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Life with Maura, day 5077

12 Apr

It is spring break, so my brain is officially mush. The teens can smell the weakness I’m emitting.

But right now, three out of four of the offspring are passed out in their beds. The fourth – who is actually the fourth – has slothed her way to the sofa to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Eventually, though, she got hungry. Maybe it was the smell of my freshly brewed coffee that awoke a hunger in her. But either way, she schluffed from the sofa into the kitchen, pulled out bread and the jar of Nutella, and did her interpretive dance that says “Mom, make me a sammich.”

I didn’t want to make a sammich. I was sitting down, with my laptop and coffee.

“Why don’t you just eat some of the pizza in the fridge?” I suggested. Because cold pizza for breakfast is a family tradition.

Maura seemed to like this idea, and pulled out the pizza box. She tried to walk out of the kitchen with all the leftover pizza.

“Maura, no, just take one piece.”

“NO!”

“Maura…”

“Fine.” She put the pizza box on the counter and went back into the fridge to pull out the 2 liter of rootbeer I got to go with said pizza last night.

“No Maura, it is too early for soda.”

“NO!”

I got up and took the 2 liter from her. She balked. “It’s too early.” I stated again, putting it in the fridge.

“Noooo!”

She lunged for the fridge. I found myself splayed across the fridge doors doing my own “Nooo!” right back. Because this is what my life has become – guarding the refrigerator like the Crown Jewels, begging teens to not eat every damn thing in there.

Maura then went over to the counter and banged the jar of Nutella.

“Want me to just make you a sandwich?” I said with a sigh of defeat.

“Yes!”

Maura left the kitchen to return to her couch slothing to TMNT and I made the damn sammich that I should have just made in the first place.

And I’m still trying to drink my coffee.

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art credit – Mike Mitchell

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Babyface

5 Dec

The other day, Maura and I went out. Originally, the plan was to just hit the drive-thru Starbuck’s (of which there are 327 in a five mile radius of my house, because Seattle.) But then she spotted “the mall” – aka our local shopping center.

I thought “Well, maybe I can herd the girl to Hallmark’s, where she can pick out something Christmasy.” You know, because the girl loves all things Christmas.

What I love is I think I have control of these situations.

We got three whole minutes into the store before she was like “I’m out.”

We walked through the shopping center. She ooo’ed at the decorations (which were quite nice) and I dissuaded her from a trip to Old Navy (I have enough laundry). We wandered past the food court and to what Maura refers to as the book store.

It’s actually a comic book store. But it sells My Little Pony and Powerpuff Girls graphic novels. Hence, it’s a bookstore.

I love that there are graphic novels like these. Maura doesn’t quite read – not in a phonetic way. She’s learned up to 60 sight words, and can recognize things, but traditional reading is not something she’s getting yet. Graphic novels though tell the story through pictures, and she understands that. So yes, I’m happily plopping down a $20 bill so she can read the way she can read, and enjoy books.

Because she is my kid. She enjoys a good book.

We paid for the book of her choice – a classic Powerpuff Girls version – and headed back to the car with bribes of Starbuck’s. Once in the car, Maura was suddenly bent over the book, nose almost to page, studying it intensely.

 

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Suddenly, I had this moment to study her. My girl who, in her leggings and furry/suede boots and pink coat, was looking quite teenagerish before we left the house. But now, once again, I noted the softness to her face.

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It’s part of whatever it is she has, her Sherlock Syndrome. Her face is softer. It’s probably more of the low muscle tone that she has. Or it could be just regular genetics – when I was 13, people thought I was maybe 10, tops. When I was 18, people thought I was 13.  Maybe it’s a combination of low muscle tone and the family blessing of youthful looks. But she’s still such a kid. The baby of the family who has a babyface.

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Maybe it’s also partially my own filtering of things – in so many ways, Maura is still quite “young”. Other 13 year old girls are trying make up and considering dating and wanting to watch “Supernatural” or “The Walking Dead” or whatever parents have been deeming them too young to view but now they think they’re old enough. Maura isn’t like that. She’s still loving the same cartoon she watched four, five years ago, or more. Heaven forbid she finds The Wonder Pets on Amazon. Those little rodents still make her giggle.

Her progress is slow. Sloth-like at times. And other times, she will surprise you with her little newfound teen will and angst. She has discovered Supergirl, despite my trying to lure her to the Wonder Woman side of things. She likes Coldplay despite her aunt trying to influence her to the techno side of things. She has definite taste in clothes – I don’t even fight her anymore on styles, just sizes.

But then, there’s that moment, sitting in the car, her nose pressed into a Powerpuff Girls book and I am reminded yet again how she will live with us forever. Not in a bad way, or a burden-like way. Just in a “This is how things are” way. Because honestly? She and I get along so well, like things like going to bookstores and coffee shops and being sloths on the sofa together while eating pizza – what’s to complain about?

It’s just that sometimes, I look at her face and the softness to it, and am once again reminded that my baby is always going to be my baby in many ways.

 

 

 

What to do if a child with autism goes missing in your area

3 Oct

Last night, a missing child with autism post came through my feed. My heart dropped, because the last three that went through my feed ended with the child being found dead in a body of water, having wandered off and drowned. Luckily, in this latest case, the child was found – cold and wet, but alive.

Children with autism are notorious for wandering towards water. Water is such a sensory thing, and heck, for me, being next to a body of water is just calming, so I can see why these children get there, get too close.

So what can YOU do if a child with autism goes missing in your town?

Own a pool? Check it. Doesn’t matter if it’s January and snowing out. Go check your pool if you have one. So what if you have a six foot fence around it – kids can scale a fence easily.

Live on a pond? Get neighbors together, check the pond, then monitor it until the child is found.

Live on a creek of any sort? Check the creek. Walk up and down the banks a little. Call neighbors, ask them to do the same.

Live behind a park? Check the swings.

Actually spot said child who’s been missing? For God’s sake, don’t run up arms wide going “Oh! I found you Johnny! Let me give you a big hug!” You’re liable to get head butted. Instead, call the cops, then stay near the child. Don’t scare him off. Instead, maybe pull out your smartphone and announce “I’m going to watch a video. Who wants to watch a video with me?” Ten to one, the kid will be breathing down your neck in 35 seconds. My kid would, and she doesn’t have autism. If the child is lured by the video watching, sit on the ground, be less intimidating, wait for police. If the child walks off, just walk a few feet behind him, let the police know what direction you’re going in.

And as a parent of three “normal” kids and one easy one, lol, these tips are good for when ANY child wanders off. Check water. Keep eyes open. Don’t scare them off.

This has been a Public Service Announcement from me 😀

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Note – this is NOT about why a child with autism may wander, okay? It’s not about bad parenting. If it is, well, I’m a bad parent. 

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