Yesterday I spent the evening with the Kim Stagliano. They were in Cleveland for a doctor appt. and Kim’s husband Mark was going out with a friend, so I hung out in the hotel suite with Kim and her girls. For those who don’t know Kim already, (perhaps you are new to the Internet and just stumbled upon my blog accidentally) all three of Kim’s girls have autism. That’s Mia above, and below is Gianna, holding tight to her beloved book on feelings. “Excited” is her favorite page.
After traveling all day, the family went out to dinner and Kim barely had two bites before Gianna had a meltdown and they had to leave the restaurant. You would never know it. A short time later, I arrived and first of all, Kim looked great. Secondly she was just so loving and compassionate with her girls. Not a trace of annoyance or frazzled-ness. She tended to all three of them, preparing them for bed, getting teeth brushed, all the while holding a conversation with me. She’s a graceful mother. That’s what she is. Bella fell asleep like this, with Kim rubbing her legs and feet as we chattered away.
Bella is a little doll. Same age as Riley.
Kim and I had a wonderful conversation. We dished bio-med. We talked about the Dr. of Chinese Medicine my family is seeing. We talked about service dogs, and PANDAS and books (she has one coming out in 2010), and yes, we talked about vaccines. I’ve gotten away from the politics of autism on this blog, but I do personally believe vaccines have contributed greatly to the increase in autism. Part of me truly thinks parents are CRAZY not to be more informed about vaccines. I admit I secretly scoff at parents who are involved in the PTA, who feed their kids nutritious food, who limit the amount of TV time their precious little ones get, but who have absolutely no clue about what they are putting into their children’s bodies in the form of immunizations. Have no clue about the politics involved and the financial conflicts of interest behind pushing through new vaccine after new vaccine. Have no clue they haven’t a snowball’s chance in hell of getting help if their child has an adverse reaction. Have no idea truly how many adverse reactions to vaccines there are! I also secretly roll my eyes at special needs parents who swear their baby was “born that way.” Not unless you tell me they didn’t get the mercury laden Hep B vaccine at birth (or merc filled HiB and Hep B at two months, or four months),or that you didn’t get a flu shot or Rhogham while pregnant. And if you pass that test, I’ll ask to look in your mouth to count how many leaky silver fillings you have, and I’ll inquire about your tuna habit.
That being said, I happen to think there is a bigger spiritual issue at play concerning the autism epidemic, one we don’t quite understand and may never understand fully in this lifetime. Part of me has to admit our family is living a very LARGE experience, a direct result of having a child on the spectrum. My life has absolutely been blessed by Riley. Her autism has led the way to so much personal growth. There has been pain, but she has brought deeper joy than we ever would have experienced had she not been exactly who she is. Dare I say autism has made us more, and not less? A few years ago that kind of talk would have pissed me off, but there it is.
Anyway, back to Kim. It was so good to see her in action. Passionate-Energizer bunny-advocate-editor-super mom-author that she is. Her girls are extraordinary. It was a lovely visit, and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to spend time with them.
I am SO jealous that you got to hang with THE K Stag. Very, very cool.
🙂 So good to see the Staglianos, even if only through your blog. I absolutely believe what you say about Kim – I totally see her as a graceful mom.
Love to you, Kim and the girls.
What a bunch of beeeeautiful girls she has! And I love, love their names. 🙂
I also love what you say here. I like to hear your thoughts about such things. I know you have been more quiet around here on this issue, maybe to have a little more inner peace. (I have tried to do the same thing is issues of sexual abuse, that just makes me feel like I am going to LOSE my MIND. I need to breathe through it.) But anyway, I still think your view and the way you say it is so valuable. I felt so much pressure lately about the H1N1, even though I feel in my gut the way you do. So you shore me up.
Well, I’m pleased to hear you got together with Kimmy – wondered if you would when I read she was headed your way on facebook – she irritated the Brit pants off me when I first “met” her but now I would hate to be without her, my first American friend!
We had letters and forms home from school offering the H1N1 vaccination. We decided against it on the grounds that our girls are generally in good health, they almost never get bugs and when they do they recover well. They have never been offered a seasonal flu jab so why this one? They’ve never had flu in their lives.
Also, the vaccination has been fast tracked through testing and I for one am not prepared for my girls to be their guinea pigs. Reliable information is hard if not impossible to find.
How great for you to have met a kindred, someone you admire and can connect with. You know the way you view her… is the way I view you and your parenting (even during the crap days, maybe especially during the crap days).
Beautiful girls. Good mom. MomS.
Thanks for sharing pics of Kim’s girls with us, and I love the way you describe her. I also feel the same way about parents who have no idea about what’s in the vaccines they put in their children’s bodies.
Thank you for this post. We are doing biomed and beginning chelation in a few weeks after all those test results come back. I and several other biomed mothers on a mainstream parenting forum got told today that we are child abusers for doing chelation by other mothers with normal children. It hurts. I feel like no one really wants to see our children get better. I feel like the politics surrounding this issue have made the parents of typical children hate us and see us as horrible people instead of reaching out to support us in our efforts to help our children. I have a hard time not being angry at mothers of typical children who think I am abusing my daughter with voodoo medicine.
As far as this autism thing being “something bigger”, I am sure it probably is. Sixty years from now I think we are going to look back and cry with shame at what we have done to a whole generation of children. I love Natalie; I will never love autism, regardless of all that it has taught me (and of course it has taught me some good things).
Navy Wife and Mom,
We did chelation with Riley. Good luck with that. We hope you see postive results!
Nevermind what anyone else says about your choices. Go with your gut.
Hi Michelle, I’ve been reading here for several months but haven’t ever said hi, so “Hi!” And thanks for writing. I agree that following your gut is best, be it vaccinations, discipline, school, diet, whatever. It’s so easy to get off track and do things just because it’s expected or vice versa and I find that when I do not trust my gut, I end up regretting it deeply.
I ran into an article tonight with new findings connecting vaccines and autism… thought you might be interested.
Goodness, Michelle…. Isn’t it neat how the blogosphere introduced us? I can’t sit with some members of my family for that long and be calm, but you bring a fung how do you spell shui thing that kinda follows you around. My girls are my joy – their autism is my nemesis – and I will never stop trying to help them. And Amanda, I DID piss you off, I know that. LOL! I called you, Angry Brit Mom who doesn’t like me. Now you’re “Scrumpy and Bear’s Mom with the hot chef hubby and the chickens.” IF you’re ever in NYC or nearby, look me up! Love you all. KIM
I have been an avid follower for sometime. My sister-in-law falls into the Autism Spectrum mainly under PDD-NOS. I have been her biggest cheerleader for MANY years even as my in-laws have merely brushed it all under the rug. As a parent this frustrates me to no end! I wanted to thank you for your blog: It provides me with a wealth of information. It also helped in identifying Jordyn’s PANDAS! This year as Jordyn was to enter 9th grade the school said they had no choice but to integrate her! Seriously… integrate a child you have segrgated since preschool… I just doesn’t make sense. My mother in law thought it would be best to home school her… another train wreck, anyhow I digress, my apologies. As a parent who has 4 generally normal daughters I have had the firm belief that after much research that vaccinations are a leading cause in the increase of ASD cases. I was told as my children entered school that they would not be allowed to attend without their vaccinations… I abruptly corrected the Principal, nurse, and superintendent that in Ohio they are not legally required! While there was an upheaval in the administration it is my strong belief that I am not putting anything in my childs body that is genetically and chemically engineered! The preschool tried to refuse my three year old because we refused the H1N1 and seasonal flu shots that they were administering… Really?!?!?! It is unfortunate that we as parents have to defend our decisions in raising our children. I have simply started filling out the forms as religious beliefs and it seems to defer many of the conversations. Michelle again I want to thank you. It has opened a lot of ideas and waves of thought. I am so happy for Riley and her dog. I also love to hear the Seth stories, its as if he is playing the role of the “older brother” even though Riley is older. I’ll continue to follow. 🙂