Search

jkpenney

Babywearing Educator, Parent, Advocate

Month

June 2016

Rucksack Tutorial

One of the best tricks I learned from the Center of Babywearing Studies (CBWS) course I took was an alternative method of doing a ruck. It was fantastic timing too as I was struggling with how to teach Casey how to ruck with his limited range of reach to create a seat.


For a photo tutorial, check out the BWI of Hampton Roads blog.

Sensory Friendly 

Today we went to a sensory friendly film hosted by AMC Theaters. It is a great fit for us as there are no behavioral expectations, the room isn’t pitch black, and the sound isn’t overwhelmingly loud. E and A actually made it through the entirety of Finding Dory without breaking down. Overall it was a very pleasant experience.

Afterwards we walked through the mall to the bookstore. The girls enjoy this but the hustle of everyone around us can be overwhelming for E on busy days. So today we tried something new. We had brought noise cancelling ear protection for a friend’s son during the movie, and walking around the mall seemed like a perfect time to test them with E. They worked fantastically.

We made it through an entirely too long first half of the day with out a bit of tears from E. A was another story, but well I did disregard her nap time in order to go lipstick shopping. I’d say the day was quite successful. The girls rocked the movies, we found a great way to make public spaces more manageable for E, and I found a really promising new liquid matte lipstick. Win!

E playing with a trainset in a bookstore. She is wearing a black ear protection headset, diy sensory chew jewlery, and a flowery navy dress with pink.
E playing with a train set at Barnes and Noble

Babywearing As An Autistic Parent

Babywearing is a fantastic tool for parenting an autistic child. It allows us to meet the world where it is without fear for safety in crowds or over stimulation. Both are still a factor, but wearing E makes them easier to manage. This is all really great, and I’ve touched upon it before in the post titled Sensory Overload.

Jade wearing A in a rainbow buckle carrier. Both are looking at the camera smiling. E is sitting next to them with a huge grin at the camera.
Jade, A, and E on the train at Busch Gardens
But how does babywearing affect me as an autistic adult? It’s actually helped me in a few ways as a parent and as an individual. As a parent, it makes going out seem possible. Outings are overwhelming and exhausting. I typically limit myself to one errand a day as more than that has me burnt out for days after.  When I need to take the kids with me to do these errands, even thinking about the day’s tasks feels like more than can be done. Babywearing transforms these mountains into manageable tasks. It does this because it puts the  children in a visible, contained space. They climb out of cart belts, let go of hands and disappear, and E even figured out how to lift the back panel of a cart to climb in and out. When I wear them, I can focus on the tasks without fretting about the children’s safety, thus lessening the anxiety that surrounds it.

Babywearing also helps to satisfy E’s need to touch me while considering my adversions to being touched. It’s really difficult to remain present and kind with E when she is constantly touching me. I don’t like being touched and honestly half the time it makes my skin crawl. Wearing her gives her that close contact she craves without it being focused to the surface area of her tiny hand. This makes it significantly more bearable.

As an individual, babywearing helps me to disengage with the surrounding public. You can’t politely stare at your phone in crowded gatherings. You can, however, disengage by cuddling your kid. I can go out and be social without being forced to maintain eye contact, small talk, or acknowledging the discomfort that comes with standing close to too many people. This is especially good because I don’t want to be antisocial. I enjoy hanging out with friend and forming new relationships. The process to it all can just become terribly overwhelming and taxing before it does for others.

Overall, Babywearing is a win for everyone. The kids are happy. I’m happy. And strangers are happy that they don’t have to bear through awkward small talk. Cheers all around!

A close up of Jade and E dressed for bed. E is in a teal soft structured carrier on Jade's front. Both are smiling at the camera.
Jade and E babywearing before bed

Clarity

Today was part three of the three part ASD assessment I started a while back. Part two was the actually assessment which covered a plethora of things, including an IQ test. My only commentary on the second portion was “wow, they sure ask random questions on an IQ test!”

I can now say with absolute certainty, I am autistic. Official diagnosis is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Level 1, previously referred to as Asperger’s Syndrome. As Casey says “this changes nothing. You’re still the person you’ve always been”, and that is quite true. But that doesn’t mean there is no benefit to having a diagnosis.

Knowing brings clarity to my life. It explains my awkward and sometimes brash mannerisms and speech. I better understand why emotions have always been difficult to express even when I have  many of them. The challenges forming close relationships aren’t just because I’m socially inept.

I am glad to have completed this journey. It’s given me insight into myself and is likely to continue to do so. Welcome to a new chapter of my life. I am excited to see where this goes.

A close up of Jade and E. There is a large rainbow infinty sign overlay to show support for autism acceptance.
Jade and E supporting ASD acceptance

 

My Depression Looks Like …

I know many of us deal with some form of depression or anxiety. I’ve friends step away from everything they were involved in because the pressure was too much and they felt alone in that feeling. 
My depression looks like apathy. An utter lack of interest in my everyday life. Indifference to my children beyond basic care. No desire to do more than exist and go through the motions of the day. I was not sad. I do not fit a stereotype. I was short tempered but not angry. I wasn’t suicidal and I never thought of seriously hurting myself or others. I was fine. 
Fine. Fine is such a terrible word. Society pressures everyone to be fine. Bottle up all deflecting emotions from social norms. Don’t admit to weakness. It does this to the point where everyone feels isolated from everyone, even their dearest friends. Depression is already alienating without society shaming us into silence. 

Friends,

Please don’t stay silent. You are not alone. You don’t have to continue to feel the way you feel. Medication to right a chemical imbalance are okay to take. They can be life changing, even life saving. It’s okay to admit it is more than baby blues or stress. Ask for help. Accept help. You are not alone. You are loved and accepted for everything you are and are not. 

❤ your happily medicated so she can live life fully friend. 

The Many Outfits of E

In our household, we’re all about allowing self expression. The girls can decide on their own look for the day if they choose. For the most part, they’ve been without an opinion. Unless you count A’s attempts to wear every article of clothing in the house every day.

Typically, E would only care that she had a jacket, hat, and shoes. Otherwise whatever I grabbed that day was fine. Lately she’s all about picking out her own clothes. The one continual theme is dresses and hair accessories. Mostly she just wants to be a princess all day, every day. This is probably my favorite stage as I adore all things Disney princesses. Her word for princess is also “Ariel” after her favorite mermaid princess turned human. A great side effect of this stage is that she’s working through her sensory adversion to having her hair handled just so she can have it accessorized.

I love watching her grow into herself. She becomes more amazing each day. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy a dinosaur mermaid hybrid? (She even roared at her sister when she got close for good measure.)

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: