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Autism - Support Across the Spectrum Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

Meet CafeMom's Featured Mom: Kittie26

Posted by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 3:36 PM
  • 38 Replies
1 mom liked this

CafeMom is excited to announce a way we're featuring many of our terrific moms. Selected moms will respond to our "Mom of the Day" interview questions, and their interviews will then be posted in the group that they spend the most time in.

Our current featured mom, Kittie26, frequents the Autism: Support Across the Spectrum group.


1. How did you first find out your child was on the autism spectrum? 

My daughter, Aly, was almost 2 and had not started talking. In the months leading up to her second birthday, I decided to contact my state's early intervention program to have her evaluated for a speech delay. Given that her only word at that point - just a week before her second birthday - was "Na!", she easily qualified. I was also told she was more than 25% delayed in cognition, social/emotional, and adaptive skills. As a result, Aly not only qualified for speech therapy, but also for special education instruction. Both services were to be in my home.

After just one session each with the speech therapist and the special education instructor, I was advised to have Aly evaluated for autism because they saw some red flags. I was told that it could *just* be that she's very strong willed and independent, or it could be that she's on the spectrum. Since she's just like me, I was sure it was only that she's strong willed and independent (which, whew!, she certainly is!), but I went forward with the evaluation.

Almost two months after her second birthday, the autism diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (or PDD-NOS) was delivered.

I grieved - as most parents do - but very briefly. We ramped up services immediately and haven't looked back. She's doing amazingly well and I'm constantly surprised by how far she has come in such a short period of time. Not a day goes by that I regret having her evaluated. 

2. What has been the most challenging part of the journey? And the most rewarding? 

The most challenging parts for me tend to be the evaluating, the waiting, and the decision making. I am 100% committed to doing all I can to give Aly the best life possible. When my efforts are slowed down by evaluations and waiting for results, I get very antsy. I never stop working with my daughter and am constantly doing the best I can for her, but that waiting can be so taxing and stressful.

Here's an example: As Aly's third birthday approaches, we are going through exit testing from the early intervention program. So far, Aly's testing higher than the requirements for special ed pre-k - which should be a proud mommie moment!, but I am worried because she really needs continued services. Just because she is smart and is talking doesn't mean we don't still face behavioral problems that will need to be addressed before she old enough for kindergarten. I am still waiting for the last parts of the evaluation to be completed, plus waiting for the transitional meeting to be set up with the schools, and in the meantime am feeling helpless and like I have no idea what we will be doing after Aly turns 3. It'd be nice to have answers sooner than later so I can make an alternate plan if necessary.

The most rewarding part of this journey... well, there isn't any one thing. There are so many little things. Every new success, no matter how large or small, makes my heart soar. It's not every mother who is jumping up and down because her 2-year-old just pretended to talk on the phone. Children on the spectrum have a hard time with pretend play, so the day she started putting her toys to sleep, I was elated. There are so many situations like that in everyday life that many parents overlook because they simply don't realize how special they are. Being on this journey has opened my eyes to the absolute wonder of childhood in a way I couldn't appreciate prior to receiving Aly's diagnosis.

3. What group do you most frequently hang out in on CafeMom? 

Autism: Support Across the Spectrum. I joined the group when I first decided to have Aly evaluated, and it's become my go-to source of information and friendship with moms just like me. When no one else seems to understand what I'm going through, the ladies in that group do, and they care and have wonderful advice. I don't know what I'd do without them or the group.

4. What do you like most about CafeMom? 

It's been a staple of my motherhood years. I joined as soon as I learned I was pregnant in the fall of 2008 and have come back almost daily ever since. I've yet to find another place on the internet that has so many wonderful moms who can relate to exactly what I'm going through at any given time - no matter what the topic. I have to admit, though, I'm not *looking* for other places out there because I am so happy here!

5. A mom's spare time is precious (if it exists at all!). How do you spend yours? (Aside from on CafeMom, of course.) 

I spend a lot of it here, of course, and playing Facebook games (though I really need to quit). Other than that, I spend it with loved ones or in solitude. Oh, yes, I sooo need my solitude, particularly after a "bad" day full of meltdowns when my very last shred of patience is about to jump off a cliff. Then you can find me in a long, hot bath with a glass of wine and a good book immediately following Aly's bedtime!

6. What are your favorites:
Book: The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
Movie: 50 First Dates
Song: Someone Like You by Adele
Food: Cheese fries! 
Place to travel to: Ocean City, MD. My mom and I have made it a tradition to go there for my birthday in November each year, ever since Aly was born. 

7. Which celebrity mom would you most like to hang out with, and why? 

Jennifer Garner, because she's always seemed like such a down-to-earth person and I'd just like to meet her.

8. If you could give a mom whose child is facing a possible autism diagnosis one bit of advice, what would it be? 

Stay positive! Receiving a diagnosis is not the end of the world. It is actually a step toward providing a better life for your child and obtaining a better understanding of why your child is the way he or she is. It can be a rocky road, but as long as you always do the best you can for your child and keep a positive attitude, you will both have so many happy times ahead.

9. If you had to choose, what single word best sums you up? 

Strong

10. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? And if you work, what's your job?

I always just wanted to be a mom when I grew up... a stay at home mom, like mine was. After Aly was born and gave me a very exhausting first few months, I was *thrilled* to leave home and go back to work. Mama needed a break! lol

Oh, and I'm an editor. 

11. If you could trade places with any one person for a day, who would it be?

Anyone who is off on some fabulous vacation right this second and loving every minute of it. I want to walk in their shoes!

Now answer her question for YOU:

How do you work more "me" time into your busy life? I need ideas, because my life is pretty packed and sometimes the stress gets to be too much.

by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 3:36 PM
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Replies (1-10):
mallowcup17
by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 3:41 PM
1 mom liked this

i stay up way too late and work in "me" time then lol...thankfully i can sleep in most mornings and usually the little one cooperates although not always.. 

aidensmomma508
by Wendy on Apr. 2, 2012 at 3:44 PM
1 mom liked this

Nice job being featured mom Katie! :) 

I make time when my son goes to sleep....


SnarkyMama
by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 4:46 PM
1 mom liked this
Great job Katie! I find me time as well when my kids sleep. I have also been known to ask family to watch my kids and then go home instead of out. A stay cation if you will. But even just an hour is awesome. I used to feel guilty, now I see that I am a more quality mom when I am not on the brink of insanity.
Leobaby2007
by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 4:54 PM
1 mom liked this
Awesome, Katie! Congrats on being featured!!!! :-) :-) :-)

Really enjoyed reading your story.

Tonyawm
by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 4:59 PM
1 mom liked this

How funny to find you featured right after sending you a hello message!  (:

I've started to find some "me" time just recently.  It is difficult, since my "day" job is a teacher, then I have to come home and be a mom of a very challenging little one.  I recently joined a gym that has a kids club.  Wasn't sure if my son would like it, but so far he loves it- a tunnel slide and those bead-on-wire toys that can keep him occupied for long periods.  Plus decent employees to play games and supervise.  It allows me to exercise or sit in the spa for a few minutes.  Also, my husband and I "spell" eachother once a month.  One of us either takes our son to stay with family, leaving the other to be at home alone, or I/he will go on a solo vacation.  My last was to a hotel/spa on the coast for two nights.  It allows you something to look forward to, some peace, and even a chance to miss your family (which feels good!).

kajira
by Emma on Apr. 2, 2012 at 4:59 PM
1 mom liked this

I play video games, read, and occasionally try to bath solo - which is hard when bathing around here is a team sport. if it's not my DH wanting to talk while i'm in the tub or shower, the kids or one of the pets try to join me. LOL

even the cats will attempt to sit in the bathtub with me and will howl outside of the door if I leave it shut! LOL

I loved reading this about you - I'm glad you got to answer those questions and have it shared on this group!

RockinMama0608
by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 5:12 PM
1 mom liked this

Way to go Katie! 

For me, I get a little more me time because I am a SAHM and my son goes to school.  When he is home during the summer or during breaks, I take the kids outside to play so I can get a little me time (whether it is reading a book or enjoying the fresh air!)  I also am bad about going for car rides when stressed.  Will LOVES riding in cars so it is a way for me to listen to music or just enjoy the quiet.

jessieee
by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 5:57 PM
1 mom liked this

i tought my daughter to play in her room for an hour to have her time as well and do nails something like that maybe a nap for that hour. she loves her room and loves her time as well:)

Kittie26
by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 6:41 PM

I stay up late too... right now I stay up way too late... and then I wake up exhausted and require a mid-day nap and then stay up late... and the vicious cycle goes round and round and round! I think if I just cut out the facebook games, it'd be so much easier. For some reason, facebook games don't really feel like "me" time the way other things might.

Quoting mallowcup17:

i stay up way too late and work in "me" time then lol...thankfully i can sleep in most mornings and usually the little one cooperates although not always.. 


Kittie26
by on Apr. 2, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Thanks! Yeah, I make time when Aly goes to sleep... see my response to Kate. lol

Quoting aidensmomma508:

Nice job being featured mom Katie! :) 

I make time when my son goes to sleep....


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