One Hand and a Thumb

Your favorite days are lazy with waves
If I could stop you from growing, I might.
Because a six year old boy and a half dozen toys
Still fits in my arms just right.

I can’t help but see little glimmers of me
When you laugh too hard, you have my eyes!
But that charm that you have? THAT you got from your dad
His grin and good looks suit you fine.

You’re my joy and my peace, when I’m stressed – my relief
The peach fuzz on your legs makes me swoon!
At half of my height, you still hold my hand tight
Please, please, please don’t grow up too soon.

One hand and a thumb, that’s how old you are, son!
A big kid. A best friend. A brother.
Today we’ll swing and we’ll slide (and I’ll tickle your sides!) 
Happy Birthday, D! Love, your mother.


A Cure

Question: If there was a cure for Autism, would you want it for Dylan?

Answer: This is a great question. I spent a very long time mulling it over.

Dylan and his autism are inseparable in a way, for me, at least. Would he be able to quote a movie from start to finish including the sound effects if he was neurotypical? Would he be able to listen to music and play it back on a keyboard? Would he use his soft little boy fingers to examine my elbows, nose, hair and cheeks? Would he carefully observe the way I do dishes, or how I paint my nails? Would he see a mechanism and spend hours figuring out how it worked? Would he play Hungry Hungry Hippos with his sister and then find a youtube video highlighting the game so that he could see how it worked and then imitate it? Would he be as sincere, patient, honest and innocent?

I love these things about Dylan. He loves these things about himself. He is proud of his quirks, though to him, they aren't quirks, they are who he is. And by that logic, I wouldn't change a thing about the little boy I am in love with.

Of course, I would do anything to help him overcome some of his challenges. If there was a magic spell I could cast that would allow him to speak everything on his mind, I would be very tempted to conjure up that voodoo. I would love to know everything that he is thinking, everything that he is taking apart and putting back together with his mind.

If there was a button that would make him expand his pallet and eat more food, eliminate his sensory issues and allow him to perfect his motor skills, I am almost certain that I would push it.

I would want to push it because some of these issues cause him physical discomfort and frustration, and I don't want either of those things for Dylan or Lylli. I want them to live perfect, care free lives and live in meadows barefoot chasing butterflies.

However, I did not have "the weight is a gift" tattooed on my shoulder because I thought it would look nice with a sundress. I got that phrase because I believe that overcoming makes for amazing results. Dylan is smashing through some obstacles and slowing climbing over others, but either way, his mind and soul are stronger and more capable because of these hurdles.

A cure would terrify me in the sense that I don't want any of those different parts of his brain to go away, but of course, I speak only for myself and our very specific situation with Dylan. All children, all people affected by Autism, are on a spectrum, and Dylan's "version" of this disorder is something that we can happily live with. It's not worth the risk of losing any part of Dylan in the pursuit of a cure. Especially with all of the advances in therapy, I believe that Dylan will lead a perfectly "normal" life.

As a mother, when I look into his greenblue starfire eyes, I don't see anything wrong with him to cure. I see an opportunity for genius to emerge if given the right tools. I'm doing my best to let him play with everything in the toolbox until he figures out what works best for him.

I expect great things from this boy. I expect magic. I expect him to always be a little different, and I think the world needs that.

Perhaps the "cure" is awareness - the cure is in the world's acceptance of this learning difference and of all disorder/disabilities.

I called Jared for his input and he wrapped it up succinctly: "I wouldn't want to change a thing about who Dylan is." We both agreed that if we could take away any of the GI issues his limited diet causes we would do that immediately, but we wouldn't change anything about Dylan's character, personality, or especially his good looks. Which he OBVIOUSLY got from us.

Thank you for the thought provoking question! I thought about this for an entire day before composing a response.

Now it's YOUR turn! Ask away! I'll be here all month! (Bah-dum Tssshhh!)


There's Nothing You and I Won't Do.

I can't get close enough to you.

I've often wished, mid-embrace, we weren't a solid form - that we could flow in and out of each other like liquid.

I've hoped that I could stop the world and melt with you.

Two beautiful children and endless perfect moments later, I realize now that this is what we have done. Our hearts, our auras, our thoughts, our ways, our glances, our wishes, our kisses, our minds make up an "us." A shared existence revealed itself to me.

I had never hoped that someone would love me so completely, and I never considered that someone like me, with defensive layers stacked strategically around my heart and mind, would be able to fall so madly and unconditionally in love.

You unlocked a softness inside me that I did not know existed, and discovered strength in me that I had been too insecure to harness.

So on your birthday, I make a fool of myself, telling the world that I am better because of you. Happier, healthier, and bursting with love - because of you. A smile on my face and a song in my heart - because of you.

We've spent years stopping the world so that we could melt together, and I still can't get close enough to you.

All my love on your birthday, my Jared!



There Are 105 Weekend Days in 2012

I am exhausted, and it feels so good - like when you have a really great workout and you know your gams are lookin' great.

Just kidding, I'm not even sure where my gams/hams/quads are located, but I know that when I finish an impossibly huge project just before a deadline or manage to get all the laundry clean at one time that I feel like a superhero despite the fatigue, and tonight, that's exactly how I feel. These past two weekends were memory making at it's finest.

My cheeks are sore from smiling and my eyes actually ache from crying tears of joy. This is why I have to wear sunglasses everywhere when I'm with the kids or Jared, I'm continually watering up because I am in disbelief that these people, my favorite people in the galaxy, are the same people that I get to live with and love everyday.

Dylan's 5th Birthday is later this month, but it falls around Memorial Day so we celebrate early to avoid crowds and Jared having a panic attack. We're inside people on Memorial Day Weekend.

We celebrated last weekend by taking the boy to the beach to celebrate with family and friends, and we celebrated this weekend with our parents at the Magic Kingdom, and then visited a freakin sweet resort that had a lazy river...a lazy river steps from our hotel room, folks. This little monkey was in heaven.

The very best part of all the birthdaying was simply this: he got it. He doesn't understand that it's his birthday, he doesn't understand that he's a year older, but he knew that we were celebrating HIM. He knew that we were doing all of his favorite things and that we were focused on giving him a great birthday, and I have been waiting five years to have him open his presents, blow out his candles, and understand that this was HIS special day. Or in this case, special several weekends!

And of course, I didn't forget about special time with my crazy princess! My mom and I went to Disney on Ice with her earlier this afternoon, and now, my jaw is actually throbbing from wearing this ridiculous smile on my face for about two hours straight.

I saw my son and daughter cuddle all over each other, my Dylz stare at the ocean, defeat Zurg, splish splash in a zero entry pool and pick out an outrageously overpriced Mickey Mouse balloon, and watched Lylli's eyes beam in wonder at Repunzel swinging from the rafters by her hair, heard her whisper, "Mom. Dad. I LOVE the places you take me," and ride down a lazy river with her dad.


I work hard. I stay sleep deprived and stressed to meet the needs of clients and family alike, and I have always known that my family is totally worth it. Every late night and early morning is driven not only by a desire to do right by my clients and other people that depend on me, but inspired by the love I have for the peeps under this roof.

These past two weekends have been non-stop packing, shopping driving, checking off long lists of everything everyone needs to be happy away from our home, and go-go-going. My body aches from my head to those fabled gams, but I had a perfect time with my loves, and my soul is happy and content despite the bags under my eyes and the endless amount of unpacking that's left to do.

Back to the grind tomorrow so that we can enjoy the remaining weekend days in 2012...and beyond!


Four Words

I want to shout and scream and jump and dance! This has been an AMAZING week for Dylan and it's only Tuesday!

Sunday afternoon he told my mom "Go outside!" and also, "Go inside!" when he was done. This is a big deal. Bigger than the Legend of Ron Burgandy.

He has been following my verbal directions with limited physical prompts and I feel like I could throw up everytime I ask him to do something and he does it. It's almost too much for me to see him make these connections; the excitement literally ties my stomach in knots!

I am very honest about his autism. It can be hard and there are times when I want to speed up his progress. I desperately want to have verbal conversations with my D-Bear and I think that's a very normal feeling for a parent. I do feels pings of jealousy when other mothers can have lunch with their little boys and can talk about trains and monsters or whatever.

But, those moments are fleeting,few and far between. Whatever verbal conversations that I will have with Dylan are WORTH THE WAIT! The conversations I have with him now mean everything to me, and I know he feels, and reciprocates, my love. We have inside jokes. We have our own games and faces that only each other knows. I know I'm not missing out on a thing, in fact, God has blessed me with two children who are much more amazing that I could have ever imagined.

I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. He and I have an ability to connect in a place where words are unnecessary.

I want what every mother wants: a happy, healthy child who is a productive member of society with a minimal arrest record.

Tonight I asked him, "What's up buddy?" when he was grabbing my hand. "Go to my bedroom?" was his response.




Look out world. Hide ya kids,hide ya wife, cuz we Dylanating everybody up in here.


Pro Tips - How to Start a Business

So, you want to start your own business and you're looking for an expert to tell you how to do it? This is not the right blog for that.

However, I do have some honest advice and hot tips for anyone looking to go all entrepreneur up in here.

#1. Get Laid Off From a Stable Job
This will send you into a rage panic strong enough to make you consider actually starting your own business. Having people support you in this decision is very nice, but without pure desperation, angst, depression and fists full of your own hair, you may not be able to fully commit to this journey.

#2. Cry Buying New Office Supplies
There is nothing like the panic attack that will hit you in a supply discount store as you spend money to support a business that you haven't received a paycheck from yet. Openly weep. Other people spending hundreds on printers, copiers, and nice pens around you are probably about to have a nervous breakdown also. Let it out. Be a trend setter. Buy nice pens and a leather notebook to show your legit before you have received your articles of incorporation/organization.

#3. Marry Someone with Good Insurance.
Being self employed means saying buh-bye to sick days, vacation, endless supplies of easily stolen office supplies, and health insurance. Either never get sick again or chose wisely when you say "I do." If your man/woman doesn't have good insurance, Zorro Z snap at them and go find someone you can leech off of in case you sprain your ankle. This step can come pretty much anywhere in the start up process but make sure you're on their policy before cold and flu season.

#4. Women - Get a tubal ligation.
Have your babies and make sure you can never end up with people in your womb again. No employer means no maternity leave, no FMLA and no short term disability. What's that? You love your significant other and want to start a family AND start a business? Don't be stupid.

#6. Invest in 5-Hour Energy Stock.
You may never be so tired in your life as when you are starting up and running your own business. Days start before the sun and never seem to end. Work well past midnight and sleep restlestly trying to remember if you checked everything off of the to do list. At the end of the day it's not a company that you work for that's on the line, it's YOU and YOUR REPUTATION that's on the line. Try not to suck. Pound a Red Bull, snort some Folgers and meet your deadlines.

#7. Be Prepared to Hear How Easy You Must Have it Because You Make the Rules. Learn How to Avoid Punching People in the Eye Socket When They Say This.
Listen, or read, closely - You do not make the rules when you have a business! In fact, you play by several people's rules instead of like the old days where you answered to one boss. Even TPS reports were universal...nothing is when you work for so many different people. Understand that it's your name in high gloss on the business cards but it's everyone else's priorities. You are playing basketball on a 100 yard field with shortstops and half court shots. Or something. It's all over the place. Be cool. Stare at "President|Owner" printed under your name on correspondence and your company name on checks you receieve in the mail to combat this frustration.

#8. Go Bananas on Linkedin
Update the whole internet world that you, a mere person, have created an entity which now has a website, county license and tax ID number. You are AWESOME and you need to share how ambitious you are with your peers constantly. Request new contacts be in your network as if these are the people that will get you through a zombie apocolypse. Get a profile picture that screams, "I'm professional, but I still love the way says Han Solo , 'I know.' " Make sure to totally forget you have this account and ignore for weeks. Come back to see that you have MORE PEOPLE that you may want to add to your circle. Join every group you can in hopes of expanding your business. Eventually send all of the correspondence from linked in to your spam mail.

#9. Get Excited About all the Small/New Business Programs in Your Area!
Never go. Get too busy running a business to try and figure out if you're doing it right. Call your friends who are lawyers, tax advisors, florsts, bakers, teachers, gymanasts, bartenders, WHATEVER, and ask THEM for advice on what to put on your W9. Come to the realization that all the information available online is too confusing for you and decide to hire a tax person eventually. Also decide that you will use your swagger to pay them in coupon codes for free website formatting and Search Engine Optimization and consulting or whatever it is that you decide to do.

#10. Call one of your best friends to name your company. You are a successful and edgy business person who owns a pant suit, you don't have time to name your own adventure. Or you suck at it. Whatever. Call Tara Foreman and have her figure it out. High five your spouse when the name gives you goosebumps. Long distance respect knuckles to my T.

Now you have all the information you could possibly need to get out there and just do it. If you are currently employed steal as much as you can from your office supply room, make a business plan in a Lisa Frank notebook with your husband, and go get 'em!

It workd for me ;)


The (Rumore) House Wins

Everyone is great at giving parenting advice if they don't have your kids.

I hit the kid lottery when I scored Dylan and Lylli. Anyone who's ever met me, including drive-thru workers and Publix cashiers, knows that I am crazy about my little jackpots.

Even though I'm slightly blinded by their awesomeness, I'm very aware that they are not always perfect. Sort of like Jared...he's very handsome and his charm could stop Mike Tyson from chompin' on lobes, but sometimes he doesn't take out the trash and I have cheery visions of pushing him into traffic.

Like all other parents, with the exception of Mary and Joseph, my children are not shining examples of model behavior 100% of the time. They fuss, make messes, talk back, whine about things that make me roll my eyes and whisper violently at them to knock it off before I lose my mind, and end up in time out and the quiet chair for being straight up annoying and crazy.

You would think that a community of like minded people, i.e, parents, would have each others' back and offer support for other stressed out, overwhelmed, moms, dads and parental guardians.

So many times the people that could be your biggest allies end up being the very people that bring you down. The judgemental, unwanted, back-handed advice and sheer ignorance is enough to make you home school your minis and and resort to a diet of fried foods and vodka.

In my case, I have a wonderful,supportive family. My Mom and Dad couldn't be any better at the whole grandparent gig and my in-laws love their grandkids unconditionally. They are on board with the decisions we make for the kids and offer help when we ask for it. They care about the kids' well being, happiness and success as much as Jared and I do.

Even so, I have had the judgemental looks from strangers when Dylan babbles or doesn't follow my simple directions and I want to either melt or smash them with a hammer. That's not something you should be subjected to in your daily life.

I've been the recipient of nasty glares when Lylli has a tantrum after hours of perfect behavior. Her vocabulary is out of control and her story telling is better than your seven year old's, chill out with the dirty glares if she's melting down because of a napless afternoon and too much running around. "If that we're MY daughter I'd teach her not to have outbursts!" If she was your daughter you'd be the luckiest person on the planet, you would hear you are beautiful and loved every day, you would get pretend meals and coffee every morning, and you would get an endless supply of hilarity. And even though she's a genius princess rock star she would still go all "three years old" on you and lose her cool over three year old things. Sucker.

Having an autistic child has made me an incredibly sympathetic parent. My son has a silent, unrecognizable diagnosis. People who look in his beautiful eyes have no idea at first glance what he's had to overcome. Likewise, I don't know what invisible problems other parents, or people in general, are overcoming.

I'm looking for appropriate ways to tell people their advice or criticism is unwanted, unnecessary and to put it bluntly, rude, uninformed and obnoxious. It's not something I deal with often but it would be nice to have a zippy one-liner for overzealous advisers.

I'll continue to have compassion on people with the two year old son screaming about candy in a WalMart. That kid is probably a sweetheart doll baby when he's rested and not out grocery shopping in the pits of hell that is a discount super center.

Or maybe he's a selfish, loud, annoying brat and sucks at life. If that's the case his parents are already too aware that their kid is a punk and don't need your help pointing that out to them on the canned food aisle.

Until you've walked the endless miles of scaring away monsters, finding the right stuffed animal, attending therapy session in the middle of your workday, praying for your kids sincerely every night or teaching them every minute that you can, in MY very capable shoes, then keep your comments to yourself. Until you have raised my kids day in and day out, you are not allowed to have a negative opinion unless they stab someone or steal a car.

I had a theory that parents are rough on other parents to disguise their own child's shortcomings. The more experience I have with other people who spawned life, I'm pretty sure that's the case.

So let this be a lesson to all those difficult, critical, quick to judge parents out there: If you give me grief about my kid I'll assume that yours will end up on Bay News 9 for larceny or psycho tantrums or drunk driving to elementary school and also go ahead and instantly come to conclusion that my monkeys are way better than whatever you are raising.

My kids are the Powerball of all munchkins - they are adorable and smart and they love me like a best friend, caregiver and comedian. I'll take those odds any day.