Before my daughter was diagnosed with Celiac disease, I had never heard of it, nor gluten, probiotics, vili, etc.  Needless to say, we had a huge learning curve and boy did we research.  Reading labels was something I had never done before then and learning just how many different names “gluten” is hidden in was just the beginning.

Shopping trips consisted of veggies, fruits, and protein.  Nothing processed, nothing made.  I don’t know about your kids, but telling a 4 year old she can’t have all those things she was accustomed to eating was no small feat.

Doctor’s Recommendation

One of the best things her pediatrician recommended for us, was to find a great probiotic to help with digestion.  So, back to some research.  We had some hits, but mostly misses on our mission to find one that suited her dietary needs.  Not to mention, she is Autistic and had oral texture issues as well.  So gummies, although ideal, didn’t always work and forget trying to get her to swallow pills.

Which brings me to these yummy gummies:

We found these gummy probiotics by Nutra, and although I feared the same result as all those other gummies we tried, these are different.  For one, their texture a more solid type of gummy.  The taste isn’t as “sweet”, but they’re not bland either.  They are slightly powdery, but it’s not overpowering.  My daughter loves them!

Best thing about these is that they fit the bill.  It helps with her digestion AND it’s gluten and sugar free.  We love them!  Anything that helps her tummy function better and I don’t have to fight her to take is a plus in this mom’s book.  Here’s a link of where I ordered these: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01I02T9B0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498168308&sr=1-1&keywords=probiotic+gummies+kids&m=

So, what’s your favorite probiotic?  I’d love to her about those as well.

-Sandra

**Disclaimer: I was provided with a free product in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the company, and/or its affiliates in any way.

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When Uber and Autism Collide

I’ve been Ubering for a while now and I’m use to having all walks of life in my car.  But I was completely unprepared for today’s rider.  It’s not unusual for people to call an Uber for others.   I’ve had guys sparing their date the walk of shame the next morning. I’ve had wives and girlfriends outside giving kisses goodbye as I pick up their spouses and boyfriends. I’ve had kids calling for their non-tech savvy parents and even parents calling an Uber for their kids, which is what I had today.

I got “pinged” and made my way to an IHOP for my pick up.  As I pulled up, I was waved over by a mother and her adult son with luggage.  So I parked and opened my trunk, luggage usually means I’m headed to LAX.  That wasn’t the case this time, just a kid visiting his mom for the weekend and brought home some laundry to wash.  I had a bit of a laugh, as I saw her lean in for a hug and a kiss goodbye and he pulled away as most embarrassed kids do with parental PDA.

He got in and promptly put on his seatbelt.  I confirmed where we were headed and he was very curt in answering.  Being no stranger to riders that just prefer the ride with no conversation, I followed the GPS to his location.  Before we even pulled out of the park lot, his cell phone was out and his music was on.  I was about to ask if he wanted the audio cord to stream his music through the car, but I noticed he started to slowly rock.  I looked through the rearview mirror and sure enough, he had his cell phone, music blaring, up to his ear, his eyes closed and he was rocking back and forth, not uncommon for those with Autism to do as a means of soothing themselves.  And then it hit me.  He’s autistic.  He’s soothing.  He’s in an environment where he is not comfortable.   Change isn’t easy and he was in a strange car, with a stranger.  I understood his anxiety all too well.

Being a mother of an autistic daughter myself, I recognized the signs.  I also knew that once they withdraw into themselves, there’s no pulling them out.  As a mother, my heart went out to him.  My heart went out to his mother.  And my anxiety level went up.  I’ve only ever dealt with my daughter’s autism and being on the high functioning side of the spectrum, I realized just how unequipped I was to address him if I needed to.

He continued to slowly rock, but he opened his eyes to see where we were.  He apparently knew the way to get to where we were going and became more and more relaxed because it didn’t take long for him to turn off the music and stop rocking.  I looked at the GPS and we still had a little less than an hour to go.  Making my way through L.A. streets during rush hour morning traffic didn’t help, but we eventually made it to the freeway.  Once on the freeway, even though traffic was still thick, he was more and more calm.  Most of the ride was uneventful and I started to relax myself.  Occasionally I’d feel him looking at me, or I’d check the mirror and catch of glimpse of him looking away.  Knowing eye-contact is a tough thing for those with autism, I got it, I made sure not to look at him directly, but I was still trying to figure out what it was he was looking at.  Then it occurred to me, he was watching my facial expressions.  If I furrowed my eyebrows in frustration with the traffic, he’d start to rock again, so I was conscious of keeping a smile on my face to keep him relaxed.

The closer we got to his school, the more aware he was of our route.  About a block away from school, he started to mumble repetitively turn by turn.  I asked him which building was his and he answered but again, was very short.  I pulled over, hopped out and opened the trunk.  He quickly got his stuff out, didn’t make eye contact and carefully crossed the street.  I mumbled something to the effect of “have a nice day” and barely made it back into the car, turned off my Uber app and pulled out a kleenex before the tears started.

I felt such heartbreak for his mom that so tenderly hugged and kissed him goodbye and trusted him into my care.  My heart felt for him as he crossed the street and made his way home alone.  I felt relief that my daughter is high functioning and not as severe as this boy was, quickly followed by such guilt, for the same reason.  Autism is not easy.  Not for the person that has it.  Not for the family that lives with it.  I cried all the way back to the freeway and about halfway home.  And then hope kicked in.  The hope that this boy with Autism gave me.  That he had the strength to Uber all the way home alone and self-soothe.  Hope from this mom that I can let go at some point and know that I’ve given my daughter all the help I possibly can to be that independent.  Hope that she’ll be able to go to college someday too.  Hope that her future is as bright as anyone else’s is.

And after going through that roller coaster of emotion on this Uber ride and learning such a great life lesson, I went home, washed my tears away, cleaned myself up, and headed out the pick up the next Uber life lesson waiting for me.

-Sandra

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confessions of an uber momThe view from my office today isn’t the prettiest.  As you can see, I’m an Uber Mom that drives Uber on my mommy down time.  My day consists of dropping the kids off at school and getting some drive time in.  It’s not the most glamorous job in the world, definitely not what I have my degree in.  But sometimes you take what life gives you.

How did I end up here!?!  Especially since I had a nice cushy job and a pimped out cubicle….  I’ll tell you.  Being a mom to an Autistic child in not easy.  Every day, every minute is something new.  As much as kids with Autism demand a routine, since change is hard for them, our day is anything but routine.  There is no planning life.  Unfortunately, the last company (the last 3 companies) had absolutely no flexibility around my daughter.  I hate to say it, even though during the interview process, I did ask if there was room for flexibility and was adamantly told there was…..there wasn’t.  Special treatment wasn’t asked for, I more than pulled my weight, I completed all my work and then some.

No use crying over spilled milk

So, in my search for a part-time position, that had both, the flexibility that I needed and wasn’t a fast food joint or retail store (that I would just end up spending my paycheck at), I went with Uber.  Those that know me, know that this is hard for me.  A few years ago I had a huge car accident that left me in panic attacks every time I hit the freeway and I’m fiercely protective of my personal space (both issues that I’ve worked diligently on).  So needless to say, this Uber mom is completely out of her comfort zone. 

However, here I am.  I Uber on my own time. Take sick days when I need them.  Have a flexible schedule that works around all those school events, meetings, days off, and short scheduled days.  It’s working on my own terms, in my own space, how I want, and when I want.  It works for now.  It won’t be forever, but it’s what we need right now.  Do I have Uber stories? Oh, do I….. But that’ll have to wait for a future post….. stay tuned!

-Sandra

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parent autism oathMy daughter was 5 years old when we got the “official” diagnosis of Autism. We had previously been working with her school that had tested her and found she had Autistic-like tendencies and put her on an IEP (independent educational program), so we had an inkling, not a diagnosis.

I have to tell you, of all the things we wish for for our children, health, happiness, college, to find love, it never occurred to me that she could have that with her diagnosis. You hear the words “Autism” and it’s like hearing Cancer, it almost feels life ending. I felt cheated, I felt like all those things I wanted for her were gone, I cried in anger…..and then I let the pity party end.  Nothing had changed, she was still my sweet child, my gorgeous daughter, and all those things I wished for her future, are still there.

In my intense search to understand what a diagnosis of Autism meant, I found two things:

1. There’s no cure.  She won’t grow out of it.  There’s no magic pill. It is what it is.

2. She may not understand what she’s being taught, but we can alter how she’s being taught to make her understand.

Where there is a will, there is a way.  I vowed right there and then, Autism is what my child has, not who she is.  I vowed to be her biggest advocate.  To voice what she can’t, when she can’t.  I vowed to fiercely protect her little heart from kids and adults that just don’t understand what Autism is.  I vowed to be her biggest fan and cheer her milestones no matter how small they may seem to everyone else.  I vowed to be the best parent I can for her. And guess what?

I remembered I had vowed all those things for my older daughter.  The “normal” one. Of course, we all know, normal is just a dryer setting.  Nothing had changed. I’m just a mom. She’s just my daughter. I’m still her mama-bear and she’s still my baby cub, no matter what.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s a label. She’s a wonderfully sweet child.  She has her days, but all kids do. Am I exhausted? Yes, but it’s a different level of exhaustion.  The celebrations of life are so much sweeter with her in my life.  And just like her, we’re altering and adjusting our lives and working on her level.  It’s the things that we do together that matter.

-Sandra

I wake up to find my precious 5 year old Izzie doing this to me with a huge smirk on her face:

The conversation that follows is such:

Me: “Who taught you that?”

Izzie: “Mom, look!”

Me:  “I see, where did you see that?”

Izzie:  “Right here!”

Me (getting more upset now):  “Toria?  Did you show her that?”

Toria (confused):  “No, she showed me!”

Me: “Izzie! Stop doing that, it’s not nice!”

Izzie: “Okay Mom”

Then she proceeds to put on the band-aid shes holding in her other hand on her middle finger she’s so proudly showing off….as you can see, I have yet to organize my gutter brain!!!

-Sandra

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