Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Michele Illionardi is Mom to three beautiful little boys with autism. She spoke at "Writers on Autism" last June with Barbara Fischkin, me and others. She was also featured in the documentary, Autism Every Day. Michele has a chapter in this new Chicken Soup release about swimming lessons with a young instructor named John.
So what are you waiting for? Here's the link to buy your copy, at Amazon. What a lovely gift for the Mom you know who has a child with special needs!
Michele and I have a running joke. She has three boys with autism.I have three girls with autism. We're an autism Brady Bunch! We've yet to iron out the critical detail of which spouse dies and which gets the divorce.... Her Ralph and my Mark have not been invited to vote. And we're each still searching for an Alice.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I guess American Gladiator is making a return to the airwaves. So let's come up some captions for this pouty lad. I'll start.
1) Now we sing "Fabi-oh, oh, oh your boat."
2) You vant to link my lollipop?
3) I'm too sexy for my oar
4) Vill dees cue-teep hert my ea-ah?
5) Gladiators: Christians! Lions! And a huge "Dum Dum"
The girls start school next Thursday. They need the structure and sociability of school. I'm thrilled with their placements. I see lots of learning and growth ahead of them. This is the first year in three years they've had consecutive years of school. Our two moves in two years wrought havoc on their sense of calm. Adult life sometimes impinges on what they really need, which upsets me. But we had to move and we made it through. I'm grateful.
It's difficult to fill the summer hours with meaningful, interesting, engaging, therapeutic (sometimes) and FUN activities for them. They had ESY and there was a camp for Bella and Gianna, but we still had every afternoon to while away the hours. Mark travels quite a bit, so we're used to being "just us girls."
Yesterday I took them to a local park. The rain had swamped the swings and gotten into the slides. They didn't care. They had great fun swinging (Mia even pumped her legs a bit!) and Bella was gloriously laughing as she went back and forth. Gianna loved climbing every slide as I ran to the bottom and used my new sweater to wipe the water off.....
We had a great time together. Then we came home and made GFCF double chocolate chip blondies. And ATE THEM FOR DINNER! Dad's away, so not much cooking. They had veggies at lunch and hey, every so often you need a treat for dinner.
I was glad to get home. It's always interesting taking the three out. They seem to have a pact: "You run East, I'll run West, You run South. GO!" And I have to decide which little life to save first. We do fine in stores. I'm the woman barking the odd, short sentences. "Hand on cart!" "Be safe!" "Watch car!" "Mia! S-T-O-P". I get lot of looks. Once I got an email from a teacher who happened to see me in Target telling me she couldn't believe how well we navigated the store. I don't know, you develop your system and make it work. We live in the world, we damn well better figure it out, right? The world ain't changing for us.
I have a rule. Leave the house with three. I tuck three into bed each night. 12+ years into this unusual motherhood journey and I haven't lost one yet. ;)
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
My children FOUND craft paint and "madness ensued" to use a much dreaded query letter phrase. I found one of Mark's beers. Mark, is blissfully in Cincinnati (who knew that was even possible) so I managed the paint mess on my own, but I did get a really nice compliment from a stranger tonight.
I took the kids to special ed personal training (don't ask) and a Dad was there with a girl who was clearly a child with autism. Bella marched up to him and performed her usual greeting, which involves a good swipe at the crotch. He looked at her and said, "She has beautiful eyes." (I think his eyes were watering from her "hello".) Then he look at me and said, "And I see where she gets her eyes." Through your agony even? Aw shucks. A nice compliment from a younger (30's?) man? I'll take it.
Of course, I'm wearing baggy, stretched out jeans, my morning attempt at makeup is long gone and the scum on my teeth rivals five day old pudding. Yet, I smiled allowing my lips to stretch just a smidge away from my teeth and said thank you, as I prevented Bella from further emasculating him. On the way home I realized I wasn't wearing my wedding ring. I took it OFF to clean up the God damned paint that Gi and Bella smeared all over my guest room.
So I guess the hideous mess described below was worth it? Jesus, does Mark have any more beer in the downstairs fridge? Sam Adams, I need you, my colonial savior!
Here's the original post.
Craft paint. Children. Home. Quilt. Boredom. Turquoise. Wedding Album. Children. Skin. Craft Paint. Children. Black. Home. IEP's. Boredom. Magenta. Bed sheets. Craft Paint. Clothing. Rain. Craft Paint. Boredom. Children. Home. Out of beer.
Miss G started an acting class yesterday. And she spoke on camera! A parent of a child with autism had an idea and made it happen. She turned an idea into this class.
That's how most of our progress in autism has been accomplished. Heart sick, head strong parents who say, "I can do more." Thanks, Jill, Gianna is having a blast.
For those of you who would like to see me get beat to death today, click here:
I guess I'm one of the heart sick, head strong parents too.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Thank God Elvis is dead. I'm watching TV and an ad comes on. A bunch of jubiliant middle aged men singing and dancing and having way too much fun in a most unnatural way. Singing a version of Viva Las Vegas. Damn they look happy! And so diverse! "There's a black one. And a white one. And a brown one and a yellow one." (Make sure to sing that using the tune from "Little Boxes" the intro song on Weeds.)
I take note of the musical instruments in this contrived yet impromptu jam session. Bass, guitar, and what's that??? The skin flute. (Stop blushing.) It's an ad for Viagra and the idiot men are singing about "Can't wait to get home!" Hardy har har! Men! So witty, so much fun! So happy they need a pill to get an erection! VIVA VIAGRA! That's what they are singing. Viva Freaking Viagra.
I hate pharmaceutical ads. I really do. Smiling, vigorous, beautiful people trying to sell you drugs for conditions that make you pale, limp (truly) tired, bloated, breathless, dizzy and worse. I want my doctor to tell me what I need, not Madison Avenue. And I love Madison Avenue. Just not for drugs, OK?
Thursday, August 16, 2007
First, I am not poking fun at eating disorders, OK? I've seen girls who weigh 85 pounds and it's dreadful for all concerned. BUT..... Today's women are so consumed with "self" and "image" and staying young and thin that I think the level of selfishness involved is what is really the problem.
Studies show women who get cosmetic surgery are more likely to commit suicide. You have twenty year olds undergoing cosmetic surgery for what? To look 13? What's next, pulling all your teeth out of your head to acheive that four month old look?
What has happened to us that we are so focused on image that we make ourselves sick, we deny ourselves food, we submit to invasive surgery? I just ate two donuts. I worked out for 30 minutes this morning. And I ate the God damned donuts. They tasted good. They felt good on my tongue. I will not throw up my donuts. I liked 'em.
I can't wait to be an old woman with crazy white hair and harsh pink lipstick and cream blush stuck in my wrinkles. Nuts? Maybe. But I plan to allow myself the luxury of growing older. I'll try to look as nice as I can every day - but really, harm myself to do so?
When you have kids with challenges you get a healthy dose of perspective. You wake up to a perspective ENEMA every f'ing day. You go to sleep on a perspective pillow, and it ain't filled with soft down feathers. Worry about my body to the point of self-injury? Who has the time?
To the gal in the article below - good luck sweetie. To you and to your kids, if you have them. Oh! And the NYT article I read this morning? "Regular women undergoing cosmetic surgery." A women took out $10,000 in loans to pay for fake tits so she'd fill out a bathing suit top. After she had kids her boobs disappeared. Hey pal, my KIDS disappeared -and I buy padded swimsuit tops..... And twenty somethings using credit cards to pay for cosmetic surgery but they will not pay for HEALTH INSURANCE! Docs worried about that trend. Terrific, Tiffany will have the biggest boobs in the ER when she goes there for health care. Fabulous.....
This is from the Boston news:
Most people think of eating disorders as a problem that strikes girls and young women. But increasingly, experts say eating disorders are becoming an epidemic among baby boomers,
At 41 years old, Lauren is finally gaining control of her body and her life. She has suffered from bulimia and anorexia for 25 years. I consider it like a heroin addiction, Lauren said. I was terrified at this time last year that I was going to die.
Lauren is not alone in her struggle. Experts say between 1 and 3 million middle-aged women in this country have anorexia or bulimia. One out of every 10 eating disorder patients is over 40.
There's probably a several fold increase in the last decade of middle-aged women seeking treatment, said Dr. David Herzog, director of the Harvard Eating Disorders Program at Mass General Hospital.
According to Herzog, a mid-life crises, or the fight against mid-life weight gain can trigger eating disorders. They may be married or suffered a divorce. They may be have had a recent loss of a parent, he said. There is pressure out there to maintain a more youthful appearance.
Dr. Herzog said some women have been struggling in silence for years. But whether the patient is middle-aged or a teenage girl, he said characteristics to look out for are primarily the same.
"They may be restricting their intake or they may be binging eating or engaging in self-induced vomiting or purging behavior, said Herzog.
Lauren wants people to know that women of all ages are winning their personal battles with eating disorders by getting help from treatment centers like MEDA, the Multiservice Eating Disorders Association, of Newton.
Lauren said she is not bulimic or anorexic anymore. I am feeling amazing. I'm learning myself again, I feel healthy, she said.
310 pages. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. $24.95.
In the line of literature’s holy fools, running from, say, the utterly simple-minded Chance in “Being There” to the bombastically cunning Ignatius J. Reilly in “A Confederacy of Dunces,” the protagonist of Patricia Wood’s first novel lands somewhere in the middle, not far from Forrest Gump.
Gram also, fortunately, warned him about his craven relatives. But then Gram dies, and Perry (named for TV’s Perry Mason) wins the Washington State Lottery, and the family buzzards circle. So do a few angels. But Perry is up to the challenge. “What a crock,” he exclaims at one point, before explaining, for our benefit, “Crock means untrue or a lie. It can also mean a pot you cook beans in.”
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Are you a writer seeking a literary agent? THIS event could change your life. Your career. Your attitude. I met my agent Eric Myers at last year's event. It's worth the trip to New York. It's worth every penny. Go. Go. Go. Go. Go. Go. Go.
I know, the seafaring creatures belong on Pat Wood's blog.
However, we went to The Columbus Zoo in Columbus, Ohio on our vacation and saw all sorts of creatures. The main attraction was the manatee exhibit. My Gianna adores all things manatee. Somehow the manatee speaks to Miss G. She is my nature girl. John Robison talked about autism and the calming force of mother nature on his blog last week.
We're also a carousel family. Yeah, I guess it's that whole spinning/autism thing. I have photos of my kids on dozens of carousels. This beauty is at the Columbus Zoo too. Miss Bella's vestibular system was SO out of whack for so long that she couldn't handle the motion of a carousel. Cranio sacral therapy and The Listening Program helped her little brain reorganize itself and now she rides with a huge smile on her face. You can't see her sweet little face because I am smooching her. You would too if you saw her. Her sisters are behind us.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Thursday, August 09, 2007
My point is that you need to educate yourself about your child's healthcare. Some pediatricians will take a cautious approach, others will not. HPV is NOT recommended for girls under 15 by its own researcher, Dr. Diane Harper at Dartmouth, although it has been approved by the FDA for ages 11+. If your child is sexually active, you might consider teaching her about condoms which will protect her from HPV, HIV, STD's and pregnancy. I worry about our kids. I do.
In May 2007, it was reported that over 1,600 adverse reactions, including three deaths, had been linked to Gardasil, Merck’s new vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV).Among those reactions, 371 were classified as serious, and, of the 42 women who received the vaccine while pregnant, 18 experienced side effects including spontaneous abortion and fetal abnormalities.
It appears those reactions, and deaths, are steadily rising. A review of the National Vaccine Information Center revealed the following statistic about this vaccine: 2,207 adverse reactions to Gardasil have been reported. (Kim's Note, vaccine reports are like rape reports. Grossly underreported versus the actual number of occurances.) Among them:
5 girls died
31 were considered life-threatening
1,385 required a visit to the emergency room
451 of the girls have not recovered as of July 2007
51 of the girls were disabled Gardasil “may be more dangerous than consumers have been led to believe,” according to one public-interest group, and an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine has also raised questions about the vaccine's effectiveness.
From Barbara Loe Fisher, vaccine safety advocate: "Because Merck only studied GARDASIL in fewer than 1200 girls under age 16 in pre-licensure trials, it is critical that doctors and parents be made aware of the nature of the initial adverse event reports coming into VAERS and that they report serious health problems after vaccination when they occur," said NVIC President Barbara Loe Fisher. "There are twice as many children collapsing and four times as many children experiencing tingling, numbness and loss of sensation after getting a GARDASIL vaccination compared to those getting a Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis) vaccination. There have been reports of facial paralysis and Guillain-Barre Syndrome. And doctors who give GARDASIL in combination with other vaccines are basically conducting an experiment on their young patients because Merck has not published any safety data for simultaneous vaccination with any vaccine except hepatitis B vaccine."
Educate yourself parents. Go to the VAERS site and learn about the adverse injury reports on vaccines so you can make an informed decision for your kids. www.vaers.hhs.gov
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
I know it seems early to announce this, but in the autism community the Moms and Dads have to plan early, early, early! :)
John Elder Robison is going to be presenting and signing his debut book LOOK ME IN THE EYE on September 26th at 7:00pm at RJ Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road in Madison, CT. (http://www.rjjulia.com/) CALL NOW TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT! Their phone number is 800-74READS.
In LOOK ME IN THE EYE, John describes his life as a non-verbal child, high school dropout, electric guitar designer for KISS, successful business owner and husband and father. He explains how he navigated through his Asperger’s in a world that did not understand him. His brother is Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors.
I’ve read Look Me In The Eye and felt like I was getting a snapshot of how my girls think and feel about the world around them. No matter where your child is on the spectrum, from full ASD to Apsergers, John’s book will give you a new insight into the thought processes and perceptions of the person with autism. And John is a fabulous story teller. The book is laugh out loud funny in some chapters and break out the tissues sad in others.
John’s eager to connect with “Autism Moms and Dads” so get a carful of friends together and I hope to see you at RJ Julia on September 26th. You can chat with John on his blog at http://www.jerobison.blogspot.com/ and link over to his site at http://www.johnrobison.com/.
RESERVE YOUR SPOT NOW! CALL 800-74READS!
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Congratulations, Julie Pozda!
The winner of the signed copy of Lottery is Julie Pozda. Julie, please send me your mailing addresses at KimStagliano@gmail.com and I'll send the book tomorrow. Congrats!
And thanks to everyone who entered!
Saturday, August 04, 2007
The contest below is still open. We're going over the river and up 95 to Grandmother's house for a big* birthday party for my Dad. I'll be back Sunday to draw the winning name from a hat. Mark is going to play "Price Waterhouse" and select the winner to avoid any impropriety.
I'll post the winning name tomorrow and how to contact me with your address (hint, click PROFILE and there's an email icon.)
* How big a birthday? We was in WWII. He was a kid when the stock market crashed. He's in good health, physically fit and adores seeing his grand daughters. He's 85 today. So off we go, GFCF cake in hand. Check out Namaste Foods for the BEST GFCF cake mixes!
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Easiest contest ever devised. What can I say, I'm lazy. To enter simply leave a comment with SOME sort of name so I can announce the winner on SUNDAY. "Anonymous" can not win Lottery. "Lukey Spookey Poopy Pants said" can though. I don't care what name you use. Get creative. Okey dokes?
How did I snag a signed copy? Easy. I pretended that I was a snark gaggled snapping Monrovian blowsfish (very rare) and bobbed about Orion until Pat put her head into the water with that camera of hers and tried to snap my photo. I grabbed her, wrestled her into the giant clamshell I'd turned into a mini sea-palace.
"I need a signed copy of Lottery for my blog contest!"
"Why, why, you're not a snark gaggled snapping Monrovian blowfish at all! You're a NEWBIE! Newbies are DANGEROUS!"
"Damn straight we are. Now, where's the copy?"
"Never! I'll see you in the Remainders pile before I give you a signed copy."
"Then you'll never see your Muse again."
"Toulouse? I don't believe you."
"How about I draw a new house for that architect husband of yours - a house of horrors! Now hand over the loot! I mean the book!"
"All right. I was afraid it would come to this. Start signing or you'll never get to dry land to see your name at the number one slot of the New York Times best seller list."
"GORDON!! SEND DOWN MY QUILL PEN!"
It's all in the bait, people. She signed a copy for me and I released her back into the wild. She's yours now. Be good to her. Buy her book. You won't regret it.
(It went like this: Pat, I'd love to run a contest! Would you send me signed book? Of course, I'll send you two. One for yourself, one for your contest.
Order a copy at Amazon here.