Da Boys

Da Boys
Eating Old Fashioned Candy on the Banks of the Mississippi

A blog about the poetic adventures of two curly haired and boys...and Autism.

This blog was started after many friends told me I should keep a journal of my daily activities with my two sons. Our days are usually filled with fun details, sometimes some sad ones but when you have a child diagnosed with Autism.....there is always Adventure!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Confessions of the Only Girl # 3...Running Toward Happiness

(I'm attaching a pic of me at the top of this post. The belt in this pic....I could not even get around my waist a year and a half ago...as you can see..there is more than enough room now!The physical transformation, however, is just part of the story. It's the changes inside that actually count!)

Usually my girl confessions are one or two liners to make people laugh but today I have something a little more personal to share.

For those who know me, you know I have dropped massive amounts of weight in the past year and a half. But even those people, don't know the all reasons behind it. It is never easy admitting that there is something wrong...especially when the something wrong is within you. The whole point of this blog is not only to build autism awareness but give a sneak peek into the the life of a family effected by autism.

But what if autism is not the only thing effecting the family?

After I had my autistic child, I went through what many would call post-par tum depression. I was too ashamed to actually admit there was something wrong and get it officially diagnosed. I have always been an upbeat and optimistic person but when I came home with my new baby boy, who screamed all the time and had vomit regularly shooting out of his nose from acid reflux, I learned that I was having a hard time being happy.

There obviously were life stresses, which I will spare you all from knowing but as anyone who is down will tell you there isn't necessarily one thing that pushes a person off the wall but a series of many things.

As I became chained to the house with an invisible chain,
As I drowned in everyday tasks that were required from my children,
As I sacrificed my dreams to become the perfect wife as defined by my husband,
I soon realized that the girl that was so vibrant was now dying and physically was being buried alive by her own weight.

I was fortunate to have some angels around me who inspired me to help myself.
I had one friend, who was just there to listen and help in anyway she could.
I had another friend, who inspired by encouragement.
By encouraging me to take little steps toward physical fitness and not to give up. To make physical fitness a lifestyle change, not a crazy diet.
I had another friend, who reached out. To this day he has no idea what he did, but his one email that he had the courage to send me, reminded me of who I had been and revealed what I had become. He not only encouraged me to loose weight but his email encouraged my social skills...which I somehow had lost in this downward spiral.
I was doubly fortunate to have two parents who were into physical fitness, who were incredibly good resources and wonderfully supportive of my efforts. They were both constantly encouraging me.

As my confidence grew, I began reaching out to old friends that I hadn't heard from in years and fortunately I found most of them alive and happy. I also began reaching out to new friends. All of this started on the Internet, but I began to actually meet some of them in person. Which I will admit because of my isolation, was uncomfortable at first but soon became more comfortable as I realized that they were the same people I loved and enjoyed as friends when I was younger.

I began exercising everyday and gave myself one day off as treat from it. I began enjoying it and looking forward to it and soon...the exercise was the treat! I started walking first... then I graduated to running... and then I mixed it up with dance, which was something I loved when I was younger.

The small blisters from stress induced eczema on my hands...began to fade away.
The dark cloud hanging over my life...began to dissipate.
And the weight that was burying me alive...was evaporating off of me.

The more I exercised, the better I felt. The more weight I lost, the more of the girl I remember myself being emerged. It wasn't the weight loss that made me happy...but the change in lifestyle. I watched food proportions...I increased good food and started to eliminate junk foods. I felt better so my confidence continued to grow.

I take a picture of myself every couple of days or so, not because I think I am so wonderful...in fact, I do it because I don't think that. I do it so I can continually see the change and to remind myself

To keep going,
To not turn back...
To keep running toward happiness.

I have yet to get rid of all the negativity in my life that brought me to the brink of self destruction, but I have gotten rid of a lot of it and I am working on getting rid of the rest.

I "confessed" this today in hopes that it will inspire someone who feels like they have lost themselves. That they cannot get out of where they are...physically and mentally.

You can!
You can do it!
All it takes is a few steps out into the sun.
If I can do it...you can!

As of today...I have lost 64lb. I was a pant size 20/22...I am now a size 6.
I can now run after my children.
I can now swing on the playground with them.
I can shop at Forever 21..not Lane Bryant(though Lane Bryant does have great clothes)
I can go down a tube slide without fear of getting stuck!
I can remember how to play and I can now play!

All it takes is remembering what you wanted in your youth. If you can no longer have it, remember the other things you wanted out of life and do it before you die. Everyone, has something they wanted to do before they die. Go out and do it!

Live for it!
Exercise for it!
Eat for it!
And save yourself!

You can do it. Take baby steps toward it and don't give up! Even if you bust your food proportions that day... then walk a little farther or dance a little longer to burn it. It's the exercising that will bring you out of it! The weight loss, is just a nice side effect.
Your confidence will soar and you will be the beautiful butterfly that you already are inside.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dial "Nose" for Love

A mother's heart breaks when her child is sick.
It is especially difficult when a child with autism is in this predicament.
How can you tell someone where it hurts, when you don't have the capability to verbally express it?
The power of touch cannot be ignored. For a child with Autism, it is a strong sense and can bring them back into this world quickly.
Touch relays information, It also relays love.
And for a sick child,
is a strong medicine.

"Dial "Nose" for Love"

He wakes up in a daze.
Unable to breathe
gasping for air.
In the dark of his room
he starts crying
And searching.

Room to room he goes,
His tears and screams roll on
Causing uncontrollable coughing
And more screams.

"I'm here, Baby." she says.
"You're okay. I'm here."
But through the fog of his mind
He cannot recognize her.
Through his screams,
He cannot hear her.

She tries to grab him
and hold him close.
"You're, okay," she says in a pleading voice.
"I'm here, your okay."

He doesn't know where he is
Who she is.
Scared and confused
He swipes at her in defense,
Thinking she is the enemy.
Indeed...it is his mind
Not her
Who is the betrayer.

Through the darkness he focuses
In on something familiar.
Is it hers?
You can see his mind question.

With his tiny hands
He reaches out,
And dials her nose
Like the knob on a vintage radio.
His mind becomes clear
As the white noise of cerebral confusion
Yields to the station of Love.

He recognizes her and smiles.
In an angelic voice he acknowledges her.
"Mmmm Ma", he says softly.
He pulls her face towards him.
With his rosebud lips
he gently kisses her.

He snuggles in close,
still straining to breathe,
He sighs a happy sigh.
He falls asleep
With his head peacefully resting on her chest.
He falls asleep.
Soothed by the pounding of her heart.
He falls asleep,
Dialed in to the station of Love.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Vignettes of Boy Conversation #3

He curls up next to her and plants a kiss on her cheek to wake her.
She smiles....but does not yet wake.

"Mommy, he says pointing to the beauty marks on her arm. "What are those spots?"
She groggily manages to say " They're "Angel kisses"."
Time stands still. She can hear the wheels of his mind turning.

"They look old, " he says.

The End

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vignettes of Boy Conversation......no.2

While happily consuming his cereal,
He notices
All the fine crumbs left,
Dispersed along the bottom of the bowl.

"Mommy", he cries with delight,
"It's a little bit of pixie dust.
If I sprinkle it on my head....
I can fly!"

The End.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How.....do I tell him?

In the whirlwind that follows the diagnosis of Autism,
Much occurs.
Time passes quickly.
There is little time to breathe,
Even less time to live.

In the sea of appointments,
On the other side of the revolving door of therapists,
One little boy stands alone,
Wondering why all this attention is directed toward his brother.

He stands...
Not understanding why these ladies are not here to see him,
When he talks.
He performs.
He socializes.

How do I tell this child?
What do I say?
Autism...a hollow word to a five year old.

"Why", he asks. "Why can't I talk with the ladies."
My heart breaks for him.
He lives for communication.
He craves conversation.
He devours attention.

"My, Gio," I say cupping his beautiful face my hands.
In a split second, as if all time has stopped,
I ask God for clarity on what to tell his child.
He hears my request and swiftly gives me the gift.

"My, Gio. The ladies are here to help your brother," I try to explain.

"Why?" he begs, "Why aren't they here to see me?"

"Your brother cannot talk and play like you. They are here to help him."

Tears well up in his soulful brown eyes.
"Oh, no!", he cries, "What's wrong with Alessandro?"

The wisdom I prayed for floods out from my mouth supernaturally,
Overriding the torrent of emotions that I want to let loose
When I see my baby boy cry.

"You know, what happens when your trains tracks are not set up right?", I ask.

He looks at me with a mixture of delight because I am talking about his favorite subject and confusion because he really doesn't know how this applies to this conversation.

"Yes." he says waiting for me to explain my reasoning.

"In your brain, " I tell him," You have little tracks, just like your train tracks and all your messages follow these little tracks."

He smiles and follows my thought.

"Your brother....", I pause," ....well....your brother's messages are not on track. The tracks are broken and the ladies are here to fix them. They know how to fix his tracks and even though they like you...when they come to see us, it's their job to help your brother get his messages back on track...just like when you fix your train tracks. So they cannot spend all their time talking to you."

He begins to draw a similarity to a Thomas the Tank Engine story.
"Yes," I say smiling, "Just like that."
"And someday when his tracks are all fixed,
He will be able to talk with and play with you."

He happily accepts this explanation. From this day forward
He will tell everyone he meets about the ladies that come to his house
That help get his brother's messages on track.

He knows the language of trains.
He knows his brother is getting help
at the tender age of five,
He knows what Autism is...without ever having to mention the name.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Vingettes of Boy Conversation

Walking in the newly cooled air, along a pathway cleaned by the afternoon rain, two little boys and their mother pass by a dying bush of flowers. All that remain, are the bald heads of what were once the center of bright, cheery flowers.

The oldest boy steers clear of them as if they were a mange ridden animal and quickly warns his mother in a heroic effort to save her from harm.

"Um.... Mommy", he says, "I think those flowers have bee germs."

His Mother's laughter can be heard from the other side of the fields.

"Yes, son," she manages to compose herself long enough to speak. "I do believe ALL flowers have "bee germs"."

The End

Friday, July 2, 2010

Confessions of the Only Girl

When my second son was born,
I became the only girl stuffed into a house
with three guys.

I upped my eye makeup
By using heavier applications,
With more and more colors...............

As a silent protest.

The End.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Why is she watching?

Since I decided to start taking care of myself last year, I have been walking everyday..unless it's 100 degrees like this week into town with Da Boys. We always hit one of our two haunts. Einsteins.... for large sugared sprinkle cookies...or my personal fave, Starbucks....so I can get a peppermint mocha...and the kids can get whatever treat they have in the case that day.

This is the story of a trip to the latter.

86 degrees but with a breeze. "That's workable" she thinks. With two ABA (applied behavioral analysis) sessions down she starts to prep two curly haired boys to take to the streets. With cool clothes, layers of sunblock, canteens of water and fantastic sunhats they leave out their backdoor all excited to get out of the house and looking dang stylish while doing it! The trek is oppressive even with the little breeze that encircles them every few feet. The two curly haired boys don't care, they are ready to run, ready for adventure and ready for a good hit of sugar! She keeps asking "Are you okay?" with concern in her voice. She doesn't want a trip to the ER due to heat related illness. The oldest says "Yes, Mommy." The youngest...well...he's still trying to break free of her tight grip to run up and down the hills on private property. He loves green grass and cares not who owns it.

They finally make it to their destination. As she begins to order she leans down and tells them, "Go sit." They giggle and go do what she says while pulling off their bright colored bucket hats and exposing their sweat drenched curls to the cool air.

But something is amiss.
Someone is sitting in "their spot"!
They stop!
They don't know what to do!
They look back at her confused!

She looks up from paying for their goodies and realizes that this could be a problem. And quickly...it does!

Though the place is filled with people, it's sooooooooo quiet. As if they had stepped into a library, not a coffee house. The people are all involved in their laptops, their books, their java and all of them are at least 20 to 30 years older than these loud and now confused curly, haired boys.

All of the sudden.... she feels insecure. "Just sit over there", she says pointing to a table by the window and trying to keep her voice low but loud enough for her little ones to hear. They don't get it and try to sit right next to all the people trying to focus. The oldest one decides he does not like the chair arrangements and begins dragging the heavy wooden chairs across the rough tile floor.


The chair bellows as his little hands pull.

In an instant, he is the center of attention. Everyone looks up from their projects...

At him then....

At her! She feels herself dying a little inside.

She gets their goodies and while trying to keep her composure, quickly gathers the curly haired boys like ducklings and scurries them over to the table by the window.

They voraciously devour their treat. She thinks all is well, until the little one decides that he needs to run again.
Again the chairs......


One lady leers from her cell phone conversation. "Oh God!", their mother thinks as her cheeks flush red. The lady looks away and resumes her conversation.
The little one is restless. He's acting like there are wings attached to his rear but he still comes over every time his mother asks and tries to kiss his way out of trouble as if to say..."Ma!....it's all good!"

But she is so worried that their presence is disturbing the rest of the store that she grabs him and sits him on her lap. That doesn't hold him... all 2 1/2 years and 33 lbs. of juicy-ness! He flings backward on her lap in hopes of getting tickled and peels of laughter echo in the rafters.

The lady sitting next to them gets up. Puts her laptop in her bag and walks over to the table.

"Here it comes!", their mother thinks. You can physically see her brace herself to the chair.

The lady speaks.

Their mother's mind...........Runs!

"I'm going to have to justify his behavior. I'm going have to tell her that he has autism... I'm gonna...I'm gonna...I'm gonna........."
The lady's words finally permeate through the scenarios simultaneously playing in her head.

"I just had to tell you," she said, "your children are just gorgeous! They look like angels. Their hair!!!! just like in a painting!"

The curly haired boys' mother sits dumbstruck but manages to get out the words "Thank you" ,as the lady walks away.

The adventurers finish their treats and with their fabulous hats leave to trudge back home. Their mother has a long walk back to think about how she shouldn't judge before she knows what is going on and more importantly....how she should never justify to anyone the joy and happiness of her two curly haired boys.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Cowboy

After a disruptive night's sleep, the cowboy mosies on up to the table for his morning grub in preparation for a long day on the range.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Soup Du Jour

So intent he is,
running into the kitchen.
In a second she'll notice something is missin'.

He quickly leaves and quiet ensues
She fears that sound.
She's seen what it can do.

"Where are you?", she cries.
But hears nothing back.
Yeah... she knows
This could be really bad.

To his favorite haunt
She immediately flees.
Her mind racing with
Thoughts of what it might be.

She brushes back the door
and in an instant





She screams.

He looks up from his concoction
Pleased with himself
his smile beams.

Into the bowl everything went
To replace everything much money was spent.
Rollers and makeup,
Toothbrushes and sponges
Thrown into the mix
With exuberant plunges.

Stirred with her spoon he
he pilfered from the kitchen
Remember... I had said
Something was missin'?

He feverishly stirred it all into the pot.
This dish got it's own kind of hot!
Seasoned by the trimmings of those
Who had gone before.
Somehow she wishes
She never had opened that door.

But he is all proud of his work.
Thinking he is a great chef
he gives her a smirk.
Though she is grossed out
by this nasty goop,

He happily serves her his
Toilet Bowl Soup!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Perfect Evening

How do you remember a perfect evening?
When the air is sweet
and the temperature cool.
When soft breezes caress you skin
And green grasses implore you explore them.

Will we remember these days
Of running through the fields,
Of Gathering clover,
Of laying in the thick carpet
While laughing?

When the days grow shorter
and our memory fades,
Will the sight of the sun setting
Over green fields
bring us back to this day
Of Love

Or will the sun just set?

Only time will tell
If we will look back
On this perfect evening.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Story of Wednesday

So, I started this blog Wednesday in response to a very rough day. The "Second of the House of Sweet Pea" started ABA (applied behavior analysis) two weeks ago. Unfortunately because of the holiday weekend he missed out on several days of therapy. As anyone with a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder knows...changes like this can be horrific. I was not going to tell this story but something the "First of the House of Sweet Pea" asked me made me change my mind. He was watching "Little Einsteins", the episode with the tapestry and asked my why the "Mean Queen" was part of the show. In a rare moment of clarity I said, "Because, there wouldn't be a story without her." This was a sufficient answer for him and a revelation for me. Indeed all of our lives our have "mean" events and the whole point is to overcome the event and share the story.

I want to clarify that the women in this story are not mean people. In fact they are quite the opposite. They work tirelessly for hours on end trying to get these children who are stuck in the dark to come into the light. They get yelled at screamed at, and from the stories I heard about their experiences, bitten, scratched and scarred as well. But they always come back and celebrate when these children do well. I appreciate all that they are doing to help my child...so with that said, here is..."The Story of Wednesday".

The Story of Wednesday

He steps onto the stage.
In the round, there is nowhere to hide.
As the players surround him
You can see his hesitation.
He wants no part in this play.

I cannot go with him
I am the audience.
I cannot direct him,
Only he can deliver his lines.

The stage is set.
The play of cruelty begins.
The reward is set in front of him.
The narrator speaks,
"Tap the table", she says.
He understands and taps the table.

The reward is given.

"Tap your head" , she says
He taps the table.
"No, tap your head.", she says.

He screams.

Is this a different play?
"Tap your head.", she says.
He does not know his lines,
but reluctantly taps his head.

The reward is given.

The audience responds.
Claps and cheers
resound in jubilant support.

"Say, Ready, Set, Go!" she says.
His dark eyes light up.
He knows this play!
He knows the dialogue.
With his tiny voice and a beaming smile he says,

The audience cheers.

The reward is given.

"Tap head", she says.
"Seht..Goh!" he says.
"No, Tap Head", she says.
"Seht..Goh!" he says...

The reward is not given.

He pleads with tears streaming down his
tiny cheeks.
"Seht..Goh!", he pleads.
"No, Tap head," she responds.

The audience is getting nervous.

The dialogue loops,
like a scratch in a record,
It goes back again,
And again,
And again.
The narrator will not go on.
He must do the acting.
To get the reward he must
follow the blocking.
"Seht..Goh!!! he cries.

The reward is not given.

In despair he turns to his audience.
He knocks at the 4th wall.
"Seht..Goh!!!! he pleads.

The audience stirs.
Unnerved by the suspense,
She responds when she was not required.
The 4th wall, lays shattered.

"Tap,head.", the audience asks of him.
"Tap, head."

But he cannot,
He does not know the lines.
Overwhelmed with hopelessness,
His rose lips quivering,
sweat pouring from his tiny brow,
exhausted from the endless crying,
unable to catch his breath,
He looks deep into his audience's soul

And begs.


The audience can no longer bear it.
Will this drama end?
To hide wells of burning tears from his sight,
she gently lowers her face onto the table.
Her black hair spills forward
To close the curtain.

And the reward, is not given.

Treasure Hunters

On a warm summer afternoon, deep in the middle of "Suburbia",
Two curly haired boys take to the street,
In search of treasure.

The radiant sun pounds harshly down on them
But it will not bar their way.
They are protected by pockets of shade.
A soft, cool breeze
Cuts through the oppressively moist air,
Making their travels bearable.

The sweet curls upon their heads grow tighter and tighter,
Making tiny sweat drenched ringlets as they journey forth.
With each step their cheeks flush with a lush color of pink,
Like that of Peonies.

Smiling ear to ear they happily make it to their destination
And delightfully walk hand in hand to "their spot".
Patiently they sit.
For their mother to secure their treasure.

What is this prize,
That these wee boys have
Traveled so far to obtain?
As their Mother walks to their table,
She can sense the excitement there.

With a smile she presents
Large, perfectly round cookies.
Soaked in sugared icing,
Overflowing with rainbow-ed sprinkles.

One boy savors each bite
And in doing so,
Consumes so much time
That he never gets to finish.

The other boy strip mines his treasure
By voraciously chomping off the sprinkles
Then intensely licking off the layer
Of rich, white icing.

When he finally reaches the center
It seems rather unimpressive to him,
So he takes a couple of mercy bites
And abandons the rest.

With their mission completed and their bellies content,
The boys gather to their mother like ducklings and
With their tiny hands clasped around her fingers,
They trudge back from whence they came.

The sounds of joyful laughter
That signifies the success
Of their great hunt,
Lingers on the warm waves
Of the mid-afternoon air
To let all know
Treasure, was found there.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

An old thought...with hopes of new ones.

I decided I should start with an old thought to start the "Me and Da Boys" Adventure Blog in hopes of creating new ones.
Here goes.....

Every morning I hear the slapping of four, little ,flat, kid feet against the wood floors coming toward my bedroom at high speeds. Every time I hear it, even in my drowsy state I start to smile...I know a flood of "Good Morning" kisses are coming my way ;-D


This is a great question....

Why do we do things?
Why are things done to us?
Why do things happen to us?

Sometimes we get an answer but in honesty most times we do not. I do, however have an answer as to why I started this blog.

I have been blessed with two wonderful boys. Both are loving, exciting and fantastic in every possible way. Never does a day go by without some cute happening or funny moment. Sometimes, everything seems normal on the outside but something dangerous lurks within. A mother has an amazing sense of danger. She is keenly aware of it, even when it cannot be seen. I knew something was not right the first night in the hospital. I had already had one child. He was so even tempered that he was more like an accessory, not a kid, so I thought I knew what I was doing with the second one. I quickly learned how wrong I was.

Why was he screaming?
Why could I not calm him?
Why was he miserable?

The nurses even looked at me like, "Woman you've had one before...what's the problem? Can't you take care of your kid?" Of course they never said that. Perhaps it was me asking these questions of myself. It took 2 years to finally get an answer. I had done some research so the answer was not a complete surprise but it was, of course, difficult to hear. Autism.

Why does he have Autism?
Why is My son plagued with this?
Why is Autism so vague?

Again... an answer. A duplication on chromosome 3q11.2.
A hardly researched, tiny band on a chromosome so small, yet it's effects... so big.
Learning delay, speech delay, trouble processing change and this is only the stuff we know about. We have yet to discover the internal damage possibilities to organs, etc.

So why open up about this?
Why share for the world to see?
Why bother?

Again...an answer. This diagnosis will not take hold and devour our lives. We will overcome it. We will squeeze every bit of happiness from this life that God has blessed us with and together we will succeed to our highest potential. We will fill our days chasing joy, seeing things we have never seen before, experience places we have never been. We will view our world through rose colored glasses and this blog will be a diary to document it. We will take the wheel. With the wind behind our backs and dreams in our scope, we will sail forward toward adventure.

If my little posts about two curly haired boys helps someone who takes the time to read it, then it has been worth the time invested into it and our lives already have not been in vain.

and that... is WHY.