Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick-Or-Treating: A 673 Step Process

Audrey walks up to the door, tripping over unseen steps or uneven cobblestones.

Hey, there's a pretty flower! Look, there's a jack-o-lantern! Oooh, a crazy, blinky-eyed skull!

Wait. What was I doing?

Oh yeah. Trick-or-treating.

She does reconnaissance on the front door situation.

Is there a doorbell?  If yes, ring it.

If no, knock imperceptibly on it.

Say "trick or treat" before anyone answers the door.

Someone answers the door.

Mom says "trick or treat".

Homeowner holds out bowl of candy for her to choose.

Audrey is frozen, staring at the bowl, hypnotized by its contents. At every house, she is re-gobsmacked at her luck to find strangers handing out candy.

Mom: "C'mon, pick a piece already!"

She is frozen with indecision and passes over the choice chocolate bars for the worst piece of shit in the bowl like some petrified Jolly Rancher from the early 70's.

Mom is just glad that another house is done and dusted, when homeowners says, "Go ahead, take another one!"

Are you shitting me?


If a dog lunges at the storm door, fall ass-over-teakettle back down the steps and tear-ass out of there screaming all the way.

Pressing her nose against a screen door that opens outwards. Mom jacks her back by the fairy wings.

Stretching out for a spell on strangers' porch swings or yard furniture. Ahhhh...

Hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fun With Mangled Baby Chicks and Racial Stereotypes: We're Pumpkin Patchin'!

We've been doing our annual tour of all the local pumpkin patches this month, including the one that I wrote about last year with the open trough of baby chicks that the kiddies can have at.

Every year I think that we will be greeted by PETA protesters, and every year the trough-o-chicks is back. Fine by me, because Audrey is obsessed with them.

This year, I think I actually did witness a strangulation. Audrey was doing her usual pick-em-up-throw-em-back and jumping up and down and flapping in between, when another mother suddenly handed her a chick. Audrey said, "Awwww...he's sleeping!" and put him back in the trough. Yeah, he was taking one big long dirt nap alright.

So, in other words, either this woman or her child squeezed the chick to death (what the PLEASE DON'T SQUEEZE THE CHICKS sign isn't clear enough for you?), and then they hand it off to Audrey and try to pin it on her. The old blame-the-dead-animal-on-the-autistic-kid move, eh?  Hey, I invented that move.  Wait.

Ssshhh, Werewolf Elvis.
Just ssssshhhhhh.

Performing a chicky gyno exam
Look Ma, a twofer!

Our pumpkin patch not only celebrates Halloween but
Hispanic Heritage Month with this Mexican jail jumpy house

Is Frito Bandido busting me out of here or what?
Muchas Buenos Felices Halloween-o!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mom Version 2.0

I crown you Audrey's new mother.
For the second time in as many months, Audrey has informed me that after she smooshes me with her feet until I'm gone she wants her new mom to be Aimee, the mother of BFF Grace Anne.

Hmph. Fine.

It so happens that Aimee has two special needs children already, so as a potential future guardian for Audrey she has her pluses and minuses. On one hand, her plate is already kinda full; on the other, she's a well-lubricated (*makes bottoms-up drunky thumb gesture*) special needs machine. What's one more IEP kid in the house...there's got to be some kind of economies of scale, right?

It does bring up the sticky question that I try not to think about but actually do think about almost every second of every day of who will take care of Audrey when I'm gone. I don't think that she can really smoosh me to death with her feet, but there are lots of satellites falling out of the sky lately and what if one has my name on it? And what if I happen to be standing next to my husband at the time and it picks up a spare?

Actually that's pretty unlikely because my husband and I operate very much like the President and Vice-President in that we are never in the same place at the same time just for this very reason. Yes. That is exactly why we are never in the same place at the same time. Uh huh.

I'm constantly running down the list in my head. Audrey has no siblings, so that's out. I have two sisters, but they're both older than me. Audrey has two cousins that are teenagers now, but, assuming I can hang on for a few more years, they could be candidates later in life. They're good girls now, but...and this is where my imagination runs do I know that after I'm gone they won't develop some kind of atrocious taste in men and end up marrying Diddly Pete here?

Seems the only good answer is living forever. Which means I should probably put down this bag of Halloween candy and whip myself up a turnip-carrot-kale-beet-garlic-celery-cucumber-ginger juice. This one's for you, Audrey.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Social Media and The Interwebs: It's Not Just For Porn!

Here is how social media can work:

A few months back, reader and friend Alisha posted this link to my Facebook blog page. This New York Times article is about a Danish company that employs people with autism to do software testing, but it also mentions an American company called Aspiritech that does much the same thing and actually based their business model on the Danish company.

It turns out that Aspiritech is based in Highland Park, IL, a suburb of Chicago that's about 40 miles away from me.  I contacted Aspiritech about volunteer opportunities, had some back and forth with the founder, but nothing ever came together.

Enter my friend, fellow autism parent, and blogger Yuji, who blogs at Hanabi Boy.  Yuji actually lives in Highland Park and, like me, freelances for his local Patch.  I asked Yuji if he'd ever heard of Aspiritech and suggested that he write a Patch feature on the company.  Yuji was already on the case, and had contacted the founder to schedule an interview.  I told Yuji that, if he didn't mind, I would love to tag along when he got it scheduled.

Yuji and I (after a makeover,
cleavage reduction, and liposuction
courtesy of Microsoft Paint)
Which he did.  We were able to spend quite a bit of time there, meeting the founder Moshe Weitzberg, autism specialist Marc Lazar, and a few of the employees.  We happened to be there on a day when a big AP story about them hit the wires, and many other media outlets were contacting him for interviews.  

It was fascinating and encouraging to see all of the interest that the company is generating, but what they really need is BUSINESS.  The company is based on taking in outsourced QA testing from outside companies and providing gainful employment for adults with autism.  As you can imagine, they have plenty of autistic adults interested in working for them, but not enough business to support all of them.

I'm hoping to use my hi-tech background and contacts within the industry to help them with that.  Because how AWESOME would it be to have companies like this around when our kids come of age?  If anyone happens to have any business leads...doesn't matter the industry or location...please contact me or Aspiritech directly.  

Presently, Aspiritech is the only company of its kind in the U.S.  I can't help but feel that there is a lot riding on their success, and that theirs is a business model that could be a template for the future when the rest of the autism army reaches adulthood.

Here is a link to Yuji's fabulous Patch article that was the result of the wonderful day that we spent at Aspiritech: Highland Park Company Employs Adults With Autism

Please give it a read...and prepare to be inspired.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Photo Finished

Not Audrey, but
might as well be

'Tis the season for school pictures 
and holiday portraits. 
I try to get to the bottom of my obsession with getting the perfect picture in my latest Patch article.

Click HERE to read all about it!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Top 10 Things Overheard On the Special Needs Hot Line

I just came across an article about a special needs help line that, in addition to giving out service referrals and resource recommendations, also provides general support to parents of special needs children.

I can only imagine the types of inquiries and conversations that go on, and in fact I think I will do just that. So here are the Top 10 Things Overheard On The Special Needs Hot Line if I was staffing it...

10) I think I know what the problem is. Did you by any chance replace your original Baby Mozart DVD with the newer 10th anniversary edition? Because it's just ever-so-slightly different from the original and instead of teddy bears banging on drums there's a new scene with slightly different teddy bears banging on slightly different drums, and I'm pretty sure that's why he took a baseball bat to the TV screen.

9) Sounds like your husband is King of da Nile, if you know what I mean. He needs to get out of that shame spiral, own his truth, and be his best self for the benefit of his child. Damn, I miss Oprah.

8) Don't worry, it's a common rookie mistake. Next time you elbow a precocious typically-developing kid in the head, you'll know to make sure that his parents aren't watching. 

7) No, that thing where you can drop your kid off at the fire station ends at 6 weeks not 6 years.

6) Oof. Sounds like you jacked your nephew just a little too hard if he claimed to be seeing "tinglies" for the rest of the day.

5) Yes, this help line is confidential, but I am required to report any plans to "take out" your school administrators to the authorities.

4) I think your only hope at this point is to get your sister-in-law to drop the charges.

3) You're embarrassed because your kid had a meltdown in Target? You. are. ADORABLE.

2) I've heard that hydrogen peroxide does a great job on poop stains and smells in your carpet, but burning your house down is a sound option as well.

And the #1 thing overheard on the special needs help line:
1) No, I'm not authorized to prescribe meds, but I know a guy...

Do you think I have the job?  I joke, but if you seriously need support that reading this blog somehow does not give you (WHAT?), please go to or give them a call at 877-914-MOM2.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Urge to Purge

No, I'm not following up a post about swamp ass with one about vomit.  Although this picture does make it look like Party City just threw up all over my carpet.

My latest article on the Patch discusses the mysterious accumulation of crap in my house.  What is it?  How did it get in my house?  What do I do with it now? 

Click HERE to find out.