Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Blog Lovin

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I am such a newbie to this whole blogging thing.  I just joined bloglovin!!!  Please bare with me as I learn the ins and outs to blogging.  I started blogging as a form of therapy for me.  The other form of therapy was shoe shopping and that was becoming very expensive!!!!

Stop by and check out my life as a woman on a road to healthier living, wife to my childhood sweetheart, and mother to my 3 amazing Children.  With Autism, Dyslexia and a 4 year old, you never know what you're gonna get!!!!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sometimes you have to step back..

(I wrote this Friday night, while I sat in the park and watched my children being children.  Laughing, loving and being happy.  I loved every minute of it...)

Tonight's blog I write while I sit in a neighborhood park and watch my kids play. My Donomite, content with the sprinklers.  My Devynn swinging high on the swings, and my Dusty fast as lightening, as he runs all over.  I am in complete awe of their innocence.  They are carefree and full of happiness.  I understand now, why my mom always said not to rush growing up.  She said to enjoy being a kid, don't rush. It will come soon enough and then time will fly. 

I am a mother of three, but I am far from perfect or knowing it all.  Lately I have been trying new things. Like tonight.  I'm sitting on a bench and the kids are in different areas of the park.  Dev and Dusty are on one side and Dono is in the sprinkler getting wet.  Normally I would be right by Dono's side.  I'm always afraid of letting him run loose.  I usually hover over him and watch him very closely.  Going to the park in the past has been torture for me.  I worry about him, are kids going to tease him or is he going to run off.  

Tonight I watched my Dono and I saw how happy he was.  He wasn't worried about people staring.  He flapped, he made his sounds and hit his chin.  All with the biggest of smiles. He is oblivious to the crazy, evil and dangers of this world we live in.   I asked myself who does Autism affect more? As a mother or parent you naturally worry about the well being of your child, disability or not.  

I would love to live forever in this moment.  I am in an average park, having an amazing moment.  

As I wrap up my blog.  I look over.  All three are at the swings.  Dev is swinging all on her own.  Dusty is sitting on the swing he is the youngest.  And there he was my Donomite, right behind his little brother, pushing him on the swing.  My phone died so I wasn't able to capture the moments, but you better believe that the mental pics are just as amazing!!!

(I was able to get these pics before my phone died) 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

No Time For That...

There was a time in my life when things that some people said would upset me.  I spent a lot of my life especially growing up seeking acceptance or searching for a way to "fit in".  

I didn't know it then, but I know now that I had really low self esteem.  I have my ideas of where it may have stemmed from, but in hindsight, none of that matters.  It took a lot for me to get where I'm at and I have had to let lots of things and people go.  Many ties have been severed.  Some are hanging by a very very thin thread.  There was a time where I would have done everything and anything to try and mend it.  But, now I truly feel if its meant to be, it will mend itself.  

Being a mother to children with special needs is a role that I didn't ask for, and I really didn't have a choice, but I take great pride in it.  My children are worth all my time and effort.  Not someone who or something that doesn't have enough self respect or decency in taking care of themselves.  I have no time for that!!!! I have better things to spend my time on!  Here they are... 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I'm Smiling Mommy

Yesterday was supposed to be the first day of swimming classes for my Donomite and Dev.  Unfortunately mother nature has been pretty pissy lately and decided to have a moment right before the class was going to begin.   As the kids were walking towards the pool, there was a loud boom of thunder.  I heard and hoped the lifeguards didn't.  But, the expressions on their faces showed that they had.  Class was cancelled.  Policy is that if they hear thunder they must wait 45 minutes.

I am sure all the other children were disappointed.  Dev and one of her BFFs who is also taking the class were, but they understood that is wasn't safe and they would come back tomorrow.  NOT MY DONOMITE!!! He  was devastated.  The class being cancelled caused a MAJOR meltdown.  He started to cry and protest.  He refused to leave he wanted to win the race.  I tried my best to soothe him and reassure him we would be back.  After a few more minutes, I said "Dono, if you continue to cry, we won't come back tomorrow"  He replied while wiping his tears, "Okay mommy, I'm smiling.  I'm smiling mommy". 

I love my Donomite, and I know that there will be tons of disappointments and meltdowns.  But as long as he can smile, I will smile too! 

Yesterday, was an eye opener for me.  In fact this summer has been amazing.  I am seeing him grow and begin to mature some.  He is engaging and trying to play with children other than his siblings, cousins, and classmates.  He is still socially awkward and doesn't really understand social cues, but he is doing more than what he was before. I usually hold him with a death grip and am very afraid to let him go.  But lately I have been loosening up my grip and actually allowing him to go out on his own, (With my eyes on him the entire time).  I love to watch him play in the sprinkler and in the park.  Seeing him swim and jump around.  He strengthens my hopes and fuels me to continue fighting for what he needs. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Would you like Rice with that Ketchup?

It's not just rice.  It's just about anything my Donomite eats. He must drown it in ketchup.  Not sure when or how it started, but he loves it.  On white rice (which is the only kind of rice he eats) fries, any kind of meat even on bacon!!!

He's always had a pretty good appetite. But he is very particular.  He loves fruit, especially strawberries. He's gained a lot of weight in a very short period of time.  The doctors are always telling me to cut down his food intake.  When I open my mouth to respond, I get that look of you're the parent he is the child.  YEAH! Very true!!! I am the adult.  But Donovan has very sporadic sleeping patterns, and he wakes up in the middle of the night and raids the kitchen.  It is why I try and keep only healthy snacks in the house. BUT! Donovan can eat a whole sack of tangerines, a basket of strawberries or a bag of apples by himself.  Too much of a good thing isn't good!

I do as the doctors say and I try to monitor his intake, but he is sneaky and If I turn my back for a minute, he is in the kitchen making himself a sandwich, or heating something up in the microwave.  We have even tried locking the fridge. But he managed to pop the lock.  Donovan has always tried to do things on his own.  I have always appreciated his want for independence, but it also made therapies difficult, because he wanted to do his own things. The stuff he enjoyed to do. 

I try to keep my Donomite active.  We go out to the park to ride his bike.  He rides for like 5 sec intervals and then he sits down.  He seemed really excited about basketball, but the season ended. (I have never been so excited for September in my life).  He likes to play with the xbox Kinect. He has major sensory issues and the Kinect is great for him.  It allows him to use his body to play the game.  He helps him with his stimming a bit.  Now that it is summer we go swimming at the beach or pool a lot.  He loves the water.  So much that he doesn't want to come out and eat.  But he does get out, he wants a sandwich ASAP!!!

How do you deal with your child's appetite or lack of?   

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Child Care Blessings

When I moved into the condo complex we currently live in almost 8 eight years ago, I had already had my daughter Devynn. She was about 22 months old, and Dono was just about 8 months old.  At the time  Dev was going to sitter about 25 blocks away from where we live and Dono was with my mom, while my husband and i worked. I would have loved to stay home with my kids the first 2 years, but that was not an option.  We needed the two incomes from my hubby and me.  

My hubby sold his smaller car and was looking to purchase a van to accommodate our growing family.  His commute was more complicated so I gave him my car and traveled on the good old MTA, until he could find what he was looking for.  The hubby would drop the kids off and I'd pick them up afterwork, being he works 11:30 am to 8:00 pm and most times would get off later due to being stuck at a job.  The up and down, back and forth began to take a toll on me.  

One Friday evening after getting off at 5 pm, taking the train to the sitter and a bus home. I Walk from the bus to my moms and then finally to my apartment. On my way home, I bumped into one of the porters for the complex.  I asked him if he knew anyone who took care of children.  He said he knew of two.  One he was almost positive wasnt taking on anymore, but that he would reach out to the other.  About 15 minutes after I asked I hear a knock on my door.  It was the porter, he said the woman wanted to meet me.  So I packed up my kiddos and walked over to her apartment.  She asked me what I was looking for exactly.  I described what I needed and we talked some.  She told me she needed time to think about it.  I thanked her for her time and returned home.  I left hoping she would say yes.  The vibe and aura I got from her, was amazing!  I knew that she would be perfect. 

That Saturday, as I was folding laundry and cleaning I heard a knock.  It was the woman.  She had made her decision.  She was willing to take them!!!! YES!!!! 

Finding a stranger who can love and care for children as if they were their own, is rare. I thank God he brought this woman and her family into our lives.  My children love and respect them as if they were blood.  She's had my youngest Dusty since he was 2 months old.  And I wouldn't have had it any other way.  I love, respect her, her husband and her amazing children.  I have been truly blessed.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I met a 21 year old Autistic Boy this past Saturday in a store called Deals.  It was my first time shopping in one.  I had heard so much about it I wanted to see what the hype was.  I took my time strolling through each isle, checking out the merchandise and exploring.  As I was coming out of one isle and making my way to the next, out came this young man with one of the brightest smiles, I had ever seen.  He walked right up to me with his cart and said to me "Hi, come with me" Without hesitation I immediately followed.  I saw my Donomite in him, and I felt a tug at my heart.  "Which would you like?" he asked and I was instantly brought back to the present.  He was pointing to a display of assorted nuts.  I quickly responded with "Awe, Thank you, but I don't want any nuts today."  I was in awe of him.  I wanted to continue talking to him.  I felt a stare and looked past him down the isle and saw a woman with a look that was all so familiar to me.  I quickly responded with "It's okay,  I totally understand, my son is 7"  My response was followed by a look of relief and I saw her body relax.  The young man and I continued to talk and I asked the woman how old he was and she said "he's 21".  This excited him and he started to announce his age and that his birthday was going to be soon.  He talked about his job and a few other things.  I couldn't keep my eyes off of him as he spoke and I felt a warmth and comfort in talking to him.  I envisioned my Donomite at 21 having the same conversation.  We said our goodbyes and he began to walk off.  By now my husband had found me and witnessed our interaction.  I looked at him and knew right away he was thinking and feeling the same way I was.  "Hey what's your Name?" I turned to look.  "Lizette, what's yours?"  and he came right back to talk some more.  I was amazed by his willingness to engage and socialize.  He even said hello to my husband and shook both of our hands before he walked off. 

I often sit and wonder what will become of my Donomite in the future. Most times my anxiety begins to set in, because of the uncertainty of it all.  But somehow meeting the young man, I have a bit more peace.  I am so thankful I walked into that Deals, I not only walked out with a whole bunch of stuff for dirt cheap, but I walked out with a amazing experience, an amazing memory, hope, and  peace of mind. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Autism Mothers' Bond

In the beginning when we suspected that my Donomite may be Autistic, I felt helpless and alone.  I had no one to guide me or point me in the right direction.  I was lucky with those I was appointed and I think it helped that I pushed for a psychologist to asses him.  It showed that I was aware and determined, truth is I really didn't have a clue.  I just knew what I'd heard briefly on the news.  A story of a little boy who was 7 non verbal, and missed out on Early Intervention because of red tape and the parents continuous moving.  And of course movies such as Rainman.  

As I continued down the yellow brick road searching for the Grand Wizard of Oz, like Dorothy, I have encountered so many amazing individuals.  Some in person, others through social media, everyone's story is theirs but one thing is for certain a special bond that is shared between Autism moms and Autism Dads.  We know that look, we know what they feel and felt. And most of all, Don't you dare mess with their babies!!!! Cause we will unleash a wrath you wouldn't believe.  

A fellow mom shared this photo with me on Instagram.  We had crossed paths, but it was Instagram that brought us together.  I am very thankful it did!  But the truth is, I would have the same respect and admiration for her had we had never met in person!  Because we shared the same journey.  We may not have started out on that yellow brick road together, but we have traveled the same road, searching for the answers!  

Date Night!

Being a mom of three, two children having a disability (Autism and Dyslexia)  and working a full time job can be exhausting.  Juggling work, appointments and a marriage, sometimes I wonder how I keep going. 

Friday, I had a huge busing scare that put both myself and the hubby in a panic. I was pretty exhausted once I was able to calm down.  The hubby called and asked if I would like to go out and eat.  SHOCKING!!! But it was music to my ears.  I then asked where. Having three kids and going out to a restaurant sometimes leaves your choices quite limited.  Especially on a Friday night.  He took the initiative and asked his sister if she would stay with the kids while we went out to have a bite to eat. And she said yes, bring them over!  YAY!!!!!!   I quickly freshened up threw on my red pumps!  We dropped the kids off,  hopped in the car and went to eat.  We ordered some Pina Coladas and began to unwind.  We laughed, I cried, and we stuffed our faces with food.  It was great!  I felt young again.  Just like when we were teens and falling in love.  After dinner we went across the street to a bar to have a couple more cocktails, and bumped into another fellow Warrior Mom whose son Also has Autism.  Again we laughed and drank and bumped into a few more familiar faces.  We got a text from his sister saying "Pick up the kids tomorrow they fell asleep" Definitely a HOME RUN kinda evening. 

Saturday, I was able to lay in bed with no interruptions.  I woke up only because I had to use the bathroom (TMI Sorry) I didn't wake up with a tiny foot digging into my back, No screaming kids, no Mommy this Mommy that.  Just complete silence.  Had breakfast in bed and some more alone time with the hubby. It felt good to talk to one another and to also be able to lay still without someone else fighting for either of us attention.  Eventually the hubby had Honey do chores over at my mom's house so I then had THE WHOLE HOUSE to MYSELF!!!! I felt like I hit the lottery!!! This was awesome.  I was able to shower in peace, clean up and get the kids clothes so I could pick them up.

I know that when you become a parent, your children are your priority,  but also remember that your children will eventually grow up and move out.  You and your significant other must always work on keeping the romance and relationship together.  I have read and heard others criticize mothers or fathers who go out together or separately and leave their kiddies at home.  Don't!  Moments like these are necessary.  It makes you a better parent., a better spouse, It helps you maintain your sanity and recharge your batteries.  It helps to appreciate your spouse and your children.   But most of all it gives you a sense of self, and helps you know that you are loved and appreciated as well! 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The negligent bus!!!

So, yesterday I had the biggest scare of my life!!! My mom called me and asked where was Donovan.  Doesn't sound scary, right?  I know!!! But wait!!! Donovan gets dropped off at my mom's house Afterschool.  Apparently, the bus hadnt arrived, so my mom, calls the bus driver and asks when were they dropping him off.  He then responds by saying that Donovan wasn't at school and he isn't on the bus. He asked her if I'd picked him up.  My mom told him that he was in school and that I hadn't picked him up.  The driver then told my mom that he would go back to the school and see if he was still there.  

Now my mom calls me, as I'm driving back from getting Devynn from her Summer Program.  I felt so many emotions all at one time.  I was outraged,  and terrified.  Devynn heard and began to freak out and ask questions I didn't have the answers to.  How am I going to tell my husband Dono is missing?!  

I proceed to call his school, the person who answered sound confused.  She was positive he was put on the bus.  But she put me on hold.  She had to call me back.  Soooo not the answer I wanted.  All these thoughts and images of my child started running through my mind.  

I called my husband right after and tried to make sense of it.  He did his best to calm me and I tried to keep it together, not to freak him out.   

Minutes felt like hours.  And I still didn't know where he was.  THEN!!!! BAM!!!! No I didn't crash!!! Worse then that TRAFFIC!   Why me?! Just when I was about to crack!!! I didn't know how to keep it together anymore! My phone rings! It's my mom! The driver called and Donovan had been on the bus the ENTIRE time! Now I was both relieved and outraged!  

These are the moments that cause my anxieties.  And keeps me in awe.  What happens when I'm not around, but yet through it all Dono was oblivious.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mommy Senses!!

As soon as my daughter turned 3 she asked us to put her in school. She literally begged until I gave in and began to look for a school that would accept her.  I looked up daycares in the area, but most were full and the waiting list were years long.  Not to mention the tuition or fees you had to pay.  It was a lot cheaper to keep her with the babysitter.  Which I didn't mind because my sitter is AWESOME!!!!! But, she really wanted to go to school.  I finally decided to call St Jerome's School.  (Everyone in my family with the exception of me attended it.  My grandfather, my mom, sisters, brother and my niece.)  I explained my situation to lovely, beautiful and intelligent administrative assistant on staff at the time.  She asked me a few questions.  Was she potty trained, did I think she was ready?) She was potty trained, and I felt she was ready.  So they had me bring her in for a meeting and to asses if they agreed.

After the meeting they all agreed that she was indeed ready to be in a classroom.  So they accepted her with the exception that she would attend pre-k twice due to her age.  I accepted and we enrolled her for Pre-K.  That September I took her to her first day of school.  She didn't even cry when it was time to separate from the parents and go inside.  Nope, not my little girl.  She was a trooper.  In fact she looked at the other children puzzled as to why they were crying and holding onto the moms' and dads'.  She adjusted well, made friends.  A couple of months into the fall semester, Devynn began to complain she didn't like school she didn't want to go.  Mornings were difficult getting her and dressed to leave for school.  I couldn't understand what was going on.  I thought maybe she was tired.    When it came time for parent/teachers conference, the teacher told me that she was doing well, but that she doesn't really make Devynn, do a lot because she is young and will be repeating again next year.  She told me about Devynn complaining she was tired, or that her head hurt.  So she would let her put her down or take a nap.  She also mentioned that waking her up was one of the most difficult things to do.  She would still protest in the mornings.  I found this odd, because what kid didn't want to color, and play with friends.  The year went quickly and Devynn was excited to get back to school to see her friends, after the break.

We did the same thing the following September, and again she went in like a champ. But this time she did look back for longer and didn't look as gun ho, like the year before.  We went through the motions, mornings were always difficult.  She didn't want to get up, and she didn't want to go to school.  This continued the rest of the year.  Finally we had her moving up ceremony and she was on her way to kindergarten.  Woo hoo!!!!

Again, parents know the ritual no school July to September.  So here came September and the start of kindergarten.  Now she had to wear a uniform.  And she was sooo excited about getting to wear a dress (uniform romper) vs. sweats.  (Yeah, she is a bit of a diva.)  Things seemed to be going well, homework time was decent and painless.    But, I kept getting general notices in her backpack saying that parents should work on letter sounds and sight words.  AND WE DID!!!! Devynn never really seemed to retain any of it and this worried me.  More so she showed no interest either.  As the year went by, and I met with the teacher.  She said that Devynn was doing well and that we needed to continue working on the letter sounds etc.  BUT!!! Those Mommy senses where taking over my body and I KNEW something wasn't right.  I asked to meet with the teacher and I expressed my concerns and I requested that Devynn be evaluated.  She didn't think it was necessary.  I met with the principal, the guidance counselor and her teacher.  We discussed Devynn hating school, not being interested in her work and decided that maybe she should meet with the Guidance Counselor one on one.  They thought maybe Devynn was seeking attention and may need some sort of therapy.  But the Counselor thought Devynn was okay.  So I insisted that she be evaluated and they sent in the request. 

I was contacted by the board of education and a date was set for her evaluation.  We met with a social worker and then a psychologist pulled Devynn from the meeting to work with her.  After the meeting was over, my husband and I sat outside in the waiting area for Devynn to finish.  The social worker brought her out and discussed the session. She said that Devynn was very bright and that she was even doing first grade work.  She suggested that maybe it was the school that she wasn't happy with. 

I put a lot of thought into this.  Here I am paying for her to attend a catholic school and she is retaining or learning anything.  The class was overcrowded and I Devynn wasn't getting any special attention.  It was clear that she wouldn't be attending catholic school the following September.  That June I started the process of transferring her out of catholic into the public school up the block from us.  We were all excited, especially Devynn.  She got new school clothes and supplies!!!! These were the highlight of her going to a new school!!!! At the orientation, I sat in the auditorium and I listened to what they had to offer.  At the end of the lecture part I introduced myself to the principal and began to quiz her about extended day and services.  I mentioned that I was concerned about Devynn and her reading and she assured me that if there was anything wrong they would assess it and get her help she needed. 

The first week or so the teacher met with each student and assessed what levels they were at. And my Devynn was way behind.  I continued to work hard with Devynn and became very familiar with her teacher.  At one of the parent teacher meetings I let her know that I was concerned that Devynn may have a learning disability.  She assured me that she thought Devynn was okay, but that she would keep a close eye on her.  She had promotion in doubt for most of the year, but some how managed to pull it through and make it to second grade. 

And it began Second grade.  Devynn was assessed and she had dropped two reading levels.  She went from being a level I/J  back to an E/F.  Homework was torture this year.  Not just for her but for me.  I couldn't understand why she wasn't retaining the work.  I began to think she was just lazy, and got angry.  I mean EVERYONE thought she was FINE!!!! up until now.  I wrote to her teacher and told her that I thought Devynn had a learning disability.  She responded by saying.  I understand and I will support you in your decisions!!!  Just like that I felt like the skies had opened up and the Angels were singing!!!! I proceeded to get Devynn assessed.

The psychologist met with her and the set up the IEP meeting to discuss the assessment.  At first I had to admit.  The Autism Mom in me was ready for it!  I had my game face on and asking questions, like How come I haven't received a copy of the report.  Why don't know what was the outcome of her assessment.  and the meeting began and Devynn's teacher was missing. Ugh!!! They called her and apparently she was never notified of the IEP meeting.  This was the most awkward and non productive IEP meeting I have ever had.  The psychologist talked in a very monotone voice and I began to drift off.  Until I saw that Devynn's teacher was talking now.  and She Said " Devynn is the hardest working student in my classroom.  She does all her homework, comes into class and starts her work immediately.  I child that works as hard as she does, she be way more advanced than she is"  YES!!!! I loved this woman and she didn't even know it!!!! The meeting continued and it was my time to speak. I expressed Devynn's situation and how I believed that she may have a learning disability.  I went on to tell them all my reasons why.  The psychologist then proceeded to discuss his evaluation and assessment.  As I listened, I wanted to push a button and hit fast forward.  I needed to know!  And there it was............. "I believe Devynn has dyslexia"  I let out the biggest exhale.  My fears and concerns were true.  I was right.  My princess had a learning disability, and there was the guilt!!! I felt so horrible and happy at the same time.  Horrible that I got angry and thought she was being lazy and happy that now I knew what was wrong and we could start working on getting her help. 

I can go on and tell you all about the HOT MESS of an IEP meeting it was, but instead.  I will leave you with this!!! Always go with you Gut!  If something doesn't sit well or just doesn't seem okay.  Get your child assessed.  Just like I learned with my Donomite and the whole process of getting him diagnosed.  We have to advocate for our children.  With or without disabilities.  We need to be involved and join forces with the teachers.  They aren't against us.  in fact she was happy that I spoke up and got devynn assessed.  She said the school listens more to a concerned parent than a concerned teacher.  Sucks, but it is what it is and it takes a village to raise a child!