Sometimes all a girl needs is HEART SHAPED Pancakes!

Ask any parent who has two kids, one autistic and one not and they will most likely respond that one of their biggest worries outside of managing ASD is making sure that the other child feels equal in the love, attention and energy you can provide to your children.

I often worry about my little girl. She is the 5-year-old, very gregarious, dynamic drama queen and often a bit bossy younger sibling to T. I don’t think she is intentionally bossy. More likely that behaviour pattern comes out of her mirroring what we say or how we interact in working with T all the time. In order to create interest/action that really resonates with him and help him establish what the “rules” are within the house, socializing and day-to-day functioning, we are often repeating that same conversation.. That repetition has created a little girl monster… hands on her hips, blurting out statements like “T, Look in my eyes..good looking!” and “Good job T, I’m really proud of your smart decisions”.

She is wise beyond her years. An old soul.

I think all the time about what is going through her head?…How much she understands now that T is slightly different? When will she start asking those tough questions? When do we explain Autism to her?

Is she getting enough attention on her own or is she dramatic as her way of seeking attention we have been neglecting to provide her?

My belief is to make sure both our kids feel that infinite love we have for them and never that it’s some sort of competition on who carries mom or dad’s heart with them.

Which is why it was a welcome opportunity this past weekend to enjoy our very own girls weekend as dad and T went up to the cottage.

It was a lovely time spent shopping, cuddling on the couch, watching a movie, heading to a birthday party and stopping by a local street festival in the rain. An event that had my little girl shakin her bon bons and soaking up all the awesome music we were witnessing throughout the day. Couldn’t be more proud.

By Sunday, I was madly smitten with that little girl and wondered what I could do to make it a really lovely morning. So I hunted down a little heart shape mold and made her heart-shaped pancakes. She was thrilled and as we sat there eating our pancakes in the quiet of our house, I thought about how nice it was to just have a few minutes with just her and I…ssshhhh quiet…amazing..:) We might someday have up and down roller coaster relationships but for now, I will love that Bestie roll we are playing together.


and then she said “Mama, I love you…you make my heart so full…just like these pancakes”

I love you N…now pass the syrup.

Get down? or Get back on track?: Depression nearly got me

Yesterday felt like the lowest of the low kind of days. I felt like it simply took EVERYTHING inside of me just to get out of keep going…to keep working towards getting T help in school…

All parts of me felt on the verge of hiding under the covers and simply going back to sleep, avoiding the challenges we have been facing for a simpler, quieter, easier kind of day.

Was I depressed? Absolutely. Is this depression…I don’t think so. But easily see how if I were to give in to that desire to stop ,it could easily be there in a heartbeat.

As a family, we’re exhausted…we’ve been working with the school board in trying to find a solution to support our son in school. It’s been incredibly draining and the amount of meetings/emails/conversations we have had about it has us living in survival mode to just get through each day. We are continuing to advocate for T and won’t stop… but its taking every piece of energy we have.

Add that to the fact that I have been injured over the summer, have hardly exercised and ballooned in weight because of it. I just hit a wall. I started seriously questioning whether I needed to consider going to see someone professionally by mid afternoon??

But then we had an Autism Meetup last night. A group we started to support Parents in the city of Toronto who want to look at different ways to manage through Autism, look to each other for support, get advice on different solutions and talk through the victories and challenges we have.

It helped. But this morning helped even more.

I decided I can’t let this get to me. I know we have to keep fighting and I need to keep energy high to take care of our life. I need to be there to support our kids as they begin the school year, my husband, who is writing the most well-articulated letters to anyone and everyone willing (or not willing) to listen and my business, that I need to keep going in order to maintain the flexible schedule we need to access therapies/resources for T throughout the day.

I decided to try to go for a run…and then someone woke up early and agreed to come for a run with me. T…agreeing to come along if he could run in his pajamas.

Sometimes we need a little reminder what we’re fighting for

We raced…full force…fast…as hard as we could…and I remembered why I started running in the first place.

Running helped me work through the diagnosis of ASD, helped me gear up for the fight and I realized that I REALLY need that element in my life to stay sane.

I might not be as fast as I was awhile back, but I’m back.

Family is everything

Last week our family went back to my home town to attend my grandmother’s 90th birthday, an event that saw my extended family together for the first time since my great-grandfather’s 100th birthday, some 15 years or so ago. The “festivus of grandma” saw 75+ of our extended family coming back to Winnipeg to pay homage to a woman who in part raised her siblings, raised her children, was a strong supportive aunt and always made her grandchildren feel completely adored.

Family is everything. Happy 90th birthday Grandma!


The visit, had a series of family events that culminated with a tea, dinner and BBQ on behalf of grandma throughout the weekend. Prior to the weekend, we were tasked on coming up with a speech from the grandkids to say at the dinner Saturday evening. So we went out for “Cousins Night Out” a tradition that has started over the last few years (now that my younger cousins are legal!) of heading out with all my immediate girl cousins for a night of conversation and cocktails, a formula that works very well for us. We catch up on our lives and what’s going on, yammer about our similarities (since we all come from the same maternal grandmother and grandfather), share secrets and usually one of us or a multitude of us end up in tears. Not because anything mean was said, but because this seems to be one of the few outlets where any of us feel we can really talk, a safe haven if you will…sharing our sadness or challenges without judgement..and feeling the support of family..unconditionally. It’s the only place I have been able to have an in-depth conversation about my son and autism (outside of my parents) with that side of the family…until last weekend.

You see, as much as I know my immediate family loves all of us deeply, supports us fully and cares for us completely, we have a habit of not talking about the big things. Don’t get me wrong, we are TALKERS…put the entire brood of us in a room and it was louder than a bingo hall. But we have grown up taught that we just don’t talk about the deeply emotional parts of our lives.. those moments stay quiet, not to be discussed publicly, not to burden anyone.

Up until recently I really didn’t have a problem with that….

Except now on two fronts where “talking” has become really important for me.

1) Not talking is not healthy- I realized that as much as I worry about “burdening” people in talking about Autism, I have a number of relatives who also don’t  know HOW to talk about what’s wrong or feel terrible in not wanting to “bother” anyone with their problems. Something I totally get…Somehow we can’t seem to give ourselves permission to let go. But if you don’t let go every once in a while (which I definitely have these last 2 years), at some point that pot IS going to boil over. I’m worried about them but again as is our family nature, I’m not exactly sure how to tell them that.

2) Family history I have been asked numerous times in various assessments whether or not Autism runs in our family. I have always said no, until last weekend, I found out my second cousin also has a son with Autism. I had a lovely chat with he, and his wife and was inspired by what they are doing in their community to help raise funds and awareness to support Autism. In some ways, this provides comfort to me, that there is an element of genetics at play (since I had read everything from vaccinations, a stomach bug, the environment and one’s diet could all affect Autism and I really didn’t want to go into major guilt mode that I somehow could have prevented it) It also made me sad, as if it IS genetics, it will be something that our children will have to aware of as they start looking towards having family.

My heart is full from this family reunion.

An abundance of love and chatter with people I got a chance to reconnect with, laugh with and enjoy the company of.

They say you can’t pick your family, but ultimately I would pick the same one anyways…cause well…Family is everything…