Behind starburst eyes

Baking with Besan Flour Part 1: Cookies

So dear readers in an effort to stick to the gluten-free foods I have tried to make gluten-free cookies. I’ve read about Besan flour and how it can be used as a straight equal substitute for wheat flour, so I took my favorite cookie recipe and substituted the wheat flour for Besan flour. WOW!!! They are delicious!!!
The full recipe is:
cappuccino Chocolate Chip Cookies:
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups of Besan flour
1 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar
1 cup of Chocolate Chips
1 cup of Butter
2 Eggs
1 tsp of Salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup of cappuccino powder
3-4 cappuccino flavored candy canes
2 tbsp. of coffee

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375F
Cream butter and sugar together in a blender
Add eggs, cappuccino mix, coffee, candy canes, salt, and baking powder together and mix the blender (this crushes up the candy canes)
Sift Besan flour into a separate bowl.
Pour liquid mixture and chocolate chips into flour and mix by hand with a large wooden spoon.
Drop SMALL spoonfuls onto a buttered cookie tray and bake for 7 min or until golden edges appear.

The cookies WILL spread quite wide on the tray as they cook, and will not rise super high. They tend to be fairly thin height wise, but the taste, OH MY!!! SOOOO GOOD ūüėÄ And of course completely gluten-free!!!

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Dust bunnies versus sticky fingers

‚ÄúSometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.‚ÄĚ by Jonathan Safran¬†Foer

The above quote was found unexpectedly while I was looking at a sweet story about a dad that was going the extra mile to ensure his son had a wonderful Halloween. There right beside the heartwarming story was that quote, separate from the story.

I read it, and I felt like I had been punched in my solar plexus, it resonated SO deeply within me. I am often bothered by all that I haven’t accomplished, by all that I have not yet done. I try every day, but there’s never enough time, and there’s always something that needs doing that I hadn’t expected. I’m in my 30’s and I feel like all of those 3 decades have passed in a blur. Each year fluttering past in wisps¬†of color and opportunity¬†too fleeting to catch or hold on to. I try to make every day count, but I find that the¬†mundane things often get in the way, like cleaning. It does not seem to matter what I try it always takes me ages to get the house cleaned every single day. No matter how spotless it is one day the next it’s a mess again and again I’m forced to choose between cleaning or adventure. I know I have to be the responsible¬†adult and clean, but I want to just experience each short moment I have with my kids, I want to play with abandon with them, and laugh¬†with joy at their discoveries, I want to go on “treasure hunts” and nature walks, and trips to the library and read under a tree from books about anything and everything to them. I want to be able to be present in the moment with them and not always “in a minute” “after I’m done the dishes we’ll ______” etc. A great deal of the time I do say “piss on it” to the housework and the time that gives me to just experience little hands fluttering across my triceps as I walk for 2 hours with N in the hiker as I walk to get him a donut and back home is priceless. Just sitting here, I can still feel the warm sun on my face, his icing covered fingers lightly touching my triceps as he yells his excitement at an orange jeep that drives past us. I treasure those moments more than I can say, they ARE what make me “me” each of those memories.

So among other things that I have to do cleaning is for sure one of the most time-consuming, so any tips dear readers? Please keep in mind I have a house with 3 adults (my mother is NOT able to help due to her health, and I’m just happy to have her company) 3-5 children, 2 of which are on the spectrum, of those two one that needs constant attention and assistance, and the other one¬†is homeschooled by me and therefore needs time every day for that. As well as¬†one that is not yet walking, but does love crawling everywhere she can.

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a kid on a leash!

imagesCA0TBJHUWell tonight I finished modifying N’s little blue backpack into a harness style backpack complete with a “tether strap” as it’s called when one is selling it apparently. (I looked online but figured why pay that much money for one when I’ve got everything here to convert a regular toddler sized backpack instead) In reality it’s a leash and it’s attached to my child via the backpack. I have fought doing this for a while, and each time we went out I would faithfully ensure¬†I had the stroller and he was buckled in. Once in a while¬†I’d walk holding his hand, but with his aversion to touch so often holding hands is NOT something he’s in to doing, and letting him just roam and hoping I can catch him when he darts out onto the street in less time than it takes for a car to hit him is NOT something I’m cool with. In fact it terrifies me, and while I KNOW I’ll get the inevitable backlash for “treating my child like an animal” (trust me I had this reaction with C, and I hated it. I hated that no one could see I JUST wanted to keep him safe.) And I know I’m going to upset people with doing it with N.

Here’s the thing though, I can’t NOT do it. Well I’m sure I can in fact, but my heart is pounding from the moment we walk down our front steps. I’m sweaty and nervous as I carefully grip his wrist/forearm (he won’t hold hands at all) I’m watching every direction, frantically¬†looking all around us and trying to watch him at the same time. All the while I’m still holding onto him for dear life. I try to get to our destination as quickly as I possibly can get him to go, and frequently ask him if he wants me to carry him. Why because he doesn’t understand danger, and that makes me terrified. He runs towards moving cars because he’s so fascinated with cars in general. And trying to just say “No” or “Stop” does NOT work with him. especially since he’s often overloaded auditory wise and covers his ears, but doesn’t ever stop moving.

Now, tonight we went on a little walk with his new modified backpack. I held his forearm while he was walking down the stairs and then I let him just walk. He got to choose where we went because¬†I was just enjoying watching him finally have the opportunity¬†to discover his neighbourhood at his own pace. We stood at one point and watched a cricket and I told him about how the cricket makes music. He loves his backpack, and insisted we put cheese in it for our walk ūüôā He’s not upset by it, even when he tried to dart towards the street and it stopped him (he didn’t fall or anything, he just couldn’t go any further than a few feet from me) he just looked back at me and then pointed at the cars speeding past and smiled saying “brooms!” which is of course his word for cars. So yes¬†I loved the peacefulness with which we were able to just “be” together, in each other’s space, experiencing an evening walk together, marveling at all the things that I would have forced him to miss in my haste to get him somewhere safe prior to his new backpack.

Alright dear readers, I’ve taken a deep breath, let me have it.

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The mystery of crayons

Another box of crayons has been unwrapped. N still loves very much to unwrap each one. His slow methodical precision is fascinating to watch. No piece of paper is left, no matter how small. I wish he could type or sign or say what he appears to be looking for when he unwraps each crayon. It’s certainly not an absent-minded action on his part, for each movement of his little fingers is deliberate and sure. His eyes never look anywhere but at the crayon as he unveils it in its entirety. Is he making sure that each part of it is the exact same shade? Does he think something else might be hidden underneath the paper? Or does the feel of the paper it’s wrapped in scratch his hand when he tries to color with it? Is he removing an additional sensory stimulation he does not find appealing? One day when he can answer me, I’ll ask him and listen with bated breath as I’m given more than just a glimpse into the thoughts and inner workings of his precious mind. Until then I will marvel at his concentration, and at the deliberate movements of tiny fingers busy at work. I will marvel at how his eyelashes flutter as he stares so intently upon the unveiled crayon and carefully places it with the others, only to pick up another paper covered one and start again. He won’t be done the task he’s set himself upon until the box is finished, and I won’t ever be done watching him in awe as I get glimpses into his breath-taking mind.

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Organizing Foods

MH900430659¬†N gets very excited by how foods are presented in bakeries, delicatessens, and the like.¬†¬† He’s happy to try many different foods from these places, but when presented with these same foods at home he is unwilling to eat them. I was speaking with a friend who asked me an absolutely brilliant question about it. She asked me if I thought it was because of how visual he is and how neat and organized the foods are in those types of places that he preferred them. She asked me if I’d put his food into lines on his plate before and if so what did he do. To be honest I hadn’t done it before. I’ve made pictures with his food (happy faces or cutting roasted potatoes in the shape of cars) but I hadn’t actually taken his foods and made lines on his plate with them. With how much he loves organization, and lines in general I am actually quite hopeful that this just might work to help him eat better/more. Considering he’s currently on supplementations¬†of various vitamins as well as a meal replacement drink due to his lack of current food intake I’m totally excited at trying something that just might make a positive difference in the amount of healthy foods I am able to get him to eat and enjoy! Wish me luck dear readers, this momma’s about to get the mandolin out to make some super organized veggie and fruit lines ūüėÄ

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Autism is NOT a death sentence

Just over a month ago C and I made cookies for his home school group at the YMCA to help promote Autism Acceptance.¬†With how positive of a reaction we received from them I asked one of the people who helps to coordinate the Orientation for Parents of Children Recently Diagnosed with Autism at Grandview Children’s Center if they would be interested in having some at their next orientation. She spoke with the her colleagues and they said yes. So today I went and got more business cards for the packages I’ll be dropping off Saturday morning. I’m happy that they said yes to them as I feel they do have a positive message to them. So often I hear of parents being absolutely desolate about their child’s diagnosis, and I think our perception as a society needs to change about that.

Last year on C’s 8th birthday his father and I were not with him. The night before, I called everyone that was supposed to come and told them that we had to post-pone his birthday party. Why? He’d done NOTHING wrong. We had to cancel his party and leave him with his Nana¬†because we had a funeral to attend. A close friend’s 23 month old daughter had passed away. Now that was something to be absolutely desolate about. Her’s is a place that will forever be empty at their table, the memories of that beautiful precious little girl are what her parents get to hold instead of her. That is a truly devastating loss. One that those two parents must bear.

But to perceive a diagnosis of Autism as the same level of tragedy as the loss those parents deal with every single day is in my mind an insult to both¬†the little girl who will never have a second birthday, as well as to the child diagnosed! It is NOT a tragedy that¬†one’s child¬†has been diagnosed with Autism, it is not something they will die from. Will there be some areas of their lives that are more challenging because of how¬†their neuro-pathways work? Yes. But that’s what parents are for, to help their children to¬†thrive to the best of the child’s abilities.¬†Now I understand that some people would argue that a child classified as “Classic Autism” or as “Low-Functioning”¬†does not have the same level of abilities to function as a child that is classified as “High-Functioning” I’m not arguing levels of¬†abilities, but I am arguing that Autism is not a death sentence and should not be approached as one. ¬†Yes there will be times that are hard for both parent and child. There will be times when as a parent you might not be sure how best to help your child. There will be times when they are judged negatively by others, when your parenting choices will be called into question by others, but all of those statements are true for parenting of any child!!!

To mourn the loss of the child you thought you had, the one that won’t _______ because they have Autism is unfair to your child. They are still the same child as they were prior to a diagnosis. They still have feelings, thoughts, dreams, wishes, fears, hopes just like any other child. Will they need different kinds of help or parenting than you originally thought you’d have to provide when you learnt you were going to become a parent, perhaps yes. But our job as parents is NOT to dictate what they need, but to observe them and their ways of communication to understand what each unique child needs us to provide them with and help them with.

These¬†children¬†can and do go on to lead lives that are happy and fulfilling¬†for them, perhaps it’s not your definition of happiness and that’s okay because it’s not your life, it’s theirs. As long as your child is alive, and happy what on earth do you have to mourn???

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Happy Cake

Yesterday N said one of his clear words while we were driving “cake” so I asked him if he wanted cake. He smiled and told me yes, so I told him I’d make cake at home for him. So once we got home he goes into the cutlery drawer, finds the package of candles I keep there for birthday cakes. He opens it up, and tries to hand me some while saying “Happy cake”

It was adorable to me in general that he was saying he wanted to have another birthday cake, but also it showed so clearly that not only does he notice what is going on around him, he understands and remembers. It’s moments like that not only thrill me, but they also humble me. They are a potent reminder to me that our children are watching what we’re doing, always. Our actions and words have meaning and importance because they are shaping our children’s experiences, memories and ultimately who they will become.

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To My Children

From the moment I knew each of you was on your way I have spent every moment of my days and nights devoted to you.

I anxiously awaited your arrivals,

I have pondered for countless hours a million different aspects of your upbringing, from the largest facet of child rearing to the most minute of choices,

I have made countless phone calls for counsel on the best way to handle various situations I found myself immersed in due to being your mom, searching for the best solutions for each of you,

and I promise you that I shall continue each and every day to be the best mother I can to each of you…

I’ll go hungry so that you may eat,

I’ll go cold so that you can be warm,

I’ll go without sleep so that you have time to dream,

I will fight for you so that you are safe,

I will stand in the shadows so you learn how to shine,

I will find time when none exists to do whatever needs to be done to see your faces light up with joy,

I’ll endure whatever hardships are necessary so that you always have what you need no matter the cost to me,

At the end of it all, I will let you go with a smile upon my face when it’s your turn to fly; Knowing I did every single thing that I could to help each of you¬†reach your fullest potential as the amazing individuals that you are…

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Buying Friendship

An article I wrote about accidently buying friendships when you’re on the Autism Spectrum:

“They say money can‚Äôt buy you happiness, but can it buy you friends? While most people know the obvious answer to that is a firm ‚ÄúNo‚ÄĚ Sometimes people on the spectrum have more trouble with the concept of buying friendship doesn‚Äôt work.”

You can find the rest of the article at Parents Space:
http://www.parents-space.com/health-fitness/the-autism-spectrum/buying-friendships/

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Workshop!

Informing the VillageInforming the Village:
A how to workshop on educating others about your child’s diagnosis

Offered By: Lindsey Asperger’s Autism Support
Presented By: Dawn-Marie Potter

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but how do you make sure the whole village that is involved in your child’s life is on the same page as you about how best to do that? How do you make sure they understand the vital things you know about your child so they too can have fulfilling interactions with them in ways that truly benefit your child? The answer, you teach them about your child. You show them what it means to be “John” or “Jane” Show them what helps your child, what hinders their growth, and how to help them to thrive no matter how your child is feeling at the time. Help them to understand who your child truly is, which is more than just a label, but a whole complete being that is capable of amazing things should they just be given the chance to shine.

You want to make sure every adult that will be partaking in your child’s life understands them. During the workshop we will¬†explore¬†multiple ways of informing and educating others about your child, their diagnosis and what exactly that means for¬†them specifically.¬†From brochure making, to one-on-one confernces, to cookie making (yes cookie making, there will be samples of that one for everyone attending to see how fun and yummy that method is ūüėČ there are so many different ways to open up¬†and inform others. Come discover some of them with us! ¬†¬†

Workshop Details:
Date: May 21st 2013 Time: 7pm
Location: Upstairs meeting room of Loblaw’s located at 400 Kent Street, Lindsey

For more information on how to attend this exciting workshop please contact the LAAS:
Email: Donna: donna.thomson@sympatico.ca

or myself at dawnmusepotter@gmail.com

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