Monday, July 13, 2015

I Was Blindsided....

And the conversation went like this:

"You've never taken your kids to a concert?"

"No, but sometimes my husband & I will go to a concert when we have a date night."
"But you've never taken your kids to a concert?"

"Not even the Boy?"
"Not even the Boy."
"Oh. Is that because he's retarded?"

HOLD THE PHONE!!!!!  Did this 10yo little girl just say what I think she said?!?!?  She most certainly did, and my jaw was on the floor.  It took me a minute (well, it was probably more like a few seconds, but I was shocked), but I knew there had to be a miscommunication somewhere in there. After all, I know her Mom, her Mom's boyfriend, and they don't speak like this.

"My Mom said that he is retarded, and if he wasn't retarded, you'd need to whoop his ass because he is a nuisance, especially when he starts to growl & yell when things aren't going his way."

As I resisted the urge to pinch myself and wake up from this bad dream, I said, "ABC, you've heard our entire family talk about the Boy's autism.  Remember, his brain processes things differently than yours & mine.  This doesn't make him retarded, stupid, or anything like that. As a matter of fact, his IQ is very high."

"That's not what my Mom says.  She says we have to be nice to him because of your other kids. My Mom said that you probably did something when he was in your tummy, and that is why he is retarded."

"STOP IT!! You may not use that word again, when you are around my family.  That is a very cruel and untrue thing to say."

"Well my Mom said..."
"ABC, come here!!!"

Thank goodness, her Mom is here.  We can straighten this out.

"ABC and I were having a talk, and..."
"I heard part of it, and it's true."
"You think my child is retarded?!?"

"I know he is."
"So his doctors are wrong in their diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, and YOU think he is retarded, which by the way, is a slang term, NOT a medical diagnosis anymore?"

DID SHE JUST SAY YES?!?!?! I'm going to cut someone....

At this point, I said a few other things, but I won't recount the entire conversation.  I did ask her if it's okay if I refer to her daughter as a n**&*r.  I don't say that word.....but, I had a point to make.

"Just because she is of mixed race, you may not call her such a derogatory thing!!"


"No, the difference is that your other two kids are so nice, and the Boy needs some discipline."

"We are done here.  I really hope that someday, one of your nieces or nephews aren't diagnosed with a disability.  Maybe you can spank it out of them.  We are so done here; don't ever speak to any member of our family ever again.

"It's okay; ABC has other retarded friends at school.  She helps THEM all the time; her teachers think she is the best helper for them."

"F*** OFF."

Yes this entire conversation took place.  I have been playing it over & over in my head for the past few days.  This was someone who I thought was a friend.  The 'r' word and the 'n' word are words we don't say.  I don't care if you use them, I don't, and especially in regards to any of my children. 

I will not associate with people of this mentality.  We often pick and choose when to educate people and when to walk away.  I thought this woman was a supporter of our family. Obviously, she had me snowed. 

I don't care if you know someone with an intellectual disability, developmental disability, neurological disability, or any other kind of different ability, we don't use the R word.  I don't care if they tell you it's okay to call them a fucktard, or any other form of the word, DO NOT DO IT!!!!  I've had people tell me that words only have the power that you allow them to have.  Those people don't live in the world, and if you are not living it, all of your excuses are just that: excuses to demean another human being, and I can't have you in my life.

Now I have to tell my children why we won't be having play dates with ABC.  I have to absorb the fact that someone who I thought was a Sassy Pants Family Supporter is just an ass. 

When things like this happen, I want to rake my kids and isolate our family away from the world.  Then there would be no hurt, no pain, & no assholes.  I've learned that this will not happen, as too many pioneers have paved the way, and it is my job to educate as I'm able to, and it is my job to help pave the way for the up and coming families who haven't even received their diagnosis yet. 

I will start with deciding when, where, and how I'm going to educate others.  Right now, I will start by telling you, the R word is unacceptable....

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Take Time For You...

Most people who know me, know that going to the nail salon 2 times a month has been my "me" time.  No kids, no responsibilities, no worries.  I often times have shared my cute designs, my favorites being Hello Kitty, Gingerbread Men, a Pokeball & Pikachu, & kitty cats, to name a few.

This past year I have slacked in that department, as spending $100/month (more if the Girl went with me) was getting to be too much.

My friend Mary offered to teach me how to apply some Jamberry nail wraps that had been sitting in my desk drawer for over a year.  Yes, I had purchased nail wraps for fundraisers to help out friends, but had never learned how to apply them.

Mary has made quite a little living out of her Jamberry business, and has tried to get me to have a party.  I have politely declined, as I have many friends who sell them, and I didn't want to be another person pushing something on others.  I'm not saying that that is what all people do, I'm just saying that is how I would feel if I were to sell them.  Anyway, Mary is my go-to gal if I need new nail wraps. Yes, I've purchased from other people--a friend recently went into the Design Studio & created some wraps for the Boy's team for the 2015 Autism Puzzle Walk & 5K. Another friend had some special Down's Syndrome wraps made that I absolutely had to have, but kind and patient, & is a no pressure sales lady.

Mary asked me to try the wraps & give a review.  So here we go:
These wraps are amazing!!!  I thought they were going to be a royal pain in the butt to apply; especially to my dominant hand.  NOPE!!!  No issues here....there was a small learning curve (for me) to get them to look "polished" and it only took a few applications to get it.  You know the saying, "Practice Makes Perfect"??  Well, it definitely applies here.

These wraps are all I want to use, and I've found that it actually quite relaxing to do.  When I'm done, I don't have to wait for my nails to dry--that is so cool.  Now, I have to admit, I still love the look of plain old polished nails, but Jamberry has a solution for that!!  They sell these amazing lacquers that are simply luscious--yes, I said luscious.  The lacquers go on beautifully and dry quickly.  My favorite thing to so is to apply a clear wrap with a subtle design over the top of my lacquered nails---so stinkin' pretty!!

These wraps are always Buy 3, get 1 free, which is awesome.  I don't have to go to the salon to have cool looking nails.

Now, I've just spent a bit of time trying to add some pictures to this blog post, so you could see my pretty nails, but for some reason, I am unable to add pictures tonight, so you are going to have to take a peek when I post them on the Sassy Pants Lives Here Facebook page.

As I said, Mary is the best consultant!!  No pressure, and willing to answer any questions that you may have.  I am posting a link to her page, and if You have questions, please feel free to shoot her an email/message.  I don't usually endorse products, but this one is something I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!

Please visit Mary's page & tell Hi from Mrs. Sassy Pants!!  :)

Here is the link to her website if you'd like to see things when you are not on Facebook:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

People Are People...

"I don't know anyone with autism.  My sister has a friend whose cousin or someone has it, but I didn't know your son has it. Can he count toothpicks like Rain Man?"

"Does your sister have any friends who are black?"

This conversation took place today between an assistant manager at a grocery store, who knows my husband and myself.  My reply was sarcastic.  I could have gone off on him, but was too tired, so I used sarcasm, which by the way, probably went over his head.

Telling this Momma that you know someone who has the same diagnosis as her son is usually going to get me asking about said child, and I am going to invite you to our local Autism Society Groups. 

My son is on the autism spectrum, and let me tell you, it is a HUGE umbrella.  The way my son presents symptoms is not the same as another child with autism.  And guess what, he can NOT count toothpicks.  His IQ is very high, but we don't tell him that, as he has areas where he struggles, and those are things we work on.  We do tell all three of our children that they have smart brains, to encourage them to do their best.

I was brought up in a home with a Mom who taught special education.  When I was a paraprofessional in a different classroom in the same building, I was able to observe her in action.  She was one of the finest teachers I'd ever seen.  Guess what, she had friends with disabilities.  She had friends who were black.  She probably had friends on the autism spectrum, it just wasn't diagnosed the way it has been in recent years--thank goodness for medical professionals who can help us help our children.  My Mom taught me that people are people.  No need to classify in a negative light.  People are people.  We are deserve love & respect.  Even our sister's friend's cousins.

We celebrate autism in our house.  We acknowledge that it explains WHY some things are more difficult for the Boy, but it is NEVER EVER used as an excuse. 

The numbers are 1 in 68.  One in every 68 people you meet is on the autism spectrum.  the Boy is one of them, and he is proud of his unique brain.  Maybe your sister's friend's cousin can join us this weekend at our annual Puzzle Walk & 5k celebration.  A fun time will be had by all.  Even those of us with neurotypical brains.  And those who are black.....

Sunday, February 1, 2015

An Anniversary Like No Other....

You would never forget your spouse's birthday, would you?  How about your children's birthday(s)? Or your anniversary??  Of course not.  We even have other 'anniversary' dates that we celebrate, or we at least reflect on.

Today is one of those days for me.  2/1/13 is an anniversary day of  reflection for me.  It was on this day 2 years ago, I sat in the psychologist's office with the Boy to receive his diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome; Asperger's I part of the Autism Spectrum Disorder~~you will hear me refer to it as these; or simply Autism. The terms are interchangeable in our house.

I think of how far this child has come in the past 2 years.  There was a time when he would cover his ears & run & hide if the word 'autism' was even uttered in his presence.  He had horrible meltdowns because of a 3rd grade teacher who would not follow his IEP & Behavior Plan.  He didn't want to be different than the others kids.  He had absolutely no control once he got overwhelmed.

Now he shouts 'autism awareness & acceptance' at the top of his lungs.  Okay, not in those exact words, but he is proud to have a brain that operates differently than most others.  He is learning to advocate for himself.  He is back in public school, surrounded by a teacher, Paraprofessional, & peers who speak his language.

Is it perfect?  Nope.  As a matter of fact, I have a meeting tomorrow morning to 'teach' his team how to implement some supports that have not been followed through with.  They need to not undo the progress that has been done; they need to trust that the reason I put these things in his IEP was because they work.  I'm not worried or upset; I am the Boy's first teacher, so I will teach them methods that will benefit not just my son, but them as well.

As I celebrate how far the Boy has come, I find that I also am celebrating how far the Girl has come as well.  If I've learned one thing, it is that behavior is communication.  While she was busy sneaking food into her room, and 'borrowing without permission' things that were not hers, I learned that she was in need of more attention.  She was spreading her wings & exerting her independence, as children are apt to do, but she needed some of the attention that was being handed over to her brother due to his autism.  She needed one on one time.  She needed to know that she mattered.  She needed to hear these words.  She needed hugs & kisses.  Is it perfect??  Are you out of your mind?!?  Of course not~~she is a kid; she is going to do kid things that a parent isn't going to approve of, BUT...she comes to Mr. Sassy Pants & I more than she ever has.  She is still the original Sassy Pants of this house, but we are closer than ever, and I hope to keep it this way.

While we are talking about how far everyone has come, I most certainly can NAWT (you know who I'm talking about) leave out Little Boy.  He spreads his wings on a daily basis, challenging our patience more than I ever thought a child could.  He is so smart & his imagination is just incredible.  He has come so far with his speech~~part of me is an eensy weensy bit sad for the day when his speech is no longer "Little Boy Language."  He is doing better in school than I ever imagined, and for the most part, is a role model for his peers, or so his teacher says.  When he comes home at the end of the day, his ornery comes out--I would imagine that it takes a LOT of energy to sit & concentrate & behave all day.  So when he comes home naughty, I get it--he needs to decompress.

As I share how far everyone else has come, I am going to share more, because I wouldn't be me if I didn't, right??  While I've been concentrating on my Littles, I have stopped concentrating on me.  Yes, I am now working 2.5 hours in the mornings, & one weekday evening each weekday, and I love it, BUT...I have neglected me.  I got Mr. Sassy Pants on board, and it is time to get back to taking care of me.  I will begin my early morning workouts again.  I will reactivate my account with My Fitness Pal.  I will do what I need to do to ensure that I can be the healthiest & happiest me that I can be.  I am surrounded by family & friends who rock my world, and whenever I need something, all I have to do is ask.  I am blessed.

As we move forward on this anniversary of 2-1-13, I reflect with great happiness.  I celebrate this wonderful family and this wonderful life that I have been given. 

For now, we will get back to our daily shenanigans. It's what we do best....