Posted in family, parenting, Uncategorized

Knowing your kid’s interests

Staying connected with your kids requires getting involved in their interests. They usually don’t want to do what YOU want to do, so you’ll have to suck it up and do whatever weird little thing they want to do. I’ve noticed, at least with eli, interests come and go pretty quickly. What he likes one day is out the window the next. There are a few things that have stuck around for a while.

1. whenever Eli starts playing (anything) it usually ends up being a bad guy vs good guy battle. His room is super hero themed and a large portion of his toys are imaginext super hero’s. Needless to say a lot of our time is spent in the battle of good vs evil.

2. For the past two Halloween’s Eli has dressed as a ninja. He used to watch a lot of ninja turtles and he must have picked up some of their moves. I actually think he would really like karate.

3. Special ops. Eli watches my husband play war games on PS4 from time to time. He really gets interested in war/fighting. Maybe he will follow in dads footsteps and join the military? He’s taken this interest to real life. Eli and his dad like to go on missions. They gear up, grab their nerf guns and head out destroying bad guys.

4. As long as I can remember Eli has liked building things. He’d stack up anything he could. We started up a collection of LEGO duplo blocks. He’s grown from just stacking blocks to building towns and restaurants.

5. I’ve mentioned in past blogs how Eli has started getting into picture taking and movie making. He spends some time on kids YouTube and enjoys the videos other kids make and enjoys making his own movies just as much. Some are goofy and with no meaning while some of the others are story telling or instructional. But all of them are adorable and funny.

All of these interests are putting together the kind of boy he’s going to grow up together. Will he be a military man like his dad? A construction worker or contractor? A movie director or actor? A lot of interests will come and go but eventually one or some of them will stick for the long haul and I can’t wait to watch him find his true passion some day.

Posted in family, parenting, Uncategorized

Weird sh*t my kid does

I’m sure anyone that spends any amount of time around children can agree that kids are strange little creatures. When raising kids, parents see a lot of themselves in their offspring. They may have their same mannerisms, sense of humor, they may even sleep in the same position. A lot of things, however, may be very…. different.

Eli, for example, has a lot of my husband and I in him; but he also walks to the beat of his own drum. He does a lot of strange, often times funny, things. Every weird thing he does is a small piece of his quirky adorable puzzle of a personality.

1. booby traps

I’m not sure how this exactly started but Eli was very into setting booby traps. Whenever he found a string, ribbon, or robe tie, he would tie them across random items. Sometimes they’d be so intricate it would take me forever to get them down. This was a thrilling game for me when I had to heat up a 3am bottle in the dark across his booby trap.

2. Emotional text messages

Eli has an iPad and we’ve taught him how to use text messaging. It came in extremely handy during dads deployment. He would tell him he loves him or when he’s sad. Dad would send pictures of his European adventures and Eli would send pictures of his poops when he was potty training. Lately, however, the texting is mostly used when he wants to tell us how pissed he is at us. One instance when I said he couldn’t do something (probably that he couldn’t have a pizza lunchable for dinner) he ran into the other room and minutes later I got a stream of very upset text messages.

3. Selfies

Along with the texting he has perfected the art of picture taking. When I’m too busy (or pretending to be too busy) to come look at something he will take a picture of whatever it is and come show me. He also is a lover of the selfie. Some are happy, sad, goofy, angry. He is quite the actor.

4. Ties knots in everything

Relating back to the booby traps, he also has a tendency to knot EVERYTHING. Common things like his shoelaces. But he will take an unplugged electrical cord and tie up objects. He’ll remove my robe tie and weave it around stairway spindles. He also takes his sisters pacifier clip and ties it to her other toys.

5. Lines up objects

This one he’s been doing for quite a few years. It’s one of his first signs of autism I noticed in him. When he was younger it was always his matchbox cars or markers. They had to be in a perfect line. He doesn’t do it as much anymore but when he does it is quite the production.

6. Heart broken

Eli has always been very emotional. He wears his heart on his sleeve. When something inconvenient happens or he is told “no” he doesn’t just get upset he gets heartbroken. You’d think a pet died or something. He’s always picking up new sayings and lately it’s been “I’m heartbroken” and he makes a heart with his hands and breaks them apart. The first time he did this I nearly cried myself. Much like the first time he said he didn’t love me anymore (🙄). Now when he does this production it’s pretty easy to deal with.

7. “I’m watching you”

On the opposite side of heartbroken we have anger. I’m not sure how but somewhere along the way he’s picked up the saying “I’m watching you” along with the coordinating hand gestures. Don’t make him mad folks because he will make you feel scared.

8. Gives ‘presents’

Along with all his quirky things he is still a loving kind hearted little boy. He says please and thank you, I love you, and gives the best kisses and hugs. Lately he’s been into giving “presents”. He lays a blanket on the floor and fills it with random objects, wraps it back up and delivers it to me. He watches expectantly as I pretend to be very excited over receiving household objects and a half eaten container of baby food.


Seeing all the quirky things Eli does makes me love him even more than I already do. He is definitely a unique boy and he always comes up with new things to surprise you and makes you laugh. He is definitely a people pleaser.

Posted in family, parenting, Uncategorized

Handling Missing a Parent

My husband is currently on his second deployment with the military. The first time around Eli was only 18 months old and didn’t really notice dad wasn’t there. Even at that young of an age I expected some tantrums but we had moved back home by my family so he was surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and I think having the added family around blurred out the fact that dad was gone. Now just because Eli wasn’t screaming for his dad (he didn’t even talk at this age anyway), doesn’t go to say that there weren’t other behaviors relating to the deployment.

Then and now Eli likes to push the limits with me; from what I gather this is very common with children who have a parent that may be gone for certain lengths of time (military, general long work shifts, truck driving, travel/training, prison, etc). I don’t have the same amount as authority as my husband does. I’m not sure why but I think, and this may come across as sexist here (sorry feminists), men are the heads of the household.  Sure, some may not work as hard as their spouse, make as much money, spend as much time with the children; however, men are usually bigger than their wives and usually have deeper more demanding voices. I could yell in my ‘mean voice’ for Eli to “STOP JUMPING ON THE COUCH” and see no reaction, but my husband can walk in the room and start with “HEY…” and not even have to finish his sentence because my son already sat on his butt and gave him a sorry expression. There’s no denying that my husband has a lot more authority than me, it is what it is. So, during these deployments Eli feels as though he can get away with a lot more because his dad is gone. He’s not completely wrong, especially because this time I’m pregnant and don’t have enough energy to yell. Most of the time I’m so exhausted that it’s easier to let him make a big mess and clean it up by myself later than to go with him hand over hand making him pick up the entire basement. I mean honestly, I get breathless walking up the stairs. Once we start therapy though I will have a second disciplinarian in the house to help back me up.

This time around Eli has obviously noticed that his dad is not around. I have stressed from the beginning that daddy is at work. He understands this and says that daddy is at work back at mommy’s house (San Diego, close enough). In the beginning, he never really wanted to video chat with his dad; he would tell me “no, daddy is busy. He’s at work…” I would say “Hey Eli, your dad says he loves you!” Eli would answer, “no, daddy is at work.” To me it appears he thought, ‘daddy isn’t here so he doesn’t love me anymore’ or ‘daddy is too busy for me.’ Of course, he was only 3-4 years old and maybe I’m just reading too much into it, but nevertheless, it made me very sad to hear him say things like that.

So where do we go from here? How do we bridge this gap between father and son when they are many time zones apart? There are many books, articles, blogs on how to help your children during deployments, but there isn’t a one size fits all for children. Children may not be feeling the same way or may not respond to techniques that another child responded to. My best advice is to try out anything and everything.

  1. Phone calls, video calls
    1. If your spouse can communicate while they’re away this is usually the best way to keep them connected with children. We do this occasionally but Eli generally doesn’t have much of an attention span for video calls. I usually have to close the bedroom door and just let him play while dad talks a big. Eli will acknowledge him sometimes, answer his questions, and show him certain things then it loses its luster and he ignores both of us completely.
  2. Daddy Dolls
    1. I’ve seen a lot of these in the military community. They are little fabric dolls with a parent’s full body picture printed on. I’ve also seen necklaces, picture frames, etc that the child can take around with them and when they are feeling sad they can hold onto their parent and talk to them.


  1. Deployment wall
    1. This one (in my opinion) was a little too advanced for Eli to appreciate, but it is a visual aid for the kids to understand more about where daddy is. Include a map with pinned areas, clocks so they can see what time it is there, a mail station to send out their letters to dad, etc.


  1. Texting
    1. One thing Eli has been really into lately is texting his dad. Of course, he can’t read and the only thing he can spell/write is his own name. He mostly uses it for the emoji’s. He likes taking his time and selecting just the right emoji to send to his dad and gets a kick out of what emoji’s dad will send back to us.
  1. Bedtime books
    1. There is a lot of literature out there on helping children deal with a deployed parent. I got lucky at Barnes and Noble and found one in the clearance rack. It’s not exactly a deployment book but it is about a parent leaving and how the child can stay connected with them. I got extra lucky because Eli really likes reading this book at night!

Nobody wants to have a parent gone, no matter what the reason, but there are a lot of ways to keep the family connected. Every family and child is unique so finding what works for you is the key.

Posted in Uncategorized

Getting Organized

I am NOT an organized person at all. It takes me days to put away clean laundry. I keep overfilling the trash can until my husband notices and takes it out to the dumpster. My worst flaw is leaving paperwork all throughout the house. My Son is in 22 hours of therapy a week now, is involved with the special education program at our local school and sees a developmental pediatrician along with his primary physician. how can I tell my ass from my elbow if I keep paperwork thrown around the house? How will I remember if today is his doctor’s appointment or speech/OT? Because my husband works, this is all on me; it is up to me to keep all of this stuff straight. I became an organized soccer mom.

I bought a monthly dry erase calendar that has all of our appointments and my husband’s work schedule for the month. A basic overview of what we have each day and helps so much when calling to schedule new appoints so I don’t double book us. I glance at the calendar to check what we have going on for the week and when is a good day to throw a stew in the crock pot or when I have time to make a big dinner.



I also have a chalkboard to use as our daily calendar. This lists exactly what we’re doing and where we’re going for the whole day. Eli is in ABA therapy (in-home) Monday-Friday 8am-12pm. Most of the time we are at home learning basic skills and working on behavior, but it is also very important to get outside or to be around other children. Having this daily schedule helps me switch it up and make sure we’re not doing too much of the same thing, but also keeps us on a schedule which (usually) helps keep Eli calmer and help lessen his temper tantrums. I want to make this daily schedule more for Eli and I both. Since he can’t read I am working on making it a PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) calendar. That way Eli can see actual pictures of things and places in our home AND out in town that we will be doing for the day.



My last organization tool, I can’t take credit for. One of our military resources is a group on base called the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). They offer so much advice, resources, and tools to help families with members with any medical disabilities. One tool I got from them was an organization binder. It has sections for anything anyone with a family member diagnosed with autism would need; medical history, birth information, doctor notes, referrals, therapy information, school information, IEPs. This booklet goes with you to all your appointments and holds everything you would possibly need.

Eli and I have a full time schedule and it get’s very overwhelming and confusing and these three tools have been lifesavers for me. Sure, my laundry has still been washed and folded and sitting in a basket for two days now, but when it comes to Eli, I am completely organized.