#TuesdaysWithAutism – Big News From This Big Mouth!

This is another quick one, but that’s because #TuesdaysWithAutism was posted directly to the Facebook page, today.

Why you ask?

Because I had BIG NEWS! Wanna see?

LOOKIE

PS: My life will slow down after Christmas and awesome content will return. Until then, it’s going to be a little ragtag around these parts. Apologies!

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Friday Haha – ‘Funny’ and Other ‘F’ Words

I admit it right now.

This is a bit of a bait and switch post.

In order to soften the blow, I tried to make the title smile-worthy and I threw in a phrase perfect for Michael Scott.

jim
This is a picture of Jim Halpert. If I ever make it big, please remind me to turn this into a plate of nachos or a cat tap dancing so that lawyers from nbc dont come after me for posting this without permission.

 

Annnnnyway.

You guys, I’ve hit a wall of un-funny. When I first got the idea to end the week on a funny note, I didn’t think about the idea long term. Coming up with something that’s going to make people that aren’t my sister laugh every seven days is harder than I thought!

No fear, I have come up with an alternative plan.

#FridayHaha is going out to pasture. The ole boy needs a good rest, a pretty view, and a handful of carrots.

#FridayFWords is the hip, new kid if by “hip new kid” you mean, “dorky neverold mom”. She shouts different F words every Friday like, #FOOD, and #FRIENDS, and #FAMILY and #FROADTRIPS (that’s road trips with an F. I just really want it to be a goal of mine to eventually travel enough that it becomes write-worthy). Friday posts will cover all of your favorite F-words occasionally still including #Funny stuff because I’m not a monster, geez.

Do you have some favorite F-words you’d like to see featured? Can you share them without your mother washing your mouth out with soap? Then let’s hear your ideas! Comment below or check out another F-word.

Friday Haha – Treasure Hunt

I’m going to do something a little different today for Friday Haha.

We are going on a treasure hunt!

My silly story will be on the facebook page, today. You can get there by following this link.

So why am I doing this? Wellllll, I got a very good question in the super-duper-confidential email yesterday. I will be posting the question on the facebook page sometime this weekend, and I would like as much feedback as possible before writing up a post for #TuesdaysWithAutism. This question, in my opinion, will need a lot of experiences, feedback, and tips and tricks from both parents, professionals, and self-advocates. I would love to hear from you so that we, as a village, can answer this question.

As for the story, it’s short, quick, and should at least bring a smile to your face.

Enjoy!

Tuesday’s With Autism – On Thursday Because LIFE

I write on a laptop.
On my bed.
Criss-cross applesauce.

Usually with music or TV on in the background.
Definitely away from people.
Because I like some noise, but don’t want to make any.
And I don’t like interruptions.
And I don’t want to chat when I’m in a mode.
And I like to have a “thinkin’ drink” every once in a while.

Anyway, a week ago, the laptop screen broke.
While I was in Dallas, Hubs let me know he found a great deal on a desktop so he grabbed that because #budgetlife.

And I said, “cool” because 99% of my brain loves a bargain. However, the 1% of my brain that NEEDS routine and plans and spirals with unexpected change got kind of panicky.

I came home, and Hubs had set up the new desktop in the office nook, in our living room.
It looks great.
It makes perfect sense.
Except I saw this and froze.

“But my bed.”
“My music/tv noise.”
“My alone time.”
“My criss-cross applesauce.”

I sat on the chair and looked at the keyboard.
Oh. My. God.
An ergonomic keyboard?! Have you SEEN these things?!

I stood up and walked away.
Over the last week, I’ve eyeballed this perfectly fine computer like a monster.
“I need to write”
“Maybe I can from my phone”
“Nope”
“FML”
“What an entitled problem, stop it”
“But my bed….”
Thus the cycle continues….

And let me stress again, it’s perfectly fine in real world, but my brain will not accept the change. Yet.

I promised myself I would sit here today, so I’m here.
Kids and toys screeching behind me.
Dog making that dog-smacking sound.
I’m shocked my ears haven’t started spontaneously bleeding.
The light in here is directly over me and the color is all wrong (to me).
The chair is too hard (to me).
The keyboard taps are wrong (it stresses the spacebar sound – just. no.)

And as I take this all in I think, “autism and genetics are simply amazing.”

Because seriously.

The kid comes by it honestly.

I just don’t always remember that.

Except in moments like this.

Maybe I can borrow his noise-canceling headphones and change the lightbulb.

How do you and/or yours handle change that looks minor but feels major?

Sound off below.

We will call it my positive writing reinforcement.

Friday Haha – The Car and the Horn

Last week, I featured a story about one of my childhood cars that would make 21st century parents clutch their children and scream in horror. Now, the Friday Haha’s will not turn into Car Talk, but I would be remiss if I didn’t also share the story of *my* first car. The story ends with me hysterical crying and an old lady in a track suit flipping me off, so trust me when I say, buckle up and enjoy the tale.

I had no interest in driving as a teenager. I was good with catching rides with friends, hopping on the bus, grabbing a cab, and jumping on a train. This was early aughts in Dallas, so this was a time consuming cluster, but it kept me from behind the wheel, so I was fine with the arrangement.

My mom finally convinced me to get a license once I had my oldest. “What if there’s an emergency and you need to get to the hospital?” Fair point. I got my license a day or two before my 19th birthday. Still, I needed a car. I took everything from my Teenage Parent Budget and sorted out buying a car for a cool $250 from my older brother.
giphy

I have no clue what kind of car it was, except gold and Chrysler-looking. The steering wheel looked like it was better suited for a go-cart, and you had to drive it the way people “drive” in old movies – shaking back and forth at 10 and 2.
I don’t remember this, but my mom is pretty sure that I had to hit the starter with a hammer to get the car going. It could be true, because I *do* remember finding a mechanic who worked on my car quite often for the low low cost of a six pack and some smokes. It was a beautiful arrangement.

I’ve gotta hand it to my Ma, this did make going to school and work *much* easier. In fact, I ended up getting a job much further away than I ever would have without this beast. After school, I would drive from Coit and 635 towards Irving and make it to work in about 25min. Breezy. However, driving back into Dallas took much longer, especially on Fridays. I usually left an hour early, sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and did my homework.

One particular rush hour, I was sitting there, probably doing some Comp II assignment, and started hearing someone honking. There was literally no movement on the road, so this was irritating at best. They did not let up. Other cars started honking back and finally the screaming started. “EFF YOU!!” “MOTHERBLEEPER!!” “KNOCK IT OFF A-HOLE!!!” And really, it was all called for because who the hell honks NON STOP in a traffic jam….I do. It was me.

You know those moments that cameras zoom in on a face in horror/realization? Yeah, that was me as I looked up and saw people screaming at ME. I turned down the radio, and I heard it. It was The Beast. The car had gone full-on Christine on me and started honking….and honking…and honking….I think it wanted me to die in a road rage accident. I’m sure of it.

There’s no where I could go. I tried turning off the car, and it kept honking. I finally threw my hands up in the air so that people could see that I was NOT doing this and hopefully, spare my life from disgruntled commuters. I wasn’t quite at i-35 yet. Folks, I sludged down 635 like this for nearly an hour. I couldn’t pull over because I had to get Phoenix from the babysitter. Every minute I was late, was a $1. By the time I got to my exit, I was hysterical crying, hands in the air, and managing to drive mostly with my knees. When I pulled into the babysitter’s neighborhood, an old lady power-walking in her track suit smiled and waved. I responded by aggressively honking and tearing down the street. She flipped me off – I forgave her immediately.

I threw money at the babysitter, who was having none of this Horn Excuse, loaded up Phoenix, and drove to his dad’s apartment. It took him all of a minute to disconnect the horn. “Eff that car, I’m never getting in it again!” I declared.

And I didn’t. I straight abandoned that car in his apartment parking lot where we watched it sit for a year. Sometimes, I would walk by and kick it or spit on it. Every time I looked at it, I began cussing as if I were speaking in tongues to Jesus Christ himself. I don’t remember why I didn’t sell it or really whatever happened to it in general, but I know for a fact, I never, ever, stepped foot in it again.

I knew I was not meant to drive.

How does your first car compare? Do you have a crappy car story? Sound off in the comments!

Tuesday’s with Autism – From the Mailbag: The “Rainman” Question.

If you have a question about autism, spd, adhd/add, etc, send your completely anonymous questions to RealLifeAutism.sarahah.com . If you want to chime in on the questions before the post hits, be sure to follow the facebook page here.

 
I have gone most of the day thinking it was Monday. That should give you an idea about how things are going over here – I talked to the neurologist today and get to see the immunologist on Thursday. Yeah, it’s THAT kind of week. At least it’s closer to Friday than I thought.

A few weeks ago, I told you guys I had started an anonymous email option to help open up the dialog regarding autism. Some people asked about sharing the option for other diagnoses as well – hey, why not? Many people with autism have multiple diagnoses.

The idea behind this is to create a dialog that may not happen face-to-face. I want you to ask the hard questions, even the ones that may be offensive. Share the email and let’s create an understanding and inclusive community through dialog. A good friend paid me the greatest compliment when she said, ” I love that you work every day to make people suck just a little less.” Perfectly worded. That’s the goal!  Another friend of mine said she has a mantra that I have since fallen in love with: Communicate. Educate. Advocate. That’s gonna be a tattoo on my body at some point.

One of the first messages I received was from a parent who said, “People ask, ‘Is he like Rainman? What special skills does he have?‘” Besides cartoon smoke blowing out of your ears, how do you answer this?

“Rainman” may be the second most offensive r-word because, like many stereotypes, it’s a lazy one.  I personally hate this question because, it puts me in a challenging spot. If I say, “he’s not like Rainman” does that imply my kid doesn’t have “special skills”? Just because he can’t tell you insane facts from 50 years ago or count the exact amount of toothpicks that fall on a diner floor does not mean that Aiden doesn’t have “special skills”. I believe he loves laundry and washing machines more than anyone else in the ENTIRE WORLD. #1 out of 7 billion and some change ain’t bad!

Typically when someone asks this, and they do my reply tends to depend on the amount of sleep I’ve had, the number of doctor appointments I have sat through that week, and if I’m feeling sleepy-snarky or awake-and-advocatey. I have definitely replied with Aiden’s love for laundry and his want for a washer-world. I have also told people, “his special skill is tolerating a world that is turned up at a 15 every second of every moment when all he wants is a 4 or 5…even an 8.” I try to keep things light even though I am eyerolling so hard, I can see my own butt cheeks. The question annoys me so much, but by asking it, it typically means people are at least trying. It’s a good chance to start a dialog.

I posted this on our facebook page, and a few of the responses made me laugh. One parent said, “I tell them she is a really good judge of character, and evidently doesn’t like you”. Another parent said that she says her kiddo’s “savant skills” are, “eye rolling and pulling all-nighters”.

One parent shared her sincere response, ” I’m sure some people with autism have that skill. Matthew was blessed with other skills. All children and adults have strengths and areas that require assistance. Its just a matter of learning to navigate the map you were given.”

What about you? Has someone brought up Rainman to you and yous? Does it bother you? How did you respond?

Changes – Real Life Autism

Changes are coming!

Live Like Whoa is now Real Life Autism.

Same stuff, different name. A tighter grip on what in the world I’m trying to do with this thing.

 

The idea came from three different moments I’ve had in the last month.
1) A friend talking to me about her desire to ask the *real* questions about ASD in an anonymous format. Sometimes (a lot of times), we have questions about incredibly sensitive subject matter. sometimes its not even that sensitive, but man, you dont feel like having your name blasted for the world to see, you just want advice!

1a) I am always saying I want people who are not regularly exposed to autism/special needs to ask questions. So maybe with an anonymous option, people will send me questions and we, as a community, can educate one another.

 

***I have made a sarahah account for completely anonymous emails. I cannot see who sent them. If you would like to submit a question for me to post for suggestions and/or feedback, please send it to: reallifeautism.sarahah.com***

2) The TV debate. You know the one. “Atypical doesn’t show *my* autism”. “Parenthood didn’t relate to *our* world”. “Sesame Street only sort of got it right”. As it turns out, studio execs aren’t our voice, we are. And while I may share “sad” or maybe even uncomfortable things, it wont be to illicit pity, it will be to show all sides and all “levels” of autism. I hope to highlight not only my guy, but lots of people (that’s where you come in, eventually)

3) A hashtag I made. #RealLifeAutism, as a matter of fact. I shared a picture of Aiden with a puberty-autism infused quote on my personal Facebook. I was amused, but I started seeing sad faces pop up. I realized that *I* had his context, but not everyone did. However, some fellow autism mamas smiled along with me. “yay for language!” “he’s expressing himself!” “typical teen!” and I thought, “man, they got the context because they live it, too!” Again, it was a moment when I realized that Real Autism moments are important to share with the neurotypical (NT) community.

Note: What I share about Aiden, I share with his permission. Sometimes he says no, sometimes he says yes. My hope is that someday he will be able to pop on and share his own thoughts.

There will still be #FridayHaha and #TuesdaysWithAutism but a few more things may be sprinkled it depending on oh, you know, life.

So what do you think? Advice? Comments? Questions? Sound off and let’s see how this goes!