Friday, April 30, 2010

When Itchiness Can Spell Trouble

I came very close to losing my daughter when I was pregnant with her. During my pregnancy, I developed a condition called Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP). Generally, the main symptom of ICP is itchiness--extreme itchiness. The effects of ICP can be devastating, however. ICP can cause premature delivery. Even scarier is that it can cause a baby to be stillborn. Doctors who know about it and who really appreciate the dangers of it, recommend delivering the baby at 36 weeks, because the risk of stillborn increases dramatically after that.

In my case, I wasn't that itchy! I did develop nausea at around 28 weeks, which concerned my OB. I did have one itchy attack on my belly that lasted about 2 days. I almost forgot to even mention it to my OB because the itchy attack had already passed, but thankfully, I did remember to tell him. He immediately sent me off for a blood test to see if I had ICP. Unfortunately, I did, so I had to get monitored by both my OB and a high-risk doctor.

I reassured myself that I was fine because I wasn't that itchy! And I was thankful that I had amazing doctors who took this condition seriously. They put me on the recommended medication and scheduled an early delivery for me.

I was surprised when the high-risk doctor called me at home on a Saturday morning. He told me to pack my bags and get to the hospital ASAP! They were going to deliver my daughter that day. My girl wasn't scheduled to be delivered for another couple of days, so this surprised me. I asked him if everything was okay. He told me that he had another patient with ICP. She was at the hospital the previous night to get a steroid injection to help mature the baby's lungs. Afterward, they monitor the baby for 45 minutes before releasing the mom. I had already been in for my steroids shots, so I know how that goes! Anyway, while the baby was being monitored, the baby went from doing great to dying. The high-risk doctor said it happened really fast, and they couldn't save the baby, even though they were at the hospital! The mom was also only 33 weeks along--not at the risky point yet. It freaked out the high-risk doctor, and he wanted to get my daughter out ASAP before the same thing happened to her.

At the time, I thought everything was fine with my baby, and he was just being neurotic! However, at the hospital, we found out that my amniotic fluids had gotten dangerously low and that my placenta was appearing to be prematurely aged. So, I had a c-section delivery. My OB said that things had really gotten bad in my uterus, and my daughter wouldn't have survived another two days in there. We couldn't believe how lucky we were. We felt that another baby had to die in order for our baby to live.

It's strange, but because of this, I always felt my daughter was destined for greatness--that there was a reason why the stars would align so perfectly for us! I'm not sure this is a rational thought, but it's one I still hold today, six years later!

If you are pregnant and having severe itchiness, I highly recommend you see your doctor ASAP and have them run the blood test for ICP. For more information about ICP, please visit www.itchymoms.com . This website is a fabulous resource and has very complete information about ICP.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

School Carnival! Fun, Fun, Fun!

We're having a big school carnival this Saturday! It's a big fundraiser for my daughter's school. Our school is in California which is having horrible budget problems. The schools have been getting a brunt of the cuts, which is awful considering they were among the worst-funded in the country to begin with! Anyway, it's up to the parent to supplement this money so the kids can get special programs like music, P.E., and computer lab. Actually, we're not talking about fancy programs! So the fundraisers bring much needed money to the schools so that they can provide basic educational needs for our kids.

Being a stay-at-home mom, I feel it's my "job" to help out at the school as much as possible. Also, since my daughter gets additional support because of her special needs, I feel it's important to help the school out where ever I can. So, I volunteered to be a room mom. Yes, I'm that annoying person who calls to see what you want to bring to the class party! As a room mom, I'm supposed to help with the spring carnival. Mostly, I have to put up a sign-up sheet to make sure our booth is staffed during the carnival. I also had to collect money for our class basket, which will be auctioned off. Okay, that doesn't sound like too much to do. I collected some money and purchased some items for the basket! Easy-peasy!

When I checked to see how the sign-ups were coming along, I found out that only one mom signed up! So, I sent out a reminder email for people to sign up. Again, easy-peasy! Except, no one else has signed up yet, still! I guess I'll be spending the carnival at our booth. All day! Fun!

We have a cool booth too--the mystery bag booth! Kids just give us tickets, and we (er, I) will give them a bag containing a toy. It should be a popular booth. I only have to prepare 500 bags this week for the carnival. I moved the boxes of donated toys into the house this morning so I can start working on the bags tomorrow. My husband was looking the boxes over when he saw a really big cockroach come out from one of the boxes! Yikes!

So we had to move the boxes to our driveway, far from the house. We moved all the toys out of the boxes into plastic garbage bags, making sure that we didn't have any more hitchhikers, and closing the bags up tight. Yuck! tomorrow, I get to stuff the toys into the mystery bags! I think I'll do this project in our garage.

Surprisingly, I'm not that excited about the carnival anymore! Go figure! Maybe it's time I found a job!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Disneyland!

It's really embarrassing! We live in the Los Angeles area, but have only taken our daughter to Disneyland once, when she was 3! I have friends who take their kids all the time, but not us. We knew we were overdue for a visit, but we kept putting it off. Finally, our daughter started asking when we were going again. This was getting pathetic. We needed to go!

We knew we had to go soon or summer would be fast upon us. You do not want to go to Disneyland during the summer if you can help it. The crowds are horrible and so is the heat! Count on adding about 20 degrees above what the forecasted temperature is because all the cement at Disneyland acts like an oven and makes the place feel even hotter then you would expect!

So, because my daughter had such a fabulous week (after having a totally horrendous one the week before), and because summer was fast approaching, we finally bit the bullet and went to Disneyland yesterday. Now, I normally would avoid going to Disneyland on a weekend, but my husband doesn't get paid on days he doesn't work, so we decided it was better to brave the crowds than lose even more money in this already too expensive day! And I read on the internet that Sundays in April after spring break is finished aren't historically too crowded! Great!

Well, the adventure started out a little hellish in the beginning. We made great time on our drive down, but got stuck in a horrible traffic jam getting off the freeway! I'm not kidding...it took us less than an hour to drive to the Disneyland off-ramp, then took an hour and a half to go from the off-ramp to finally end up at the park, enjoying ourselves. Of this time, about 45 minutes was spent in the traffic jam from the freeway to the parking structure. The other 45 minutes was walking to the tram loading area, waiting to get a tram, then walking to the ticket booth, and waiting to buy tickets! Insane! Before the California Adventure park opened, you could drive right off the freeway and drive right into the parking lot. Then you could either take the tram to the park or walk. It used to be so much easier! I hate California Adventure now with a passion!

Honestly, after that initial nightmare, the rest of the day went great! The lines in general weren't bad at all! Also, because my daughter is autistic, we were able to get a pass that let us use the handicapped entrance to the rides, which oftentimes cut the wait considerably--although not always! The general line to get onto Pirates of the Caribbean was 15 minutes, the handicapped line was 45 minutes!

I have to admit, I wasn't sure I felt right about getting the pass because my daughter is so high-functioning. But we decided it would be a bad thing for everyone if she had non-stop tantrums during the trip. In general, the whole park can cause sensory overload issues in any person, but it can be much worse for kids on the spectrum! Because we only took our daughter one time before, and we stuck to very calm rides, we didn't know what to expect this time. It ended up that she did great! She loved Pirates, the Haunted Mansion, and Peter Pan! I know she loved the kiddie roller coaster in Toon Town and even loved Star Tours. We didn't try Space Mountain this time, but I'm sure she'd love that too. We'll do that one next time.

Yes, there will be a next time, and I'm sure my daughter won't let three years go by this time. Hopefully, they'll turn California Adventures back into a parking lot. Please!

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Little of This, A Little of That

Today is "A Little of This, A Little of That" Friday! Woohoo! This is actually my way of saying that I couldn't come up with a grand topic for today, so I'm going to blog about two totally unrelated little things instead! My two things are Earth Day and the TV show, Parenthood.

Happy belated Earth Day everyone! My daughter was home with a cold over the last two days, so we spent Earth Day at home doing nothing special in particular. Because my daughter was stuck home and extremely bored, I let her have some extra time on the computer. She called me over for help at one point. It turns out she was on the PBS Kids website and wanted to contribute a poll question for the EekoWorld section (do we have a future blogger here?). Her question was, "What can we do to save planet Earth?" As part of the poll question, she also had to submit two answers. Her answers were: plant a tree and reduce, reuse, and recycle! I was floored! I don't think she came up with this out of thin air, so I'm assuming they've been teaching this at school for Earth Day! Way to go, school! You are teaching well.

Now, I'm going to blog about the TV show Parenthood. I've blogged about it two other times. During the show's first two episodes, I felt that the Asperger story line was great, but the rest of the show was just mediocre. Well, I'm totally revising my stance on the show. The Asperger story line is still really amazing. It's been really realistic, and it's rare when I don't end up in tears because of how much I relate to what the parents on the show are growing through. But the rest of the show is now amazing too! The characters no longer seem like superficial twits. They are now living, breathing characters that are involved in great story lines. I was actually SO close to giving up on this show, but now I'm so glad I hung with it! I'm now loving it not just because I'm a mother to an Aspie, but because I'm a mother! Check it out!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy Days Are Here Again

The last few days have gotten back to being great! My daughter has broken free of the inflexible funk she was in and is now back to being delightful! What caused this shift? Who knows, exactly, but I think reminding her that her bad behavior wouldn't earn her the opportunity to see the movie Oceans might have had something to do with it!

One thing that she did a couple of days ago that made me laugh is when I picked her up from school, she said, "I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that I got in trouble. The good news is that the class has a lot of pets now!" Then she ran off to play as I was standing there yelling out, "What trouble did you get into?" The behaviorist was standing there laughing at my daughter's delivery. Luckily, "the trouble" wasn't anything major!

Kids on the spectrum definitely see things a bit differently. If we're lucky enough to try to see things their way, I think we can expand our minds a bit. I remember one time when my daughter was 4 years old. She was puzzling over a question in her workbook. She had to figure out which of the pictures shown--a gate, giraffe, fish, or guitar--did not begin with the letter "G." She had done this exercise many times in the past without a problem, so I couldn't figure out why she was having problems with this now. I asked her to talk her way through it. She pointed to the gate and said that gate begins with a "G." Giraffe begins with a "G." Goldfish begins with a "G" (Huh? Why did they color that fish in orange?). Then she pointed to the guitar, confused that all the pictures began with a "G" until she came up with a solution: mandolin begins with an "M," so that's the one that doesn't belong! No doubt, a brilliant conclusion, but the rest of the world would have seen this as a wrong answer--unless time was taken to see her thought process.

This post is rambling around a bit, but I guess my grand conclusion is that when you have a child on the spectrum, they're going to have good days and bad days. I would love to find out the trigger for the bad days, but I guess until I could get into my daughter's head (which is impossible), I'll never be able to fully know why she thinks the way she does. I just have to try and enjoy the journey.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"It's Not Fair!"

Yesterday was the last session of my daughter's winter soccer league. All of the kids get these huge trophies for participating. My daughter now has a total of 5 trophies--4 from soccer and 1 from a drama class she took. Not too shabby for a six year old. Actually, I've never earned a trophy my entire life! When I was a kid, they just didn't hand out trophies for just showing up. You actually had to earn the trophies!

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my daughter's soccer league. It's a very fun place to learn to play that doesn't involve overly competitive parents or coaches. There is no official score-keeping. Although everyone does keep score anyway! But are we sending our kids the right message by giving them big trophies just for participating? Or are we not preparing them for the "real world" where everyone isn't handed a trophy?

Last Friday, I was with my daughter at school when the results of a drawing contest were announced. The top three entries per grade level were awarded. Unfortunately, my daughter's submission wasn't one of them. "It's not fair!" she cried when she found out she didn't win. She had a hard time accepting that she did her best on something, but it wasn't good enough. It's a tough lesson for anyone to learn. I'm afraid she's going to learn the same lesson when a picture she submitted to Highlights magazine probably won't get published.

As parents, we have to teach the concept that things don't always go our way, and we can't "win" everything. The idea of trying your best is what counts! However, I think as a society, we need to start teaching the same lesson and not coddle kids with huge trophies or other unearned rewards. Giving kids smaller tokens for participating can be just as exciting (such as handing out medals for everyone, but saving the trophy to the kid who scored the most goals in the season).

I know this might sound harsh, but I think it serves the kids best in the long run! I'm afraid we're raising a generation of children who are going to have a sense of entitlement--that they deserve anything they want because, well, they want it! They won't feel they have to work hard to actually earn the accolades! I think they'll have to learn at some point that it's important to try your best, but you're not always going to be the best. And that's okay!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

UBP After Party

As part of the Ultimate Blog Party, we're supposed to post at least 3 sites that were new to us that we discovered and liked during the UBP. I've discovered many great blogs that I'm now following! Check out my profile and you'll see them! But 4 that I want to highlight are:

The Mommalogues

The Groschen Goblins

The Balance Beam

Autism Interrupted

Check them out!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Good Days, Bad Days

Today is the last day of the Ultimate Blog Party! I had a blast participating! As a new blogger, I've been looking for ways to expand my readership, and this blog party really helped! My number of followers increased over the last week from 9 to 29! Not too shabby! I also found many great blogs to follow! If you want to expand your blog reading, check out my profile to see what blogs I like!

Now, on to the post at hand...

The last couple days were really amazing in terms of how my daughter can go from the extremes of having the most fantastically good day to having the most fantastically bad day within a 48-hour period. It's truly amazing and what I find most stressful about raising a child who has high-functioning autims/Asperger's, because you can never fully prepare yourself for when bad behaviors might pop up.

On Wednesday, we hosted a playdate with two of her friends from kindergarten. Their older nine year old sisters also joined in the fun. All the girls had a great time, my daughter included! She was flexible, easy-going, and fun-loving. All of the moms were able to sit around and chit-chat while the kids played. There wasn't a single time we had to put out any fires over the two and a half hour playdate. It is safe to say that all 8 of us had a great time, and one of the other moms is already scanning her calendar to figure out when all the girls can get together again. It was magical! For that afternoon, my daughter was able to play with neuro-typical peers and appeared neuro-typical herself! There was no discernible difference at all between her friends and her.

Then came Thursday! What was different on that day, I have no clue. My daughter hasn't had a day like this in a long, long time. She was so inflexible! She would cry over anything that didn't go her way. I mean anything! She was crying over not being able to read a chapter book in the morning instead of getting dressed for school. She cried when I picked her up from school because she didn't have time to finish what she was working on. One helpful parent (an old friend of mine) suggested that I should just give her a hug! Hehe! That's rule number one of what NOT to do when dealing with this situation--never reinforce bad behavior! He probably thought I was a monster when I chuckled at his suggestion. When we arrived to the car to go home, she cried because a toy she wanted to play with wasn't in the car (she had asked me that morning to take the toy out of the car and bring it into the house. Silly me for listening to her)! And she pretty much cried off and on until bedtime over these kinds of situations. Yikes!

How will today go? Who knows! It didn't appear that we were off to a good start when my daughter started to cry over an issue carried over from yesterday. I asked her to tell me why she was upset, and we talked it over. The talk appeared to help, and she was fine the rest of the time. Hopefully, the mood has turned, and she'll have a better day today!

It's frustrating, because you think a bad behavior has gone away, but then it comes up yet again! But you just have to keep plugging away and stay consistent. Does that mean I never hug my child when she's upset? Absolutely not! If she's upset over something that is genuinely sad, she'll get my hugs without hesitation! But when it's over something that she is being a control freak about...well, then I get pretty unsympathetic! Ya gotta do what ya gotta do!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Perspective

If you're visiting from the UBP, welcome!

Recently, I was asked to answer questions on my daughter's autism for Cafemom's blog. They're featuring about 20 moms' experiences with parenting a child on the spectrum in honor of Autism Awareness Month. One of the questions asked how I felt after receiving the diagnosis. I remember feeling just devastated. At the time, you think that there is no worse news than hearing that your child is autistic.

Looking back now, I realized that the diagnosis was the beginning of getting help for her! It's also like everything else in life--you get use to your new reality. When we first found out that she was allergic to tree nuts, and we'd have to carry around a couple of epi-pens, we were afraid our daughter wouldn't be able to eat anything without having a reaction! That certainly hasn't been the case! You just learn to adapt to the situation and continue to move forward.

Now that my daughter has learned better coping skills, and I've learned better ways of helping her out when she forgets these skills, life isn't as restrictive as it used to be. We don't have to plan our lives around her tantrums anymore! Looking back now at how I felt when she was first diagnosed, I almost feel really silly!

We recently learned that an extended family member, a boy who is the same age as my daughter, was diagnosed with Leukemia last week. He was having fun at an Easter egg hunt one day and getting diagnosed the next. This is truly devastating news for any parent and puts things in perspective for me. I'm not the type of person who prays, but we pray for this boy every day! His prognosis is good, thankfully!

Give your little ones a big hug and appreciate them in all their glorious imperfections!

Monday, April 12, 2010

At the Movies

If you're stopping in for the UBP, welcome! If you're not, welcome anyway!

After a fantastic week of "holding it together," my daughter earned a trip to the movies this weekend to see How to Train your Dragon. We even braved the IMAX 3-D version! Now, it wasn't that long ago that my daughter had a bit of a hard time seeing a movie. The sounds levels were too loud for her, so oftentimes, she'd watch half the movie with her hands over her ears. Also, she would get upset pretty easily at things she'd see on the screen. For example, she cried during a scene in the Curious George movie when the Man with the Yellow Hat stared at the sun and got red watery eyes! Seriously, she was bawling away and didn't want to watch another movie for awhile!

Now that she's getting older, she's been begging us to see Star Wars! I told her that she's too young and that the movie had some pretty adult themes and images. She looked at me and said, "Really?" in a great, curious tone. "I want to see it!" Then she'd persist and want to know what adult things I was talking about! I had to tell her that it covered some unpleasant topics like war. This seemed to perk her up! Great!

Watching How to Train your Dragon, we learned that the movie comes by its PG rating pretty honestly. There are many battles and fight scenes. People get their limbs amputated during these battles! Okay, you don't actually see the carnage, but it's still there! My husband and I were cringing during the movie, but our daughter was lovin' it! And it WAS an excellent movie--just take caution at bringing your little ones.

That night, after our daughter went to bed, my husband and I were talking about how well our daughter handled the movie! She had no sensory issues, and she wasn't scared at all! My husband commented that she is ready to watch Star Wars! I'm just not sure I'm ready for her to watch Star Wars!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ultimate Blog Party! Woohoo!

Today is the first day of the ultimate blog party! I've never participated in one before. It's an activity sponsored by the 5minutesformom.com site. This site is geared to mom bloggers who have special needs kids. I'm hoping to get added to their site's directory, but it'll probably take a month for that to happen. Wish me luck!

Why am I doing the Ultimate Blog Party? Is it to win fabulous prizes? Well, you can, but I have no clue what the prizes are! However, if I win anything, I won't turn it down. Unless it's really ugly. Then no, thanks! No, the real reason why I'm partying is that I'm hoping to expand my readership! As much as I enjoy blogging! I would enjoy it more if I felt that people were reading the blog. This seems like a great way to both promote my site and to promote other mommy of special needs bloggers. We are a sisterhood, so to speak!

So, let's blog party! Oh, and if you're perusing my site for the first time, check out this past Monday's blog. I'm particularly proud of that one!

Thanks for visiting my site!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Indigo Girl

At a birthday party gathering over the weekend, a friend's mother approached me and said that my daughter is an "Indigo child." She commented on my daughter's beauty, her wisdom, and her fiery temper. She said that "Indigos" were special children. They're psychic and have great powers.

Well, being as into the paranormal as I am, I googled "Indigo Child" when I got home and did some research. A lot of "Indigo Children" are believed to be mistakenly labeled as ADHD/ADD, according to the information on the web. Who knew? However, the "Indigo child" is kinda last decade. The new class of children being born are the "Crystal Children." These are children who are late talkers. They start talking around 3 or 4, so a lot of these kids are "mistakenly" labeled autistic. Apparently, they aren't late talkers because they can't talk, they just communicate telepathically so they don't have to talk!

The information on these children explained that they are on the next evolutionary rung than "typical" children and should be understood for who they are. They shouldn't be given medication or any other kind of treatment because that would lessen what they are about and the purpose they're supposed to fulfill in the world!

As much as I'm into the paranormal, I'm not a believer in "Indigo" or "Crystal" children. I think the whole thing is hogwash. I can't understand how a dynamic of "survival of the fittest" would involve a class of kids who lack social skills and have difficulties with connecting with other kids. However, I do find an interesting parallel within the autism community. On the one hand, you have the group of parents who will do ANYTHING to cure their autistic child! They pursue biomedical treatments, special diets, no vaccination, and chelation treatments. They think there is a cure out there and will try anything that might bring it about. On the other hand, you have people who believe their autistic kids (or themselves if they are adults with autism) are perfectly fine as-is and do not need to be "fixed," but have their differences appreciated for what they offer. I mean, can you imagine Sheldon from "The Big Bang Theory" believing he needs to change? Of course, that's assuming the show's writers ever make him an official Aspie!

I find myself a bit in-between these two groups! I love my daughter's quirks--her specialness--that I don't want to see changed. But I do want her to fully experience the joys of life including having a great career, finding the love of her life, raising wonderful kids, and having as many friends as she would want in the world. Luckily, behavior therapy has been fitting the bill for our needs!

While I may not have an "Indigo Girl" for a daughter, I believe she is as special and wonderful as can be! And as healthy as can be too! What parent wouldn't be thrilled?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Letting Go

I'll admit it; I'm too protective of my daughter. She's my only child, and I was THIS close to losing her during the end of my pregnancy. I'm not sure if that's why I'm over-protective of her or if it's because I'm just a neurotic mess. Add in her high-functioning autism, and well, I protect her too much!

We were at the park the other day. She had an amazing day there! She made a couple of new friends and played incredibly well with them! I was so proud! When they had to go, an old friend of my daughter's showed up, and they had fun playing together. Then her old friend started to play some power games with my daughter, and my daughter handled THAT amazingly well! Again, I was really proud of her. I didn't need to intervene at all; my daughter handled the situation like an old pro! Before long, the friend was chasing after my daughter to get back into her good graces. Love it!

The only issue was with the big-kid play equipment! This park has a small-kid play equipment and a big-kid play equipment. My daughter always liked the big-kid equipment. But there is one feature on it that I felt she was too small and never allowed her to do. It's these two parallel bars that run at a 45 degree angle from the top of the structure (at over 6 feet in height) to the ground.

My daughter REALLY wanted to go down them, but I didn't think she was strong enough to hold onto them, and swing one arm down, then the other, without falling a big distance. I told her she had to wait until she was much bigger to do it. However, her two new friends were able to do use them as well as her old friend. They were all around the same age as my daughter. I realized that I had to let her try them! She was right to push me!

So, on my daughter's first attempt, I held onto her legs to support her as she figured out how to move her hands down the bars. I realized that I was getting in her way from swinging her body to facilitate this, but I couldn't let go until she was down a ways. She tried this again with me still hanging onto her legs for dear life! The third time, I realized I had to let go and let her try on her own. She really wanted to do it on her own, but when she started, she looked at me and said, "I'm nervous!" I was scared out of my mind, but I hid it the best I could and said, "You can do it, and I'm right here!" She did it and did a great job!

It's really hard for me to let go, both literally--as in this case--and figuratively. But she's growing up fast, and I know I have to let her do more and more for herself. This will mean that I have to let her have her own achievements and make her own mistakes. I think her special needs really make it even harder for me to let go. But she needs to develop into her own person. So far, she's doing an amazing job!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Today is World Autism Awareness Day

Actually, the whole month of April is Autism Awareness Month, but today specifically, people who are affected or know someone who is affected by autism are wearing blue to increase awareness of autism. So, if you see lots of people wearing blue today, you'll know why!

Today is also the last weekday of my daughter's Spring break. I'm sure she's looking forward to going back to school on Monday. It wasn't that long ago that I used to dread the vacation break times. Long hours of dealing with tantrums with no breaks was not fun!

That's not the case anymore, and I enjoy hanging with my daughter again! Yay! Don't get me wrong; she certainly had her moments this week! Having to carry her away from a really fun play date yesterday because she didn't want to leave when it was time to go comes to mind. But overall, we had a blast this week!

So, here's to raising awareness to autism! Look out for the people wearing blue. You may be surprised by the large number you see!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Put Yourself First! (At Least Sometimes)

Yesterday was a great day! One of my daughter's service providers hosted a Parents' Wellness Day. They got restaurants to donate food. In addition, they had lectures geared to parents with special need kids. Also, they were providing free massages, manicures, pedicures, make-up applications, and haircuts! These were provided from people going through training who needed to get their hours by working on people. So, it was a win-win situation for all! They also provided free child-care during the event. Could this get any better?

Well, actually, no! It couldn't get any better! I got a wonderful make-up application, a new haircut, and a manicure. All of it came out great! And I felt pampered beyond belief. Actually, one funny moment involved a friend of mine. We were sitting together, getting our nails done. The event was quickly coming to an end, but she didn't get her make-up application done yet. One of the women doing makeup graciously came over to start doing the make-up while my friend was getting her nails done. She must have felt like a movie star!

I also attended a lecture on the importance for moms of special needs kids to put themselves first for about an hour each day. It's really important! The stress of having a special needs child can cause health problems, for example. I do know a mom of an autistic child who had breast cancer at a pretty young age. Now, obviously, moms of neuro-typical children get breast cancer too. But, this mother really felt the extra stress she took on was definitely a factor in getting sick. She felt she also did not go for her medical check-ups because she was so wrapped up in her all her daughter's appointments.

In addition, it is known in the autistic communities that there is an 80 percent divorce rate in families with an autistic child. Yikes! So, it is important for parents--particularly moms--to take a time-out for themselves each day.

The lecturer also talked about coping techniques for dealing with the stress. Ironically, doing things like keeping a journal, maintaining a sense of humor, and trying to help educate others were listed. That sounds a lot like blogging to me! And it's true. I write this blog because it helps me keep perspective on things, and I really have been enjoying blogging! Even if very few people read it, it does help me out a lot!

Have a great day, and put some time aside just to spoil yourself!