Posted in family, motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

Round 2

When Eli was Diagnosed with autism around 4 years ago the doctor told me there would be about a 20% chance of my next child also having autism. (Yes people, genetics, not the measles vaccine. So vaccinate your kids!) So, when Camille came around, I watched, listened, and observed everything she did. A rule of thumb of parenting is never compare your children to other kids (yeah, right.) It is a very important rule to follow though. Every child develops at their own pace. Just because little Timmy is walking at 9 months does NOT mean your child is behind because she is not doing it yet. If your nephew is speaking three word sentences at 12 months it does NOT mean your own son is behind because he can only say 5 words total. Our children hit their milestones at their own pace. They will deal with peer pressure in grade school so let’s not instill self-esteem issues yet!

All that being said, when DO you start to worry about where your child is developmentally? I don’t believe there is a real answer for that. I think, as a mother, you just know. 

Today’s world makes it so easy for parents to get their children evaluated for FREE through the state. Each state has their own fully funded programs. In Michigan, we have the EarlyOn program. When we arrived to Michigan I didn’t waste any time getting Camille evaluated.

So what was it about Camille that made me get her evaluated?

-Her gross motor milestones were always met, but a little behind
-Babbling was very delayed. She didn’t start actively babbling until around 18mo.
-She doesn’t play with toys as expected- she prefers to just hold items and walk around with them. She chooses to play with household items (shoes, dusters, etc.) vs baby toys. For a while between 12-18mo, she would only open and close doors and cabinets for entertainment.
-She walks very cautiously. She does not walk on uneven ground (grass, sand), she is uncertain when stepping across different floor types or over lips/lines.
-Does not climb on/off furniture. She does not attempt to climb stairs. She cannot get down from very low furniture (example- her 12′ toddler bed.) She will drop an object to the floor to judge how high up she is.
since becoming diagnosed she has attempted the stairs and crawling on . some furniture.
-She does not like a lot of touches- face wipes, washing hair, diaper changes, etc.
-She does not respond to her name or react when spoken to.
-She does not recognize or interact with other children/adults. She will allow other to be in her general proximity but other than that she does not pay them any attention.
-Little eye contact
-No mimicking. She does not copy other’s actions, repeat sounds. She will not point to objects.
-She likes thin items on her lips and around her mouth. Hair, hair ties, shoe laces, strings, etc. I would like to clarify that she doesn’t eat or even chew these things. She just likes the feeling of them on her lips.


To someone who has no experience with any of this, the evaluation process can be very, very overwhelming. There are so many people involved, multiple evaluations, and lots of paperwork. With my first born, Eli, I remember feeling overwhelmed, scared, sad, so many emotions. I felt unorganized. With Camille when the people involved started over-explaining the process to help me understand I politely said “Listen, this isn’t my first rodeo. I’m good. Do ya thang girl.” Honestly the best advice I can give to someone going through this the first time- relax and take the backseat. The professionals with these programs know what they’re doing. They help you every step of the way. The best thing a parent can do is get out of your own way. Let them help you with everything. 

After Camille’s evaluation process, she was placed in the moderate-severe autism range. Because she was evaluated through the School system/ EarlyOn program, this is what’s called an educational diagnosis. In another blog I will get into the difference between an educational diasgnosis of autism vs a medical diagnosis. The important thing to know for now is an educational diagnosis determines if a child meets the qualifications needed to receive special education services through the school system and is not a “firm diagnosis”. A medical diagnosis is a true diagnosis and opens the door for insurance supported therapy services.

So now what? We start by making a list of goals to work towards. For example, one goal is to get her to make independent choices for meals by using picture cards (PECS). Another is to get Camille to play more with age appropriate toys vs household items. We focus on the areas that are most important to improve. Keep your expectations low! Sometimes they take a while, AND THAT’S FINE!

Additionally, Camille is receiving in-home speech therapy. We will also soon begin occupational therapy, and perhaps Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. 

Getting an autism diagnosis for your child is a very overwhelming, scary thing. This, however, is one that I was waiting for. I knew the odds and I was prepared. If anyone can embrace this challenge for a second time, it’s me. I am ready for this next chapter in my parenting world. I look forward to sharing this journey with others and hope that by telling our story, we can help other parents out there who may be going through something similar!

Posted in family, motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

Struggles of a stay at home mom

Being a stay at home mom is not a glamorous lifestyle, despite what you may see on Instagram. It’s not all mommy playgroups, matching mommy/child outfits, or blissful round the clock playtime.

I start my day with two cups of coffee. My hair is in a messy bun, and my robe is tied tight. By the time I drop my son off at school I have clothes on (granted, its usually stretch pants and a sweatshirt), my hair is usually not brushed, contacts not in yet, and no makeup. If you think it gets better by school pick-up, you’d probably be wrong. It’s not that I DONT have time to get ready for the day, but whats the point? The majority of my day is wiping butts, making food, cleaning, working on my computer, playing with baby toys, etc. My life is 99% inside the house. The lazy girl inside me is like “yes! I love being home and in pajamas”; but the overall human being in me gets stir crazy. My life is 24/7 kids. I yearn for adult interaction. This lifestyle is very isolating. 

Kids are loud, dirty, talkative, annoying, messy, emotional, rude. This job gets few thank-yous, little to no recognition, there is no pay, no sick days, and ridiculous hours. All that being said, it is the best job I’ve ever had. Wait, what? Honestly, yes. Despite how difficult and draining this life is, being able to watch your kids discover new things, hit new milestones, grow, and find new interests, is something not everyone gets to witness everyday. It is not taken for granted by me. I get moments that working parents don’t always get. Stay at home mothers don’t have an easy life, but neither do working parents. The grass is always greener, isn’t it?

Working parents get to have a life outside of their children and their house, they make their own hard-earned money, they get independence, they live a life for themselves. I am missing out on all of those things. I have no life; and not in the sense like I’m a loser with no friends who wants to go out and party. I mean- I have no life. My children are my life. Every choice I make, every move made, every purchase, every agenda on our daily schedule, EVERYTHING is about them. What about me? My dreams, my needs, my time? Being a stay at home parent day in-day out is making me lose myself. The flip side to this is working parents wanting more time with their families, playing with their children, enjoying their house, having time to relax. I think there are times we can be jealous of each other and our parental situations- and we shouldn’t. Again, the grass is always greener. No parenting style is above the other. No mother is above another. There are going to be pros and cons with any type of parenting.

We need to be grateful for the lives that we have. I would love having my own career, having some independence, but I am so grateful for being able to be there 100% for my kids. I love being around them all the time (despite how much they annoy me most of the time).

This upcoming Mother’s Day, take the time to appreciate BEING a mother, no matter what kind of mother you are. Whether you’re working to live out your dream, to provide financially for your children, to make the world a better place, or whether you’re staying home to raise your beautiful children— Be happy just being a mother. Being a mother, of ANY kind, is a hard f***ing job. Now go brush your teeth and get yourself and iced coffee, because damn it, we deserve it. 

Posted in family, parenting, Uncategorized

Mom hair, don’t care!

Being a woman has always had it’s physical difficulties and societal pressures. The moment a girl gets her period, it’s all downhill. Women are expected to dress nice, do their hair and makeup, shave their legs, have smooth skin, slim bodies. 

Listen buddy, There’s no chance I’m going to put in all the effort just to watch my tinder date walk in with a scratchy unkempt neck beard, sweatpants, and flip flops. 

Then again, if we’re looking for a life long companion we do need to put up a bit of a false front. We need to pretend that we have our life together so a man will agree to marry us. Then at that point we begin to slowly slip back in to our natural, lazy gross selves. Before they even realize it, the woman they married only shaves her legs once a week, throws her hair in a messy bun most days, and those heels have been replaced with fuzzy house slippers. 

This is a bit of an exaggeration with me and my husband. He knew what he was signing up for with me, not a lot of secrets here. I found it best to get the farts out straight from the get go. Sweatpants and yoga pants have always been my go-to. One thing I will admit is I did do my hair a lot in the beginning. Now it’s messy buns 6/7 days of the week. 

Being a mom has definitely changed my style a lot. When I had my first kid I definitely tried for a while to be the “hot mom” I straightened my hair a lot, put on makeup, wore non-stained wrinkle free clothes. That didn’t last long. 

When you think of trendy women’s hairstyles you think of:

————————–The Pixie Cut —————————— The Rachel

—————-Classic Bob—————-Side Swept Bangs————–Beach Waves

Well the most popular hairstyle of all time, that is never talked about-
mom hair

Mom hair differs between women, but when you get down to it, it’s all the same. It’s dirty, not brushed, quickly thrown together, most importantly- not attractive. Although there are times when moms have extra time to do their hair, although that extra time is usually still not enough for anything fantastic. 

I recorded my hairstyles over the last few weeks to demonstrate different levels of mom hair. Let’s begin. 

At any given time there is a 90% chance that my hair looks like any version of the following:

If there is a morning where I have an extra 15 minutes after I’ve already gotten away with a shower I might spice things up a bit…

Going out for the day? Going somewhere you might get your picture taken? Meeting up with friends who will probably have their hair and makeup done? Better straighten the hair for the 1st time this month… (don’t mind the snapchat filter..)

Finally… about 4 times a year, the majestic stay at home mom emerges from her frizzy, snarly, messy bun of a cocoon and curls her hair for the day. Is it family photo day, military ball day, Christmas? We may never know….

I know, I know… there are moms out there who may not have their lives together but still find the time to do their hair every day. But this are usually the moms who have jobs or social lives… two things I do not. So I will continue go wear my mom hair like a badge of honor. Do you girl. Never feel like you need to change who you are for anyone!

Posted in family, parenting

Believing Our Kids

One thing I have learned about raising young children is they are brutally honest. 

“Look! Mommy got her hair done, do you like it?” 
“No. You look like a poodle.”

“Tommy wants to know if you want to have a playdate.”
“No. I don’t like him. He smells like farts.”

As our kids get older, however, the lies start to slide in. They start small.

“Did you clean up your toys?” yes.
“Did you wash your hands?” yes.
“Did you remember to wipe? yes.

The correct answer to all these is usually no.

As our children grow up, they perfect their fibbing skills. It is up to us as parents to see through their crap. Easier said than done, right? No one knows your kids better than you; the parents should be the first ones to know when our kids our lying. Well, you’d think at least. I feel like, especially in this day and age, parents are blindly believing their children more than they should be. We all want to believe that our children are perfect angels. Maybe because we want to believe that we are great parents, raising great kids. Reality check- NO ONE IS PERFECT. Parents get frustrated, they yell, they lose their temper, they mess up. Kids are the same way; you can do everything you can to raise your kids right and they still turn into little shits. Kids are…kids. They’re too goofy, they can be mean, they’re sneaky. Sometimes kids go through phases, they act out because of home situations, they try to act cool in front of their friends. This is exactly why we need to check our kids once in a while. Don’t always believe them; challenge them, question them. I am always challenging Eli; not because he’s a bad kid or I always suspect him of lying (although, I do a lot) but because I want to remind him that he is the kid and I am the adult. I want him to know that when I ask him to do something, he does it. If I don’t check him every once in a while and he gets away with things more and more it sets a precedent that as long as he gets away with it, he can do whatever he wants. 

Recently I saw a situation involving a friend of mine that really bothered me. A child got in trouble at school and his mother went on a public rant online about the teacher (my friend). She was bashing this teacher from head to toe based solely off what her child had told her. She did not discuss the situation with the teacher or anyone at the school before posting this rant. I am in no way calling this child a liar; based off my own parental experience, I know that children have different viewpoints of situations. Young children are still learning cause-and-effect, social cues, and social interaction skills. The way a child sees or remembers a situation may be different than the way an adult sees the situation. There is never a sure-fire way to know when to believe your child. Again, this is why I believe parents should check their children. I want my children to know they can come to me with anything and that I will always listen and believe them- HOWEVER- I am still going to look into it. Innocent until proven guilty type thing.

If I was the parent in this situation I would listen to my child and believe them until I learn otherwise, but it should NOT have been put on social media before first discussing the situation with all parties directly involved. If that did happen the mother would have learned that before the altercation, her son was being disrespectful to classmates and staff. Now, before getting all the facts, the reputation of my friend has been trampled on. Thankfully she’s a confident bad-ass and won’t let this keep her from doing what she loves. 

Knowing when to believe an adult and when to believe your child is completely situational. There is no set way to go about it. If we always believe our children we are setting the precedent that they are always right and they can do no wrong. If we always believe the adult we are letting our children know that we have no faith in them and that can be dangerous in some situations. Parents need to do their due diligence and find out all the information. 

Parenting is a balancing act. You have to be the enforcer, the confidant, the protector, the supporter, and the caretaker all at the same time. It is an impossible job and there is no perfect way to parent. We all take different paths, we all make different choices. As long as our children are clothed, fed, and happy we are doing just fine as parents. 

Posted in family, parenting, Uncategorized

Christmas Gift Check in

I feel like all parents can relate to me when I say- despite my better judgment, I love spoiling our kids. Now I am a firm believer of living within your means, although around birthdays and holidays we definitely push the limit. I’m not sure what it is about buying gifts for our children, but we can’t help ourselves. Are we buying their love? Are we just getting a bunch of stuff to keep them busy and out of our faces? Regardless of the reason, we all love getting our children a gift that they love and watching their delighted little faces light up when they unwrap it. But sometimes (maybe a lot of times) we pick out some gifts that are complete duds.

Now that Christmas is in the rearview mirror, it’s time to reflect on our pointless purchases. Those gifts you bought that you probably shouldn’t have, but you just knew your child would love. How’d that work out for us? Many of our children’s gifts this year have gone unused, forgotten about, or broken. For science, I’m taking inventory of some of the gifts our children got this year and figuring how many have gone left unused and why. The ‘why’ part to this plays a big factor, are they not using it because it’s too advanced for them or because we just picked out a crappy gift? Let’s see.

Eli’s Gift rundown- 

Rock and Roll Rainbow Piano– Thought it was cool, but not so interested in learning piano. but the babies LOVE IT so I count it as a medium. They love to walk across it and hear the music.

Build your own plane- Loved and used a lot; but it is now sadly in the broken toy graveyard.

Tinker toys– dud. My grandma has these toys at her house and he loves to use them and build things, like his “machine 2000” so she got him his own set, only to find out apparently that they’re only fun to use at GG’s house

DC super hero busy book– used twice. I thought for sure he’d love this because he loves super hero figurines. Nerp.

 magic set– complete dud. Never used. Pieces lost. Mom and Dad fail.

 The best gifts were the whoopee cushion ($2) and the liquid hourglass ($2). He uses both almost daily. Just goes to show, you don’t have to shell out a lot of money for your kids to be happy.

Camille’s gift rundown-

Fisher price laugh and learn smart stages chair– overall a good gift. She does use it often but she (as of now) only using the built in book feature. She LOVES turning pages so that part specifically is a hit

Fisher-Price Brilliant stack & Roll cups– Does it count as successful if she just smashes the cups all over the place and then holds them and walks around? We’ll say medium

Puzzles– age appropriate but she has no interest in them yet except for holding the pieces

Play house shape sorter– Camille is experiencing developmental delays and has no interest at all in stuff like this (which was why I bought it in the first place) but as of now she has no desire for this toy. dud. It is also missing some pieces, despite never being used.

Dollar Store dolly– Camille liked hers and she would walk around with them. Then cousin Olivia came over and ripped them limb from limb. So they went to dolly heaven after just one week.

So you may be wondering, if Camille isn’t using most of her toys, then what is she playing with?

Posted in family, parenting

Fighting the Flu Frenzy

Having one child with the flu is terrible. Having two children with the flu is painful. Having two children with the flu AND having it yourself is hell. 

The flu entered our house last weekend and that b**ch didn’t leave for 6 days. Impossibly high fevers, chills, body aches, coughing, mucus, sneezing, you name it. I did thank my lucky stars that no one threw up. 

So how do you survive taking care of two sick kids and yourself? Well…. You don’t. I do have three tips that may help, though!

Tip #1 –Play their favorite movies and shows on a loop. 

They’re going to want to stay in their bed as much as possible. There is no such thing as too much tv when your kid is sick! I’m pretty sure Eli watched 12 hours of paw patrol and 20 hours of Garfield the past week. Camille averaged about 4 viewings of Trolls a day. Now is not the time to be the “my kids only get 30 min of screen time a day” parent.

Tip #2- Keep the drinks flowing and be prepared to waste food.

Fight off dehydration with fluids- whatever they will drink. Another side tip here- on one of my many trips to the pharmacy this week I discovered colorless flavorless pedialyte. Add it to anything so even the pickiest of kids won’t detect it in their drinks! Your kids probably won’t want to eat much, but every once in a while they may pop their head out of their tv caves with a meek “Mom can I have a snack?” Yes, baby. absolutely! What do you want?? They may answer with cereal, hot dogs, mac n cheese; HOWEVER- the true answer to that question is  “only two bites of something, you can throw the rest away because I will refuse to finish it and will refuse any leftovers.”

Tip #3- Do the bare minimum

Don’t be a hero, do what you gotta do and spend all your free time playing games on your phone, you deserve it. When you’re the mom there isn’t anyone there to take care of you. So remember to self care by taking medicine, drinking plently of water, and beating that level on homescapes you’ve been trying to beat for days now. 

So if the flu hits your household, bunker down and remember my three tips and hopefully you can survive. 

Posted in family, parenting

Bed Time reality

Bedtime is always portrayed in movies, shows, and books as this wonderful bonding moment between child and parent. Rocking your sleepy baby, reading a cute bedtime story, putting your kid to bed at 8pm and not seeing them again until 7am. Gag Me. That is not reality.

What I thought bedtime would look like:

Bedtime Reality:

After 5 years of trying to sleep train Eli I have finally gotten there! I will say after all those nights of checking on him in the night and finding him on the floor or under his bed are finally gone and he is the best sleeper. Give him 15 minutes on kids youtube and he turns his bedtime music on and sleeps 10hrs. What a blessing it is.

Camille on the other hand, sucks. She has never been a good sleeper; except maybe those blissful first couple weeks of infancy where ALL babies do is eat poop and sleep. From months 1-4 she had very bad reflux and we averaged about 3hrs of sleep a night. I had to walk around the house holding her for hours until the reflux burn went away. When it did, she would only sleep on my chest so I would have to sleep sitting up in the middle of my bed surrounded by pillows to keep us propped up. After that she was doing good for a while until we hit the “Up all night, sleep all day” phase. THAT WAS FUN. She would stay up every night until about 4am. Boy we watched a LOT of Netflix. We’d get up to bring Eli to school at 8 then she’d sleep until it was time to pick him up. Fun times.

Am I the only one that is impatiently waiting for the teenage years when all my kids will want do is sleep in???