Speaking of Children

Found this article while cleaning out a closet yesterday… revamping my office to make it more functional ūüôā¬†¬† I thought this article was incredibly appropriate.

Reprinted from McCalls/September ’96

Speaking of Children

1.¬† When your child is going through a stage, whatever you do, don’t tell him

2. Take each of your children for an individual dinner date once a month

3. Make your kid the superhero of his very own bedtime story

4. Never criticize your child.  If you must, criticize only the actions

5. Don’t focus on all the little things that need fixing.¬† FOCUS on all the big things that don’t

6. Ask your kid to describe what he would do if he had a magic wand

7. Remember what you were like at that age

8. Let your child help you with something very important

9. Read to your child

10. Never tell an embarrassing story about your kid in his presense

11. …. or behind his back

12. Go for after-dinner walks together

13. Never laugh at your child’s dream

14. If you leave the house before your child is awake, place a note or a drawing on their pillow

15. Don’t try to talk a child out of his feelings

16. Lighten up

17. Sign up for an interesting class together

18. Take your youngest to work with you

19. Don’t try to win arguments

20. Visualize positive accomplishments for your child

21. Learn the names of your child’s friends

22. Don’t worry about what the neighbors think¬†

23. Listen more.  Talk less

24. Hug your teenager

25. Take good care of your children by taking good care of yourself.

Nicely said…



Welcome to Holland


(This has been around for a while… but I never tire of reading it.¬†)¬†

Emily Perl Kingsley. 

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved 

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……¬†

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.¬†

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”¬†

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”¬†

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.¬†

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.¬†

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. 

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.¬†

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”¬†

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.¬†

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.¬†


Does he rule the house?

I over heard a comment from a family member last weekend.  He commented that Tony ruled the house Рand that we all tip-toed around him. 

It’s so true.

I didn’t realize how evident that was until last weekend.¬† It’s so ‘normal’ for us that we don’t even notice it anymore.¬† But last weekend we were staying at my parent’s house and it really became apparent.¬† Tony has certain “rules” that we’ve all just become accustomed to.¬† We’ve all adjusted because he can’t.¬† It’s not easy and it makes for a very tense environment sometimes.¬† Here’s what I noticed:¬† (keep in mind there is no explanation for any of these…. they just are…)

Rule #1:  Do not yawn.  Especially no yawning and talking at the same time. 

Rule #2:  Do not have loud background noise.   That means TVs, radios, computers, vacuums, or hand mixers (can use, but need to alert him first)

Rule #3:  Do not sneeze and scream at the same time (some people do that w/out realizing it)

Rule #4:¬† Do not say “blah, blah, blah….”¬†¬† while speaking.

Rule #5:  I need to see all your old photographs when I visit

Rule #6:  I also need to take a mental inventory of all your DVDs, and any VHS movies you may have

Rule #7:¬† I rule the TV.¬† I will block the other channels while I’m here, but will unblock them before I go

Rule #8:  No loud unexpected laughter.  Please.

Rule #9:  Unlimited baths are expected

Rule #10:  Friday night is pizza night.  It must be gluten-free.

Rule #11:  I need to touch you on the chin and the head every time you yawn, sneeze, or sing

Rule #12:  Keep things orderly and predictable.  Please.  I need to know the schedule.

Rule #13:  No deviations in the schedule.  Please.

Rule #14:  Absolutely do not change your mind or give me more options.

There are so many other things I could add.¬† So many that they don’t even seem odd to me anymore.¬† To all those we’ve visited, I’m sorry.¬† I hope it doesn’t reflect as bad parenting.¬† It is what it is.¬† It’s part of his disorder — part of his dis-ease.¬† Some of these rules come and go, some have been around for years.¬†

What is the lesson here?¬† I’d appreciate any and all advice.¬† In the mean time, we will continue to follow the rules.¬† Because it keeps peace in our house.¬†¬† And peace of mind is all we’re asking for…


My Child Has Autism

Thank you to the TACA¬†Organization (Talk About Curing Autism) for creating these informational cards to hand out to anyone curious about autism.¬† Parents can use them in any social situation to help explain their child’s behavior.¬† Sometimes the stress of the situation¬†makes parents unable to speak.¬† Sometimes onlookers think the behavior is that of a spoiled child.¬† Sometimes others shake their heads and mumble comments of disgrace.¬† Sometimes others just stare.¬† I wish we would have had these cards on hand when Tony was younger.¬† It would have helped me explain a lot of behaviors.¬†

(For more information on this organization and how to get these cards, click on the link below¬†for the organization’s website)

“My Child’s Behavior May be disturbing¬†To You.¬† My Child is Not Spoiled or Misbehaving.¬† MY CHILD HAS AUTISM.¬† Over 1 million children is the US are affected with Autism.¬† With the CDC now reporting that 1 in 150 children have Autism, someone you know probably has autism in their family.

Autism is a devastating biological and neurological disorder, that can affect individuals in different areas:

1.  Troubles with communication (both verbal and non-verbal, including the possibility of no speech, or appearing deaf)

2.  Social and learning skills (unable to understand social cues and situations, including waiting in lines, or unplanned changes)

3.  Strange or odd behaviors (such as tantrums, hand flapping, repetitive sounds, yelling out, or obsessive behaviors)

4.  Sensory issues (for example hypersensitive hearing and vision, or aversion to being touched)

5.  Medical problems (including severe headaches, gastro-intestinal problems, severe food allergies, and many others)

For more information on how you can help families with autism, please visit www.tacanow.org

Thank you for your support and understanding, and for being a friend to a family with autism. ”