Its one of those horrifying sounds as a parent. The gagging cough that wakes you out of a dead sleep and causes you to leap across the house in 1.3 seconds. Your child is vomiting and your mind is racing? Is he okay? Did she make it to the bathroom in time? How bad is it?
You immediately go into auto pilot. You comfort your child and begin the arduous task of cleaning … them.. their clothes… the toilet… the floor… the bed…
And you finally get them back into a nicely cleaned bed to try to sleep while you sit nearby listening to every breath. Cringing at every groan. Strange thoughts start to go through your mind. Like how grateful you are.
Yes, I said grateful. Not that my son was sick Saturday night, but for…
A strong gag reflex that enabled me to clean the mess without adding to it.
Most elementary schools collect Box Tops for Education and other labels to help earn money for the schools. You can collect them in plastic baggies or just about any cleaned out container from your recycle bin. But here are some easy and creative box tops collection boxes if you want to do something a bit more fun.
One of the characteristics common among people on the Autism Spectrum is a lack of social awareness. Many, like my son, do not have an innate understanding of the social skills many of us take for granted. Personal space, appropriate vocal loudness, visual and verbal cues most of us use to interpret a situation need to be taught and retaught.
My son becomes so absorbed in his interests that he is oblivious to those around him. I often joke that he is in his own world and occasionally stops in to visit ours.
Sometimes his lack of social awareness is actually a blessing in disguise, like when some kids at school ridiculed him for getting muddy or told him only girls wear red rain boots. In both instances he didn’t care he was being made fun of. Unfortunately, he also didn’t understand his friends were coming to his defense.
This weekend two separate instances let me know all of the hard work developing his social skills is getting through to him. And I admit I have mixed feelings about it.
Two of his friends come over after school and I treat them to popsicles because it has been so hot on our walk home. One can’t have dairy. When we were at the store I told J he could pick some out for the three of them. He stood surveying his choices for a bit then asked me “Can Kai have these?” Unfortunately they were fudgesicles, #1 ingredient is nonfat milk. He disappointingly put them back and chose something else. I could tell he really wanted them but picking something everyone could have was more important.
His class gets to bring a stuff animal to class for the day as a reward for their Fun Run. He is a bit obsessed with Mario and everyone knows it. He has a few dozen Super Mario plush.
Mom: “Which plush are you bringing tomorrow?”
Son: “One of my old ones, like a bear or something.”
Mom: “You don’t want to bring Mario or Luigi?”
Son: “Nobody in my class likes Mario, so I will just bring something else.”
**CRASH** the sound of my heart breaking as I realized he is starting to care about what other people think and trying to conform to their expectations.
I want my child to be happy. I want him to find his place in the world. I want him to know he can fit in, but still stand out. Just like all parents.
Moms do so much for the rest of the family throughout the year. It’s nice to make her feel special at least once a year. Speaking as a Mom, most of us don’t want expensive flowers, meals or presents. What means the most are the “gifts” that show you really appreciate us and all of our hard work. Listed below are some easy and frugal ways to spoil your mom this Mother’s Day or any day.
Rather than taking Mom out for lunch to a crowded restaurant on Mother’s Day, why not plan a fun picnic. You can either have it at a local park, the back yard, or even indoors if the weather isn’t co-operating. Spread the blanket out on the living room floor and you won’t even have to contend with ants!
Springtime is a great time to fly a kite because it is often windy and warm. It probably won’t matter what type of kite you fly as long as you have fun doing it. Make your own kite or pick one up at a discount or dollar store. Then go fly a kite together as a family.
Create a day spa in the privacy of your own home. Set up candles around the bathtub, find some nice bubble bath, play soothing music and then get the kids out of the house to let Mom have time to enjoy the peace and quiet. She’ll definitely feel spoiled and pampered. Here’s an easy Milk Bath in Jar recipe you can make for her.
Find a favorite book shared by Mom and the children. If the children can read, have them record themselves reading the book. This idea can also be used with children who are small; instead of having them read, give them specific words they can say while you read the book. Mom will love having this memento of her children’s voices, especially when they get older.
Print one of our Mother’s Day cards or have the kids make this Big Hug card and have the children write a short paragraph explaining how special she is. If they can’t write, have them dictate what they want to say. Be sure to write it down verbatim so Mom knows exactly how they feel – even if what they say is funny.
Make a coupon book she can use at a future date. One hour of time alone is a good coupon, and vacuuming or ironing could also be offered. Teens could include coupons for taking younger siblings to play dates or practices; they could also provide babysitting services so Mom and Dad can go out. Younger children can include coupons for doing dishes, cleaning up their room or taking out the garbage. A back or foot massage is always appreciated, but she may enjoy the coupon for a breakfast in bed most of all. Use your imagination. Think of things the children could give her and then a few from you.
Fun with Photos
There aren’t many Moms who don’t enjoy pictures of their children. Why not find a clear box and put photos inside to make a photo cube? Mom will love the pictures and having them inside a clear box will protect them. When she wants a different picture, she can flip the cube to see a different smiling face.
Or take some photographs of the children during various times of the day and night. Then create a collage with the photos. Be sure to write down the children’s ages and the date it’s to be given so Mom will be able to think back to how the children were when they were younger. If you can get it laminated at an office supply store or printer, this will protect the photos for years to come.
If you want to get really crafty, you can make some easy flowers with construction paper and chenille stems with the children’s photos on them. Full instructions here if you need them.
Get Mom in the picture! Moms are usually the family photographers. Even if it is only on Mother’s Day, make it a point to take pictures of Mom with the kids. Some can be posed, but candid shots are great. Make a photo album or collage and give it to her after Mother’s Day. GASP! Yes, gave her a second gift after the day.
Find a plain t-shirt in Mom’s favorite color and washable fabric paints. The children can place their hands or feet in the paint and then onto the shirt. Write “My mom is covered in hands of love” or “My children walk all over me” with the names, ages, and date the shirts were made. Be sure to follow the directions to make the paint permanent.
Have the children pick out some pretty beads from the craft department or a craft store. Get the string and clasps while you’re there. Then let the children make Mom a one-of-a-kind bead necklace.
If she loves plants or flowers, buy a terracotta pot and paint it. You can place a plant in the pot or use it as a container for candy which has been wrapped in color cellophane and green chenille stems.
Using craft sticks or twigs from your yard, you can make a vase, pencil holder or candle holder for her desk. Start out with a clean, empty can and glue the craft sticks or twigs onto it, or clip the clothes pins on a short can (full directions here). Tie a raffia or fabric ribbon on the can to both keep the sticks on the can and add a decorative touch. If making a vase, fill it with the photo flowers mentioned above.
Create a homemade message board. Find an old picture with a frame. Take the picture out, cover it with fabric and stretch ribbon from one side to the other to create diamonds. Staple the ribbon around the edges and place it back into the frame. When it is hung up, Mom can place notes or pictures on it so she can keep track of things that are important.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make Mom feel valued. In fact, any of these ways to spoil mothers on their special day will probably do just fine. Of course, anything you give that comes from the heart will be treasured because she knows it came with love.
Here are some floral printable Mother’s Day cards for your mother, wife, grandmother, aunt, girlfriend, etc. Plus we have a $250 Pick your prize giveaway for one lucky winner! The winner can take mom out to dinner and the rest of us can print these cards 😉
All have 1/2 inch margins and should print on standard 8 1/2 by 11 paper. The quarter fold are probably best on bright white heavy duty paper since the need to be folded in half and half again. The double sided can go on card stock since they only need to be folded in the middle. Set your printer to flip along the long side (or manually flip it) so the sentiment ends up on the correct side.
If you click on the links below the photos you can probably figure it out yourself.
We are so excited to be giving away $250 in cash prizes for Mother’s Day to one lucky reader.
The prize will consist of $250 in gift card(s). The winner will choose the gift card(s) you want. Please choose a gift card(s) which comes from an online store and can be paid by US dollars. EX: Amazon, Target, Walmart, Macy’s, Kohls, etc. You may ask for more than one gift card, but must add up to $250.
Now its time to meet our wonderful co-hosts who have made this giveaway possible.
Please stop by and say hi to these wonderful ladies and their blogs.
The giveaway will end midnight on Friday, May 12th, a few days before Mother’s Day. You will have 48 hours to respond to the email claiming the prize. If we don’t hear in 48 hours, we will choose another winner. The giveaway is open to anyone over 18 years of age and able to receive egift cards.
Last Saturday my son and I participated in a Community Clean Up of one of the main streets leading in to our neighborhood. Since the Friday Frivolity hosts have a rain / Earth Day theme this week I thought I would give you some easy ideas to help you organize a community clean up in your own neighborhood.
One of my neighbors did something that is almost unthinkable in today’s society. She noticed there was a lot of trash on the main street in our neighborhood and she took to social media. Big deal, doesn’t everyone do that when something bothers them there days? But, she didn’t complain. She didn’t turn it into a political tirade. She didn’t break into a modern rendition of “What’s the matter with these kids today”. She didn’t say someone should do something.
She asked if people wanted to get together and help clean it up. And people were thrilled to help. She picked a day and a time, set up a Facebook event, and told people to show up with a trash bag and gloves. About 30 of us came and in less than an hour we had tidied up the 1.5 mile stretch of road. We got to meet some neighbors we had only seen around school or the grocery store and our neighborhood looks so much better.
There were a lot of young people, some of which were doing it as an activity with Boy Scouts or for service hours at school. And a certain 8 year old who desperately needs to learn there are other human beings on this planet and he needs to start helping them or he may not live to see his 9th birthday. But, I am not going to name any names.
Everyone that participated agreed it was actually fun and we are planning to do the cross street soon.
There was lots of trash from the local coffee place and fast food restaurants and plenty of water bottles. Also, there were some rather nasty things you wouldn’t want to touch with bare hands. The one item I didn’t see was single use plastic bags. Yes, I live in California where they are now illegal.
If you are feeling inspired to organize a community clean up of your own here’s all you need to do:
pick an area that needs to be cleaned (park, street, etc.)
pick a day and time to meet
recruit people to help (social media and word of mouth are better than paper flyers or posters)
have people bring their own trash bags and gloves
arrange for the trash to be disposed of properly
thank people for coming, especially the kids
Depending on the time of year, you might also recommend people bring their own hats, sunscreen and water. And seriously, don’t forget the gloves 😉
For those that are not on our mailing list, Sarah will be taking some maternity leave from the weekly party. She will be linking up and visiting and hopes to rejoin us as host when she is up for it. Luckily, Amethyst is joining us as a permanent host. The four of us will still be visiting you all and sharing your awesome posts.
Featured Post from Last Week:
In a fun twist, since we now have multiple hosts and co-hosts we will also have multiple FEATURES…. but you will have to go check out the other blogs to see if you were featured there! 😉
Audrey is a wonderfully eclectic blogger, who not only can cook up a storm over on That Recipe, but also writes at Munofore – “MUsings NOt FOod RElated.” Munofore touches on humor, parenting, crafting, holiday ideas, tutorials, and more! Audrey talks about education and the Mommitment in her latest post.
Facebook // Twitter //Pinterest // Google+ // Bloglovin Lisa is an awesomely hilarious and authentic writer who marches to her own drum on her blog Syncopated Mama, providing an “un-labelly spot” for all the happily off-beat folks out there who have been wishing to find kindred spirits. She shares her adventures building a natural home, teaching her adorbs daughter, establishing and refining positive communication skills, camping, creating, cooking, and so much more! Lisa has a fun craft and activity for The Very Hungry Caterpillar in her latest post.
Jessica is an amazingly funny and smart blogger from Wales who writes at Babi a Fi on a whole range of topics — from entertaining vintage nostalgia, to technology tutorials, to book reviews, to raising her adorable munchkin, and so much more! Jessica shares her busy and stress filled week with us in her latest post.
Amethyst is a fantastically encouraging and thoughtful blogger, who shares new-mama adventures, self-care advice, book and product reviews and so much more over at One Sage Mama. Amethyst has a giveaway for #BabyLove: My Toddler Life on her blog right now.
Calling all bloggers looking for an upbeat and supportive group of pals to join in hosting the weekly #FridayFrivolity par-tay! We are hoping to add to our ranks of dedicated hosts and co-hosts, and would love for you to consider joining the fun! Co-Hosts are welcome on a temporary basis (usually a month), while Hosts make a more ongoing commitment. 🙂 Swing by here to express interest and ask any questions!
Now time for the new stuff!
This a link-up for all things funny, fun, encouraging, hopeful, and happy. That includes free printables, giveaways, and other fun stuff to make us SMILE and start the weekend off on the right foot. If you’re here in search of fun and uplifting reading materials, skip the rules and just start clickin’! Bloggy buddies, thanks for coming to par-tay! You are welcome to link up to 3 posts, and old posts are always welcome!
I don’t write a great deal about parenting a child on the Autism Spectrum. Some days it is just parenting. Others days it is a monumental suckfest. If you have a friend or family member that is parenting a child on the spectrum, you might want to understand what it is like. Speaking on behalf of other parents of children on the spectrum: we love you, but you will never understand. Unless you live with it 24/7 you can never truly understand. But, here is a small glimpse into my life as an Autism mom.
Please do not tell me we are blessed or special or God has chosen us.
Before you ask “Have you tried..” or “Can’t you just…” or ” I read an article…” or “I have a friend…”
Some days it is like this…
And some days it is like this. Especially with our Triennial IEP coming up next month.
I’d love to sit and chat with you, but…
Don’t get me started on the subject of food.
Try as you might, only Autism parents truly understand…
We love you, you will always be our family or friend. But sometimes we need the solidarity that only comes from someone else in the trenches.
I do not presume to speak for every Autism parent because:
Personally, I don’t want your sympathy or praise. It might make you feel better, but it annoys me no end.
There are some things you will not understand if you haven’t experienced it. There are plenty of things I can’t understand because I have never experienced them.
If you want to understand anything, understand if I am in the midst of the lowest of the lows I am probably going to ignore you. I probably won’t want to talk about. It has nothing to do with you. There are times when my child needs 200% of my attention and energy and I have nothing left to give anyone.
I’d love to make plans and keep them. I’d like to be able to go to an event and be able to enjoy it and stay for the whole thing. But it doesn’t always work out that way. It isn’t you. It isn’t me. It isn’t him. It is just our reality.
But, most importantly, I want you all to understand.
My husband and I believe that our local public school is the best place to educate our son for a variety of reasons.
If you are expecting me to deride homeschooling, charter schools or private schools you are going to be disappointed. I have several family members and friends that were homeschooled and are successful adults. Ditto for charter schools. My husband attended a private school for 12 years and I taught in one.
They all provide excellent learning opportunities. I have nothing against them. I am 100% for them, for the right students. They are not the best fit for my son at this time.
Education and the Mommitment
Recently, I have come across a few blog posts and many social media posts from homeschooling parents that are highly critical of public education in the United States for any student. Some express the belief that it should be abolished and women should stay home and educate their children. The message from these individuals is that I do not love my child enough to homeschool him. That I put no thought in to how he is educated and am too lazy and selfish to explore other options.
I believe in the Mommittment: the idea that every parent is making decisions in the best interest of their child and family and should not be judged for choosing something different than I chose. Compassion and support instead of judgement and shame.
We considered and researched various options for our son’s education. There were many reasons we opted for the public school. Here are a few.
Reason #1: Our local elementary school is awesome
As educators my husband and I both believe the administration sets the tone for a school. Our principal knows all 1200 students by name, and most of the parents too. His commitment to education and character development is clearly evident in the staff and students. Every member of the staff is caring and dedicated to the development of every child. The school does very well in standardized testing and any deficiencies are viewed as opportunities for growth to better serve the needs of the students.
Are all public schools this way? No. But ours is, so why shouldn’t I take advantage of that.
Reason #2: My son’s “team” is awesome
J is on the Autism spectrum. With the help of the district’s special education department, he has gone from special needs pre-school to fully integrated in a mainstream classroom with an aide available to assist if needed. We are all working towards him being fully independent. And we all agree on what areas he needs to work on to get there. At our last IEP meeting, without prior consultation, three of the four of us had discovered one glaring area of development he needs to work on that could effect his future academic success. It was easy to make goals when we all agreed on where we want him to be and what he needs to get there.
Are all school districts this way? No. Not all students in our own district have the same experience with their teams.
Reason #3: He needs the daily socialization
J is on the Autism spectrum. He needs to learn to interact in mainstream society. He needs to learn it isn’t always what he wants, there are other people in the world. He needs to learn to deal with people with different ideals. He needs to learn to deal with people that are not nice and tell him that red rain boots are for girls (or homeschooling is the only education option).
I could bubble wrap my son so nothing upsets him. But that won’t prepare him for the “real world.” I could tell him these things until I am blue in the face, but experience is the best teacher for him. He needs the practical daily interaction with people who might be supportive and understanding of him as well as those that are not.
Reason #4: We want him exposed to different ideas, experiences and people
In reason #1 I said our school was awesome. It is becoming more awesome by becoming an International Baccalaureate school. The IB Primary Years Programme
“prepares students to become active, caring, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others and have the capacity to participate in the world around them. It focuses on the development of the whole child.”
Our society is becoming more and more global every day. We are being exposed to ideas and philosophies from cultures that might be vastly different than our own. But there is also a great deal of commonality. I want my son to see the similarities in human cultures and to respect the differences.
GASP! But what if someone tells him something that goes against your moral beliefs? We tell him what we believe and why. We explain not everyone views the world the same way; that you can allow other people to believe what they want and still hold true to your convictions AND you should still be respectful when you disagree.
Reason #5: We can teach him things not covered in school
Cursive writing is covered for one semester in our district. I know J needs more than that so I supplement at home. We are educating him in our faith. I teach him to apply the mathematics and reading comprehension skills to cooking. We go to museums, go on nature walks, do science experiments, learn about music and the arts on our own.
Just because we have chosen to educate our son in the public education system does not mean we have abdicated our role as primary educators. If we see a need or he has an interest in a particular area we are still allowed to pursue that even though he attends public school.
I will repeat what I said earlier. I am a firm believer in the Mommitment. Compassion and support instead of judgement and shame.
Is public school the best option for every child? No.
Is public school the best option for your child? I don’t know. That’s for you to decide.
Is public school the best option for my child? For now, yes.
Maybe down the road it won’t be and we will have to look at other options. But, for now, he is right where he needs to be to become a productive and happy member of society. And, I assume every other parent is making the best decision for their child.