Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Field of Dreams If I Build it They Will Come!!!

When I was in college my first “real” job was working for the New York City Dept. of Health.  They go by something else these days.  I was a trained peer educator.  I worked throughout various city High Schools and youth organizations. I would facilitate workshops on HIV/AIDS, Safer Sex Behaviors, Sexual Transmitted infections, and some other things.  I enjoyed my position and the topics were very important to me.  The only problem, was that it was a position only to be held by a college student, and I didn’t plan on being a professional student for the rest of my life.  As Graduation approached I began to look for a Job.  I applied for many and I took city, state exams.  I came very very close to becoming a New York City Police Officer.  Instead I chose to continue in the field of social work. 
I had interviewed for a position as a Training Coordinator for a community based organization in the Lower East Side.  They didn’t hire me, but a few months later around the time that I was going through the process for the police department, they called me back.  They had apologized and asked if I would want to come back and interview for the position again.  I had hit a little snafu with the department because of my weight.  So I was on hold.  I figured why not.  They wanted me to come in during program hours and meet the youth of the program.  I was to put together a quick workshop to facilitate for them. 
I remember going there and being nervous.  But I went in there and did what I do, and got it done.  The youth were very receptive and I was hired.  I worked for this CBO for about 8 years.  There is a whole lot I can write about why I chose to leave them, but I will just say this.  I had just had my daughter Devynn and felt it was best that I change my career.  I really miss working in that field and have always wanted to somehow get back into it. 
When my Donomite was diagnosed, I quickly looked into getting him services. What I realized was that there weren’t any services right here in the borough that I was born and raised in.  The Bronx is one of the poorest boroughs, according to the most recent census and it is the most underserved.  In order to get my son involved in anything I have to leave the borough or go to another county.  That isn’t right.  Fortunately I have a car and can travel, but what happens to the families that do not have that luxury. 
So it is my dream to put together an organization that will host people with disabilities and allow them to participate in sports related activities, such as baseball, soccer, etc.  I want to create a space where families will feel supported and comfortable to let their children be who they are.  I want them to be able to flap when they are happy, and to grunt when they want.  I want them to be surrounded by positivity and love.  I want them to know that they CAN do it, no matter the limitations.  Because where there is a will there is a way.  And you just need to figure out the way. 
I truly believe that the experiences and opportunities that have been placed in my path, have led me up to this.  I am actively looking into getting my program started.  I am in the process of getting my ducks in a row and am at the planning stages.  Putting it all on paper, and next I will be looking for funding to get it started.  Stay tuned to see just how far I go!!!!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


No one should have to toot their own horn, so I have decided to start Toot Toot to You Tuesday! I am firm believer in praise and appreciation.  I truly feel that letting someone know how you feel about them and validating their greatness, only produces more greatness.  Most of all it feels pretty damn good to know that all your hard work is not going unnoticed. 
The first honoree of Toot Toot to you Tuesday goes to Lisa Quinones-Fontanez.  I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa about 4 years ago, at parent teacher’s night.  Of all the seats I could’ve taken or all the spots I could have stood, I am very thankful that I sat on that bench.  Fate brought us together that evening and I can honestly say that I am honored to know you. 
You were blessed with an amazing gift and you have not let it go to waste. Your blog and writing has brought relief, humor and so much more, not just to me, but to so many other special needs parents.  Your writing many times makes me feel as if you have read my mind and put my thoughts to paper. 
You give a voice to many who don’t know how to say what it is they are feeling and you use your talent to advocate not just for your child, but for all children.  I admire your openness and the love you have for your son.  Thank you for sharing and creating so many amazing connections. 

Your recent response on to a Nasty Hate letter slipped under someone’s door by a coward less being, (saying they are human would be a wrong classification), touched me deeply.  Yesterday the hubby came to me and expressed how much that anonymous letter hurt him.  He has been annoyed by other things, but that letter really disturbed him.   It is things like your response that I appreciate so much about you.  You use your venues to spread the word, where so many others can see it.  And you do it so eloquently, that you continue to shine a positive light on our community.  So I thank you, because your letter was a lot nicer than anything I wanted to say to that piece of turd!   TOOT TOOT TO YOU LISA!!!!

Lisa Quinones-Fontanez Creator of and her Awesome Son Norrin

Ladies and Gents, if you haven't done so already, go check Lisa out at Autism Wonderland. 



Sunday, August 18, 2013

It isn't Always easy, but it's Oh So Worth It!!!

Smiles are contagious!  Spread it!!!

This pic was taken this morning.  I love his smile and those early mornings where I am awake before him and he comes to cuddle for a bit.  This has been a crazy week.  With a major mommy meltdown and a loss of a family member, moments like this morning are so appreciated, and precious to me.  

Hard to believe that just a few hours later he had one of the worst meltdowns I'd ever experienced with him.  I didn't want to take the kids to the wake, so I made arrangements with my sister to stay with them for a little bit.  As we were dropping them off, he refused to go inside.  He kept pointing down the street and asking to go to the other Titi's house.  The "perfect One".  (That's his way of saying he wants something else) I was confused and he couldn't explain to me what he wanted.  We finally got him into the house and he started to scream and grab me and say he wanted me, he was going to miss me!"  Nothing I said or did would calm him down.  It broke my heart!    I finally got out the house while he continued to scream and yell.  I was worried someone would call 911, he was yelling so loud.  

I kept calling and checking in.  Each time I called he was still screaming. Eventually my sister called he finally calmed down.  

Once we walked on to pick them up, he saw me and smiled.  I said, see I told you I was coming back.  He squeezed me tight, and started to re-enact hi meltdown  in a more relaxed way.  Almost as if he were making fun of himself.  We hugged and laughed, but it still broke my heart!  I love my kids and seeing them upset hurts twice as hard.  I am thankful he isn't angry with me.  

I see this as another accomplishment.  He got through it and was able work it out.  Another piece to the puzzle put into place.  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dreams Do Come True, If you have the Heart!

It is my thought, that our world is so preoccupied, with being real that there is no longer any room for dreaming, fairy tales, or make believe.  I remember growing up and watching the Magic Garden, Sha Na Na, Looney Tunes and so many more.  Sitcoms, like Family Ties, Cosby Show and Growing Pains were family oriented and depicted issues that families may go through.  They showed conflict, but most of all they showed that there was a way to resolve conflict and work through problems. Weekly we watched and saw how they would come together and work as a family Unit.  Cartoons like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.  Yeah, they were sort of violent, but they had a message.  Not like Sponge Square pants!  I swear I still don’t get the purpose of that show. 
The Magic Garden
Sha Na Na
Looney Tune
Family Ties
Growing Pains

The Cosby Show

I know that many of these families didn't really reflect me personally and my household.  I came from more of a bi racial Eight is Enough sitcom.  But, it was a better depiction of what is put out today.  I understand that this is a different era and that the world is evolving.  Things are changing every day, but it shouldn’t allow us to forget about fantasies and happy endings. Today's TV, allows us to accept dysfunction and Chaos.  That keeping up with the joneses is the thing to do to be accepted by society and peers.  I know I sound like I have been splashed with pixie dust and I am flying around in never never land.  But, I think we should always take time to find our happy place!

People today are so caught up in trying to keep up with the “real” that they see on today’s TV, that they do not allow themselves to believe in miracles, dreams or hope for better. They have lost their heart.  Passion and drive is dying.   Parents don’t teach about Santa Claus, because he isn’t real.  To me Santa Claus was a part of my childhood, and so was the Tooth Fairy. They helped me with learning how to behave, look forward to something, and to appreciate my rewards.  I never really saw them when it mattered, but I never stopped believing they were real.  Just like God, I have never seen him, but my Faith is strong.  And no I won’t go on a rant, and start preaching the bible, but I will say this.  Sometimes, miracles do come true.  You may not realize it, because you are so preoccupied with being real.  So I ask you to take a moment and remember being a child. Find your heart.  Think about how much fun it was to play, to make up stuff and dress up.  A box could be anything you wanted it to be, as long as you imagined it. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Grand Slam!!!

The Calm After the Meltdown

At first look, I bet you saw three happy people.  If you look again, you will notice that my Donomite had been crying.  In fact he just had a meltdown.  And now when you look at the photo, you will see that his little nose is slightly pink and a little swollen from crying.  

Rewind to the night before,  I was sitting in front of my apartment, when an older gentleman approached me and my mother in law. He asked if we were Yankee Fans.  To which I answered yes.  The next question was, would you like to go to the game tomorrow?

The view from our seats
And here we are.... I said yes, By the way.  My mother in law thought it would be great if we all went.  A family outting to Yankee Stadium.  I agreed!

The hubby and I figured the seats would be high, and truthfully, I wasn't sure how my Domomite would handle being high up.  But I made a promise to myself that hit or miss, at least I could say that I tried.  

He was fine up until we found our section and sat down.  The minute we settled down, he asked if we could go home now. He asked about a hundred times again.  The hubby had a bright idea.  He took Dono to get drinks and food.  When they got back, I hoped that he calmed down, but he didn't.  I tried to calm, but he wouldn't.  

I decided to take him for a walk.  And so we left the stands.  

The minute we were away from the stands he was calm and all smiles.  My niece Brittany, came up after us to try and see if she could help.  We stayed here for a long time.  Finally I got him to go back into the stands.  As we sat down, he asked, "can we go down, I don't like to be up.  Can we go home?" 
Irene my Aunt by Marriage asked if Dono was okay.  I told her he wanted to go home and she happily volunteered to take him.  She too was having a panic attack from being so high up.  

Here they both are looking calm and happy.  Irene went above and beyond.  I am so grateful to her.  After they left the stadium, Irene took him to the park.  

He looks so content and ready to cool off in the sprinklers.  

So no, the Yankee Game wasn't a super success, but I tried. Now in retrospect, maybe I could have done a lot of things differently.  Maybe if we had seats lower in the stadium,  he might have lasted longer. But, these moments are all part of the puzzle. Finding the missing piece or pieces.  I learned something, and next time I will be able to handle the situation better.  We came, we saw and we will come again!!!!  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Jack Pot!!!

If you're familiar with Autism,  spontaneity is not a norm.  Well at least with my Donomite.  My Dono is affectionate.  He likes hugs and kisses, but he doesn't volunteer them.  Most times I grab him up and overwhelm him with hugs and kisses. 

Weekday mornings if he didn't wake on his own, I have to wake him or just dress him while he's sleeping, until he officially wakes up.  This morning he woke up and came to my bed.  He squeezed between me and Dustin (my youngest) and cuddled next to me.  I was tempted to stay in bed a little longer, but with my little incident the other day,( The Incident )WELL.... Lets just say I dragged myself out of bed.  I did my usual morning rituals, got him dressed and then he decided to hang out with Nick Jr. Until the bus came.  I started to get Dusty ready and wait for the bus.  

When the bus arrived, I quickly went to get Dono and take him to the bus.  I kept to our routine.  Book bag, kisses, blessings, and I love you.  I ended with a little prep, "you're going to the movies, have fun." (He says he is scared of the movies, we don't know why) I expected protesting, and for him to say no I'm scared.  I went to hand him over to the matron and WAIT FOR IT!!!!!!!!! He turned around and gave me a big hug!!!! 

I played powerball yesterday.  I may not have hit the lotto, but I definitely hit JACK POT!!!! Smiles for everyone!!!!! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I Want it Now!

Since having my kids, especially my Donomite who is Autistic, I haven't ever really slept as good as I had before kids.  But the last few nights I haven't really been sleeping well at all.  Oddly enough my Donomite has been sleeping great.  He has always enjoyed the sound of the fan, and lately he  camps out right in front of it and sleeps soundly throughout the night.  There has been the occasional 4 am or earlier wake up, but for the most part he is sleeping well.  We have not given him Melatonin in quite some time now.  Wondering what we are going to do when the weather changes and it starts to get cold and the fans will be put away. 

Sorry back to me.  (LoL) well, I haven't been sleeping well and since my other two children don't have to wake up early in the morning I have been allowing myself to sleep a couple of minutes extra in the morning.  A couple of minutes turned into  a half an hour and I was super late at getting myself up and my Donomite ready for school today.  I Jumped up when I realized that I had over slept and began running around like a chicken without a head!!! I had just picked up our laundry the night before and started to try and unpack it and find clothes for Dono to wear.  I know I should have done it last night, But I was exhausted.  I quickly got him dressed and freaked out when I realized that I needed to pack his snack.  Sh!t!!!! Then I remembered that he had made a sandwich the night before and didn't want it, so I had wrapped it up and put it in the fridge for today.  Whew!!!  As I coming out of his room I see the bus in front!  Damn!!! Now I push open my door to let them know I am coming and I haul a$$! I begin yelling Dono!!! come the bus is outside, he runs back to his camping area and covers himself up!  Oh Geez!!! please not this morning.  We did this a couple more times.  He finally gets ups and goes outside.  Now, I am a mess, my hair is not done and I am still in my PJs.  I apologize to the matron and driver for the delay.  He is on the bus, and I wave as it takes off. 

Now, I have to find clothes for the other two to wear, and remember that my Diva Dev wanted to head over to grandma's house bright and early.  I go to wake her and she doesn't budge.  Back to me. I jump in the shower, and quickly wash up.  Jump out with wet hair dripping and rush to find something to wear!  I grabbed the fist pair of undies I saw and put them on.  I contemplated on what to wear.  Did I want to go through the pile of clean clothes or grab a summer dress and slip it on and go?  Summer dress it was!  Threw it on and, proceeded to head out the door.  I tried one last time to wake the Diva up and I was again unsuccessful. 

Out the door I go with my summer dress and dripping wet hair.  Walked to my car as usual and got in.  I had some garbage in the car and noticed the porter cleaning up and had his can parked right by my car.  I grab the stuff and asked if I could toss the garbage in.  He said sure and I tossed the stuff in the trash and walked back to my car.  No thing.  Start the car up and I am off.  Get to work, park my car in my spot and head up to the office.  Now I work in a very commercial area.  Lots of auto body shops, motorcycle and school bus parking lots, to name a few.  usually in the morning the front of our office is empty.  NOT this morning there were lots of people around.  I continued my walk to the office.  Our IT guy was standing in front of his shop holding a baby.  He calls me over to introduce me to his granddaughter.  Very cute baby.  I chit chat a second and head up to my office to start working.  I walk to my office and say my good mornings to the girls like I do every morning. 

My boss had called and needed some information.  I go out to look for it and his assistant who happens to one of my BFFs starts to laugh uncontrollably and yells  "I WANT IT NOW TOO!"  I froze in my spot and turned around to find her right next to me grabbing my rump!  Apparently, I grabbed a pair of undies with wording on them.  and YES they read I want it now!  I am wearing a coral maxi dress.  I now know that you can see through it.  Needless to say we all had a great laugh and now I am still mortified!  Thank God for the wrap sweater I leave in my office.

Let's just say that I will not be allowing myself an extra few minutes of sleep tomorrow morning!!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

My Cup Runneth Over

A few months ago in April, a fellow warrior mom asked if I would be interested in swimming lessons for My Donomite.  I immediately said yes! Dono loves water and I had been trying for a long time to find a place that was suitable for him.  But most places that served children with special needs or on the spectrum were either very expensive or had a waiting list of like five years long.  (Exaggeration) So you can just imagine the joy that overcame me when she told me that Roberto Clemente State Pool was looking to offer swimming lessons. 

The time came and she tagged me in a flyer announcing the upcoming program.  It wasn't for just children with special needs but instead it was inclusive.  At first I was a bit disappointed.  I had tried to put my Donomite in a soccer program once before and was turned off and very disappointed by the way the coach engaged with him.  Needless to say he only participated in one session.  So I was bit nervous to hear that the swimming class would have "typical" children.  I thought about just enrolling my daughter Dev, but thought why not.  Dev is a great big sister and is naturally protective of him, since they were both infants.  (They are literally one year and two days apart in age).  You needed to be between the ages of 6-11 and my Dusty is only 4 years old. 

Dev helping Dono out!

Getting to the park to enroll them was proving to be difficult, but my good friend Dalilah offered to sign them up for me.  I am truly grateful to her.  You had three sessions to choose from, and two time frames.  I chose the second session from 6:15 pm -7:15 pm.  I knew I was pushing it being that I get off of work at 5 pm, but I knew that this was a great opportunity for them both. 

The first day of the classes ended up being a cloudy day and it drizzled on and off.  (Check out on day two the weather was amazing and I was super excited for them to get started.  But there was a little drama caused because I took my Donomite through the ladies locker room.  I had to keep repeating myself to all the staff that he was autistic and that I couldn't let him go through the men's locker room alone.  But, we made it through and they loved every minute of it.  I was afraid of how my Dono would engage.  Once the class began I was in complete awe. He sat along the poolside with all the other children and he followed all the commands. 

Parents weren't allowed poolside I was forced to watch from above and not hover or constantly speak for him.  I did notice that Dev was very attentive and I can tell when she was speaking for him, but that wasn't very often, because my Donomite kept up with the others most of the lesson.  The next ten days were just as equally uplifting.  The weather and his health kept him from a couple of lessons, and we almost missed the last day.  He had been sick and the following day it rained and the class was cancelled.  That Friday his school called and said he was throwing up, but my mom called in the middle of the day and said that he seemed better and wanted to go to the pool.  So I decided we would. And I am so thankful that we did.  What I experienced that evening was amazing!  I was so proud of my two.

For the last day they were taken to the diving pool, which is 11 feet deep and initially they jumped in with noodles to keep them afloat.  But the final part they were to jump in alone.  There was a lifeguard in the water waiting and one by the diving board.  I was full of so many emotions.  A little scared, but for some reason I just knew that they would do well.  Dono went up first and I admit that I held my breath, but when I saw his little head come up out of the water, and that huge smile on his face I exhaled and began to cheer him on.  He stuck his little hand out of the water and waved.  his eyes focused on my with the camera (my little ham).  He swam all the way to the edge all alone, with no help from anyone!  I was so happy, I cried!  Tears of joy ran down my face and I ran to him and hugged him.  Showered him with kisses and cheers for a great job.  There were lots of high Fives!!!!


Then my Diva Dev was up and what I say from her was Olympic swimming potential.  She had great form and was fast a lighting!  She was just as amazing as her brother.  I am so thankful that I went against my decision not to go.  I am always my children's biggest cheerleader, but on that Friday evening I was so full of joy at their accomplishments.

 I am thankful to my fellow Warrior Mom Melissa Garcia for the opportunity and Dalilah for being able to sign them up for me.  And  I am also very thankful to the Life Guards who helped make it happen, they made an effort to keep my Donomite engaged!!!

Check out the Video!!!!


My Swimming Donomite

My Swimming Diva Dev 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

When it comes a knocking.. Open up!!!

This is my Dev! She is 8 years old with the soul of middle aged diva!  She was diagnosed with Dyslexia this past November.  For as long as we can remember Dev has struggled with Reading and writing.  This summer, I was given the opportunity to enroll dev in an amazing school for children with learning disabilities.  This is Dev the morning of her last day of her Summer program.

Dev works hard in school.  Her 2nd grade teacher said that Dev was the hardest working student in her class, and if it wasn't for Dyslexia, should would be top of the class.  But mornings are always full of protest and excuses as to why she shouldn't go to school.  I have to say this past month, she has been very cooperative.  She's had a moment or two, but for the most part very willing.  
I would love for her to be able to attend in September, but unfortunately my pockets aren't full.  I just pray that she takes whatever they taught her this summer and brings it with her.