Wednesday, April 16

....and just like that

although the day my life changed forever seems like a lifetime ago, i still can't believe that it's been six years.

kids are a funny thing. one day you're knee deep in poopy diapers and sleepless nights, just treading water trying to get to the next phase of life. and then before you know it, your kids are real little people who can take care of themselves (i mean, relatively speaking).

last night, hiba got ready for bed by herself. completely. shower, dried herself off, dried her hair, pjs on, brushed teeth, and brushed hair. on her own. happily. with no tears.

it's like she is growing up or something.

and then today she turned six. i asked her if she felt any different this morning, and she said she feels bigger. when i dropped her off at school, she ran over to a group of girls, probably excitedly telling them it is her birthday, and then they just laughed together as they walked to the playground. like real people.

when did this happen? 

whenever it was, i'm glad it did. it's so fun watching her grow. watching her learn and become more and more independent. it's great to see how her little mind works, figuring out the world. and although i can't believe she is already so big, i'm glad she is.

happy, happy birthday, hiba bear! 

Monday, April 14

my little fashionista

last friday night was the Fashion Event benefitting Easter Seals Arkansas. it was kind of a big deal for our family - one, because it was my first event to plan from start to finish for work, and more importantly, because hiba was modeling.

we had some models drop out a few weeks before the event, so we decided to put hiba in the show. i wasn't really sure about it, but after talking to jason we decided to just go for it. when i told hiba about it, she was less than excited at first. she started asking lots of questions about what she would have to do, how it would go, and then started getting nervous about all of the things she didn't know how to do and about how loud it would be - and then she flatly refused to be in it.

unfortunately for her, the programs had already been designed and she was in them, and i'm not one to give my co-workers extra work, so i decided to try to talk her into it.

so we spent the next week looking at pictures of fashion shows, talking about it, practicing, waving, walking, talking about it more. and then she got to go pick out her dress, which was perfect because it felt like a bathing suit.

and she came around. and she started to get really excited about it.

and then i started to get nervous. i remembered back to her preschool graduation and how she was so excited and ready for it - but how it was way too loud and overwhelming, and even though she did it, she clearly hated it. and i thought back over the last few months about how her anxiety has gone up and her ability to "just chill out" has gone down. and i crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

and i'm so glad i did. she was absolutely wonderful. she was happy, beautiful, and loved it! the event itself was pretty amazing and hugely successful - but for me, seeing her walk out onto that runway, with a band playing and a packed room of people cheering for her and seeing her face so relaxed and happy - that was a dream come true.

Thursday, April 3

proof that she actually is jason's daughter...

not that there was any doubt. 

(things that are healthy - push-ups, jumping jax, sit-ups, kale chips, sleep, kettle bells, pull-ups, yoga, exercise)

Wednesday, April 2

autism awareness - take 2

i didn't wear blue last year. i didn't want to. i don't really know why - i think because i didn't want to be lumped in with the autism community. so i didn't wear blue.

but this year i am. because if there is one thing i have learned this year, it's that i need an autism community. i need people who get hiba, who understand her needs, her abilities, her strengths, her weaknesses, her anxiety, her joy. i need people who get me and how i rub her the wrong way and react in ways that don't help her or me, who understand the rediculolus amount of thought that goes into every single interaction with her, who understand my desire to not be a helicopter parent but my longing to make sure she is happy. i need that community.

this year has had it's ups and downs, as far as hiba goes. she transistioned really well to kindergarten. she loves her school. she has a wonderful teacher who understands a lot of what she needs, but still challengers her. she had a lot of help from the autism waiver. jason and i learned more about her needs and how to help lower her anxiety and help her live in the real world. she did a great job in her school play. she is making friends. she loves gymnastics.

and then she tested out of the autism waiver. so she doesn't have the support at the moment that she was having. and her anxiety has spiked. so has mine. that's a bad combination. she is still doing well in school, and is starting to level back out at home, but it's been kinda rough.

so here we are, autism awareness month, and i'm wearing blue. not because i think people are unaware. not because i want to make a huge statement. but because at this point, today, i want to remind myself that there is something different about hiba and her neurological functioning. she does have autism. and that's ok. and i'm ok. and she's ok. and i need to remember it's a journey that won't be over after this month is over, or if we get a good teacher, or if we get her into a good therapy program, or whatever. it's a puzzle that she, and i, will be learning to solve for the rest of her life. some days, some months, hopefully even some year - that puzzle will fit together perfectly. it'll look great. and other days, other months, maybe even other years - we just won't be able to fit the pieces together. but we will learn. we will work. we will grow. she'll be great.