Table For Three

We all want our children to be the best they can be; and one of the blessings of having a child with autism is that you notice every little achievement, and it becomes cause for celebration…Didi Conn.  Everybody has their perspective of what is considered a normal life.  Maybe that is why painting a picture of a normal life can be hard.  However, my faith led me into believing our normal life should consist of love and kindness.  Honestly maybe my normal life is forty percent like other moms just trying to do what best for our family.   On the other hand, the remaining sixty percent encompass navigating autism with my family.  We often make adjustments in our family life.  We’re not afraid of leaving the house with M, however we do try to plan or be prepared for situations that may arise with M maybe a little more than other families.  We wanted to take M out to eat this weekend.  Experiences has taught us to be understanding of M’s sensory issues to sounds, crowds and textures.  Hence, we asked for a table booth for three in the back of the eatery away from the front door.  We had chose a time of day when it would be less crowded and M did not have anything else major or over stimulating that day.  As we walked to the back of the eatery, M kept his eyes covered with one hand and other hand over one ear.  Interesting, he managed to still hold onto his two straws.  We placed M in the booth where he could not see behind us or other people eating.  Of course we made sure my phone and his leapfrog was charged.  I was so proud of M sitting there calmly.  We placed our order while he hummed and tapped his straws on the leapfrog.  We ordered chicken nuggets and fries for M.  Truefully, we never get to order off the kids menu for M normally because of his very sensitivity to food textures.  Yes, we made sure to have carry out containers and bag ready just in case M started to become overwhelm.  We have learned to be flexible in knowing when it’s time to just go home.  We were so overjoyed that M not only stayed calm but actually ate six chicken nuggets.  His little hands just twirled each time he dip his chicken nugget in honey mustard sauce.  Now he never did let go of his two straws while eating, however he did not care for these particular fries.  Oh, the smile and happy sounds M was making made our day be something extranary.  “Go go, Go go” M finally said after about thirty minutes.  We knew our time was up,  we packed up our remaining food.  As we left the eatery, M said “Love you”.  In truth we’re bless to celebrate these normal life moments with M!

Simply an autism mom sharing a table for three



Having a child

Having a child was a revelation- it’s like going through a doorway, and everything is different forever…Andrew Lincoln.  The moment I found out we were having a child, we wanted his name to be from the Bible.  Possibly, every parent want to pass onto their child a good name that would reflect possibilities.  I believe having a child with autism is a revelation of seeing the world not as it is but what it possibly can be with love and kindness.  The weight of responsibility often does not fully engulf you until that moment you’re holding that precious blessing in your arms.  At least, it was my experience in having M.  I realized being a working mom outside the home meant finding the right person to look after  M was imperative.  I am so thankful my parents were able to keep M until the age of three.  My mom especially took to M.  They had a beautiful bond.  My mom often said, “Tammy don’t worry about M, that’s my doodie.”   In fact, when I would go pick him up from my mom he would turn his head and cling to her.  After my mom death, I felt lost with M.  Time and Jehovah, God helped my heart to remember everything I so admired about my mom will never be lost.   Maybe that is the beauty of having a child, a hope that the best part of us is imprinted into them.  Having a child encompass sharing what we have and giving our child every chance to thrive.  In truth, the process can be a struggle but the reward is amazing.  Yesterday was a beautiful high for me,  after therapy for the first time M gave me a full open arm hug and said, “Love you.”  Later that evening, M had a sensory meltdown.  Perhaps a combination of being mental, physically and emotionally tired was overwhelming for him.  After all the crying and running back/forth in the hallway, M finally got his weighted blanket.  He wrapped himself and curled up next to me, maybe for reassurance of my love or everything was going to be OK.  Honestly, I don’t always get everything right being a mom.  However, I do not regret having M as my child.   Everyday is a gift from Jehovah no matter the highs or lows, M and I are truly bless to be together…learn, grow and love. (Psalm 127:3)

Simply an autism mom



When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor.  It’s to enjoy each step along the way…Wayne Dyer.   These few days M has been dealing with allergy and sinus issues, so he has not been feeling his best.  However today in the midst of all the rain, I felt M needed to dance.  I put on some oldie goldies like The Temptations ‘I Wish It Would Rain’ mix with Pharrell ‘Happy’ to perk up his mood.  Ms’ eyes twinkled as we dance.  Honestly, I could not help but remember all the times dancing with my family growing up.  Our kitchen made it a great place for sliding across the floor effortlessly.  True I was not the best dancer growing up, but when our mom put on record albums like The Supremes ‘Stop In the Name of Love’ or Aretha Franklin ‘Respect’ you found your heartfelt dance rhythm.  There is truth in Ecclesiastes 3:1  “There is an appointed time for everything, and season for everything under the heaven”.   We dance to music maybe to exercise or simply just to express ourselves.  Either way wholesome dancing can be a great fun cardio workout!  M and I heart was beating fast while dancing.  “Again, please” M kept repeating each time a sung would end.  Eventually to slow things down, I tried to teach M slow dancing.  He enjoyed being dip and spun around a whole lot.  Perhaps life is like a dance, so many rhythm changes that get our heart beating in different ways.  I love the sung by Lee Ann Womack ‘I Hope You Dance’.  I want M to believe with our Creator… he can have a beautiful dance of life between who he is now and who he is becoming.

Simply an autism mom dancing

Winner, winner chicken dinner!

The key to everything is patience.  You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it…Arnold H. Glasow.  I am a huge fan of southern comfort food cooking.  When it’s done right, the labor of love can be tasted in every bite.  M is blessed to have a rich history of amazing southern cooks in the family.  It’s a wonderful thing to prepare a home cook meal with your family enjoying it!  I think one of the most southern comfort food is chicken.  My grandma did an amazing herb roasted chicken with baby potatoes surround.  Oh, let’s not forget my mom slow fried southern chicken.  I remember being in the kitchen helping.  She would take a brown paper bag add flour with seasoning and toss in chicken that had been marinating in buttermilk seasoning.  My sister and I would beg our mom to let us help shake the bag.  Once done, each piece of chicken would be perfectly coated in the season flour batter.  My mom then would drop each piece in a hot cast iron black skillet.  Honestly it does take patience in preparing a home cook meal, I do miss snapping peas, shucking corn and picking greens with my mom.  Yes, to me comfort food was always collard greens, cornbread, yams and fried chicken.  One of the first meals my mother taught me to cook was a chicken dinner.  Granted, my first chicken dinner was over powered by too much black pepper and no amount of water could erase it.  Nevertheless, I have improved over the years and tried so many versions of chicken meals with M.  Since I am southern the love of bold strong flavors of chicken dumplings, fried chicken, roasted chicken, grilled chicken, bbq chicken etc…you name it I have done it with a chicken.  However with each chicken meal M senses was not impressed, until today.  I decided to make simple air fry chicken nuggets with potatoes.  M actually ate it!  Honestly, I am still in shock.  He did a little happy dance while eating it.  True, he only ate about four nuggets and four potatoes but that was huge for us.  Today’s chicken dinner was a winner, winner for M…increasing his diet palate.  Oh, I am thinking of chicken dinner endless cooking possibilities with M!

Simply an autism mom excited about chicken




As we go about our daily routine, our internal monologue narrates our experience.  Our self-talk guides our behavior and influences the way we interact with others.  It also plays a major role in how you feel about yourself, other people, and the world in general…Amy Morin.  “Calm, M….Calm M!” M repeated over and over to himself.  Lately I have been over hearing M’s self-talk,  “Ok, M…Ok M” or “Good job…Good job”  or “M, you doing…M, you doing!” are just some of the phases M has been saying to himself.  It hit me like a ton of bricks that M was repeating portions what people including myself are saying to him as part of his self-talk.  M has so much going on in his beautiful mind, he often need time to process everything even if it means talking to himself out-loud.  Honestly, self-talk can be a blessing.  After all, it’s a part of our thinking process.  Our self-talk would be connected to our self-image.  All of us has had internal conversations/self-talk about moral dilemmas we’re facing or maybe how we see ourselves behaving.  Often times we become our own worst critic.  On the other hand, we may justify or be passive in inner monologue concerning our actions.  Honestly, it’s hard to keep a balance of not nitpicking ourselves to death and being truthful with ourselves.  Teaching M to see himself the way our Creator view him, hopefully will guide his self-talk into noticing/understanding his actions without harsh self-criticism.  I recently seen a movie called ‘Float’ by Disney Pixar.  It reminded me the value of honest self-talk.  As a parent of a child that ‘Float’ you will have moments where you pray and your self-talk consist of “It’s going to be ok…you can do this…just breath” or “Don’t worry about how others perceive him/her…him/her is valued and a beautiful gift!”.  Yes M is fine tuning his self-talk confirming his self-worth, hence having fundamental individuals around him contribute to his beautiful floating light!

Simply an autism mom writing down my self-talk