Showing posts from 2017

To Be or Not To Be...Politically Correct

I am super excited because I have a lot of friends finally feeling like they can come to me with the hard questions regarding having a child with autism. I always will say if you have met a child with autism, you know one child with autism. They call it a spectrum but I have decided, its like a rainbow. There are so many colors. There is so much autism encompasses that one can not totally understand every aspect, even when they are down and dirty in the trenches and we are currently DOWN and DIRTY!

Today as I cleaned my house from top to bottom anxiously anticipating meeting my sister and niece and nephew a message came to me in my Facebook Messenger. As much as I *hate* social media, I also find it to be a great avenue to help when used appropriately (more on that later). The question posed to me was what to call a child who is on the autism spectrum? It seemed to me that the individual asking was in close proximity to a child with autism but is afraid to step on toes. Whose toes? Pe…

How Does Autism Manifest in Serrie?

The other day a dear friend, one I have known since college and left in Michigan texted and asked how autism manifests in Seraphina. I wanted to respond instantly but honestly the wheels started spinning and I couldn't put it into words in a simple text. As I sat in bed this morning sipping hot coffee and reading a blog post from fellow ASD momma, faithmummy, I realized it manifests in so many ways. I also realized the words that she wrote resonated within and while my child isn't her child, my sentiments as of late are the same she feels. It doesn't just manifest in Serrie, it manifests in all of us. I began to scroll through my phone pictures and realized Serrie having autism impacts us all in each of our daily lives. That impact isn't all negative but none the less it changes each moment of every day.

It impacts us when she wakes screaming because someone looked at her or got to close. It impacts me and causes me to feel as if there are nails on a chalkboard from th…


According to wikipedia, inclusion education is defined as "an approach to educating students with special educational needs. Under the inclusion model, students with special needs spend most or all of their time with non-special needs students. ... By contrast, inclusion is about the child's right to participate and the school's duty to accept the child.

I read this and think about my child, other children I know and how inclusion is an amazing concept but has miles to go, not because of children but because of parents.

I am scared. Scared about our society in general but more scared about the lack of knowledge and understanding so many have about disabilities and inclusion. I have had parents unaware of the fact I have a disabled child say they don't want their child in "that class" or parents who are quick to believe "not my child" when it comes to having a child with a disability.

First, I have always been open to inclusion. My mom was educating in…

Just A Ballot (probably not going to win me any friends)

Years ago, I saw voting as "just a ballot". It was immaturity, my being unaware and just plain too self absorbed to worry about much. Our nation is a mess and while I can't make statements to our major governments, the local government, specifically the school board has come under fire in recent years.

Last year there was a new budget proposal. The proposal had the potential to cut many sports leaving many people up in arms about how the district was being handled. At the time, we were new to the district and had yet to have a child in the regional district so I didn't feel the impact as much.

In the past year, I have changed. In so many ways. I have started to stand up for my beliefs and trying to agree to fit in has been less on my mind than it has been in my 37 years prior. With children ranging the gamut of gifted to special needs, interested in sports to interest in drama, I feel I see the "BIG" picture. I also feel as a former college athlete (my husba…


Last week my birth father visited with his wife, both are kind. They have a heart of gold and my birth father's wife is a gift for allowing me to learn more about who I am genetically, who I was initially and how I may have qualities of someone I never knew. The days that we shared had so much good.  It was moments of connecting that we had never experienced. Just a little over a month ago, he learned of my existence and instead of pushing me away, he welcomed me and my family into his heart. As we talked, we shared as much as we could about our 38 year absence. When he arrived I had photo albums. We went through all my parents did for me. They have always given me all they can. I am blessed to be their daughter.

Over the weekend, we tried to share so much. One night, we sat. As we chatted, my husband began to cast videos of our children from years ago so they could watch their new grandchildren in their early years.

Each year passed. First, there was our oldest as a toddler and o…

Manual Please????

I am behind.

In everything.

I want to catch up.

My flower beds need work.

My doors need to be scrubbed and I want to sit and begin three writing projects that I have swirling within me.

Here I sit. Worried. Scared. Sad and wondering.

Begging for a manual.

Its not for autism this time. Strangely, that seems it will make this middle school journey easier.

Its not for the school itself. Its awesome. The teachers are amazing and I was impressed at back to school night.

Its for me. Or for me to learn how to help my child.

Middle School, it was a horrendous time for me. I have shared all the details before but I wasn't cute or funny and I wasn't cool. I was smart but played dumb so others would like me. Middle School changed me. Seventh grade my world turned in ways that I never expected and today I cannot forget. I was pantsed in the hallway and it continues to haunt me. I stood outside Mrs. Moffa's Science Class after lunch and he did it. He pantsed me. As everyone stood stari…

To My Daughter's Daytime Mommy

I always wondered what it would be like to be in a classroom with inclusion. When I was a child, it wasn't done. When my mom taught as I grew, it was introduced and now, its in almost every classroom at many schools. I always wondered what other kids thought about it. Did they know who the child's aides were? Did they understand why they were there? What if children thought they were mean or scary and the little ones couldn't share their feelings.

For me, I know at our district we are blessed. I have more than fallen in love with every aide and paraprofessional I have encountered. I have watched, when my oldest was young and sat in awe as they carefully lead students to where they needed to be with kindness and compassion. I looked on when kids were struggling and saw their eyes moisten knowing that the child was hurting. I knew our district was doing the best they could but I still wondered do the children see what I see?

Now that I am a parent of a child with special nee…


**I want to note this did NOT happen to me nor did this happen in our district. I am friends with the PTA Board and NONE would allow such terrible behavior.****

This is the face of a disabled child. She looks typical, right? She's not. She is anything but typical. She is bright, funny and usually a happy child. She thrives on having a set schedule. She loves to be cuddled. She needs to sleep with her hand touching someone to feel safe. She has horrible sensory issues. During a meltdown, her eyes are somewhere else. She is somewhere else and there is NOTHING I can do to comfort her. She has attended her school for an entire year. She just began her second year and SHE IS LOVED. She is loved by her teachers. She is loved by her aides. She is loved by administration. Its easily seen. Its seen in their smile as they watch her. Its seen in their interactions with her. It is seen as she is gently carried out of school on her first full day when the hours were just a little too long and…

Birthday Shopping

Today I went Birthday Shopping for Seraphina. Its those moments when I see her disability as a painful reminder of what she isn't. Luckily my husband was by my side pointing out the positive points of her delayed growth.

Four years ago today, I was already overdue waiting for Seraphina to make her entrance. Typical with all my pregnancies, she was late. I waited. I wondered. I wanted her to be there but knowing it was most likely my last pregnancy, I tried to live in the moment, relish every kick and realize the gift of carrying a child within my womb. The miracle of life is a true blessing and each pregnancy I continued to realize that.

Just a week from now, we will celebrate the anniversary of her birth. Her birth is one that I will remember in its entirety. Beginning the night before her arrival I headed to the hospital knowing it was the time of her birth. As I was not in active labor I was sent home to labor at home. I did. For hours. My husband woke and went to work. My mom …

All About Me

One of my big tips for new parents with kiddos attending school especially for those who are less verbal is to let the teachers and entire team know as much as possible about the kiddo. Last year I wrote a very long list of everything from favorite songs to how to calm Miss Seraphina down. This year her teachers all know her and so I took another direction. Here is an example of a letter from your child to his or her teacher so they know what to expect.

Good Morning,

My name is Seraphina and I will be in your classes and therapies again this year. I am looking forward to school as I have missed a schedule this last week while I didn't have school or camp. Lately my mom says I need a strict schedule to make me feel comfortable. If you could share the schedule with her as soon as you have it so she can review it with me each morning, I would appreciate it.
This summer I enjoyed ESY and my mom says it was great for me. I really missed my teachers while I was off in August. I even asked …

Where Do I Begin?

Its been 38 years. In those 38 years, I have grown from an infant to an adult with so much in between. I had two amazing life guides, I call them mom and dad. As you learned in my previous posts, there were two others. They stood in the shadows as my parents watched and lived the good, the bad and the ugly (and there were some ugly parts). In the end, when I reflect, I realize how very blessed I am. I have so much. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. First, my birthmother. She chose life when life was difficult to choose. My presence in her life was an embarrassment and she endured being sent away and giving me life on her own in a world so large. As I grew, she wondered. She worried. She hoped.

He never knew.

He wished he did. I wished he did too.

So he knows now, those questions I had, who did I look like? Where did I get my eyes?

I know.

Him. Not only did I get them, my sister did too.

There is so much he missed and I want to share but where do I begin and how do I get to know hi…

About that Baby

Before I was a mom, I was a wife. Before I was a wife, I was a child. My childhood was the one movies are made of...a tiny baby arrives in the world and placed lovingly up for adoption. This little adoptee with a bead of sweat gathering on her nose was scooped up just 8 weeks later by a husband and wife that only ever dreamed of being parents. That was the beginning of dance classes, school, family, sports, horses and life as a young child may know it. By about 12, the little babe that was once cradled so carefully by a loving mother struggled knowing she was adopted and wondered where she came from. 
In time, she met the mother who chose life, and soon after the family that supported her in that decision. For years, they developed a relationship that grew and that mother gained that daughter she had lovingly placed years ago.
That daughter still did not feel complete. She wondered. Where did she get her eyes? Did anyone else have a sulfa allergy? Why was she blind as a bat? When her …

Take it In

Kids are running from ride to ride with sticky fingers anxiously handing the Gillian's  employee their tickets as they jump into seats with sun kissed cheeks and bright smiles. I sit watching, taking it all in, breathing in the joy they feel as their sun screened bodies glisten in the sun. I listen to the laughter, the horns sounding, the bells ringing and try to take it all in.

I am taking it all in for you moms. I see you, tired, lugging bags, counting your change and dolling out tickets to open hands. I see you trying to smile as you add up the cost in your head looking for the nearest ATM. I hear you saying "just one more ride" as your little one prances about begging for more rides on the Frogs or perhaps another spin on the Carousel. You say "yes". I hear an emphatic "yay"  little hands clasped with excitement against your sweet little ones chest.

While I take it all in, I think back to what I didn't notice with my own kids. I realize I didn…

Given Permission to be Ordinary

I just got my oldest child's login for middle school. I won't lie, I am at a loss as to how we got to middle school so quickly. I still remember carrying her home on the frigid January day in 2005. I remember the first few weeks of raising that colicky baby and the many firsts my firstborn had. I had visions. I had dreams. I had expectations.

Expectations are something that fail me time and time again, yet as a human I fall into the trap of expecting things to happen. In my life, in my husbands life and my children's lives.

When Simone was 6 months old, I eagerly enrolled her in swim lessons. She had long arms and legs and her feet rivaled Michael Phelps. I was certain by kindergarten we would be clocking her times in the pool at swim meets but after the second lesson where my baby squealed and screamed as if she was in pain I was offered my money back--not to come. This could have been foreshadowing of what was to come but instead of being swayed, I continued to have exp…

I Wish I Hadn't Judged, Now I Understand

I wish before my youngest child was born that I knew what parents of children with disabilites were going through, not because I could take away your pain, frustration or sadness but because I could be there like my own village was today.

You see, years ago, I thought I got parenting. I had a child with sensory issues. I thought I knew it all. In reality, I knew nothing. In reality, I still don't. I know the reality of my daughters disabilities and her struggles. I can tell you when she is going to melt down and why. Sometimes I can even prevent her meltdowns or struggles in life. I don't pretend to know the struggle it is to walk in your shoes, because I put on a different pair. We all do as parents. We all have shoes that are filled with struggles. Is it our child's physical, mental, spiritual growth? Does our child not fit in? Is our child the child the school bully? We all wear shoes that have the opportunity to allow us to be more understanding, more open, more lovin…

Bio Medi What?????

This past year has been a whirlwind of emotions that have gotten me to new highs and lows I never dreamed of and in doing so its allowed me to be more understanding, more aware and more open. We all know I am pretty transparent but when I say "open" I mean it in terms of making choices to learn more about alternatives in parenting and medicine.

For years I have been a borderline crunchy mama. I call it crispy or toasty. We use a lot of natural products including essential oils and natural cleaning supplies, but having a husband who is a toxicologist, I am also very aware of the necessary medicines and chemicals that all begin as natural products from our environment that can be detrimental or beneficial depending on how they are used.

As the school year came to a close I was wiped out and exhausted. I felt like our sweet Serrie was at a plateau and though she was moving forward academically, behaviorally I was at a loss. I was at such a loss that I had even told one of her i…

Learning to Let Go

I am a Type A person.

I like control.

I like to be in control. Its one reason I don't fly. I am obviously better equipped (and safer) to fly a plane than a highly trained pilot. Right?


I also don't really want to let others "do my job".

I chose to have all these kids. I dreamed of being a parent but that dream never had clips of a child with a disability. It also never had clips of 5 kids. Sure, growing up I had diaries with baby names. They all began with the letter "K" and I knew I would marry and stay in quaint Ridgefield. None of that came true...except the dream of being a parent sans the disability.

I don't have any "K" names and I don't live in quaint Ridgefield married to my best friend whom I had a pact with if we both didn't find another soul mate (he found a great girl, I found an amazing man).

When we came to New Jersey, that Type A Chick checked in and turned away so many. I was good enough at setting up some crazy …

Its the Little Things

This week has been exhausting. Outside of the normal end of the year stuff; teacher gifts, parties, graduation prep, recycling, organizing, cleaning and prepping for the summer I had tried to reach out and help someone in need. I am the first to admit I LIKE to help others. I live to help others and I feel good helping others but what happens when your can't help anymore and you feel like a failure? You feel guilt. That guilt paired with the fact that our third born was struggling to find her place in the family and causing a disruption at every curve, I was exhausted. When you add in the prep for the upcoming ESY, summer programs, therapies, summer camps, VBS, Swim Lessons and the fact that you wonder how you will maintain the house, maintain a marriage and focus a little on keeping yourself sane, I was overwhelmed.

Lucky for me, I had planned a massage the Friday before school ended. I made the appointment weeks ago and literally was counting down. Monday I was exhausted but kne…

Rocking 4th Quarter Parenting

This year has brought all kinds of change for the Nutty North's. There was that pesky diagnosis last year of autism and a host of other co-diagnosis'. We spent the summer last year preparing our then 2 year old to attend school and tried to manage the other four and keep them on track beginning school at the school they finished last summer.

It worked. Until it didn't and it seemed we had to change our plan. 

While the oldest began school where they left off, our tiny tot shuttled off to her first day of her school career. She was not yet 3. I bawled my eyes out and realized life as we knew it had changed. I had no idea how much it would change in the coming months. 
While I tried to keep up the 30 minute drive, sometimes 4 times a day, I grew weary. With therapies in and out of school as well as the kids extracurricular sports, I couldn't do it and we made a switch cautiously to public school. I was anxious and afraid. I wondered how it would go? I knew we had already…

Envelopes Do Not Make a Christian

Today I got a letter in the mail. It was from church.

Church since moving here has been ANYTHING but natural.

You see, in Michigan we attended mass. Weekly, sometimes more than that but always weekly. I started a mother's group which was kind of funny at a "Student Parish" in college as only two moms showed. Both of them wanted to raise their children. We were all young but the three of us made it work and though there were no bible studies or faith formation among us, we were together, a small community. I lived for those hours locked in the little playroom nursing my babies and talking mom.  I taught CCD, we chased our little ones around the Narthex and I watched as my husband chose to become Catholic being baptized with our second born child.I also knew I could count on them in a pinch, and one showed up the day we lost our third with a rose scented candle. These were the people Jesus sent to walk along side us as faith filled Catholics.

When we moved here, we visited…