Mama and the milkshake

Faith is a child of routine. Of structure. Of sameness.

If she asks for macaroni and cheese, she is asking for Kraft shapes made in the microwave, not on the stove. It needs to be made with butter, not margarine and less milk than the directions call for.

If you change any of that, she knows. And believe me, you will know that she knows.

If she asks for grapes, she means green ones. Not big, not small. Medium green ones. In a bowl.

Not only is she structured in what she eats, she is situational also.

Are we at Los Cobos Mexican restaurant? She eats a chicken taco, no lettuce, no tomatoes.

Chicken taco at home? No.

Are we at Taco Bell? Cheese Roll Up. No chicken taco.

Cheese roll up at home? No.

Are we at Red Robin? Steak fries and a vanilla milkshake with sprinkles.

You see where I am going with this….certain foods have certain places and ways. She doesn’t deviate from routine.

Today while sitting on the couch, Faith looked at me and asked:

“Mama? I have milkshake?”

Ummm…a milkshake? Here?

“Banilla with frinkles.”

She asked for a familiar item out of its usual context!

Peeps, that is huge.

So I made the best gosh darn milkshake I could.

I first made fresh whipped cream. Then I used super premium ice cream and real heavy cream. I blended to the perfect consistency, topped it with the fresh whipped cream and balanced the sprinkling of the frinkles evenly. I finished it off with a prayer to the milkshake gods.

Then I nonchalantly handed it to her like this was no big deal.

She squinted her eyes, glanced at the milkshake, looked back at me, back at the milkshake again.

Then she sniffed it, turned it around a couple of times, and looked at me again.

I pretended to be reading my book because this was no big deal.

She took a sip.

And another.

Then she said “Ok.” and handed it back to me.

I took the milkshake, the out-of-place milkshake, and took it back to the kitchen…

….where I did a happy dance.

An all over the kitchen, shaking my booty, moves like Jagger happy dance.

House hunting from afar

Traditional house hunting is a frustrating thing. The endless walk-throughs, trying to find the perfect house. The house that you can picture living for the next 20 (or more) years.

This one is too bright.

That one is too gloomy.

This one smells like cat pee.

That one has a 90 degree driveway.

And seriously, pick the dirty diapers off the floor during the showing unless you are not wanting to sell the house because…ummmm…ewwww.

House hunting when you are a special needs family is different.

First off, when moving across the country, transient or temporary housing will not work well.

Faith does not handle change well. Little changes are huge to her. She once wore the same shirt 76 days in a row. (Yes, I washed it!) She will often go days eating the exact same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner…because change is bad.

Change = not good.

Moving = huge change

Leaving the safe embrace of her home is going to turn her entire world upside down. Staying in temporary housing would make it even worse. Renting a home or apartment for 3-6 months would just mean that she has to deal with “new place” two times.

So we are house hunting from 2000-ish miles away in the hopes that we can find someplace “close enough to perfect” that we can try to make it ours without actually being there. We will try to time the closing with our arrival in hopes of minimizing the number of times that we must uproot and then attempt to resettle Faith.

We need to get her in “home” and begin helping her feel safe again.

Where is this post going?


People, if you are trying to sell your house… least pick the dirty clothes up off the floor on the day your Realtor is coming to take pictures.

And hide the overflowing garbage cans.

For reals.

Say what?

My daughter has autism.

Most of my regular readers know that.

Autism is a funny thing. Not in a “ha-ha” way, but in the way it presents itself.

Faith is a very literal child. If someone says that it is raining cats and dogs, she will go to the window and expect to see cats and dogs. Because you just said it was raining cats and dogs.

This literal-ness didn’t used to be as big of an issue as it has become recently.


Because Faith didn’t talk much. And when she did talk, it was very, very obvious that she is developmentally delayed. When you have a child who is very obviously developmentally delayed, people tend not to listen much when they do talk.

I don’t mean that in a rude, or bad way.

It just is.

She was hard to understand, and unless you were part of her everyday life, you probably had no idea what she was saying.

But lately, at 9, her speech is becoming clearer. So she can now hold a conversation, but here is the kicker….

Her comprehension of the conversation is not what you are expecting.

An example that came up today:

Faith was asked at school if she put her book in her backpack.

She said “Yes”.

Faith got home….no book in the backpack.

When the school was called and asked if they knew where the book was at, they told us that they had asked Faith if she put it in the backpack, and she said yes.

Ok, I know my daughter …… so I asked her if she put her book in her backpack at the end of the school day.

To which she said no.

It is not enough to ask a question like “Did you put the book in your backpack?” because if she has ever, at any time put the book in her backpack, she will say “Yes” and mean it.

Because she did. She put the book in her backpack.


Last week.

Maybe last month.

The way you phrase a question during the conversation will change her response. The clearer, and more direct the question, the easier it is for her to provide the correct answer.