Posted in autism

Baby with the blue eyes

Anyone who knows anything about people with autism sometimes struggle with eye contact and can be one of the first indications towards figuring out your child is autistic. Brody would never look people in the eyes as a baby, he would flail his head just to avoid it. Therapist on therapist worked on this with him and lately we have made progress by pointing to above the lip and saying look. He will momentarily pause and glance at you in the eyes then just as quickly dart his eyes away. 

I’ve preached until I’m blue in the face how little moments are times to really take in time with family. I believe in slowing down, really watching and absorbing even the littlest thing and trying to take a mental photograph. As a young kid I lost the majority of grandparents in a short time span. It was devestating to me that such beautiful souls were now just Angels above watching over me. Things trigger my memory from time to time and they are often in my dreams. I would do anything to have my grandparents back, to have them experience the joy that Brody brings to a room. My parents have always been great about making memories and turning their full attention to my sisters and I. We always had cheerleaders, a pat on the back and constant support and for that, we are very lucky. 

As I’ve said in previous posts, our family is very open about expressing love and openly show emotions. Since Brody is nonverbal, I have yet to be told “I love you” or called mama. He babbles from time to time things along that line but never distinctively forming the words. I say this but will quickly follow up by saying I know he says I love you in countless other ways. I think part of my bond with Brody is that I will practically make a fool of myself and be a monkey just to get his attention and capture some eye contact. Different noises, imitating him, physical features or silly faces will catch his attention as his gaze scans the room and I get a brief moment of those happy eyes all on me. Part of learning about Brodys autism has been thinking outside of the box and getting comfortable with a path no ones been down as every kid on the spectrum is different. Every day I learn new things that strengthen our bond and help us make those memories where we rely on reading eachother rather then words. 

The hammock is a favorite go to for us, we are forced to be close and I know how much he loves swinging. Brody grins the whole time and chatters with excitement as his beautiful blonde hair blows in the breeze. That smile is contagious, it’s my little slice of heaven. In the beginning of this post I talked about taking in little moments and it’s times like this I’m referencing. We swing contently, back and fourth, no worries or regard to anything else. Tonight he turned his head completely to me,  leaned in so our noses were touching and looked me so closely in the eye. While this is no big thing for most, to me it was such a happy moment. He turned his head to the side so we were now cheek to cheek and just laid on me. I took a mental photograph, he is growing by the day and slowly he is becoming a boy rather then a baby. With autism I’ve learned that behaviors and tendencies can come and go within a week so taking everything in is even more important. I soaked up the love as we just laid there, swinging until my heart was full. Before I knew it he was off again, eating his popcorn and rearranging his special group of objects like he does every day. 

I hope you all let your world slow down and everything fall away during times like this. Taking even the smallest memories like this for granted is such a shame, we are lucky to for every moment with special people we love. Make time for the important people in you’re life, life is so kind but can also be cruel at times. Again, Brody has reminded me another thing that I had forgotten since being a child and I hope this serves as a reminder to those needing it. 

Posted in autism

It’s ok to not be ok. 

I know many of you can relate to this topic and it’s one that can be completely consuming, overwhelming and keeps you up at night. I’m an overthinker. I never knew how far my mind could wander, not only to the future but past events too. It’s honestly exhausting. Why do I do this to myself? I honestly have no clue. How can I be fully aware of what I’m doing to myself but can’t stop it? I find comfort knowing that I’m not crazy for what I’m going through but at the same time I feel pressure to act and appear ok. 

I’m not very young anymore, although 27 isn’t that old. It’s old enough where I feel like I should have everything together, however. Parenting is on the forefront of my mind, So many things hang in my head no matter what I’m doing throughout the day. I funnel so much energy and time into parenting that I can feel myself slipping in my personal life. At the end of the day, as I’m staring at the ceiling, wide eyed and unable to sleep I feel my day, year and past washing over me. Sometimes life catches up to you and you’re going through the motions and things get away from you. 

When Brody is tuned out, flapping and bouncing around in his own world and moving his items from place to place I find my mind wandering off. I’ve read enough on the Internet to know that these are normal thoughts for parent and parents of kids with disabilities. I feel an ache in my heart not being able to know what’s going on in his mind, if he feels taken care of, safe, understood. Brody and I have a solid bond and I truly feel in sync with him and he recognizes that which brings me some relief. It is defeating, however, that he hasn’t made much progress in his speech and seems to be platueing in his behaviors. He seems to be navigating his life fairly well, overall happy and enjoying his precious life which makes me happy. The thoughts I think about at night are more of guilt, Brody was a surprise when I got pregnant and I hadn’t planned much ahead although I’ve wanted to be a mother my whole life. I never thought I may have a child with disabilities, all the rest came back negative or physical and mental disabilities. I counted his fingers and toes, delighted when he had ten of each. He was a big baby, chubby cheeks, blue eyes and blonde hair. He was and still is the most amazing child, truly the best gift to my life. Looking back I wish I would have planned better and thought of what I was getting into so maybe I could have been in a better place in my own personal development. Maybe if I had, I wouldn’t be feeling this way. 

I know, I’m being hard on myself. I know, everyone is so kind and telling me I do a good job and many other sweet things. Being hard on myself is ok though, I have a lot to sort through and a lot I need to accomplish to get to a place where these things aren’t as loud in my head. Now here’s where I’ll wrap it up and tie it all back in. The beautiful thing about having a child is the lessons they teach you without even knowing it. I see myself in Brody both with his personality and looks and it’s just the most surreal feeling. When I was young and even now, I don’t fit in. I’m different and my parents raised me to be ok with it and showed me that’s what makes life interesting and beautiful. Brody and I share this in different ways and I’m glad we have this in common. 

Brody gets overwhelmed with his anxiety, will have a group of objects he takes from place to place and lines up or arranges the same way every time. Most recently his objects are a medicine ball, a rocking horse, crayons, a few pirate ship toys, blues clues stuffed animals and a broom. They go from his teepee tent, to the dining room table, to outside by his pool, to my gazebo then inside to the coffee table several times a day. He does this, lines up his chicken nuggets in one line, fries in a separate line and places the jug of milk directly behind his soppy cup. He does it to have control over it because he feels so out of control of other things. He can completely have control over these specific things and it brings him comfort when he stands back and sees them all together and lined up. This is what struck me and I should be applying to my life. I need to take small portions of my life I do have control over and feel comfortable with these accomplishments. Whether it’s cleaning, parenting,  physical/ mental health or the relationships I have with others I need to step back and take comfort in where I’m at in those areas. 

Break things down, one chunk at a time. Make a check list, see how far you’ve come and use that as motivation to keep going. Make sure you focus and keep it real with yourself, where you need work and also where you’ve come from compared to where you are now. At the end of the day it’s ok to not be ok. I feel like that’s not said enough. As long as you keep pushing through and work on your self betterment then that’s enough. This is what I need to remind myself , I’ll be using this post for myself when it’s needed and I hope it relates and helps one of my readers. 

Posted in autism

Know your worth. 

Hey all. It’s a sunny day here in Northern New York and I just got back from the gym and I’m sipping on some refreshing green tea. I hope you’re all having a wonderful day and everytving is going smoothly. 

When you get around to reading this and decide listening to me go on is worth your time I hope you take value in what I’m about to say. I’m not an expert in this by any means but as someone who’s been on both sides I can give my personal experience and perspective. 

Life is busy. Life is stressful, overwhelming and it’s easy to get caught up in it and throw yourself to the wayside. I went buckwild in college with eating and drinking what I wanted. This didn’t stop when I was pregnant and after. I use food as comfort and it worked. Brody was 2 1/2 weeks late and I got up to 190 lbs, he ended up baking all the way to 9 lbs 8 oz! A large majority of Brodys life I have parented alone and let me tell you, it’s exhausting. Working in retail and the crazy hours didn’t help my schedule, I was always on the go and shoving any food that was quick, easy and delicious in my mouth. This quickly led me down a road of being overweight, Hugh body fat percentage, low self esteem and times of depression. 

Last summer I hit my breaking point, I literally cried one day when my previous Summer’s outfits didn’t fit. I was at the point where I was going to need to buy a size 12 or 14 pants which was my all time biggest. I realized that I had no energy, I wasn’t taking care of myself or prioritizing my health and instead diving in to anything else to avoid the main problem. I started running last summer, I have never been a natural runner and I almost think I did it to punish myself. I was (and still am) slow and hate every single minute of cardio. I felt energized after running and didn’t feel the need as much to consume as much soda as I was (about three large cups a day!) and soon weaned myself off it. I started eating  more vegetables, cut out pasta and bread for the most part and reevaluated my diet. Between my change in diet and running I lost a quick 10 lbs. and was feeling a lot better. 

Around this same time the process of Brody getting a diagnosis, a surgery to get adenoids out and tubes in and a change in schools was going on. My routine was exhausting, parenting alone, working full time and working out was draining me. While it was exhausting, the lifestyle change was worth it. I felt clear minded and found myself with more energy that I could put into being a better parent. Brody started finding interest in my workouts, he would jump on my back when I did squats or would jump up and down when I was doing burpees. We would do sprints in the driveway or jumps on the brick wall outside, seeing him alongside me was added motivation. 

Ten months later and I’m down 30 lbs and feel like a new person. I learned that it’s near impossible to be the parent I knew I could be while suffocating myself with insecurities and drowning in low self esteem. It clicked at one point that it didn’t make sense for me to try to be a role model for Brody in some aspects and not in others. Health and fitness trickle into so many areas of life and I had been neglecting that in my life, not what I wanted to show Brody. I want to tell you, parent or not, that you’re worth the time and effort. I’ve seen the impact and changes in others who are fighting the same fight as I am, trying to overhaul an unhealthy lifestyle. How can you have a healthy relationship with your child, your partner, family, friends etc when you are secretly self loathing. Everyone’s life is different, you’re entitled to your own opinions and perspectives. I just see too many amazing people, silently suffering and going through the motions, people with so much potential who I wish would take a step back and see what I see. 

It’s an everyday challenge that you have to be fully committed to. You’re worth it. It’s worth it. Be “selfish” because in the end, it’s not. You have to take care of yourself to properly take care of others. Wouldn’t it feel great to be the role model you’ve always wanted to be? Take the step. Oh, and drink some coffee… You’ll need it! 

Posted in Believing in Brody

Not an autism mom…I’m a mom. 

The beauty I’m finding in this blog is that I can vocalize my opinion and thoughts freely. The older I get and more I go through, the more I’ve found myself not as concerned about what others think of my views. While I do feel this way, Brodys diagnosis with autism has led me to a grey area in this. I’m going to go on record that I am all about everyone having their right to their own opinions. With this new turn in the road and now blogging about it, I have found myself feeling more open which also leaves me more vulnerable. 

I apologize ahead of time if anyone takes offense to this but I hope you can appreciate my views and opinions as I try to do with others. My main message here is this: I am Kelcie. I am a person with interests, skills, an education and 27 years of life experiences. I’ve achieved goals, made mistakes, gone through different variations of heartbreaks, been selfish while at other times I’ve put myself as a last priority and instead put everyone else first. I am also a mother. My son is the center of my world, he’s smart, funny, handsome, creative, artistic, loving and incredibly memorable. He also has autism. Autism is not who he is and I am not an autism mom. I am just a mom of a beautiful boy who has autism. 

I don’t like the label “autism mom”. It is not my identity as it is not Brodys. While some things may be more difficult and very different then other parents, it doesn’t mean I am a super mom because of the diagnosis.  I have read several blogs, seen fb and Instagram pages saying we are not just parents, we are super parents! Listen when I say, we are all super parents. Many struggles other parents experience, I cannot relate and vice versa. We don’t need pity and we do not want to be treated or viewed as separate from other families and children. What we do want? Understanding, patience, compassion and appreciation for individuality. When I wrote this I would like to point out these are things I would expect everyone to have towards all parents and children! 

I would also like to be very real and level with you all. I get stressed, overwhelmed, cry, need alone time and just feel lost sometimes but I can’t begin to count how many parents I’ve talked to who deal with the same things. I love everyone and realize that some of you tiptoe while talking to me or try very hard to comfort me about Brody because you are kind and care. I will put it out there that it’s ok, Brody is autistic and it is a disability. He won’t grow out of it, he is not a late bloomer and I know he will be ok. I can see his effect on others and love everyone shows he and I and I’ve never felt a community rally behind me like I feel now. 

For all of you behind Brody, cheering from near and far for him to succeed and applauding his accomplishments, you keep me going through the tough times. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, to take your time to reach out and support us and share your feelings or experiences. Thank you for rallying behind someone and showing me that others view him as special as I do. 

My hope to you, the parent winding down from a long day of work and parenting, maybe going through medical, financial or emotional problems and staying afloat even if just barely is that you realize you’re amazing. Tomorrow when you wake up and start your day over again, please teach your child empathy and acceptance. Show them through example that it’s ok to be different, it’s a beautiful thing knowing we are shaping the future daily. Sitting here, watching Brody carry on enjoying his night I’m thankful to be a mother. It’s all I ever wanted. To you I say, don’t lose your identity. I am Kelcie,  I am also a mother to a son who is autistic and I love this life. 

Posted in autism

48 crayons later…

You know you’re an autism mom when you have to peel every crayon in the box before giving them to your child. The wrappers are gonna end up on the floor and he will be handing me crayons to help him unwrap anyway. May as well do it myself. At least he will be happy with me, new sketch book and crayons makes for a happy kid. Love my little artist. 

Posted in Uncategorized

My mama told me I’m a bleeding heart and she’s right. 

This may just be random ramblings today, I can’t help it. I’ve started about three different posts and deleted them all because they just fell flat to me. I have a few things on my mind that seem to be consuming me. I woke up in Brody bed, I fell asleep while putting him to sleep last night next to him. His arm was slung around my neck, laying on his side facing me. Last night he was clinging to me like a little koala, didn’t let me stand up without clutching me and pulling me down. His sensory issues have been all over the place lately, he has been craving compression, wanting me to lay on him (obviously I don’t use my full body weight) and just be wrapped up in my arms throughout the day. He has also been hitting his stomach very hard and in the last few days he’s been hitting himself in the head. 
Being Brodys parent has been such a blessing but leaves me constantly questioning myself and what to do. I battle with knowing why he does things, what I should do about new behaviors that arise, constantly trying to come up with solutions to allieveite the anxiety I can see consume Brody sometimes. Watching my son be in his own world with limited ways to communicate his feelings and worries sometimes keeps me up at night. I battle with my own feelings too. Feelings of frustration, stress, exhaustion and a just feelings of falling short as a parent. I have arguments with myself about wanting to be selfish, to have alone time or just time to enjoy myself without Brody around just for a mental break. When I do break away, I’m thinking about Brody, wishing he was with me and wondering what he’s doing. Sorting out these feelings can be so hard, I know I’m doing the best I can and that a lot of what I feel is common for parents to feel. 
This brings me to my next set of feelings and while some may not make the connection it is in my mind. The mass shooting that occurred last night has left a pit in my stomach that just won’t go away. Thinking about all the parents and family that are left behind to deal with such a senseless tragedy breaks my heart. Parents who have struggled with similar issues as what I described above, who’s sweet babies are now in heaven watching from above. Even now as I write this I’m choked up because I can’t imagine losing such an important person like my son. The sleepless nights, the tears they’ve wiped away, the homework, Disney memories, the pride and joy they’ve felt because of their own children… Ripped away from them in an instant. This mass shooting has caused a ripple effect that I know I’m not alone in feeling and it makes me hug Brody tighter. 
My mom always told me I’m a bleeding heart and she’s right. I’m sitting at my dining room table, listening to Peppa Pig playin on my tv as I’m finishing eating my breakfast with my dogs at my feet. Brodys off at school and while that’s a daily thing the bottom line is that this type of horrific event can happen anywhere at any time and that’s so unsettling to me. I know I’ve been rambling today and that this post may be hard to read and make sense of but my heart is doing the writing today, not my brain. My family takes great pride in being open and expressing our feelings. We always say I love you when we hang up the phone, stay in constant communication and throw around hugs and kisses as often as possible. My bottom line here I suppose is take that time with your family, take in even the small moments. Make time for them and really get that mental photograph, every moment with loved ones is a treasure. Things happen, life’s not fair and not eveything doesn’t make sense and that’s my main thought. Don’t let things like this stop you from living your life, however. I love my son more then anything in this world and my family as well, I pray we never have to cope personally with a tradgy like Orlando or any of the other mass shootings this year. Rest in peace to all the souled lost, my heart goes out to all family and friends trying to cope because of this. I truly feel my heart breaking for them. End of my rambling. 

Posted in autism

Our opinion: Organic

Hey everyone! Hope you’re enjoying my posts so far. Just wanted to go off of my last post about going green in our household and further expand on it to products we use.  Now that I have started going down the road of eliminating unnecessary chemicals out of our life, I’ve started researching about everything I use.
So here I was, at a wine festival where I was sipping wine slushies, sampling pretzels and sip and just enjoy friends and the beautiful Northern NY weather just strolling around. To my wallets horror there was a section of local vendors set up and I found myself drifting to this amazing smelling tent. Two nice ladies were sitting there, surrounded by goats milk products of every variety. I started looking, (the wine slushy kicking in) and my pile started growing until I had to tell myself to stop. My pile included two bug repellent lotion bars, lavender facial cream, lavender shampoo bar and and Lilly of the valley bar of soap. The lady running the stand proceeded to tell me it was one of the biggest sales she had which made me instantly feel happy and sad for her at the same time. All these things were the same price, if not cheaper then anything you’ll find in your local box store but packed with unknown ingredients you don’t understand. Anyway, bottom line is I walked away happy and the lady running it was happy too. 
Once I got home it reminded me of a similar purchase I had made when I was home in Maine last time. It sent me into a whirlwind but I was able to dig up these things and I was excited. I set out that day to swap out my old things for my new organic products. I slathered Brody up with the bug off lotion bar and it worked great, smelled a lot better and wasn’t a battle to apply. Because of Brodys sensory processing disorder he has a hard time with sprays and creams and it’s a fight every time I try to put any on him, poor kid. The lotion bar was more of an oily lotion bar and was so easy to use, he barely noticed what I was up to. Later that night after a nightly bath I used the other lotion bar I had and applied it to his previous mosquito bites and a few scratches he’s acquired during his adventures. At bedtime, I took my newly found lavender oil and applied some on his neck and wrists and let me tell you… It near knocked me out too. That lavender smelled so good and quickly put us to sleep… I fell asleep right in Brodys bed! 
Bottom line here is I love the new things I got and I encourage you as you’re at festivals, farmers markets, in local shops or even just browsing on etsy to be open to products like this! I don’t regret it at all and I’m going to constantly be on the lookout for new things and give organic the shot it deserves. Our bodies and our children’s are an investment and what we put on our body is just as important as what we put it in it. Do your research, reach out, take a step out of your comfort zone and make yourself a priority. As someone who’s recently made the switch I am telling you the benefits are worth it. Not to mention supporting local businesses? Win-win.  

Posted in autism

Going green in the household

It’s a dark and gloomy day here in Nothern New York today. The rain is coming down and I’m stuck inside looking at the aftermath of the tornado my puppy and son have left behind. There’s a chewed up flip flops in the bedroom (Thanks Nellie), crayon wrappers all over the living room floor because Brody likes them off all 45 of his crayons and popcorn trails throughout the house like Hansel and Gretel. I just went into the bathroom and found a lemon and three eggs sitting on my drawers…. I’ll never understand Brodys obsession with these food products he stashes but it’s actually kind of cute. 

Now that I’ve described the battlefield I’m up against you get the picture of what my house looks like. Brody and I have been seeing a local holostic Doctor who I absolutely love. At our last appointment she strongly advised that we try to go chemical free in our household. I was worried that his would be expensive, a pain, and just unrealistic to get as effective results with all natural products. I dove right in and did hours of research, read reviews and posted on Facebook asking for advice and personals personal experience with this subject. I got some great advice and opinions and decided to dive in so naturally I suffered through a Target trip. I know it’s hard to tell over the Internet but this is complete sarcasm, Target may be my favorite place on earth. 

I am, no doubt in my mind, the most indecisive person I know. I am infamous for picking items up, walking around then putting them back. I then feel regret and go back, get the items then purchase them. Trust me, it’s bad. I swear I stood in the cleaning aisle for an hour making my selection. I never realized how many options were out there for all natural products. I scoffed at some items, $7-$10 for a cleaning spray!? I am in no place to be purchasing those items considering I am a stay at home mom at the time. I started to panic, maybe I can afford this and then my mind went in a million directions. I felt guilt, poor Brody deserves a home environment that is chemical free to help him. I instantly jumped on Pinterest looking up DIY cleaning products but that was even more overwhelming. I had to stop and regroup. I kept browsing and then I saw Method products. These are the same price as the chemistry filled items I had been buying on the regular, the packaging was cute and colorful and they were all natural. 

I was giddy at this point, I started filling my cart and vowing to come back and buy more once I ran out of the products I already had at home. Here is a list of what I bought and I encourage everyone to check it out! 

  1. Method kitchen lemongrass hand wash
  2. Method French lavender naturally derived hand wash 
  3. Method antibac all-purpose cleaner (wildflower)
  4.  ECOS laundry detergent 
  5. Method air refresher (wild poppy)

I have loved all of these products so far and I feel so much better as I’m cleaning knowing that these products are green and better to use around my special little boy. I don’t see a difference in how effective they are in cleaning and I actually enjoy these scents more. This air refresher smells amazing and better then any spray I have ever used. 

Anyway, I know this is a long winded post but I wanted to share what my newest quest is in this journey. I encourage all of you to do your own research and take a few minutes longer when shopping for products and see what options are out there. I see nothing but beneficial things coming out of this and with no change in cost, no one is complaining. So on that note, I’m off to put these products to good use.