Wednesday, June 21, 2017

All These Emotions!!!

So I'm feeling a little anxious right now. Okay... a lot anxious.  Remember the emotions from that Disney movie Inside Out? Yeah, Fear has taken over.  I have to work tomorrow, and for the first time EVER, we are leaving the kids with someone who is NOT a family member. My awesome neighbor Stephanie, who is a stay at home mom , agreed to help us out this summer so I don't have to cut my hours at work like I usually do. The kids really like her and I have total faith in her, but still, it's like...whoa. I know nothing is going to happen, but Fear has put all these horrible worst-case-scenario situations in my head and I can't get them out.

He has me convinced that something will go wrong. What if Johnny has a meltdown? What if for some reason he goes a little cuckoo birds and loses his shit? What if Jordan gives her miss thing attitude and refuses to be compliant, and starts screaming and yelling? What if one of them gets hurt? Johnny's been known to have Superman strength when he gets angry, what if he throws something and it hits her baby?

What if... what if... what if...


But then Joy reminds me that in reality, the kids only want to please whomever they are with and are genuinely happy. Johnny spends 99% of his day playing between the living room and his bedroom with pretty much everything he can find, and Jordan spends her day either coloring, listening to her cd player or playing with her PowerPuff Girls.  She also loves to be a helper, and will help Stephanie with anything she needs! They are self sufficient, and we are very blessed that there are no other issues going on, especially with toileting! Really, she's just coming to hang out with two really cool kids and I definitely need to chill out.

Sadness will sometimes pop in to remind me that I'm not going to be home with them as much this summer, and I'm probably going to miss out on some really nice, fun days. She also reminds me that no matter how much I wish it, family isn't always going to be available for babysitting.  But then Joy comes back and says that's okay, our family still loves us! It's also okay to make new friends and for the kids to be able to trust them and build a rapport with them.

All in all, tomorrow is going to be a very hard, anxiety ridden day for me. But it's going to be okay. The kids will have fun with Stephanie, Jordan will help out, and Johnny will be his regular, entertaining self. They will be fine, and I will be fine.

Just gotta remember to breathe....

Peace and Love,

Mrs. Ceda

PS: No, I don't own any of these images. They're Disney Pixar's. If I did,I'd be insanely rich on an island somewhere and not sitting on my couch in my pj's! 😂

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Stress and the Strive for Perfection

Being a parent is hard.

I could sit here and say "being a special needs parent is hard," but that wouldn't be fair. Raising any child, neurotypical or not, is tough. You're held up to so many standards it's ridiculous. You're ruining their brains by letting them have screen time, send them outside more. Make sure you use sunblock! But don't use brand X of sunblock because it causes cancer.  They will be smarter if you read to them in the womb, but only these particular books. If you don't breastfeed, your child is going to be slower, overweight, have a lower i.q. and won't have any friends. Feed them only organic, homegrown food or they'll be sugar addicted spazzoids. You're a bad parent if you let them watch television. Their x (allergies,special needs, handicaps, etc.) are your fault because you x (vaccinated too soon, didn't breastfeed, gave them a candy cane on Christmas, etc.)  You get the picture.  And that's just from the parenting  "experts." The pressure put on us by our peers on the wicked vice of social media is even worse. You sit there and look at all their perfect pictures of their perfect family outings, and hear about how little Timmy eats only green vegetables and gets ready for school all on his own, and Janey plays first chair violin in the first grade orchestra and is reading at a 5th grade level. Meanwhile you're at home discussing for the hundredth time the importance of wearing pants with your son and trying to convince your daughter that reading for 5 seconds doesn't count as reading for 20 minutes.

It's overwhelming, I know.  Let's see if we can figure out how to stop this runaway train of stress and anxiety, shall we?

First things first.

Stop comparing your kids to other people's kids, and your parenting skills to other people's parenting skills. You are not raising the same children.  They are raising their kids. You are raising yours. You do what you think is best for your kids, and just because your BFF isn't doing it the same way doesn't mean that your decision is wrong.  (And I'll let you in on a little secret. Social media is lie! All those perfectly perfect posts of perfect perfection? Yeah. All Lies.)  So do you, folks. Don't worry about them.

Second, take everything with a grain of salt.

 What that means is that when you hear a "recommendation" from an "expert" on GMA or The Today Show or the like, research it a little bit more before you act on it. They may not have your best wishes at heart. 9 times out of 10, they're just looking to line their pockets.

Third, take a deep breath and ask yourselves this:

Are your kids happy?

This is the most important thing. Whether you live in a 3,000 sq ft house or a 300 sq ft apartment, if your kiddos are happy then you're doing it right. It doesn't matter what the "experts" on that morning talk show, your BFF, your acquaintance from high school or the girls in your mom group say. If those kids look at you every night with those adoring eyes, then Mom/'re nailing it!

Lastly, you're probably wondering what a good way to deal with your stress is, because let's face it everything I just said is much easier said then done! I don't have all the answers, but here are a few suggestions.

-You can definitely talk to a therapist. There is absolutely no shame in finding someone to talk to that is outside of your situation. They can help you find better ways to cope with and manage your stress and anxiety.

-Exercise. Go for a walk. Take a bike ride. My favorite is yoga. Getting your body moving is a good way to relieve tension. Your adrenaline will start pumping, which will release endorphins, which will help you to feel better!

-Meditate. There are a ton of mediation apps out there! If you don't want to download an app, look up guided meditations on YouTube. Even if it's only for 3 minutes, trust me. Taking the time to find some inner peace will help to put things into focus for you!

I feel all your pain when it comes to the stress, folks, trust me! Just remember to breathe, keep your heads on straight, and know that no matter what, your kids love you!

Until next time, my friends.
Peace and Love

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Take Care of Yourself

Briefly, Johnny smoothly transitioned onto his new medication since my last post. He's doing really well with this one and we are happy with ability to sit still and focus more at school. Reports home have been positive. I'm still waiting to reschedule a team meeting to go over his progress, as I had to cancel the last one due to illness. I am anxious to meet with the whole team, as I have some issues I do want to address. But we'll talk about that another time!

Moving on!

The reason for the lack of November posts is because illness struck House Cederquist something fierce! First, Johnny came home sick, and soon after Daddy succumbed to it as well. Naturally, I took care of them. I made them soup, made sure they drank plenty of fluids, gave them their cold medicines and even wiped Johnny's nose.  Of course I washed my hands and cleaned the house, figuring that would be enough to safeguard me against catching the germs.  But in my rush to make sure they were okay and that they would recover, I forgot about my own needs. I wasn't eating right and I wasn't getting enough rest, staying up late to make sure they were propped up and sleeping comfortably.  What was just a head cold for them turned into a pretty nasty sinus infection for me that left me sidelined for almost two weeks. Being that sick made it extremely difficult to care for my family. Jordan was the last to come down with it, not soon after I did. Even she was out of school for two days. 

Which brings me to my point, which is probably going to earn me a lot of flack and a chorus of boos and hisses. If you want to be able to take care of your family, you have to take of yourself first. Make sure you are doing everything you can to stay healthy. Eat healthy, balanced meals. Drink lots of fluids, especially water! Get plenty of exercise and lots of good, quality rest. If you are at all feeling unwell, go to the doctor. Don't put it off because "you don't have time," or "she has dance," or "he has basketball," or "I have to be at the p.t.a. meeting." All of those things can wait.  If you delay it and you get sick, you and they will be far worse off.  It is more important to be healthy and have a clear head for the sake of your family.

So, as we head into the colder months, keep on top of your well being my friends. Take care of you so you can take care of them!

Stay warm and stay safe!

Peace and love

Mrs. Ceda

Thursday, October 13, 2016


I know I say it frequently, but consistency is key. And this school year has been anything but consistent, which has made for a very difficult transition for Johnny. His behavior has been erratic, his hyperactivity has increased and his stims have been off the charts where they were previously minimal at best. He's not doing poorly at school, but his inability to calm himself down has made getting him to sit still long enough to concentrate increasingly troublesome. This lead to a conversation between myself, his teacher and his doctor, which resulted in an increase in his medication. (You can read about our decision to medicate here .) He ended up showing signs of aggression, which anyone who knows Johnny knows he is anything BUT aggressive, so on top of STILL having a hard time with school, we had to take him off his medication. He is presently back to being super hyperactive and basically unable to control himself without assistance. His little life is in a massive upheaval.

Before I start on this next segment, you should know that Johnny has had the same teacher for over a year now. He has developed a bond with her, knows her very well, and knows what her expectations are.  Going to school to see Mrs. R has become part of his routine.  So of course I get a call from the ASD program director today.  She said that because of an influx of kindergarten students at the same level as Johnny, his teacher is split between two classrooms. They feel that it would be better for him to have a different teacher so that he can stay in the same class with the same teacher. But don't worry, she says, all of his paraprofessionals, specialists, the kids in his class and his daily routine would stay the same, just his teacher would be different.

Hold the phone.

So you mean to tell me that, on top of the hardships he is already facing, you're going to disrupt his life EVEN FURTHER by changing a key part of his routine? He's just barely starting to get a hold of being back in school and you're going to pull the rug out from under him. He doesn't know this woman. He doesn't know what her expectations are, what her classroom rules are and what he's supposed to do. I can understand a change at the beginning of the year, but not 6 weeks in. You can't just drop this bomb on him and expect him to seamlessly switch his life around.  I told her that this would send him into a tailspin and make this already rocky transition even worse. She responded with...

"Just because of a change in teacher?"

You're the director of the ASD program. You should have a better understanding than anyone that it's not about the change in teacher, it's about the change in routine. Tweaks in the routine have the ability to massively disrupt the lives of people with autism and can result in regression that can take months to repair. Someone with your level of education is perfectly aware of that, so don't give me that feigned incredulity bit. You and I are both conscious of the fact that you know better.

 I bit my tongue and held back my ire. She asked if I just wanted to meet with just the teacher or if I wanted to meet with the whole team. I demanded the team meeting as soon as possible. Monday afternoon I am going to the school to find out when this is happening and exactly why.  I will try to keep my mama bear in check and be professional, but if backed into a corner I may not be able to control her.

Pray for us, folks.

Peace and Love

Friday, September 16, 2016


"You're a superhero for all that you do."

I get this one a lot. Many autism parents do. When people hear about our kids, they automatically think that we are superheroes for keeping our cool and a smile on our faces all the time. They think we're conquering the world by having special needs kids, like we're Superman or Wonder Woman, impervious to the pains of the average human being. For a while, I believed them. I felt like I was extra special because I was overcoming such a great obstacle in life. I felt like I was faster than a speeding bullet, and more powerful than a locomotive. Nothing could take me down.

It took me a while to realize that I was none of these things.

I am no Wonder Woman.

If anything, I am more like Batman.

See, Batman is just a human. No alien super powers. No bullet proof gauntlets or lasso of truth. He's not immune to pain and is only equipped with the gadgets he's made and the power of his brain. He gets bruised, he's been beaten down, and has been emotionally and physically broken. And where I don't have any gadgets, I get up every morning equipped only with the power of my brain. I don't know what kind of mood my kiddos are are going to be in when they get up, and what the day is going to bring. I have to assess each situation as it arises and use my detective skills to figure my way out of the difficult ones while protecting the greater good, aka Jordan and Johnny's well being. I feel pain, like when I see them struggle to control their feelings or when they melt down and there's nothing I can do to help them. I haven't been physically broken, but the emotional breaks happen more often than I'd like to admit. I lose my cool. I cry and frequently feel defeated.

So no, I'm not a super hero. I am not immune to pain and I don't always know how to handle a situation. I am merely a person, getting through every day with my wit and my skill. The skill that any woman or man acquires when they don the cowl and become a parent.

Or when they put on their Batman pajama pants.

Be the hero that your children need and the one that Gotham deserves.

Peace and Love


Tuesday, September 13, 2016


I should start by summing up August, because I promised a blog and got sidetracked and bogged down and didn't get to write one.

So we took the kiddos to New Hampshire to visit my sister, which they loved. They had their first overnight in a hotel, which despite Dad and I not sleeping went surprisingly well. There was only one massive meltdown when the engine on the boat died in the middle of the lake and we couldn't get to the beach right away as planned. Johnny unfortunately lost it, because things just didn't go according to plan. But other than that, they had a ball and can't wait to go back. ESY ended, and the subsequent two weeks were a roller coaster of bad days and good, which is entirely typical and happens every year.

Which brings me up to now. Here we are in the third week of the new school year. Well, sort of. School started on August 30th. They went back for three days, had four days off for Labor Day weekend, then went back for two days, had Thursday off for the primary elections, and then went back on Friday. So technically, even though it's the third week, it's really the first week because it's the first FULL week.

Did that schedule make you nuts?

 It drove us crazy We all know that consistency is crucial to our kiddos' lives. And the lack of consistency this school year so far has really taken it's toll on Johnny. He loves school, loves his teachers and loves his friends. Thus far, because he hasn't been given a chance to really transition, he's been abnormally physical in his non compliance, his stims have come back with a vengeance to the point of distraction, and he cannot sit still or focus. It's been disconcerting to say the least to have gotten more bad notes home than good.

Transitions are always tough, and it's especially difficult when the school system, which claims to work with parents, creates this wacky schedule that provides no structure for the kids to adhere to. I wish they'd remember that all kids are not the same and can not adjust so easily.

Here's hoping that these next few solid weeks help Johnny get back into the swing of things and on the road to success!!

Peace and Love


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

It's Not Always Pretty

I always try to keep my posts upbeat. I don't like to talk about the difficult things, like the meltdowns, the screaming, and the crying. They're hard to deal with, hard to write about and hard to read. But I guess  I wouldn't be a good teacher if I didn't educate about the bad as well the good.

This evening served as a painful reminder of the realities of autism. We decided to take the kiddos out for ice cream as a treat. Everyone went to the bathroom before we left, then we buckled into the car and were on our way. We had to circle around a couple of times for a parking space, but we finally found one and made our way over to the ice cream shop. No sooner did we enter, then Jordan announced that she really had to go to the bathroom and it couldn't wait. So it was off to the public restroom.

And into disaster.

She went to the bathroom no problem. But when she was done, she absolutely,positively refused to clean herself. I tried to get her to go back in, but she clamped her hands on the sides of the stall, threw the brakes on and started shrieking like I was sending her to her death. She threw her entire 70 lbs into me and knock me into the wall. Fed up, I told her that when we got home, she was going straight to bed with no turn on the Wii. Usually that will cue her to stop, because she doesn't want to lose her turn playing Mario. Needless to say that wasn't the case tonight.  Still weepy, we walked back to the ice cream parlor, where she continued to carry on until we sat down outside. That's when she started shrieking all over again. We sat for all of 2 minutes before we had to get up and leave because the meltdown was in full swing. She screamed, yelled, cried, and kicked the entire ride home, with Daddy Ceda trying desperately to keep Johnny from antagonizing her and me white knuckling it on the steering wheel. She was sent straight to bed, where she screamed for another 20 minutes before finally giving up. It was an absolutely excruciating two hours.

It's in these instances that I really hate autism. I hate that it sends my kiddos spiraling out of control because they don't understand how to control their emotions. I hate that it causes them to get overwhelmed by the simplest situations. And sometimes, I hate that I have to think twice about where we plan to take them because the surroundings might be too much for them to handle.

I don't want to change my kiddos. I love them just the way they are. But I am also human, and it is okay for me to have dark moments where I really just want to kick a puppy because the whole situation pisses me off and there's nothing I can do about it.

Today's Lesson: It's not always pretty, and it's not always going to be easy. But remember: you're still human, and it's perfectly normal to get angry when things are beyond your control.

Peace and Love

Mrs Ceda.