A sassy, crafty mama bird from Los Angeles
raising a very sweet little girl with Autism
and a new baby boy in the Midwest... and other stuff, too.

Monday, May 19, 2014

How I Spent My Mother's Day by Dani G

I'd planned on sharing what my family and I did to celebrate Mother's Day with pictures of the garden we planted and the list Little Bird wrote out of things she loves about me (which was clearly made up by some para). I'll still share those pics here, but my friend Lisa's post on Mother's Day really inspired me to tell my truth. A few years ago I committed to staying off social media on Mother's Day. I do think your kids are cute, but it's too much of a reminder of the grief I still suffer. It's a process. It absolutely gets easier as time goes on, but in many ways, it also gets harder. It's hard to watch the divide between Little Bird and her peers (many of your kids) grow exponentially.

There are no grand acts of love and appreciation on this holiday (besides the incredible and very public outpouring of love from Ben each year). There's no breakfast in bed made by my girl, no homemade cards that are actually made by her, no real recognition or understanding of the day at all. We talk about it, they talked about it at school, at Sunday school, and Ben took her shopping for gifts and cards for me. Still, it just is what it is.

So, this year for Mother's Day, we planted our garden...
If all goes well, we should have carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, basil, chives, peppers, beans, zucchini, and cucumbers.
visiting the nursery 
trying on hats between grabbing bags of dirt

Preparing the bed

sowing seeds

I planted flowers in the front

Cute gardeners

Little Bird's favorite part of the day 
And then my Mother's Day ended as most of them have- with me in tears. I don't just cry for me and my failed expectations or my self pity. I cry for her, too. I just want to help her. I just want her to feel more comfortable in her skin; to be able to express herself better, get her needs and wants met. I see her trying to ask for or request something but after two or three times of someone not understanding her, she just gives up. I hate seeing her give up. But, sometimes, it's just easier than fighting so hard. I get that. 

I'm so grateful that I have a partner that gets me; that lets me cry without shaming me or minimizing my feelings. Instead he just holds me and encourages me as my tears fall. And I don't shame myself anymore either. I know it's a process and I try to work through and walk through it all with grace and dignity, all the while loving and fighting for my Little Bird. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

*This Moment*

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. -SouleMama

Friday, May 9, 2014

The great big sibling adjustment

"You really should have another child," they said.
"It will be amazing for Little Bird."

Were they nuts?! I was never going to have another baby. I couldn't take the risk of going through some of what I'd already been through, what I'm up against for the rest of my life. Parents whose autistic child had a sibling couldn't stress enough just how enriched their kiddo's life is with a sibling. Still, I wasn't willing.

And then I was. And then I was more than willing. I was ready.

And then this.

When we told Little Bird that our family was going to have a baby, she wasn't real interested, but as the pregnancy progressed, we read books (the key to her heart) and talk about it a lot. When J Bird was born, Little Bird came to the hospital to meet him. I made sure he was in the bassinet and my arms were free to welcome her. I also made sure I was in my own clothes so that she didn't see me in that dreadful hospital gown, think I was sick, and associate the baby with me being sick (yeah, I think and over-think). He "gave" her some presents and then it was time to really meet.

At first, she would ignore him. Wouldn't look at him, touch him, or really even acknowledge him. Two weeks after he was born there was a mid-winter school break where she was home for a week (that's a thing here in Michigan). It turned out to be great. She had more time to get to be around him, and get used to his noises. I joked that after that week I was certain his first words would be lyrics to songs from Frozen.

It started slowly. She'd say goodbye to him as she got onto the bus. She'd ask about him when she got off the bus: "where's Baby J?" She'd often ask, "Did J poop?" Yep, we're all pretty obsessed with poop 'round here. Still, she seemed intimidated by the idea of holding him, or touching him much at all. She began to quietly cozy up to one of us while we was holding him.

The crying is tough for a kid who's got her fingers in her ears most of the time anyway. But, she doesn't get nearly as upset by it as I'd expect. She has become an incredible helper. Ben always says, "you can ask her ten times to put on her clothes, but you only have to ask once to get something for the baby and she's on it!"

I'm beyond shocked at how well she's adjusted. But, really, she does surpass my expectations now and then with her ability to rise to the occasion. Earlier this week she even asked to hold him!! When Ben asked how long that lasted, I said, "about three camera clicks."

Looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Friday, May 2, 2014

*This Moment*

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. -SouleMama

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See, it's not just my mom! (since Jan 1, 2010)