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An Autism Mom Leaves the Pod

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I'm getting out of Dodge! Yes, I have an (ahem) business trip! Most of you are likely yawning, "Big whoop, Kim. You're going out of town. What's the big deal?" Humor me. When my husband Mark travels, he packs his bag, kisses us goodbye and off he goes. Throughout our marriage he's been on the road anywhere from 60-75 nights a year. He's organized, practiced and really good at preparing for his trips. Me? I am the definition of a scatterbrain when it comes to myself. Really. I should be popping Ritalin like Certs. So for me, leaving "the pod," as I call going out of town, requires Herculean effort. I'm sure most Moms can relate, especially autism moms.

First, let me tell you where I'm going. I'm off to Chicago where I am presenting at Autism One, a comprehensive conference where parents can learn about how to help their children (old or young) with autism from A-Z with an emphasis on T for treatment.

I've spent the week moving heaven and earth to prepare my husband and kids for 4 days without Mom. I'm fortunate that Mark can manage the kids and the household as well as Alice, Hazel and Florence combined. But he does need some help with the day to day details. And he is taking the girls to his mom's on Cape Cod, so there's a lot of packing to do.

Let's see, I've made the supplement filled gluten-free, casein-free, chocolate chip dotted pancakes for Gianna. (Thanks to my pal Maureen for that terrific idea.) I have to put Mia and Bella's supplements into labeled baggies -- one for each day. I need to label the mineral and RNA drop bottles so Mark knows how many drops go into the morning juice. I still have to make a social story for Bella. That's a little book with pictures that explains to her in detail that I have gone away and that I will return. Social stories are a mainstay of autism households. I'm doing laundry. And more laundry.

I have monthly girly pad things packed in case there is a God and she torments my husband with one of the girls getting her "friend" while I'm gone. (Hee hee!). Yes, he handles that like a pro. A reluctant pro, but a pro nonetheless. Mark is an amazing father and rather a good mother too.

I did a Trader Joe's run. I have GFCF foods packed, hemp milk, rice milk, organic juice boxes, snack bars, Koala Krisp cereal and veggie chips ready to go. I baked GF bread yesterday and will prepare sandwiches for the freezer. I've packed their digestive enzymes. Did I mention laundry?

I won't really think too much about what I need to do at Autism One until I board the plane and am actually on my own. I'll be speaking on Saturday along with my colleagues from Age of Autism, Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill. I believe I'm also on a media panel first thing in the morning.

There's a rumor that I'm participating in my very first book signing since three other contributors to an anthology in which I'm featured called Embracing Autism are presenting, including the book's editor Robert Parish, Asperger's expert Stephen Shore and autism safety trainer Dennis Debbaudt.

Humor me, here. I really don't get out much and I'm pretty darn excited about this. I've been practicing my cursive K's all week. Thank you to the Dominican Sisters for my fine penmanship.

I've heard that I'm doing something for Spectrum Magazine on Friday. Although I'm not sure about that one. My publicist has the details. Oh wait. I don't have a publicist. I'm not Jenny McCarthy. (Kim examines her dark curly hair, paucity of makeup, plane-like figure.) It's confirmed. I'm definitely not Jenny McCarthy and I do not have a publicist. I'd better get on the stick and figure out my schedule, eh? Just as soon as I make sure the kids have batteries in all their electronic toys.

Speaking of Jenny, I have earned another "get out of jail free" pass on June 4th to attend Jenny and Jim Carrey's Green Our Vaccines! Rally in Washington, D.C. Can you imagine an autism mom having two trips in two weeks! Unheard of!

It is likely that I will arrive in Chicago with no toothbrush, one pair of panties and mismatched shoes. I don't care. I will take one look at that hotel bed and grin from ear to ear. "All mine!" I will scarf down the chocolate on the pillow and savor the quiet.

Then I'll probably turn on the TV and find PBS, hoping Sesame Street is on so I'll feel close to my girls. By Sunday I'll be eager to return home. And start the laundry.

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