Category Archives: Family

Conscious Parenting.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the impact of what I say. This applies all the time; when talking to anyone. As Jasan gets older, I realize how influential I am to him specifically. It feels like a huge responsibility. I don’t want to screw him up. At the same time, what an honor! There is a little human on this planet that lives and swears by mostly everything I say. I guess I am quite important. 🙂

This really came to mind on a morning when Jasan came to my bed after he woke up. (He is my alarm clock on non-alarm clock days!) We had a little family argument the night before, and he was very concerned about it. He shed a few tears and just really wanted everything to be ok. I told him, as I was putting him to bed that evening, “Everything will always be ok. Let’s just all sleep and we will feel better in the morning.”

The first thing he said to me as he climbed into my bed that morning was, “Mama, I don’t want to be mean. I want to be a good guy. I feel much better. Are you ok now?” Which I replied, “Yes. I am ok! And just so you know, you are NEVER a bad guy. We all can have bad moments, but you are not a bad person. EVER.”

We laid there in silence, all snuggly, and I thought about how sweet that was. He really absorbed what I said and verbalized it back to me. Umprompted and on his own. WOW! He is growing up. This type of interaction would not have happened last year.

I read this recently, “Give your child the benefit of the doubt when their behavior seems unwarranted. Their immaturity leads them to perceive and respond to the world around them much differently than you.”

THIS COULD NOT BE MORE TRUE; with all children, but especially with our autistic kids.

Some more goodies from  this article:

How we learn to respond or react to life is driven by our interactions with others. And the patterns which are set up in early childhood form the basis of our future relationships – including the one we have with ourselves.

As we mature, we collect, sort, and file away our emotional experiences as reference points. 

A foundation of self-regulation, resiliency, and attachment is built – memory after memory – shaping our perspective, beliefs, self-concept, and outlook.

Everything can be completely changed – mood, behaviors, emotional intelligence, the ability to give and receive empathy, cognitive processing, and even our immune function, by altering how we experience our primary relationships and close attachments.

Choose to give your child quality feedback about how to respond to the world. 

Conscious parenting deepens your child’s trust in the world and secures your influence as something to be regarded as safe and reliable. This cultivates the environment your child needs to develop and thrive – mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Fill the hearts and minds of your children with acceptance, understanding, and confidence. Try these three conscious parenting tips to start building a more influential relationship with your child.

CHECK YOUR LANGUAGE – is it harsh, sarcastic, cruel, degrading, impatient, insensitive, or otherwise disconnecting in tone or attitude – verbally or nonverbally, or is it kind, respectful, encouraging, and confident?

CHECK YOUR EXPECTATIONS – is your request developmentally appropriate? How can you help your child? Can you control the environment to meet your needs w/out your child’s help?

CHECK YOUR SELF-REGULATION – is your manner calm and confident? Are your limits set with kindness regardless of how your child reacts? Can you remain composed and non-argumentative even when your child is not?

Here are a few more points to consider:

13 PRINCIPLES OF CONSCIOUS PARENTING

(by Alfie Kohn)

  1. Be reflective.
  2. Reconsider your requests.
  3. Stay focused on your long-term goals.
  4. Put your relationship first.
  5. Change how you see, not just how you act.
  6. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
  7. Be authentic.
  8. Talk less, ask more.
  9. Be mindful of your child’s age.
  10. Attribute to children the best possible motive consistent with the facts.
  11. Don’t stick to no’s unnecessarily.
  12. Don’t be rigid.
  13. Don’t be in a hurry.

I have discovered many things about myself since becoming a mom, and I have to say, one of the most important for me is DON’T BE IN A HURRY. Jasan (and I assume most autistic children) do not handle transitions easily. He is learning as he grows how to cope, but it has been key for me to HAVE PATIENCE. If I rush the process, it makes the whole experience a million times worse.

I like to think of conscious parenting as really learning my child and responding appropriately to what he needs. It requires looking a little deeper and taking more time. It is also a process of going more within myself and changing my default habits. Default is not better.

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New little family.

2020 is here! I have a great feeling that this is going to be the best year yet.

2019 was a pretty big deal, too. I got married in May. I honestly never thought I would get married. Being the age that I am (42) and living the amount of life that I have so far, I kinda just decided that I would be okay with just a long term relationship; a life partner without the need for a piece of paper. Or, even just stay single until Jasan aged. Years were extra rough when he was a little guy, and dating was near impossible.

Prior to becoming a mom, I was always in a romantic relationship. I didn’t REALLY know how it felt to be an adult and be alone. So, as you could imagine, once Jasan arrived and I realized life was not going to be what I “expected” once the diagnosis of autism appeared, I was forced to experience the single life. I now know that it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me, and extremely necessary.

It was time in life to focus on my son, which also forced me to look at myself. I knew nothing about autism then, but I do know that Jasan was meant to be my child. He is perfect for me. Jasan had to be number one. He has taught me what love really means. Being the parent of an autistic child in a neurotypical world takes some getting used to. Lots of lessons to learn. It feels like lots of battles to fight at the beginning, but I was able to move on from my negative way of looking at my day to day and see the good things. The older he gets, the more my passion grows for neurotypicals to try to understand people who are different from them. As much as I want the world to be perfect and accepting of Jasan, I know that will not always be the case.

When Jasan grew beyond toddler years, life began to change a little bit. I was never able to call a babysitter and go out to have time on my own, but Jasan would be able to stay with my mom (aka Grammie) for periods of time and even go through the bedtime routine with her. It gave me a little bit of flexibility to go do some “adulting,” occasionally. Funny enough, Evaristo (my husband) and I connected through Facebook. I would have never guessed I would meet my husband there, but hey. The times of social media!

We decided to meet for dinner and the minute he walked in the restaurant and started walking towards my table, I knew something was different. Number one, first impression, MAJOR attraction. He was just as hot as his picture. And his smile!!! O M G. Once we started a conversation, I was intrigued. There was a spark of a different nature. That was the beginning!

Of course it would need to be the right connection between the THREE of us. That was the tricky part. But to my surprise, Evaristo was able to understand Jasan’s complexity very quickly. He was quite intuitive about him, which was a huge comfort to me, and a VERY GOOD sign. I had been scared for so long if I would ever find someone who would be able to understand the dynamic between Jasan and me. It’s deep and different. The way I parent is different, and it needs to be. I don’t have a typical child.

Not to mention, would it really be possible for another man to love my child as much as I do? Evaristo just blended into our situation with ease. So, after awhile of dating and trying to spend as much time as we could together within our busy lives, he asked me. On Christmas Eve 2018, we got engaged! I just knew it would be right. I’ve never felt that before.

Fast forward to May 25, 2019, and we had a beautiful wedding at my parent’s home. Small, simple and elegant.

As you know, with any blended family situation there are road bumps. We have had them, and will continue to, but I always feel confident that no matter what, we’ll persevere. Every time.

I write this post as an introduction to year 2020, but also as a new start to this blog. I felt as if this project came to an end years ago, but I can’t help but want to share everything as it is now. Growing up, new family dynamic, new year, new ideas. Time to start again!
My reason for writing has always been to be relatable. I feel that if I had stumbled upon something of this nature when I first found out autism was going to be a part of my life, these kinds of stories would have opened my eyes to another perspective. And oh my goodness, did I NEED that then! I strive to get the word out that autism is beautiful. It does not have to be looked at as a burden or a “disorder.” It is just a different way of life that is complex and extremely interesting.

I will never claim to have all the answers, but I know I can share my experience as a mom living in a life surrounded by autism. It’s the best thing that could have ever happened in my life. It changed the trajectory completely and in the BEST way.

I am so excited about my new website…many thanks to Monty Winters for his artistic vision and time. I am so grateful.

Hello again! It’s been a minute…

Jasan, now age 9.
Photographer: Emily Sara

I think it’s time to write again. Life has changed; in the BEST way.

It’s time to share the journey as the dynamic changes.

It has been a few years since I have written. A lot has happened during that time. Man, Jasan has grown! His brain is a whole different story now. 
Instead of being just the two of us, it is now the three of us. (Marriage happened!) Actually, it is 4 of us. Otis, our dog, counts too. 😉

Christmas card 2018 photo shoot at Menards. I know; strange location for a Christmas card, but…Jasan is still obsessed with appliances! It fits our family.
Photographer: Emily Sara
Christmas card 2018 photo shoot in the old apartment.
Photographer: Emily Sara
Yes, we have a shopping cart at home. Jasan found it by the dumpster in the parking lot of our old apartment and HAD TO HAVE IT. lol..
Christmas card 2018 photo shoot.
Photographer: Emily Sara
New love.
Photographer: Emily Sara

I am looking forward to being inspired and sharing experiences again. Being a mom of a growing autistic kid has been so challenging, but also SO REWARDING.

I’ll be filling you in!

Welcome back…

2014 Reflection…

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Well friends, we gloriously ended the year with the first lost tooth (happened on Christmas evening!) and an obsession with USBs…

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Shredding…

and even Pictionary!

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This is “Google” by the way…

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I love how he has changed even in just the last few weeks! Language is exploding and that is so very exciting to me. He is definitely GROWING UP. 🙂

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We have had LOTS of snuggle time. I think that is always secretly my favorite part, and always will be.

Uncle Todd (my younger brother who lives in AZ with his amazing and lovely girlfriend Jodi) were here! It was so fun to watch him watch Jasan. I realized how much I miss my brother and how I wish he could be around Jasan more often…

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I appreciate where Jasan and I are in life right now. It feels good. Amazing things are in the pipeline for this next year, and that is REALLY exciting. The amount of personal growth that I have experienced in 2014 is out of this world. I still feel so blessed to wake up next to the best gift every morning. He is such a huge reason for my smile. I love my little dude.

I want to increase the momentum of “Following Jasan” in this coming year. That is one of my goals. Life got unexpectedly busy in September of this year, in a good way, and my photography and writing had to slow down. I am aware of the fact that I miss it and need to make the time to focus on this part of our journey again.

I do have a few photos I wanted to share that I haven’t gotten a chance to blog about…

Thank you for taking time to share in our journey. I am looking forward to writing and photographing our stories of growth (and sometimes of struggle) with you to share my perspective on this journey of beautiful life and autism.

Cheers to 2015!

 

Florida baby…

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We are having such a blast. Jasan’s first vacation! Tons of firsts on this trip… much to share, but I am trying to soak up every moment instead of being aware of where the camera is. 🙂 Actually haven’t been photographing him nearly as much as I thought. I need time to go through all of my shots (and thoughts!) which I will do when we return to the cold in Chicago. <3

Much love!

Heidi & Jasan