Friday, December 31, 2010

What Happens in Vegas Ends Up on My Blog

So, the other day I posted about the more serious nature of our trip to Las Vegas. We did manage to fit in some fun though! Three special things we did was take our daughter to see The Blue Man Group, go to Hoover Damn (not a misspelling), and see the Spongebob Squarepants 4-D movie, uh short, at the Excalibur Hotel.

My husband and I saw the Blue Man Group back when we were dating. We loved the show and thought it was one of the best shows to see in Vegas. My husband thought it would be a lot of fun to take our daughter to see during this trip. The show is very weird and quirky and essentially right up her alley! The tickets cost a small fortune (hard to believe that Vegas used to be cheap), but we bit the bullet and went. Our instincts were right. Our daughter really enjoyed the show. It was an hour and a half long without an intermission, but she laughed throughout the whole thing. I think by the end, she wanted to be the first Blue Girl to be a part of the show! It was definitely cool to see her enjoy herself. A few years back, I think the loud drumming would have overwhelmed her. She's come a long way!

The next day we took an outing to the Hoover Damn. I totally stole this misspelling from my husband. It was miserable getting there. What should have been a 20-25 minute ride ended up taking two hours! They had put in a new bridge by the Damn recently that is a short cut to Arizona. Unfortunately, the road leading to the bridge is one lane with a lot more traffic going down that road, totally creating a huge traffic jam.

About 45 minutes into the trip, my husband asked my daughter if she wanted to bail on the plans and do something else. She insisted she didn't want to because she really wanted to see the Damn. We warned her that it could take another hour and a half to get there, but she was insistent that we go, so we did. When we were within sight of the Damn, she decided that it was taking too long, and she didn't want to see it anymore. We initially laughed and said we were now at the Damn, so we weren't going to turn back. Instead of laughing with us, she started crying. We were not too happy with her at that moment. We found parking, but by the time we went in, we found out that there was a 45 minute wait for a tour. We decided to forgo the tour and just go to the visitor's center and look around.

I was surprised at how into the Damn my daughter was! I would have thought it would have been kind of boring for her. But she really enjoyed learning about the hydroelectricity process. As we were leaving, she announced that this was much more environmentally-friendly than burning coal, which pollutes the Earth. I asked if she read that info in the Visitor's Center (I didn't remember seeing it). She said no, it was her own conclusion. She knew burning coal was bad, and this method seemed cleaner. Yes, she's in first grade.

The next day, before heading home, we decided to hit the Excalibur Hotel to experience their Spongebob Squarepants 4-D ride. It's one of those rides where you watch a movie while the seats move in sync with what's on the screen. It was in 3-D. The fourth dimension comes in because you also get water squirted at your face, or puffs of air, etc. to go along with the film. For some odd reason, my daughter was nervous about doing this. She was afraid she'd be scared. I explained that it would be like actually being in a Spongebob cartoon, and that sold her! It was cute, except it was much shorter than I thought it would be. I mean, for $10 a ticket, I kinda wanted a little more. Nevertheless, I was sure my daughter loved it. Upon exiting, though, she loudly stated, "Well, THAT was a waste of time!" Sure, those were my sentiments, but I didn't expect her to feel that way. When I asked her why she thought it was a waste of time, it turned out she was talking about what happened to Spongebob in the movie, not her experience on the ride. Whew!

My husband asked her what she liked more: Spongebob or the Blue Man Group. After some consideration, she responded that she liked them equally as much. Considering that one was about a tenth of the cost of the other, I think we know how we'll be spending our money in the future. Sorry, Blue Man Group!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Year in Review

I was going to write about the fun we had in Vegas, but I noticed all my blogging buddies are posting their favorite posts from the past year. I'm linking with Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday for this exercise. Yeah, I know! This doesn't involve a letter of the alphabet. Jenny took a break from that over the holidays. She wanted this week's theme to involve the new year or end of year recaps.

I'm going to link to one favorite post from each month!

January:

I hadn't started blogging yet, so no favorites from this month!


February:

The Big Bang Theory


March:

What a Show!


April:

Perspective


May:

Happy Belated Mother's Day


June:

W Is for Whack-a-Mole!


July:

12 Most Common Symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome

Inner Demons


August:

Baby Blues and More


September:

General Information about Asperger's and Autism


October:

F Is for Friendship


November:

The Top Ten Reasons You Might Be Addicted to Blogging


December:

Blogger Envy


So there is my year-end wrap-up. I cheated in July by posting two links. I really liked both of them a lot and couldn't choose between the two.

I hope the New Year will bring lots more fun and blogging!

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Sandwich Generation

In case you noticed that I haven't blogged in the last two days, it's because I was visiting my dad in Las Vegas. Now, normally going to Las Vegas would be an absolute blast, and we did have a good time! But the primary reason for the visit was because I really owed my dad a visit. We haven't been out to see him in his home in well over a year. He's having a number of health issues. None of them is terminal in the short term, but they will peel away at his quality of life over time. Over the last month or so, I've noticed a decline in his memory during our phone conversations. I really felt we needed to take a trip out.

My instincts were pretty spot on. It was obvious that his memory has declined pretty badly during the recent months. He had a minor car accident the day before we came, and he couldn't remember which side of his car was side-swiped. There were many other examples of this which I won't bore you with.

I think the time is going to come when we have to have a talk with him about an assisted living situation. This isn't easy because he's still doing well in some ways. He loves his sports betting, and he is still as sharp as a tack on keeping his various bets with point spreads totally straight. He also has a girlfriend who doesn't drive. I think him moving to an assisted living situation would pretty much kill that relationship. These two things really keep him going! If he didn't have both in his life, I'm not sure how much longer he would live. I think his health would really decline rapidly!

On a bright note, my daughter and him had a fantastic visit together! It was the best time they've had. It's quite odd in some ways because my daughter would go off talking about her latest obsession in a really soft voice that my dad couldn't hear. He'd try to follow along unsuccessfully or not realize she was talking and go off on his own long-winded story. This would normally frustrate my daughter to the point of tantrumming, but she kept her cool! The two of them, even when having completely different conversations would still have a blast together!

One odd thing that kept me laughing was that my dad had a tendency to talk to my daughter like she is a two-year old. Quite frankly, her vocabulary is better than his! But she just laughed off those situations. When the time came for us to leave today, she really didn't want to leave. She really enjoyed visiting her grandfather immensely. My dad also didn't want us to leave, which was unusual for him. Usually, he can't wait for us to leave after we've been around for a day or so. It's obvious we're cramping his style, and he's anxious to get back to his life. This wasn't the case with this visit. I really think it's because he enjoyed having his granddaughter around so much.

One depressing thing that kept happening was that my dad would break down and cry on a number of occasions. He still misses my mom very much, and it just killed him that he was enjoying his granddaughter so much while my mom missed out on this (she died when my daughter was only two months old). He kept saying that he felt guilty for still being around while Mom wasn't. In the past, he told me that he would have traded places with her in an instant if given the chance.

I told him that I believe Mom isn't missing seeing her granddaughter grow up. I'm sure she's spending a lot of time keeping a watch on her.

And I believe she loves what she sees!

Friday, December 24, 2010

I Can't Believe I Said That!

My husband and I have always prided ourselves in not cursing in front of our daughter. However, I've learned that you can't control the world around you. Invariably, people around us let the F-bomb drop loudly and often. For the most part, my daughter seems pretty oblivious when this happens. However, there was that two-week period she went through when she was 3 years old that she said the F-bomb a lot. We had just returned from a vacation in San Diego, where I had heard quite a few people around us use it. I must have cringed when I heard it, because two days after we arrived home, she would say it around me. A lot.

At first, I wasn't sure what she was saying. I thought she would need a fork or was talking about a truck she saw. After about a day of thinking this it occurred to me that she was saying the F-word--no doubt about it. The one saving grace was that she only said it at home and only around me. Just to be sure there was no doubt about what she was saying, I asked her what she thought she was saying meant. After some thought she replied, "Mama Mia!" Her preschool teacher used that term whenever she'd get frustrated! I told her that was correct, but "Mama Mia" was a much nicer term to use. After that, she still used the F-word, but I just ignored it. She stopped using it after two weeks.

While she is now almost 7 and hasn't used it in 3.5 years, over the summer she told us she heard about a naughty word at camp and wanted to know what the F-word was. We had told her that we didn't want to be the ones telling her, and we didn't. The subject never came up again. Whew!

Until today! I was driving my daughter to her social skills class when I hit a huge hole in the road. They were doing work on the road (laying cable, I think) and left a huge cavern without covering it up with a plate or even putting cones around it. When my car went into the opening--which was bigger than I realized--I was so surprised that the F-word came flying out. I was mortified. I quickly said, "Excuse me" and hoped that my daughter didn't notice. She didn't make any comment and for now, I'm holding my breath that she didn't hear it.

I have to say that not much gets past her. She has an incredible vocabulary and is constantly taking new words in. But sometimes she is off in her own world. While I usually hate when she is, this is one time that I hope she was spacing out. Yikes!

Have you ever let a bad word fly out in front of your children?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nobody Ever Told Me that Being a Mom Required a PHd!

One of the positive aspects of my daughter's Asperger's that I love is that my daughter is so curious about how the world works and why things are the way they are. I'm pretty sure that it's because of this curiosity that pushed her to start reading when she was 4. She loves to read about any topic in science to learn about the world and how it works.

The questions that she asks me just blow me away. Just this week alone, she asked me two questions about things that I've never given any thought to before. The first question was why the is ocean salty. My husband and I both scratched our heads on that one. She asked us this as we were driving to Sunday brunch. While there, my husband got out his iPhone and started doing some research. He succeeded in coming up with the answer. It had something to do with the rocks and other things in the ocean having salt in them. The salt gets released into the ocean as these things erode over time.

The other question she asked me happened the other day as she was eating her grilled cheese sandwich. She asked me what type of animal eats cheese. I was initially confused by the question, so she clarified it and asked me whether herbivores or carnivores ate cheese or dairy products. After thinking about this, I told her that I never thought about this before, but that I believe that only humans have milk products from other animals. Mammals produce milk to feed their young. Other than man, no other animal that I know of drinks another animal's milk.

As I was explaining this, I realized that it was kinda gross that we drink and eat dairy products from other animals. Thank goodness I love dairy too much to be grossed out by this for too long though.

I also found myself envisioning a predator, such as a coyote, drinking some milk from a cow before running off. Hey, my daughter isn't the only one around here who is a little bit quirky.

My daughter then said she was just wondering if dinosaurs who were herbivores or carnivores were more likely to have dairy. I told her that I thought there were no mammals around during the dinosaur days so no dinosaurs would be chowing down on dairy.

I think I handled her question accurately. Nobody ever told me that being a mom would require a PHd!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Meet-up--My First Time

I'm linking this post with Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. She focuses on a different letter of the alphabet each week. This week, we're supposed to write to the letter "M." "M" is for meet-up.

When I started blogging, I pictured it as being a very lonely, isolated experience--just me and the computer. One of the biggest surprises about blogging was that it's anything but an isolating experience. I have met tons of other bloggers! People who read and comment on my blog on a consistent basis and people whose blogs I visit and comment on a regular basis. I should clarify that when I say I've "met" them, I haven't really met them in person. But they are people who I feel I know after reading their blogs and exchanging comments with them.

There is a subcategory of bloggers that I especially hold dear in my heart--the other special needs bloggers. When I started my blog, I thought I was filling a unique niche by blogging on a serious topic such as Asperger's and Autism while trying to maintain a sense of humor, at least most of the time. But I found a whole group of bloggers who are also filling the same niche in the same way. I love reading what they have to say. They oftentimes make me laugh and cry--sometimes within the same post. I've come to feel a true friendship with this group, and I think they all feel the same way!

Today I had an opportunity to meet-up with one of my bloggy friends for coffee. I've read Dani's blog, I'm Just That Way, and That's Just Me, for a number of months now. She lives halfway across the country, but grew up near where I currently live and is in town to visit family. This was the first time I've met a bloggy friend in real life.

We talked for almost two hours! We compared our experiences with blogging and with raising daughters on the spectrum. Like me, she only has one child, a girl, who is on the spectrum. Her daughter is a year younger than my daughter. She's actually EXACTLY a year younger. We found out over our coffee that our daughters had the exact same birthday! Wild, huh? The time went by very fast, and I felt like our conversation barely scratched the surface. Dani was exactly what I was expecting: a gorgeous, smart, well-spoken woman who had very strong convictions.

I'm so happy I had the chance to meet her. I hope to meet her again and have the opportunity to meet other people in my blogging posse in real life. I signed up yesterday for the BlogHer 11 conference. I can't wait to meet some of my other blogging friends!

Have you met any of your blogging buddies in real life?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'm Going to BlogHer 11!

What is BlogHer 11 my non-blogging friends are asking? It's one of the biggest blogging conferences! It's held for an entire weekend in August, and 3000 women who blog attend. The 2011 conference is in San Diego, so I thought I should take advantage of the relative close proximity and go!

I'm so excited about going! The main reason why I am is so that I can meet some of the blogging superstars. But I'm REALLY excited about meeting some of the bloggy friends I've made over the past 8 months! It's going to be so nice to meet some of them in person.

I'm also excited about getting tips on improving my blog and increasing readership. I'm sure I'll learn a lot!

I hear the conference is also non-stop parties and you get a ton of swag. One bloggy friend of mine who went to the one last year in New York City said she ended up leaving bags of swag behind because it was just too much stuff for her to pack up!

This will be the first time I'm away from my daughter for an extended period. I know I'll miss her and my hubby, but I'm really looking forward to a moms' weekend away!

Awesome!

Thanks for my holiday gift, hun!

Monday, December 20, 2010

You're a Whore!

Last week, I did a post about how my daughter is in love (see here). This past Friday, she gave me an update on what was happening with her crush. She told me that she told D she loved him. He responded with "EWWWWWWW." I was about to console my daughter, but she said it was fine. She explained that's how a 6-year old boy reacts when a girl says she loves him. She then went on to tell him that he was her boyfriend.

I then explained to her that she can't decide who's her boyfriend. The boy should have some say also. It's meant to be a mutual feeling. She looked at me like I was crazy. I don't think she's going to listen to what I said. In her mind, she has a boyfriend.

Another funny thing happened over the weekend. My daughter was hiding behind me telling my husband to look at me. Then she popped out from behind me exclaiming, "I was hiding behind it!" I tried to explain that I wasn't an "it." She said, "Of course you're not! You're a whore!" My husband and I looked at each other shocked. I asked her to repeat herself. She repeated, "You're a whore!"

I knew she wasn't actually saying that--it was just coming out sounding that way. So I asked her to slow down what she was saying. This time, I could tell she was saying, "You're not an it--you're a her!"

Thank goodness, but my husband and I sure got a huge laugh out of that!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Very First Post



Jen, over at The King and Eye, has started a new linky where you air your past blog gems. This week's topic is to link to your very first blog post. This is by no means a gem for me. I started very humbly and, well, there's no diplomatic way to put it. I started very boring!

Enjoy the first post...or not!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Best Is not Always What it Appears to Be!

We had our parent/teacher conference and received our daughter's report card. First grade hit me by surprise. My daughter had no adjustment issues with kindergarten, so I was not expecting the difficult transition into first grade. There are strong academic and social demands. This took us completely by surprise!

Overall, her teacher had good things to say about our daughter. She's way ahead of the curve in areas such as reading (no surprise) and sentence construction (huge surprise). She's on-track in the other academic areas. Her teacher feels that she's also on-track for placement in a gifted program, when the time comes.

This is something we've been wrestling with. Applications were due this week to apply for gifted magnet programs. There is a well-regarded school near us that has a gifted magnet that we toured this week. They have terrific programs, field trips, and parent support. What attracts us the most, however, is the thought of our daughter being around other eggheads like her. We think she'd socialize better with kids that "get" that part of her. When she's with her peers, they have a hard time understanding her because of her autism but also because her brain is working at a higher level than a lot of them. We thought having her be around other gifted kids would at least eliminate one of the barriers.

I do have to point out that the odds of my daughter actually getting into the gifted magnet school is pretty remote. Kids have an edge if they applied to a program last year (we didn't), have a sibling already in the program (we don't), or currently attend a Title 1 school (we don't). After that, students are picked for ethnic diversity. We might have an expected edge with that one--the school appeared to be extremely diverse. Caucasians appeared to be in the minority. Nevertheless, my daughter doesn't have much of a chance at getting in.

It doesn't really matter much though. My husband and I have discussed that the school may not be the best fit for our daughter. Her home school is extremely challenging and has a good gifted program. In addition, the officials at the school have been very supportive of providing services for my daughter. We discussed the matter with her teacher, and she had the same concerns we have regarding the fit with a magnet program.

The school tour guide mentioned that the school loses about 5 students a year. Many are because the work is too much for them. I just don't want my daughter to be under that kind of pressure at such a young age.

We want what's best for our children, but that isn't always what is actually best for them!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'm Guest Blogging Today!

I pulled out an old chestnut of mine and laundering it at Rage Against the {Washing} Machine. You should check out Amanda's blog! I love Amanda! She's all about the snark. Check out her blog after you read my old chestnut!

My Holiday Wish LIst

1) I want a happy, healthy holiday season.

2) A ticket to BlogHer 11 conference in San Diego.

3) A multimillion dollar contract to develop a television series about mom bloggers.

4) Go on Jeopardy and break Ken Jennings' record for most games won!

5) Write a book on autism that everyone in the autism community actually agrees with.

6) My husband's song gets nominated for an Oscar.


I'll even settle for 5 of the items on the list. I'm easy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"I'm in Love!"

This post is being linked up to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. The letter this week is L. L is for love (what else could it be for?).

My daughter and I were hanging out by my computer. She found this beautiful green stone. I could not remember how she had originally gotten it. She said that J gave it to her. J was her boyfriend in preschool. Looking at the stone made her blurt out, "I'm in love!" At first, I thought she was still hung up on J, even though she hadn't seen him in a long time. I asked her who the lucky boy was. D, she shouted. I should have known! D is a boy in her class who sits next to her. I suspect the teacher placed him there because he's the smartest boy in the class, and my daughter socializes with him really well. Her behaviorist once told me a story where my daughter was reading jokes out of a joke book, and she and D were the only kids who got the jokes. They would laugh while the other kids would just look at each other. One joke was, what are vampires favorite fruit? Nectarines!

D is also the target of ALL the girls' crushes in the class. He is adorable and a huge flirt with the girls. "Get in line!" I told my daughter. Every girl in your class loves D!

I went on to tell her that D likes her as well as many other girls in the class, and that's okay! At their age, they should like a lot of kids. "Does this mean that I can love a lot of boys now?" my daughter asked. I told her that she can. It's perfectly okay to love a lot of boys when you're six.

I am really dreading the teenage years! Oy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Importance of Having Fun--My First Book Review!



I was asked to review "Coloring Outside Autism's Lines," written by Susan Walton. This book is a quick read. It stresses the importance of having fun when you have a child or children on the autism spectrum.

When my daughter was little, way before we pursued getting her diagnosed, I dreaded taking her out in public. She would invariably tantrum, and I really hated those public tantrums. I felt that everyone around was judging me and writing me off as a horrible mother. Because of this, I got in the habit of staying home with my daughter--a lot.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who felt this way. I also want to stress that my daughter likes to go out and do things. She's always game for some adventure. However, many children on the spectrum do not share this attitude. This book is especially geared to families of children that don't necessarily like to go out!

Another point the book made was to have fun on weekends and drop doing therapy so that the family can just have some downtime and fun. A big part of my daughter's therapy is often to give rewards such as outings to reinforce good behaviors. The book stresses that these weekend outings should just be done whether the child has earned the rewards or not. I thought this was an interesting perspective. There have been times where we just want to do something and not make it be about the reward!

A big part of the book deals with suggesting outings and offering suggestions about how to prepare for the outings. I thought this aspect of the book would be helpful to people whose children have been recently diagnosed. For families that have been dealing with this for more than two years, I think you've already figured out what works for you!

I would highly recommend this book for people who are new to this autism spectrum lifestyle. It stresses the importance of having fun and how to go about it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Apparently a 6-Year Old Shouldn't Give Medical Advice!

My daughter started coughing on Thursday night. I assumed she was getting a cold. When I saw her Friday morning, she was still coughing, but her nose wasn't running, she had no fever, and she was in good spirits. "How are you feeling? Are you sick?" I asked her. "I feel fine," she said. Great, so off to school she went, coughing all the way.

When I went to pick her up at the end of the day, her teacher complained about her cough and told me that she was very close to calling me to pick her up. She decided to let her stay since they were going to do art, which my daughter loves doing. I assumed that meant my daughter couldn't have been feeling that bad. She started to whine on the way to the car. I mentioned that I should maybe take her to the doctor, but my daughter said she felt fine and didn't want to go. She still wasn't running a fever, and her nose wasn't even runny. I decided she didn't need to go. Why expose her to other kids germs, right?

Later that evening, my daughter started to cry over nothing. She then said, "I want to see my doctor!" I looked at the clock. It was 5:55 and the office closes at 6:00. Figures! I called and was able to get an appointment the next morning. It was a very tough night. She had bad coughing fits and got little sleep. She was also making a weird whistling noise when she breathed out through her mouth. Great.

We took her to the doctor the next day. It seemed louder than usual. There were kids screaming, "NO!" and little babies crying. I joked with my daughter that it was torture chamber day at the doctor's office. Luckily, she found the comment funny. Whew! The doctor finally examined her and thought she had bronchitis. Weird, since she wasn't sick before this hit. Anyway, she's now on antibiotics and having breathing treatments twice a day. She's already doing much better!

Next time, I'm not taking medical advice from my 6-year old. And she wants to be a doctor! What does she know! Of course, there are other times when she wants to be a musketeer or a cheerleader when she grows up. So, I'm definitely not taking medical advice from her in the future.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Vote for Me! Please!


Babble announced their top 50 Mom bloggers! Somehow, I didn't make the list. I know! I'm just as surprised as you are! Didn't they know about my SITS Day? Didn't they know I was featured by Theta Mom? Even Dr. Melissa interviewed me. You'd think I'd make Babble's list!

Babble, realizing that they can't recognize all the awesome mom bloggers have nicely allowed any mom blogger to be nominated, then other people can vote for that blogger. I was happy to see that I was nominated (okay, so I nominated myself. That's allowed). If you love my blog and want to vote for me, that would be great. Click here. I'm buried pretty low on the popularity ranking, so it's probably easier to change the list to sort alphabetically, then look for "Little Bit Quirky" and vote away!

If I get a ton of votes I get....well, nothing really! But it's a good boost to the old ego to see that people enjoy the blog!

Thanks so much for the consideration!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Genius or Asperger's? It Can Be Hard to Tell

I recently went to a meeting held by my school district. The topic was on their Gifted/Talented Programs. As part of the presentation, there was a slide that showed the characteristics of gifted learners. It was a pretty long list, but I'll list all of the characteristics:

1) Early, rapid learning
2) Endless energy
3) Superior language ability; learns language quickly
4) Large knowledge and interest base
5) Exceptional memory
6) Keen, mature sense of humor
7) Complex/abstract thinking and great imagination
8) Superior reasoning/problem-solving ability
9) Long attention span when interested
10) Inappropriate acting out or apathy when disinterested
11) High level moral thinking; ability to detect injustice of inconsistency
12) Unrealistic self-expectations; perfectionistic and competitive
13) Frustrated with illogical or disorganized thinking
14) Impulsive, risk-taking behavior OR worried to take risks due to fear of failure
15) Overwhelming curiosity; questions everything and everyone (including authority)
16) Lack of desire to socialize with age-level peers; prefers the company of adults/older friends.

What hit me really hard about this list is that MANY of them can be used to describe a child with Asperger's. Before we got our daughter assessed, I'd check lists of characteristics of children with high IQs and would conclude that my daughter's issues were because she was so smart! Even things like her difficulty with sleeping at night seemed to be related to children who were very smart and couldn't turn their brains off at night, so to speak.

The truth is that many children with Asperger's ARE really smart. Some of their issues might not be tied to the autism, but to high IQ. This is something I struggle with a lot. When my daughter behaves a certain way, I always ask myself if her autism is fueling the behavior or if her intelligence is.

I usually come to the realization that it probably doesn't matter what is causing the behavior because the approach to stop it is pretty much the same.

It just would be nice to know if I could blame her putting two socks on one foot as being from the "absent-minded professor" genius side of her brain function rather than the autism side. It just sounds more high-falutin' when that's the reason.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Blogger Envy

It's finally happening to me. Everyone who blogs says it happens eventually, and now I'm totally experiencing it. I'm suffering from major blog envy. Actually, a better term for it would be major blogger envy. I mean, I've been envious of other bloggers' great writing abilities for awhile now. That's not new. What is new is being envious of the opportunities other bloggy friends are having. Some are being chauffeured to restaurants where they dine on fine, gourmet foods and get plastered drinking tequila in various ways (shots, mixed drinks, you name it!). Others get to stay at luxurious resorts getting spa treatments and everything else for free. Yet others get the VIP treatment while attending television talk show tapings.

Mom bloggers are being courted in a large variety of ways! For a long time, I took the stance that I was above all that. My blog was to help educate about autism, and I was not going to sacrifice the integrity of my blog to cash in on silly trinkets and other such nonsense.

But now I'm envious of my bloggy friends who are experiencing the perks of blogging--because trust me--it sure isn't for the money! Okay, many of them do have a bigger readership, which is why they're getting such awesome perks, but not all of them do!

Why am I not being invited to the bloggy prom? Where are my perks? I can blog about the advantages and disadvantages of raising a child on the spectrum while I'm drunk on tequila just as well as the next bloggy mom! Really, I can!

Sigh.

I'm off to try to win one of the million giveaways going on the other blogs right now. Wish me luck while I lick my bloggy wounds!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Doctor's in the House!

Melissa at Confessions of a Doctor Mom has interviewed me today! Yay! Melissa is a pediatrician who took some time off to be a stay-at-home mom. Until recently, that is! Now she's working a couple of days of week. Good for her for finding some awesome balance in her life! Anyway, she's a really cool mom blogger that you need to check out!

Read the post here. Then read her other posts! Then come back here and tell me what you think!

Karma's a Bitch!

I'm linking this post to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. The letter this week is "K." I thought karma would be a great "K" word to write about!

Within the autism community, there is a huge controversy on whether autism is caused by environmental or genetic factors. While both sides might be willing to concede that autism is probably somewhat a combination of the two factors, people tend to take sides on whether they believe environmental or genetic factors are the primary drivers. This controversy really divides the two sides dramatically and prevents everyone from working together.

My own personal belief? I fall on the genetics side, absolutely! I personally believe that "autism" is actually not one thing, but a group of different issues that present themselves in a similar fashion. So, while a diet that avoids gluten and dairy might really improve the functions in one child, it does diddly squat in another.

However, the majority of the people I know who have a child on the spectrum can see autistic qualities with other family members. Oftentimes, we don't have to go beyond our own mirror to see these qualities. Am I saying that all parents of children on the spectrum are on the spectrum themselves? No, although some of us might be. I do think a lot of us have certain tendencies that aren't extreme enough to put us on the spectrum but do point us in that direction!

I read my fellow special needs bloggers (although I'm not naming names) that come across so well on their blogs, but write about how socially awkward they are or how they have an intense fear of things like chewing gum! Really, one of my blogging buds went on about how he thought chewing gum was the most vile thing on earth!

I, on the other hand, am totally quirk-less! I have no idea where my daughter gets her Asperger's from. None! Okay, it's me. I confess. My husband has stated that I've been kissed by Asperger's, and it's true. I don't think I have it to a degree that I'd ever get diagnosed though. I remember being quite social as a kid, actually. But I do tend to sometimes have one-sided conversations, be self-involved, and say whatever is on my brain. These are great traits to have for blogging, however!

When I was a teenager, my mom used to say that she hoped someday I'd have a difficult child like I was. Somewhere, she's looking down and laughing her ass off!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dolls? We've Got Dolls!

If this Chanukah had a theme, it would be Dolls Week! My daughter is getting two Barbies, an American Girl Doll, and a doll called Lalaloopsy. My sister-in-law gave me daughter the Lalaloopsy. Apparently, this is the hot doll of the moment! My sister-in-law snagged the last one in Target. As she was furiously texting me (with picture) to see if it would be okay, she said a group of moms formed by her, waiting to snatch it up as soon as she put it back on the shelf! Ha! She showed them. She ended up buying it for my daughter. Here is a picture of Lalaloopsy:



She really reminds me of the movie "Coraline" with her button eyes. Very freaky! Her head is also really hard, which I found out when I actually hit her head on my jaw. Ouch! I thought I had broken my jaw. My daughter really thinks she's cool though! Of course, she hasn't seen the movie "Coraline." Then she'd probably change her mind!

We gave our daughter her American Girl doll this past Saturday. She really likes her. We got her the "Doll of the Year." Her name is Lanie. She was kind enough to pose for a picture:



She came with her own book, which my daughter read yesterday. Apparently, in the book, Lanie is jealous that her friend is traveling to the rain forest. Because of this, my daughter tried to turn her room into a rain forest. She brought all her rain foresty animals in and posed them around her room:













I'm glad to see Lanie has spurred some creative play. Or maybe it's a bit of scripting, but it's being done in an imaginative manner!

Yay!

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Daughter Should Just Start Her Own Blog!

Between my SITS Day a few weeks ago and my Theta Mom Community day last Friday, I'm still reeling in all the bloggy love I've been receiving!

I still haven't gotten off my cloud nine to write a coherent post. Instead, I'll share some funny quotes my daughter said tonight. She said these two things within minutes of each other! Remember, she's only 6 years old!

The first thing she said happened as we were preparing to light Chanukah candles. We wanted her to move something out of the way so that a friend of ours who was visiting (or us) wouldn't trip over it. I joked that we didn't want our friend to sue us. As soon as those words left my mouth I wanted to take them back because they're kind of negative AND my daughter wouldn't understand what I said. It turns out the latter wasn't a problem. My daughter retorted that our friend couldn't sue her because she doesn't have a job! I have no idea where that came from! Scary!

The second funny quote happened as my husband was lighting the Chanukah candles. Three of the candles didn't really get going and their flames went out right away. Upon seeing this, my daughter said, "So much for the miracle of Chanukah!"

My daughter just needs to start blogging. Holy smoke!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Today is My TMC Day!




Can you imagine my excitement when Heather from Theta Mom emailed me about being the featured blogger? Well, if you imagined someone screaming OMG! OMG! OMG!, then I guess you can imagine my excitement! But there was a little catch. Heather made me promise to keep this a secret. I thought I was going to die with all this excitement bubbling up inside me! But I did it! Yay!

I'm fairly new to blogging. I started last February and fell in love with doing it almost immediately! I was very pleasantly surprised by the community of bloggers. I quickly learned that what I thought was a solo endeavor really wasn't. I found of a community of bloggers who would cheer me on and sometimes even give me feedback on what I can do better! I'm extremely grateful for this community, and hope that I give back some of the love that I receive!

I've written some posts that I'm extremely proud of and others, well, not as much so!
I've listed my all-time favorite posts on the right-side--just scroll down a bit. Now scroll down a bit more--they're way down there! I mostly write about the wonders (and okay, sometimes the challenges) of raising a beautiful, six-year old girl who has Asperger's. I love to share stories about how brilliant and funny she is!

I hope you spend a few minutes reading my blog!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Special Needs Blog Hop--New Accomplishment for your Child

AutismLearningFelt

This week The special needs blog hop is all about turning all the frustrations and negativeness into something positive. What is a recent accomplishment that your child has made?

My daughter hasn't really tackled anything new recently, but one thing that gives me great hope is her ability to be able to take on the perspective of other people. It's called Theory of Mind and it's an ability that is generally missing in children with autism.

For example, tonight she wanted to play a game with me where she'd pass me her stuffed animal, and I'd pass it back to her. Sounds harmless, right? I didn't want to play it with her because she wanted to do this while walking downstairs with me. I told her that we don't play on the stairs because it's too dangerous.

She protested this, saying it's perfectly fine and nothing would happen. I told her that when she's a mommy with children, she can play this game with them.

She thought about this for a moment then said, "Of course, it's perfectly okay for me to change my mind." I looked at her quizzically, then asked her if this means that she now thinks it's not a safe game if she were the mommy. She admitted that, yes, from a mommy perspective it's not a good idea.

I gave her a big high five and thanked her for her honesty--and for the laugh! I do have great hope for her future!

Happy Chanukah!

On the way home from gymnastics, my daughter asked me why Chanukah lasted 8 nights. I started to explain the miracle of the oil lasting 8 nights, but she cut me off and said she knew why: because of the miracle of the dreidel spinning for 8 days!

It's a good thing I was pulling into the garage at that moment, because I started laughing too hard to drive!

Happy Chanukah!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jumbo Amounts of Food!

This post is part of Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday series. This week we're on the letter "J." The only "J" word that came to mind after Thanksgiving Day is jumbo. No surprise there!

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving visiting my brother-in-law and his huge family last week! My daughter had a blast too. I feel very lucky to have a daughter that is so easy to travel with. She loves visiting family and seeing new places. This is actually pretty unusual for a child on the autism spectrum. Many cannot travel or handle big family gatherings. I am extremely thankful that my daughter handles this with ease.

When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was celebrated with just our immediate family. My mom wasn't much of a cook, so she'd just make the turkey. Everything else came out of a can or a box. We'd have Stovetop stuffing, canned yams, canned cranberry sauce, and gravy from a jar. We'd sometimes have a pie from the freezer section of the grocery store. We did eat on the good china that was generally only used for Thanksgiving and Passover.

Thanksgiving at my brother-in-laws is quite a different experience. My sister-in-law is not the world's best cook either. She's responsible for the turkey, which most years somehow ends up on fire. This year, it didn't go up in flames. Ironically, it was a little more dried out than in past years when it was on fire. Go figure.

My sister-in-law gets a lot of help with the dinner, however. All her kids (or their spouses) bring wonderful side dishes or dessert. She also has a best friend (who's her Ethel--or maybe she's the Ethel and her friend is Lucy) who is a wonderful cook. Her friend brings the bulk of the meal: tortellini soup, two kinds of lasagna, stuffed mushrooms, antipasti platters, stuffing, and many different kinds of pie. The food is amazing! The running joke is that we give my sister-in-law the credit for making everything!

The meal is usually served in phases so that we can handle eating all that food! Usually, we play poker or guitar hero in between phases, but this year everyone was busy talking or watching football games! After dinner, we play games such as Scattergories. I definitely ate and drank too much!

My daughter had a chance to hang out with her cousins. She loved being around all the chaos and had a grand old time.

Actually we all had a grand old time! Here's to next year!