Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Oral Surgery

This is Monkey just before he had a few extractions. He was a brave boy! The anesthesia later made him sick, so he felt his appointment was "horrible." Poor kid.
While waiting for his follow-up a week after the extractions, Monkey cleared the board on Pac-Man. Luckily, playing the video game made going back to the oral surgeon all worthwhile, and he no longer thinks the experience was horrible! You gotta love Pac-Man!    

Monday, June 18, 2012

Don't wake the sleeping Yoda

On Saturday morning, my hubby and I were woken up by Prince Charming. Before. Six. Yes, in an ungodly hour of a sacred and lazy please-God-let-us-sleep-in-until-at-least-7am Saturday morning.

“Daddy, I want to cuddle with you.”

“OK. Climb in,” my hubby slurred in his slumber.

Then our little wiggle worm got into bed between us. And didn’t stop moving. Or talking.

First he would wiggle, then he would sit up and check the clock. Then he would announce the time to us. Every few minutes. Then he would flip over. And, then there was the whispering. He would whisper some script he had memorized from cartoons.  

Make the hurting stop. Sleeeeeep.

“Honey, can you please go back into your room and play quietly with your new Bionicle in bed?”

“Nooooooooo, I want to stay here.”

Too tired to argue or force the issue, my hubby and I dropped it in our attempt to fall back asleep.

This continued on for over an hour.

Frustrated, we finally sent him packing back to his room. Not only did he leave our door wide open, he proceeded to walk through the house like a herd of elephants. The walls literally shook with every step.

Of course, this woke up Monkey. Great. He stumbled into our bedroom, ready to cuddle.

My hubby, who apparently had woken up enough to have some brain function, came up with a great idea.

“Boys, go make yourself a bowl of cereal and we’ll be up in a few minutes.”

Then he muttered under his breath, “in about a half hour…” I weakly giggled my agreement.

We started to hear the boys make noise and argue. Titan and I were definitely awake now, although I was a bit slower to rouse.

Then, my hubby did something regrettable. He poked his finger into my armpit in a playful attempt to wake me up. One thing he should know better by now is to never, ever poke me in the armpit.  

I swatted at his hand violently. He started laughing.

With my eyes closed I calmly growled, “Do not make me go Jedi on you.”

More laughter. This time, it was a deeper belly laugh. He tried to touch me again, but I had one eye open because my Spidey sense told me something was about to happen. (See, not only do I connect with the Force, I also have Spidey sense! Titan married SOME girl!)

As his finger came up into the air, I said, “If you wake this sleeping giant, I will turn into an angry Yoda in about 3 seconds.”
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He knew I would, too. I could sense he was thinking about the scene of Stars Wars when Yoda unleashes his mad skills on Count Dooku and is flying around the room like an other-worldly creature. Titan quickly retracted his finger and then more laughter ensued. Deep, loud laughter. I love his laugh. It’s so hearty and warm.
Now I was wide awake and didn’t want to be. I glared at him with a scowl on my face through one eye open, ready to attack without a moment’s hesitation. Yes hubby, this is the fair maiden you took as your bride. Hope I don’t scare you too much.

Yoda is super duper old, like 800+ and he's 2 feet tall. You'd never expect him to acrobatically fly through the air with his light saber. Watch him open up a can of whoop-ass right around 1:40!

Ahhhhhh, Saturday mornings! Aren’t they grand?

Needless to say, Titan got me out of bed and there was no bloodshed. As it turns out, under my don’t-mess-with-me shell is a big ball of goo. He knows how to expose the goo every single time. And in the process, he makes me laugh. Somehow, that’s all I need. 

Hope you had a great Father's Day weekend!

What are you like in the morning before your coffee?   



Monday, June 11, 2012

Guest Post: Tips for Helping Friends and Family Who Have Children with Autism

Today I am happy to bring you a guest post from Heather, an ex-Nanny. Although she does not have a child with autism, she is no stranger to ASD! She provides some great tips on how extended family members and friends can help out families who have a child with autism. 

As an autism mom, I can tell you that time away from the boys is a rare and precious commodity. Every parent can use a little bit of time away from their kids, and this is especially the case when they have a child with autism! Time to go out on a date with your spouse, go grocery shopping by yourself, or to simply read a book in a quiet coffee shop are all amazing gifts to a parent of a child with autism. Sometimes we just need a tiny break, and they don't come very often! 

This is a great post to share with everyone in your life that cares about your child and wants to help out somehow, but needs a little nudge. Thank you, Heather, for such great advice! Read on, friends. 

Tips for Helping Friends and Family Who Have Children with Autism
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As an aunt to a nephew with autism, I know all too well how hard it can be for my sister and her husband to be able to get out of the house and steal a few precious moments alone. My nephew is the greatest blessing in the world to them, but with his autism it’s also hard to find anyone willing to look after him while they go on a much-needed weekend getaway, or even just a date. Potential babysitters tend to shy away once they learn he has autism, mainly because they lack any real knowledge about the disorder and haven’t had any real interaction with children on the spectrum. And while it should be easier to find a friend or family member to watch him, it usually isn’t. I used to be just like them – unsure of what to do around my nephew, unsure of how to help. It didn’t help that we live halfway across the country from each other and don’t get to spend nearly enough time together. But after a lot of trial and error I’ve found a few ways that friends and family can become more at ease around children with autism:

1.      Learn as much as you can about autism on your own time – The best way to become more at ease with something you know little about is to completely immerse yourself in information. Read as much as you can about it so that you understand more what autism is and what common characteristics of autistic children are. Having some working knowledge ahead of time makes it easier to transition into a real-life situation.

2.      Spend quality time with the child around the parents – Before tackling a full-fledged babysitting adventure on your own, spend some quality time with the child and the parents. Let the child get comfortable with your presence, and gradually work into spending more time alone with him/her while the parents are still readily available. The more comfortable you both get with each other, the easier it will be once it’s just the two of you.

3.      Don’t be afraid to ask questions – One of the biggest problems my sister would face in the beginning is that everyone would shy away from asking any real questions ahead of time, despite the fact that they had plenty lingering in the background. Asking questions is the easiest way to learn how to handle different situations in a way the parents are OK with, so don’t be shy about it. You aren’t going to offend anyone by asking serious questions.

4.      Know the child’s routine beforehand – Straying from the child’s normal schedule can cause outbursts and destructive behavior, making it imperative to adhere to their normal schedule as much as possible. Keep a list of meal times, play times, etc., handy so that you can reference it at any given moment.

5.      Be respectful – Avoid yelling or using confrontational tones with affected children, be mindful of any barriers they may have (such as touch), and be respectful in your manner toward them. Respect breeds respect, just like discourse breeds discourse. Choose the former to help lay the foundation for a peaceful time together.

One of the problems that many family members and friends face is that they simply don’t understand autism. As much as they may want to help, helping also makes them nervous. The easiest way to alleviate this is by spending more time with the child and getting comfortable with each other together. One of the greatest gifts you can give to a parent who has a child with autism is time to themselves, so don’t shy away from learning and lending a helping hand.

Author Bio

Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to become a nanny by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She is available at H.smith7295 [at]

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Defending Champion!

Last week I got a call from the Principal. Of course, my immediate response was a sinking feeling in my gut, as I prepared myself for whatever bad news was about to come my way. The first words out of the Principal’s mouth were to reassure me that nothing was wrong. Thank God for that!

She proceeds to tell me that she has Monkey in the office with her and that he wants to talk with me. He gets on the line and says, “Guess what, Mommy?”

“I just won the spelling bee!”
“You did? That’s awesome, kid! Great job! I’m so proud of you!”

“Uh huh.”
There was an awkward silence while he tried to think of something else to say to me, and he clearly was not ready to relinquish the phone back to the Principal. So, I started asking him some questions about his experience at the spelling bee and he was able to talk with me a little bit about it.

Monkey does not have a ton of experience on the telephone, so he was not completely certain of how to talk with me beyond sharing his big news. He had some trouble figuring out what to talk about and when he should give back the phone to the Principal. We muddled through the conversation and I ended up instructing him to hang up the phone, and that I would talk with him more about the spelling bee when he got home from school. In our mutual confusion, I ended up hanging up the phone right as the Principal got back on the line. Oops!
He had been so excited about the prospect of the spelling bee that he had been chattering for a few days about it. He told me that the winners, starting in 3rd grade and beyond, get their name engraved on the plaque in the Principal’s office. He had made up his mind that he really wanted his name up on the wall forevermore.  

The night before the spelling bee, he was up late. I think it was the first time I’d really ever seen him too excited to sleep. He’s had nights where “weird thoughts” kept him from sleeping, but this was something new. He ended up asking for a “nighttime vitamin” (melatonin) to help make his brain slow down so he could sleep, and he fell asleep 30 minutes later.
The following morning, instead of his usual wake-up time curled up in a blanket on the couch, he was dressed and ready to go even before I was awake. He told me that he wanted to surprise me and he was clearly excited for the spelling bee. I thought that was awesome. During breakfast I gave him some words of encouragement, reminding him to slow his thoughts down and to think about his answer before he spoke.

Needless to say, he went to school that day and came home a winner. I understand from one of the teachers that he conducted himself very appropriately during the spelling bee, which of course made me very happy to hear. Monkey is an amazing speller and I couldn’t be more proud of him! He is now a 2-year defending champion and he’s already talking about how he can’t wait to get his name on the wall plaque again next year. I hope he does!

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