even when family members suggested I look into it, I just couldn't see it. I did mention it to the pediatrician who didn't see it either. She saw some delays, as did I, but not autism. If I'd known, I mean really known? I don't think I would have left it at that.

I'd wish I'd known that kids with autism can be goofy, and silly and giggly and cuddly. I wish I'd known just how smart and talented and loving and amazing children with autism can be.

I wish I'd known all that, I mean really known that, when Max was little and first showing the signs. Would an earlier diagnosis have made much of a difference for him? It's hard to say, but at least I would have known I had done my best for him from the start.

I would have understood why he struggled with things that other children seemed to sail through. I like to think I would have been more patient with him. A lot more patient.

And maybe... just maybe... I wouldn't have felt so alone.

Because there are so many of us. Not just parents of children with autism, but all of us parents of children with special needs, children who struggle to fit in a world not made for them. We are not alone.

We don't have to be.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

My niece Allison
(That's Max getting funky with two microphones behind her)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Max is a swinger now! (No! Not THAT kind of swinger!)

Max on the slide yesterday

Yesterday afternoon, when Max got out of school, both he and his younger brother Sam seemed pretty restless. There was still probably a good six plus inches of snow on the ground from that last snowstorm, but I felt like their need to run around was greater than my need to be done with snow.

Saying this probably shows how much of a Minnesotan I am, but yesterday really turned out to be the perfect day to go to the playground. Snow and all.

It was very sunny and much warmer than that picture would lead you to believe.

And the snow even served a purpose.

You see the playground closest to where we live is covered in gravel. Unfortunately Max can't really be trusted to leave the gravel alone. He'll start out rather harmlessly, just pouring through his fingers, but that very quickly can lead to throwing it and/or putting it in his mouth. And it's hard to redirect him. Almost impossible. But that lovely white blanket of snow did a great job of hiding all that tempting gravel so he could concentrate on the playground equipment.

Max and Sam started going down the slides. I only got a couple of picture of Max before my phone ran out of battery, which is a shame because of what happened later.

A couple of girls around aged 9 or 10 turned up, so they were around one or two years older than Max. They were watching him and giggling. Not in a 'boy that kid is weird' way but in a 'do you see that cute boy?' sorta way. I guess because Max is fairly tall for his age they didn't realize he was younger. Anyway, they kept their distance, and giggled. A lot.

At one point Max went to the swing set and sat down. The girls sat on the other end of the swing set and started swinging. Max watched them for a little bit, and then started swinging too.

I can't tell you how huge that was. I mean, Max has loved swings all his life, but has always relied on someone else to push him. Plus you have to be careful when you do it. Because of his loose grip he has a tendency to fall right off those things if you aren't careful.

He wasn't going very high or fast, but he got the swing going all by himself and kept it going! He was even holding onto the chains fairly well. He had this huge grin on his face. I wish I could have gotten a picture. He looked so pleased with himself.

The other thing is... I would almost swear he watched those girls, saw how they did it, and then did it himself. That's pretty good imitation for someone with autism, I think!

Soon Sam wanted to use the swings also. He still needs to be pushed, and as soon as I arrived on the scene the girls took off. It was kind of funny.

Getting back to my original point (if I indeed ever had one) Max is growing up.

He is learning and changing and growing like all kids do.  Just because he isn't doing it in the typical ways or at the typical speed doesn't mean he isn't. And it doesn't mean he won't get there in the end.

Last year he learned to peddle a bike. This year it's swinging. Nobody can say what might be next.

*On the other hand I'm not going to think about how those girls were checking out my little boy, because I am so NOT ready for that!

ETA: We went back to the park the next day and Max headed right over to the swings. I didn't get a picture of his big smile. I tried but he kept looking away and then my phone died again. But you can see he has the motion down!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sammy's First Book

Sam drew the pictures and told me what to write on the pages.
I apologize in advance for my handwriting.

Friday, March 11, 2011

sometimes things turn out okay

Let me tell you about this picture: I had forgotten all about picture day until right AFTER I put him on the bus. I had sent him off wearing both a knit cap and a faded shirt that was more than a little gnawed on. A laundry day kind of shirt. I hadn't even packed a hairbrush. Oh well, I thought, at least I can ask for re-takes.

But the picture turned out great. He doesn't have major hat hair. Even the shirt looks pretty good.

And really, who cares about anything else when you have that great smile to look at?

Not me!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Some things never go out of style:

Here is a picture is of my younger brother Andrew sitting in a box. Or a very small cardboard car, depending on your point of view. I'm guessing this was taken sometime in 1988. I have very vivid memories of him sitting in a cardboard box in the living room singing Billy Ocean's "Get Outta My Dreams" only he changed the lyrics a little. In his version it went, "Get outta my head, Get outta my car!" over and over again. When informed of the real lyrics, he said his were better. I think he had a point.

And here, submitted as proof that the pastime that sitting in a box and pretending it is a car is timeless, is a picture of Sammy in a box taken on this very day! He was singing,  "Blitzrieg Bop" by the Ramones. Or at least the, "Hey, ho, let's go!" part over and over again. When informed there were more lyrics, he didn't seem to care.  He did stop to smile when I took his picture. That was nice of him.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Say Your Name

As long as there has been a Max, I've called him silly nicknames. Peanut or tadpole before he was born. Baby Magooey, because I thought he bore a resemblance to Mr. Magoo as a newborn. Maxby came about as a combination of Max and baby.

Max loves it. The more outlandish the nickname the more he giggles. And when he isn't feeling well he will curl up in my lap and say, "Poor Maxby."

Sam, my younger son, doesn't share Max's love for silly names. He prefers Sammy or Sam. Or on occasion, when he is feeling super cuddly, Baby.

Sam has always had his own ideas about just what is proper. As soon as he could talk, he would correct people that called him, "Little guy," that he was in fact, "A small man."

That's okay. Max can be Mr. Cuddles. Major Stinky. Mr. McGoof.

Sam can be Baby, but only when he wants to be.

As I have said before, Max is not big talker. He sings all the time, but usually only speaks out of necessity, or extreme surprise. As in, "Want milk. Need thirsty." or  "Holy Crap! That's Mickey Mouse!"  His speech is short, direct and concrete. It gets the job done. Max has been doing better making requests, but he still requires prompting much of the time.

So imagine my surprise when he started this exchange with me last night:

Max: Say your name
Me: Mama.
Max: Great Job!
Me: Your turn. Say your name.
Max: (giggling) Apples.
Me: Your name is Apples?
Max: Apple... Apples.
Me: Hello, Apple Apples.
Max: No. I mess... I messed.
Me: You can try again. Say your name, please?
Max: Sid the Science Kid.
Me: That's not your name, silly! Will you say your name?
Max: Name... name is Max
Me: Great job!
Max: Don't want to say
Me: Don't want to say your name?
Max: No.
Me: Why not?
Max: (laughing a lot) Want to say Stinklefeets. Booger Boy.

That's a pretty good back and forth, and it wasn't even about food!

*I admit to Stinklefeets. I don't recall calling him Booger boy... but I probably have.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What we've got here is a failure to communicate

Max loves to sing and play the piano. He can read pretty well, too.

But Max isn't a talker. It's not that he can't talk at all, he just doesn't do it much. It doesn't come easily to him, and he has to be pretty motivated to do it. I swear, over 90% of  his speech has to do with eating.

For the most part I think we manage in our own way, but last week I was really feeling the limits of our communication. Max was not having a good time at school. It started out okay, but as the week wore on he seemed less and less enthused. The daily schedule sent home started out with the usual smiley faces drawn in, but soon there were more of these :-I faces, especially toward the end of the day. The phrase, "Could do better." was used... more than once.

He even gave them trouble on the school bus, which he normally loves. It didn't occur to me that he might be sick. He was eating okay, and other than being a little extra snuggly, he seemed fine at home.

I tried to talk to him about it with no luck. I wasn't expecting an answer but I had to try.

Then on Friday evening he came down with a pretty nasty stomach bug. He seems much better today, but I'm still on the fence as to whether I will send him to school tomorrow or not.

So the question in my mind is, is his moodiness related to his stomach bug, is he just having the post-holidays blahs, or is it something else altogether?

I just wish I knew.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I wear my sunglasses on Christmas...

It's been a while since I have posted a blog entry. If I did new year's resolutions, blogging more regularly would definitely make the list.

We had Christmas dinner at my nana's nursing home. I wasn't sure they would have anything Max would eat there, so I packed some food from home. As it it turned out they had mac & cheese and Max ended up eating better than his baby brother, who was both bored and tired.

I haven't quite adjusted to the fact that Max has been much less rigid about food these days. He's still pretty picky, but anyplace we go there is always something on the kids menu he will eat. Just yesterday he ate pineapple at school, something that was a favorite of his as a toddler but he hasn't touched in years.

If anybody was the problem on Christmas, it was me. I ended up hunched over my plate wearing dark glasses. I didn't even touch my food. I'm certain everyone at the nursing home thought I was hungover, but the boring truth is I woke up Christmas morning with a migraine and as the day went on, it just got worse. I had meant to take all kinds of pictures and basically ended up spending the day just trying to hold myself together and not be too much of a little dark rain cloud.

Christmas break went pretty well even if the day itself could have gone better for me. Max has had a hard time with days off from school, but other than a little cabin fever he did great. He also seemed to need less time adjusting to his new toys than in past years.

Sam is feeling a little post holiday let down. He's been a bit moody and keeps asking when Santa is coming back. He is also a little ticked off that we still have snow even though Christmas is over. Personally, I think he has a point, but the weather doesn't listen to me.

I'm not sure if it will make things better or worse when I take the tree down.

We'll see...