About Me

I am the proud mother of 6 children. 5 of our children have autism. We do not feel our world has ended, but just begun. We do not chelate, intervene biochemically, give shots of any kind, practice ABA, etc. We treat them as we treat any humanbeing. We treat them with kindness and respect and expect the same from them. They are exceptional children.

Monday, February 22, 2010


When I discovered I was pregnant in 1990, I was so happy. No, I was ecstatic.
I was almost 30 years old and so happy to be carrying a life inside of my body.
I went to every pre-natal visit. I quit smoking and drinking. I was so happy with
my body for the first time in my life.
I had no expectations of what was to be...in fact, I was quite ignorant to what life
disruptions a baby would bring...but, Man, I was so thrilled when Caitlin was born.

Caitlin was not your ordinary baby...she screamed 12 hours a day. When she slept,
I was exhausted and slept with her.
Did I resent this..??
Hell No...!!!
I was so thankful to have this amazingly beautiful daughter to call mine.

Caitlin was diagnosed with autism in 1993. We were contemplating having more
children. We got the go ahead that it is unlikely we would have any more children
with autism.

When I was pregnant with Deirdre, I knew the signs of autism and looked closely for
them. Deirdre came out calm and happy. Born in a birthing center with no interventions.
Calm and serene..just like her.

She spoke by 6 months..early, I thought.
Yet, I had no expectations of her. I just wanted the same as I wanted for Caitlin...
and..I was just happy to have her in my life.

Erin came out screaming....I knew in the first minute of her life she had autism....
also born in the birthing center...no interventions...yet....autism at birth.
Again....no expectations.

Meaghan was born 14 months later than Erin. She was birthed by the same midwife
as Deirdre and Erin. She was gorgeous. She was calm and happy.
She has remained that way.

Little Patrick and Kiernan were both born in a hospital. They were both complicated
births. I was 39 and 40 years old with their births. Little Patrick the screamer...Kiernan
calm and collected.

Funny how that turned out...Patrick calm now and Kiernan so full of energy.

I read other blogs where they talk about their children regressing. We have never seen
this "regression" in our home....don't know why...I could say what I think...but really,
what's the use ???

I read where a mother, who is pregnant with her second child, is upset because her
first born is becoming agressive and so much bother...
my question is...why is she having another child?
If she cannot handle being the mother to this first child, what makes her think she
is going to do so much better with the second?

My hope is the baby she is going to give birth to is perfect in her eyes....this little child
has a lot on their plate.

Another mother wrote that her child is "almost human" after biomedical interventions...
how sad this child was never looked at as "human" before, in their mother's eyes..

I will say this again and again...
I am so proud that God chose me to be the mother to my children.
I am so blessed that God chose Patrick to be my husband and the father to these children...
We adore them and we expect them to be exactly what they are supposed to be...


I thought about this post today, during my breaks....
I have decided to add something...

I do have expectations from my children:
I expect them to treat others kindly.
I expect them to behave when we are in public. I allow them to stim if it helps them
calm down (meaning...buzzing quietly or covering their ears and humming).
I expect them to behave in school.
I expect them to make the best grades they are possible of making.
I expect them to treat their friends like they want their friends to treat them....

I read stories about how sad and angry parents are that their children did not
turn out the way they expected. It makes me so very sad. My heart hurts for
these kids.
I want these children to know they are cared for. I pray for them every night.
I also pray for the parents and hope they find a place where they can stop looking
and feeling like their children are damaged or broken.
I don't expect that to happen, I only can hope and pray for that !!!


r.b. said...

I think your kids probably know they are wanted...What a waste, to spend a child's life trying to make him somebody he isn't!

KWombles said...

That may be the root of the problem and account for the differences in how people react to becoming parents in general: some view children as trophies to tout but resent any of the work or when the child isn't trophy ready. Others are parents first who put the well-being of the child first, see the value and beauty of the child first and see all the rest (sleepless nights, messes to clean up, etc) as part of the privilege to being able to say "these are my children whom I am lucky to be a parent to."

Your children are glorious and so is their mother for making sure they know that.

mommy~dearest said...

I agree with th4 above. I think parenting is a good example of you get what you put into it. You can't be afraid to "get dirty".

My firstborn has Autism. I chose to have another child- one of the reasons being that I am a sibling, and wanted my child(ren) to have the experience of having a sibling too. The possibility of having another child with Autism, or another disability, wasn't even a factor. If it's meant to be, it will be.

But I also knew when to stop. I used to want 4 children, but my 2 are just enough for me. Although I have been thinking about adoption a lot lately... hmm. I know everyone's limits are different, but I just don't understand the Duggars... ;)

rhondi7 said...

I couldn't agree with you more!! I am honored to know you and I believe there is truth and wisdom in your words, but most of all just common sense! I have four that have been diagnosed - but to me I just have four Blessings. I know God chose me and my husband for our children, I am thankful to get the opportunity to get to parent (yes really PARENT) them. I was never promised a rose garden, but guess what ... I GOT one - thorns and all! And ya know what ... you don't get the real roses with out the thorns!!

Awesome post - thanks!

Domestic Goddess said...

My kids aren't all rainbows and daisies, but they sure have taught us some wonderful lessons in life. I cannot imagine my life with them "normal" and I'm glad they aren't. I think I'm a better person for it. So what if they aren't what I imagined? There are no guarantees in life, no one promised me they'd be perfect. It ain't easy, but it's what I've got. It's my life, it's never boring. I think I prefer it that way.

These kids were sooooo wanted. I love them with every ounce of my being. They are my reason for living.

Fighting for my Children said...

Love your positive attitude! It sure makes a difference in your childrens performance if you expect wonderful things from them.

Tammie said...

I was 20 years old with a calm, perfect infant who rarely cried, and who charmed everyone he met. At church I taught the 1-2 year old class. One day Frank arrives with his helmet on, ("He has a seizure disorder" Dad says, and leaves quickly.) barrels into the room and begins to knock overe every chair, and rake all the toys and books off the shelves. At first I tried to stop him, but he seemed to need to do this, so I let him go. Then, I carried him around the room with me as I cleaned up. Eventually he started helping to clean up after his ritual, and one day he walked in and touched everything without displacing anything. That became the new routine. Frank would get overwhelmed by the chaos of a room full of toddlers. He would start to grit his teeth, and his little body would tense up, so I would sit down with him and hug him and whisper to him, "It's okay Frank. I know it's hard. You are a good boy. Miss Tammie loves you." It calmed him down every time. When Frank turned 3 it was time for him to go to the next class. It was my Mom's class. So I told her about Frank, and that he needed some extra love. About how to watch him and how to calm him down. There were never any problems in her class with Frank. When he turned 4, the teachers in that class refused to offer Frank any special attention, and said he could not be in their class. He was disruptive and did not behave like all of the other children. I have always wondered what happened to Frank. I quit going to that church shortly after Frank's family did because I was disillusioned with the way he and his family was treated. When my perfect baby was 9 he became a big brother. Even before he was born I knew something was different. (He was startled by sounds in utero.) When he was born touching his ears made him scream inconsolably, as did many other things. I think Frank was God testing me to see how I would handle my beautiful boy. I just love him, and try to do the best I can for him. I push him out of his comfort zone in order to expand it. I accept him with all of his quirks and think he is wonderful, smart, and full of potential. It is nice to find another parent out there who feels like I do about their child with Autism. We went to a couple of different groups looking for resources and all we found were sad, desperate people looking for someone to blame. (For what? I ask.) I never planned to have more than 2 though. (The 9 year span may have been a hint.) If I had wanted more Autism would not have stopped me or scared me.

OHN said...

I popped over here from the AOL interview.

You are my kind of mom :)

I have three sons and one of them has a form of autism. We have never, ever, treated him any differently than the other boys and he is now ready to graduate from college.

It IS hard work being a parent. Period. But WANTING to be a parent is essential to parenting.

Congratulations on the upcoming graduation. I am betting there will be a couple of teary eyed, and exceptionally proud parents in the audience :)

ariane'smom said...

I just read your AOL interview.
I felt so relieved and happy to finally read about a mom with so much common sense, who is not blaming anyone, who feels blessed to have a child who is different and who believes that it's all about believing in your child and about working hard. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I agree with everything you said but being new in the Autism community (my daughter really hasn't even been diagnosed) I sometimes wonder about all those moms out there who do all these things. We tried the GF diet but that was as far as I got, my daughter is in Speech, OT and PT 4 days a week out of school and in school as much as I could get for her and in just 6 months the difference is so amazing. I do believe that she came into into this world to teach a lot of people a lot of things and that she came to make my life and my faily's lives richer. I would not trade her for a NT child, or ever want to cure her I just want her to be happy!

Dorothy said...

I also popped over from your AOL interview... I just wanted to say thank you and bless you! How refreshing to read your blog. I will be sending links to all my friends. :) Congratulations on Caitlin's graduating this year! How wonderful. You have every right to be very proud.

Juli said...

I saw your aol interview - I love your attitude! My son (age 9) is being tested now to see if he is on the spectrum, and his psychologist recently asked me "How are YOU doing? How are you handling the possibility of an autism diagnosis?"

I said I was fine, that labeling him one thing or another would not suddenly make him worse, or better. He will be exactly the same kid, but possibly have more access to services.

I am thankful to find other people dealing with this in such a calm, down to earth manner. I don't want to medicate my son, or put him on wacky therapy diets. All I want is for him to have a happy, productive life, same as my other 2 kids. He just has more bumps in his road than they do.

michelerisso@aol.com said...

Wow, Jeanette I just found oyur blog and I love hearing a mohter like using so much reason, love and grace while raising those beautiful souls.Like my husband says," they are angels on Earth". I love how you are such an awesome advocate for the kids and wish there were only more like you.Thanks for your insights into the real world of caring and loving our autistic kids they way they are.

Michele Risso

Jackie said...

A friend sent me a link to the AOL interview done with you, and after reading around on your blog, I just wanted to let you know how happy it makes me to find that there are parents out there like you - especially for children with autism. I've worked with children with autism for a couple of years now and interacted with a wide variety of parents - many whom, sadly, are disappointed that their children aren't "typical" and break their backs trying to make them so. It's refreshing and inspiring to see a parent that whole-heartedly embraces and accepts their children for who they are, and works WITH their autism to help them become the best damn kids they can be. :) Thank you, thank you for being such a wonderful example of what a parent should be - for EVERY kind of child!

Edgy said...

What wonderful expectations...for special needs children AND "regular?" kids. I just found your blog and look forward to catching up to date. I can already tell it's a keeper.