Time Out

It takes a village

I wish I took the advice of others when Ayden was first diagnosed. People told me to look for mommy groups and to bond with others who are in the same situation. But I took his diagnoses logically. I kept thinking “okay he’s been diagnosed. Now what’s the next step?” I then proceeded to follow every step, attend every meeting, and schedule every appointment. Until one day, I burst into tears because my child was crying. He was as crying because he  wanted something but I couldn’t guess what. He kept shrieking and pointing but nothing I was picking up was what he wanted. I cried because my own flesh and blood couldn’t talk to me and tell me how to help him. Of course he stopped crying, but my god, once that faucet opened for me, I became an emotional wreck.

I began to lose hope in everything. Nothing was ever going to get better. People kept telling me “God blessed you with this child because children like this need strong mothers.” I say mothers because 1. That’s what they said and 2. that’s the word that pertains to this specific situations. I just wanted to clarify because there are some amazing fathers and single fathers in this community that do just as much as a mother does and I don’t want anyone to be offended. Anyways, I kept repeating, to no one in particular “but I’ve been through enough! When will enough be enough?” I let my depression get the best of me and just wallowed in my bed. I did what was necessary but never anything that was optional. I cooked and cleaned and cared for my child but never tried to exceed past that. I was in this black hole and shut out everyone. To me, no one could possibly understand me.

I remember getting exasperated because yet another service coordinator of mine was leaving on maternity leave and didn’t do their job efficiently so while Ayden was supposed to start school awkwardly in January of 2016, when he turned three (and aged out of early intervention), he was stuck with at home therapy. I HATED our ABA therapist at this point. At first she was very helpful but after a while, I saw her true colors. She was the only therapist who thought that my son was mentally retarded. While every other therapist and teacher said they see so much intelligence out of him everyday, she wanted him to wear a helmet and to diagnose him as mentally retarded with ADD. If he was actually those that things, then fine but if you ever met my son, you’d know it’s not true. I didn’t want to renew my contract with her, so we went without aba for a month. We transitioned into a center based program.

Touring All About Kids was a defining moment for me. While I still felt judging eyes on me, I had this gut feeling (and you know I always follow it), that things will change here for the better. At the center, you must attend with your child and wait for two hours until their sessions are over. Ayden also started to take speech therapy over there so some days we were there for several hours. AJ was so distracted by all the toys, he didn’t even notice that I was gone. But this isn’t about his progression/regression. This is about the village I found.

You always hear “it takes a village to raise a child” and usually you hear it from family. Well my family was (and even when they say other wise, is) in denial of Ayden’s diagnoses. In a Hispanic/Latino household, you’d only hear “but he’s just a baby, give him time or even better “your uncle didn’t talk until he was five.” Just because he didn’t talk until he was five doesn’t mean it’s okay. I never felt the amount of support from my family that I needed as a single mother of a special needs child. I was always told “if you need a break, let me know and I’ll watch him” but the offer hardly ever followed through. I accepted the fact that Ayden was MY child and MY responsibility a long thing ago, before his diagnosis. I didn’t want anyone’s help nor did I need it. I always made it work, but my mental health said otherwise.

I bought so much material to read on my first day without needing it because the mothers of the 9:30 am group were so welcoming to me. I began to find the village. Now, it wasn’t like they were babysitting or helping buy clothes. I was in charge of that 24/7 without a problem. They helped ME. They assured me that everything isn’t so bad as long as you have those who do understand how bad it is. There were mothers who were crying because their child didn’t eat or because their child didn’t touch certain things because of the feel of it. We all had our own mountain to climb. It was good to see other people go through the same problem as I was and realize, it could be worse. I was reading a blog post from Squeeze the Spaceman’s Taco on one of my darkest days. This post literally made my days brighter because it was all about “some people have it worse.” Now, I’m not happy people have these problems or conditions. Never. But I am glad that my child is getting the attention he deserves. He’s getting the help he needs, he’s clothed, fed, and most of all happy.

I think we all seem to forget what we have in front of us. We make such high goals that we forget the little goals that we have accomplished because they aren’t acknowledged as much as getting a house or car. A lot of people say “well these are things you’re supposed to do” but fail to realize that there are people who are horrible “parents”, starving their children on purpose or keeping all child support for themselves rather than their child. No one is SUPPOSED to do anything but rather WANT to do something. I want to be a great parent so I feed my child, play with my child, educate my child, dress my child. That’s what we call Love and yes, a lot of people take advantage of love. I see what I do for my child and autism or not, we truly are blessed and I am proud of my hard work. Whether you have a child with a disability or not, never forget to pat yourself on the back for doing the laundry or getting groceries, or reading them a bedtime story. Who knows, maybe those will be the memories that they’ll cherish. Those nights doing laundry with mom, grocery shopping with dad, the bed time stories with their parents. Everyday your child smiles, you’ve accomplished something. You’ll know you’ve found your village when those people applaude your “tiny” accomplishments.

Beauty, Time Out

Halloween 2016

Halloween really brings out my creativity which brought me back to my writing. I loved this Halloween for TWO reasons. One, my boyfriend was with me to go Trick-or-treating with me and my son. Two, he was totally down for a family costume which I was beyond excited about. We thought of a few ideas but in all honesty, we waited until last-minute to shop for costumes and we couldn’t do what we originally planned. I ended up ordering our costumes a week before Halloween which was so nerve wrecking. To make matters worse, the cheap face make-up I bought from Family Dollar was more of a greasy moisturizer. There was no pigment whatsoever. What a waste of $5. But I don’t give up so I present to you, Mr and Mrs. Frankenstein’s Monster and baby Frankie.

BTW I really hate this picture, I swear I’m not that ugly, just in an ugly stance and in an annoyed mood. Frankenstein monster, Baby Frankie, The bride of Frankenstein.

I ended up doing my boyfriend’s make up with eye shadows, eyeliner, and my knowledge of the art world. I primed his face with Milani Prime Perfection face primer and then just started coating his face with Ofra Cosmetics Oil Control Pressed Powder. I used my Real Techniques Miracle Complexion sponge and just applied it as a base for all the color, to give the green shadow some real pigment when I start to apply it. I used this because when I wore it for the first time I saw that it left this white cast over my face and wasn’t really translucent so why not use it for Halloween since I wouldn’t use it for any other day.

Now this may not be the best thing in the world but I did use this Victoria Secret Make Up Book and Victoria Secret discontinued make up in 2014. BUT did he die? No. I used these two green shadows to cover his face and then used my Studio Make Up On-the-GO palette  to use the black shadow to outline the contours of his face. Specifically his cheek bones, his temples, his nose. I took the black and applied it under his eyebrows to give him a more sunken eye look. I applied some Hikari Black eyeliner to his lower lash line and smudged it out. I drew on some lines with my Tarte lights, camera, lashes precision longwear liquid liner in black. I wanted a bit of blood so I took my Kylie Lipkit in Leo and my lip pencil and drew some lines of blood next to the “stitches”. Finally I made one big horizontal line through it all and set his face with my NYX Dewy setting spray.

If you guys want a step by step pictorial of my boyfriends make up or mine, please let me know and I’d be glad to do so. Trust me, I love this stuff. I was watching old Desi Perkin’s videos and she mentioned that Halloween really got her to concentrate on her love of make up and always brings out her creativity. Instantly I realized that Halloween is what brought my creativity back. I haven’t written a blog post in forever because I’ve just been in this rut but decorating for Halloween and just working on costume makeup, I realized that I need to push harder with things I love and just do it. Stop being so whiney and just do. It’s not always easy but it is possible for me. Anyways, that’s all I have with you guys. Here are our pictures from Halloween and PLEASE feel free to share your Halloween looks with me! I love seeing everyone’s creativity so just post them!

Time Out

Behind the Autism

When it comes to sensitive subjects, there are just things you shouldn’t say. Most are obvious but since becoming a parent, I’ve learned that common sense is not among everyone. Not only just becoming a parent but becoming a parent of a child with autism. Now of course I probably have certain things that bug me more than it bugs other parents in the autism community so feel free not to listen to everything I say. For instance, I don’t like when people label my son, Ayden-Jay (3), as autistic. “Oh the autistic one” or “the autistic child” are both phrases that bother me because he also has these gorgeous brown eyes and beautiful lashes and has the quirkiest sense of humor. Ayden’s smile is amazing and his dimples can make a grown woman swoon but people will still label him in a birthday party as the autistic one. Personally I say I have a child with autism rather than an autistic child, that way I’m not labeling him as well. But that’s my personal preference as his mother; I don’t believe it’s every parent in that autistic community feelings as well. When your child has special needs the best part of this storm is the community. You meet so many who can relate and so you don’t always feel so alone. I finally met a group of people who have heard the most ridiculous things as well when you inform someone your child has autism.


Top 10 Things NOT to say to me about my son.

  1. “He doesn’t look like he has autism.” Ugh, the hatred I have for people who tell me this. Now I don’t expect everyone to be an expert on everything because sometimes you ignore things if it doesn’t relate to you. It’s human nature. I feel like when people tell me this, it equates to the feeling of when a woman is asked about her pregnancy when in reality she just gained some weight. It’s never a good idea to assume. There is no LOOK to autism. I’ve honestly heard this line a million times (aka maybe like 15 times) and given the same response. “What the fuck are you talking about?” Now I’m a rude person with no filter but I won’t ever say “your kid doesn’t LOOK like they have (insert special needs)”. It’s just not something you say ever.
  2. “I’m sure you can make some time” or “There are other parents that can make the time for (insert activity).” Now, in no way am I putting down parents with kids who don’t have special needs. I know people can get a little butt hurt if they feel like their group is being excluded from situations or when their group is the “opposing” sides but please no one take this personal. Parents in general are busy freaking people. We have a million things to do and they only increase as the child gets older. Now for parents with children who have special needs, it’s a fucking obstacle. Do you know how much therapy is involved for a child with autism? My son has ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy, Occupational therapy, and Speech therapy. I know parents who have all of that PLUS feeding therapy and physical therapy for their child. Do you know how much time that is in our schedule? Most of being stay at home parents depending on our spouse or parent to support us while we bounce from therapy to therapy all day. Honestly, I rather sleep or catch up on household chores than go out after my kid is asleep. I rather eat the soggy Doritos that my kid keeps putting back in the bag after he licks off the cheese than drag him to a Starbucks that he doesn’t want to be in and face another tantrum consisting of head banging and the flinging of objects in public JUST to have a 30 minute coffee date with you. #sorryNOTsorry
  3. “Whelp, you shouldn’t have vaccinated them.” If I hear this damn sentence one more time my eyes are going to roll so hard, they’re going to fall out. We are tired of you Anti-Vaccine parents telling us that it’s our fault because we decided to go with our own views and think that vaccines are okay for OUR kids. If you don’t believe in vaccinating your kids, good, then don’t. That’s your decision. But do not act holier than thou and try to blame us for our children having autism because you read a bunch of articles from some invalid websites that BTW aren’t medical journals. I’ve gotten so many links to these articles in where all they say is “Scientist are investigating whether there is a link between vaccines and autism.” Do you know how many nights I’ve spent bawling my eyes out thinking that my son’s struggle with emotions, speech, and behavior is my fault? Do you know how long it took for me to convince myself it’s not my fault? Shit, I still don’t think I’m over it. For the parents looking for the perfect response for this line, I like to use something along the lines of “Fuck Off.”
  4. “My cousin’s husband’s best man’s uncle had a step brother with autism and he said….” I accept advice from other parents or people who closely grew up with someone with autism because there are different techniques for different children that might work for my child. I’m always interested in someone’s story. BUT I will not listen and cannot stand when someone tells me “I met this person who had a friend who has a kid with autism” and then that’s the end of the conversation. I think this is more of a social pet peeve but it’s always because they find out my kid as autism. Like how am I supposed to respond to that? Another mom told me that she hates it because it’s like you’re trying really hard to relate to the situation. A little too hard. We appreciate the effort, we really do but we hate the awkward silence. Most of all, you have the nerve to give advice. Not like you’re just trying to help advice but as a know-it-all advice. Again, not everyone, but other moms and I have encountered the snooty “perfect” parents plenty of times that we’re willing to include it on our list.
  5. “I don’t think its autism. Maybe something else?” The worst part of this phrase is that I hear it from people who don’t even have a degree in any medical field and has only heard of autism or seen the video’s on Facebook. My son was diagnosed a month before he turned two and you’re going to tell me, now that he’s three and a half, that this whole time, every professional was wrong. This whole assumption is based on what you, the person who has no degree or background in how the mind works, know? Thank you BUT no thank you. I happen to be okay with the diagnoses at this time.
  6. “You should listen to your pediatrician and not your gut.” I’m going to make this one plain and simple; my pediatrician told me Ayden was fine. He just had a speech delay. I took an assessment anyways and he referred me to a psychologist who said he just had a speech delay. I was then referred to the Early Intervention Program (Thank God) and their psychologist informed me that my son has Autism Spectrum Disorder. I’ve switched my child’s pediatrician five times. I’ve met mothers who have switched more. I trust a doctor who trusts my gut. A mother’s intuition is never wrong. Don’t ever forget that. That goes for every mother.
  7. “Every child is different. You’re just paranoid.” My mother, my step father, my son’s father, his mother, etc.; I heard it so many times from people I confided in. When my son was nine months and he wasn’t walking correctly in his walker (he was dragging a leg). When my son wouldn’t respond to his name or when he would bang his head on anything when he was excited, mad, or happy. My son whom hit every milestone early or on time until 9 months and now he stops? I questioned it all and expressed my concern but everyone just said that I was a first time mom and I was just paranoid. In reality, I was a first time mom and I was scared because I finally realized what mother’s intuition was and it didn’t only apply to when your child is lying to you. TRUST YOUR GUT AND SHUT EVERYONE ELSE OUT. Every child IS different but some are the type of different that needs help and that’s your job.
  8. “They’ll grow out of it and you wouldn’t even know they had it.” Can you guys believe I’ve heard that before? I still can’t believe I’ve heard it more than once. This is not something children “grow” out of. This is not a temporary behavior or a pair of shoes. Yes, with certain children on the spectrum they can have enough therapy where they won’t be placed in Special Education classes. That’s a blessing. But they did not grow out of it. They worked their asses off in a multitude of therapy classes to regulate their behaviors and to even be able to speak. It is not the same for every child and it is definitely not something you grow out of.
  9. “Well did they fall on their head or something?”*insert stale face* I’m not even going to explain this one.
  10. “He doesn’t act like the kids I see online” I need EVERYONE to read this. Autism is the shortened version of the whole diagnoses. Autism Spectrum Disorder. The keyword is Spectrum. This is where the “every child is different” phrase applies in the autism community. Some children are in the more aggressive area of the spectrum where they’re non-verbal, the tantrums are full out, completely anti-social, etc.; There’s the other end of the spectrum where the child could have minor tantrums, not respond to their name and can be semi-verbal. There are so many combinations of symptoms that no child IS the same nor should be treated the same.

Now I’m not saying to not say anything ever, to never place an opinion, or to act like autism doesn’t exist. I’m saying to please think about what you’re going to say before you say it. Be considerate of how someone might take things. Especially when it comes to special needs children and their parents.  If there are any other phrases that I forgot to list, please let me know in the comment section below. I love a good laugh. Again, this is all an opinion, I’m no expert.

 

If you have the funds or the time please check out www.autismspeaks.org to either contribute or learn about the Autism Community.

 

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BTW this is my first parent post so be patient, there will be more.