Friday, January 10, 2014


What if…..we replace the words ‘Autism/PDD-NOS/Aspergers’ with a more generally accepted and understood medical diagnosis—like Asthma—and replace ‘behavior’ with ‘breathing’, etc. and then apply it to statements that parents/individuals with autism hear on a regular basis.  Sound absurd? You be the judge.

“OMG- he doesn’t have asthma.  I met him once a few years ago and I didn’t notice any trouble at all with his breathing”.

“They took him to the hospital again?  Talk about over-reacting.  Have they ever tried a humidifier”?

“My kids breathe like that too sometimes.  It’s called a cold”.

“That kid knows what she is doing.  I saw her skipping, running and playing and she didn’t have to use an inhaler for help once.  She should run for office one day”!

“I’ve worked with kids with asthma before.  I know one when I see one.  He is not it”.

“Maybe if they gave her more structure and discipline she could breathe right”. 

“I think it’s because of too much…. television
                                                            baby Einstein videos
                                                            media exposure
                                                            free time       
                                                            junk food
                                                            bad genes 
“It’s probably not enough………        exercising
                                                             fresh air

“She has what?!  But she’s so…         cute

“What that girl needs is a good spanking.  It’ll clear her bronchial airways right up”.

“Her mom probably didn’t eat right while pregnant with her”.

“He probably didn’t bond enough with his mother as a baby”.

“She probably didn’t get breast fed”.

“He was probably breast fed for too long”.

“I heard the Dad’s age has something to do with it”.

“Environmental factors?  Air quality?  What a crock.  Her parents just cant deal with it and need something to blame”.

“You’re changing his diet again?  [Insert eye roll]  ……right--as if food can trigger an allergic episode”. 

“I know he has asthma, but that is no excuse for him to not breathe right”.

“Wow you really have your hands full— I don’t know how you do it.  I don’t know what I would do if my child had asthma”.

“Stop dwelling on it already and just enjoy her”.

“I’m really worried about the influence she might have on my typically-breathing child”.

“Lol- -asthma.  Is that even a real diagnosis”?  

“I guess anyone can get a diagnosis these days”.

“Well, It’s obviously more than just asthma”.

“God only gives people with asthma to special parents.  You are a saint”. 

“Cases of asthma are not rising.  We are just better at recognizing it.   When I was younger we just called it ‘breathing-quirks’ “.

“So what if he is wheezing?  You don’t have to put a label on him”.  

“Seriously?  He has to be in a non-smoking environment?  I should limit my use of perfume and hair spray?  You can’t expect the world to revolve around his needs.  It’s really unfair to the other typically-breathing people”.

“OH!  Is that why she gets all those ‘special extras’ at school.  Must be nice”.

“Are you sure it’s asthma?  She doesn’t look like she has asthma.  She looks so--normal!  She must have the really high functioning kind of asthma”.

“He’ll grow out of it.”

“Why are you bothering with an inhaler and breathing treatments?  Just leave her alone and let it run its course”. 

“Oh his asthma’s improved?  He probably never had it to begin with.  Told you so”. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monday, April 23, 2012

20 Questions

1.  What happened to your gum?
2.  Is that permanent marker?
3.  Why is there no poop in the kitty litter box?
4.  What is that smell?
5.   If you didn't EAT the food, then what happened to it?
6.  Why does my iPhone say I have 'new video' posted to You Tube?
7.  What happened to your underwear?
8.   Is that marker--or paint--on the dog?
9.   Why do I hear water running?
10.  How many times do I have to ask?
11.  Where are all the scissors?
12.  Why are there empty cheese wrappers under the bed?
13.  Did you actually eat the cheese?
14.  Is this melted chocolate?
15.  Why does my coffee taste like Windex?
16.  What did I just step in?
17.  What happened to all of my makeup?
18.  Why does it look like my shampoo is half filled with mouthwash?
19.  What do you mean 'what else' can you put in the washing machine?
20.  Are you serious?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

@#$*(!&* fish

After reading a couple of books with my seven year old son at bedtime, he turned to me and said, "Mom, I can't BELIEVE they let us watch inappropriate videos at school"!


He continued, "We were watching one of those 'Berenstain Bears' videos about pollution and recycling and there was a fish that totally said an inappropriate word".

"What did he say"?

"He said, 'How am I supposed to swim with all this goddamned trash in my way!' "

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kindergarten, Eyebrows and a Dog

My daughter started Kindergarten this year.  With both kids in school, I had visions of enormous amounts of free time.  I pictured myself starting my day with a Yoga class,  followed by a trip to the coffee shop, where I would cozy up on one of the velvet couches sipping lattes and working on my latest screenplay (yes, I am writing screenplays in my vision).  Afterward I would hop on my bike (in my vision I was biking everywhere) and I would bike to the city for lunch with friends.  I might squeeze in some shopping and possibly an eyebrow wax.  Then it would be time to bike back home to pick up the kids, who would be exhausted from their long day at school and would want nothing more than to come home and relax.  We'd hang out together, maybe a trip to the playground before dad gets home and then we'd whip up an amazing dinner with all of the fresh organic/ local foods I was able to pick up at the market that day.

On day one of Kindergarten, I acted upon one part of my vision and made an appointment for an eyebrow wax.  The salon was beautiful and tranquil, and as I lay on the heated massage table I smiled as I thought of my changing, stress-free future (complete with perfect eyebrows).  I was in such a calm state that I barely noticed the tape and wax being pulled off of my skin.  The scent of the aromatic healing oil surrounded me and felt wonderful as it was applied to my face.  The stylist handed me a mirror and I held it above my head, ready to admire my new perfectly groomed brows.  However these happy thoughts were immediately replaced with two words:  'HOLY'  and   'SHIT'.   My eyebrows had been scalped.  They were now two tiny lines that looked like they had been lightly etched in with an eyebrow pencil that needed to be sharpened.  "What do you think"?  The perky stylist enthusiastically asked.  After regaining some composure, and recovering from my initial shock, I was able to whisper, "Ummmmm, they are a little thin"?

She immediately went into defensive mode, "well--you had some areas that needed to grow in, and they would not have been uniform-- it's what I had to work with-- they will grow back even now--it, um, really looks great though.  Thin eyebrows are all the rage".  Now, I knew this was a lie, since I had just read a copy of 'Allure' magazine while waiting in the front lobby and I knew that it is ALL about bushy eyebrows this year.  I managed to be polite, and quickly paid the front desk (with tip- I know) and ran from the salon with my hand covering my eyebrows.  Thank god I was driving, and not biking, as I could not get out of there fast enough.

On the way home, I checked my eyebrows over and over again in the rearview mirror,  hoping to see some new growth- but each time getting more panicked at how absolutely ridiculous they looked.  On about the 25th or 26th time looking in the mirror,  I realized not only are they way too thin but one is higher than the other.  I looked like a lunatic.  I sat at a stoplight trying to raise one eyebrow and lower the other and wondering if I could naturally hold that pose all day.  A car honking behind me snapped me out of it and I managed to make it the rest of the way home without pulling the mirror down to take another look.  Once I got home, I spent an hour experimenting with various eye pencils, powders, and shadows, trying to get a natural look and decided that I definitely needed more products.  I went to Walgreens and had a wonderful conversation with the elderly woman in cosmetics about how to "draw in your brows".  I bought  a couple of pencils and left feeling somewhat encouraged.  I went home and tried the pencils out, trying to even out the crazy brow with the slightly less crazy brow- and I was pretty proud of myself because I thought it actually looked presentable.  I was now able to face the public and decided I could take a trip to the grocery store.

At the store I ran into a couple of people I knew.  In both conversations, I noticed they kept looking up at my brows and were definitely giving me a "holy shit what the hell is up with her eyebrows" vibe.  I grabbed a frozen pizza and got out of there.  Once I was back home, I went online and looked up "eyebrows".  I read that Rosemary Oil helps eyebrows grow fast.   I also discovered that powder may be more youthful looking than liner, and that Bobbie Brown makes a wonderful powder that several celebrities use.  I also discovered that there is a renowned eyebrow stylist in the Chicago area that has worked wonders with even the worst eyebrow mishaps, and through tinting, shaping, waxing and threading, she will give you back your dignity in no time.  I called the salon and made the next available appointment (November) with the eyebrow miracle-lady.  I drove to the Health Food Store and picked up a small bottle of Rosemary Oil, and made a stop at the mall, where I bought some Bobbie Brown powder and eyebrow brush.

I got back in the car, ready to head home to tackle the rest of my day, glanced at the clock and realized I had 10 minutes to get to school to pick up my daughter.  I got there on time, and she bounded into the car, full of things to tell me about her day.  She LOVED kindergarten.  She LOVED her teacher.  She LOVED her friends.  She LOVED her classroom.  She told me she was so happy and that Kindergarten is THE BEST.  I was thrilled that she was thrilled.  She asked about my day and I struggled with what to say since it sounded so ridiculous that it was all about eyebrows.  I said, "oh, I did a little grocery shopping",  remembering the frozen pizza.

"Mom"?  My daughter asked.  "Yes"?  I said.   "When are we going to get a dog"?  This question was a daily if not hourly one at our house.  We knew it would happen eventually, and had been considering it, but weren't sure if this was a good time.  I was just starting to enjoy the kids new independence.   The potty training, walking, cleaning, and feeding thing just didn't mesh with my new vision of personal development.  I looked back at her in the rearview mirror, her eyes big with hope and expectation, and I caught sight of my eyebrows.  I thought maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing to not have so much free time.  "We'll work on getting a dog soon",  I told her.  She smiled.

"Mom"?  she asked.

"Yes, honey"?

"Why did you color on your eyebrows"?

The dog arrived in mid-September.   My eyebrows haven't quite arrived, but getting there.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The I Like Game

In an effort to strengthen our family bond and to end the day on a positive note (long summer days have started to wear on us a bit),  I decided I would start a new exchange to be used at night after bedtime stories.  I called it the "I like game".  I explained to my 7 year old son and my 4 year old daughter that I would start by telling them something special I liked about them, and then they could tell me something they liked about me or about the day, and we could go back and forth as long as we wanted.  I began with my son, and said, "I really love your sense of humor".  He responded with, "I love your big heart and your beautiful soul".

Ok.  Pass the tissues.  Game over.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wishful thinking

After helping my son get an eyelash out of his eye, I told him he could make a wish. He carefully held the lash on the tip of his index finger, closed his eyes and whispered, "I wish my eyelash was back on my eye".