Friday, December 19, 2014

Who Died and Made You Dr. Spock? A guest post from Dawn Marcotte

Our guest post is by Dawn Marcotte. who is the CEO of, a website designed to help teens and young adults on the spectrum live to their highest potential.

Disclaimer: For the Star Trek fans out there this article isn't really going to talk about Mr. Spock -Dr. Spock was a famous child specialist in the 60's.

I saw her laying on the floor, screaming at the top of her lungs about something. As a young single woman I just went to the next aisle and tried to ignore it, vowing that my children would never do that.   Why doesn't mom just pick her up and take her to the car - I'm sure they could come back another time.  I wasn't raised that way - I would have gotten spanked for sure if I put up such a fuss in public, or at home for that matter. I could tell by the looks of the other adults that I wasn't the only one who was thinking that.

Fast forward 15 years - God has a sense of humor
Now I am the mother with the child pitching a fit on the floor.
Now I understand that trying to pick her up will just make it worse. All I can do is ride it out and do my best to calm her quickly. This is the first chance I have had in a week to get to the grocery store and if we don't have the right foods she won't eat, so we have to get it done now.
I saw the looks from the other adults in the store and I know what they are thinking - then it hit me:
Who died and made you Dr. Spock? What makes you think I am a bad parent?
In the United States justice system we are supposed to assume innocence until proven guilty - can't we apply that to parenting too?

 I think that most parents love their children and we want to do the right things for them.
We want to teach them to be patient, kind, generous, strong, self- reliant, smart, honest etc.
If we assume that all parents want their kids to grow up to be good people, why do we assume that when a child is misbehaving it is the parents fault. That somehow the parent has missed a vital step in raising that child and they need to learn to 'parent' better. Like they forgot to feed them or tell them that screaming in the middle of a store is not acceptable behavior.

 We don't think that way about ourselves do we?  I know I don't. I happen to think I am a pretty good parent. I have worked hard to help my girls grow up to be intelligent, articulate, strong women who don't just accept what the world tells them. (Unless of course it is me and then they just have to do it because I'm the Mom.)  I am not perfect and I have made my share of mistakes along the way, but overall I have tried really hard and I think I have been at least partially successful. At least they are still talking to me and aren't making plans to get AWAY as soon as they can.

Children are actually people too. Yes they have limited life experience, but that doesn't make their emotions any less real. It doesn't make their needs any less important.
It is time to give each other a break. Real life isn't television where Dad is too incompetent to properly care for his own children and moms are too overwhelmed to even know what their children are doing. Neither is it Sesame Street where every adult knows exactly what to do in any given situation. Reality lies somewhere in between.

What if we assumed that the parent in any given situation is doing the best they can?  How would that change our reaction?

Would we perhaps he a bit kinder and offer some assistance?  Even just a smile and a nod of recognition that we know they are trying their best.

Would that small change in our behavior help other adults to make the same change? How would that change the world?

I think we need to start fresh with each other as parents and adults. Starting today I am going to try very hard to be more supportive of other parents, especially when they are having a hard time.
What do you think about how adults and parents treat each other?

Friday, September 26, 2014


Last week, I was contacted by to see if I'd be willing to accept one of their bean bags to review, specifically in terms of how my children on the spectrum found it. When I looked at the site, I started drooling. We were very kindly sent the Yogibo max, which is six feet by two feet by two feet and priced at over $200. 

I am in love with this bag. My girls are in love with it. My husband slept on it, it's that big. The cats are impressed. And the dogs think it is theirs when no one else is on it. 

The girls have laid on it, reclined on it, laid under it, laid side by side on it. You name it. They've done their school work on it. The couch has not been used since the Yogibo Max arrived.  That is how awesome it is.

If I had money, I would redo the living room in them! There are several options and lots of colors to choose from.  

Yes, I'm biased. We were given an expensive product free that my girls love, that provide sensory input that is calming, that makes them feel special. But, trust me when I tell you this is better than Temple Grandin's hugging machine. It's soft but heavy enough and large enough that when you lie under it, you feel pressure. I've used it that way. I would totally do a double in my room for me. It would be my safe space when I'm overwhelmed by kids, critters and the demands of my job and my anxiety disorder which tend to render me skittish and unwilling to be touched. 

So, anyone with 400 dollars, consider that to be my Christmas gift wish.

Yes, that's the Yogibo max under batman decorations and dogs.

Here's the Yogibo max out of the box.

Definitely dog approved.

Kids testing it.

Go to to see all their awesome stuff! Kathleen's review is coming up!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Summer Reading: From the Light to the Trancendent

For me, the summer leaves me feeling scatterbrained. Too much noise, too much going on. Chicken Soup for the Soul books provide a quick break, a breather, and a chance to focus.

The best part of Chicken Soup's books is the diversity of topics. You can find any topic that interests you, and then get dozens and dozens of different author's stories. And because the stories are short, it's okay if you only have five minutes to spare.

Above I've placed six of Chicken Soup for the Soul's newest books, books I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Review of Eric Fischer's Collected Works of Poetry

"a greatness beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement or imitation"

Purchases of this book go to support Eric's care of his son Segev.

Preferred purchase link is

but the book is available on Amazon as well.

I've been following Eric Fischer's blog about his beautiful and profoundly disabled son Segev for several years. Segev has a condition known as Ohtahara Syndrome, which is a progressive disease involving seizures that often don't respond very well to medication. Eric has spent the last sixteen years taking care of his son, who requires 24 hour support.

Over the last nineteen years, Eric has amassed a collection of poetry that is, with no exaggeration, sublime. I have his first volumeLittle Job's Book of Broken Poems, on my kindle, and I've found it meaningful and often come back to it when I need to know I am not alone, that others, too, see the wonder and pain of this world entwined. I am always led to think and feel when I read Eric's poetry and it never fails to create a feeling of bittersweetness that I carry with me long after I've set aside the poems.

Eric's dedication to Segev and commitment to honoring his son and other children who live with profound, severe disability is punctuated with loss and struggle and exhaustion. In one poem, "The Tender Heart," Eric writes that 
A tender heart may lose its way,
With resolve returns to win the day.
Falling down, feeling broken, these things are to be expected, are unavoidable consequences when one battles each day for another day for one's beloved.

It is not just the tender heart, but also the foolish heart that plays a role in being able to keep going, long day after longer night, weary.
Despite adversity into the fray:
A foolish heart will see the light of day.
Eric knows all too well what he's fighting for and what the cost is, and his dedication to his son and to making the world recognize the value that is inherent in all people, regardless of functionality is heroic, although he would likely reject that characterization. He is, in his opinion, doing what he must.

In a poem about Segev, he writes:
The rope that binds his body cannot bind his soul:
The secret of the heavens that define this role,
Never has a dream garnered such a toll.
He continues later in the same poem, "Darkness,"

The struggle to survive
Universal and constant
Where no one is asked 
Whether they can bare it nor
Want it.
 Life and death and the things that really matter: Eric's life is wittled down to the essential, as are the lives of other parents loving and fighting for their children and their children's lives. Eric writes in a poem titled "Ohtahara,"
Death is in the fight.
Brought to our knees
With aches of love for our children so affected,
Death is a rampant disease.
Eric writes not just about his and Segev's experiences, but also devotes several poems to other children and their families and tackles the heartrending task of the loss of other children to the diseases they and their parents valiantly wrestled with. Of Jack, in "Brave," Eric writes,
Brave brave, little thing,
Across the heavens you will sing.
 Eric's poetry calls us to feel, to think, to be, to embrace the moment. I can't help but be reminded of Nancy Mairs, a poet and author who has MS, and her interview in PBS's documentary,  & Thou Shalt Honor,   how she feels called to life:

And having George participate in my care and having other people do the same, calls me into life. It says, despite your losses, despite your limitations, you belong here with us and we want you to stay. We want you to stay enough that we're willing to participate in the labor that it takes. That's perhaps the fundamental of caregiving -- to enable another to want to be in the world. Not just enable them to be, but to enable them to want to be in the world when it would be easier not to.

 Eric's message, in the end, is similar--he calls his son to life, he asserts the inherent value in all people, regardless of what they can "contribute." He rejects any and all idea of allowing his son to go gently into that good night.

I am honored to be Eric's friend, to be allowed to bear witness to Segev's beautiful life and Eric's passion for giving Segev the best life he can for as long as he can. I encourage you, if you have not had the honor of meeting Eric and Segev, to visit Eric's blog and Segev's facebook page, and to participate in Segev's support by purchasing I am a broken man/You can't break me.

--K Wombles

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