Friday, December 30, 2011

This Is How I Do It: Katrina of Fickle Feline

This is the fifth guest post in the "This Is How I Do It" series, which features bloggers who have kids with special needs. They're explaining their tactics for special needs parenting, and other mysteries of the universe.

Blogger: Katrina Carefoot of Fickle Feline

Her kid: Max, 5, who has autism

My three biggest secrets to sanity are...

When I'm feeling overwhelmed, I do a mental check, asking myself if I'm hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT). If the answer is "yes" to any of them then I do my best to fix it, if not immediately, then as soon as possible. My husband and I also give each other time outs on the weekend so that we get breaks as needed. And, in a pinch, a glass of wine always works!

I keep track of my child’s therapy and medical appointments by…

I have a family calendar on the back of our front door. Before anyone leaves the house, they check the calendar to see what's on tap for the day. Max receives therapy seven days a week, so it is fairly static. The challenge is the rest of us!

One way I relax (actually really, really relax) is…

One of my best friends lives close by, and I like to go to her house for sleepovers. It's the only way that I can be truly off duty, and we get to chill out, catch up, and go out for breakfast the next morning.

When I get bummed out about something related to my child, one thing that gives me a lift is…

The truth about autism is that it is a constant two steps forward, one step back. It is important to keep perspective, which is why I chronicle Max's progress. On the hard days, I can look back and see how far he has come. I can also get helpful reminders, like the fact that his behaviour always goes sideways right before he gets sick. If it weren’t for my belief that everything will be okay, I am not sure I would be able to get through the day.

The way my husband and I split up responsibilities for caring for our child is...

I have changed my career, leaving my full-time position as a Marketing Manager so that I now work part-time from home and handle getting Max to and from school and therapy and all of the day to day consultations and meetings. My husband gets home quite late, and he puts Max to bed. On the weekends we split duties equally.

The way I deal if strangers stare at my kid or say things is…

I am always very kind and direct. I let them know that Max has autism, and that a year ago, he wasn't able to walk in a grocery store with me, or go to the bakery or the movies. I also give them a copy of my card and invite them to come read more about Max's progress and find out more about autism.

One great therapy technique I recently learned for my child from his therapist that I like doing with him is…

This isn't new, but it is an important thing to come back to. Max is a child who needs reinforcers. We are in the final steps of toilet training, and whenever progress stalls, we need to up the ante and find something more motivating to get him back on track. An example would be that when Max has a movement in the toilet, he used to get a marshmallow. We went through chocolate cookies, brownies, scones and more to keep him interested.

One great site I’ve found lots of good ideas on is...

The Happiness Project. I love this site because the challenge I face every day is not whether I am going to do what needs to be done, it's the manner in which I'm going to do it. I need reminders and aids on a daily basis to help keep my attitude positive and to give me perspective.

I rock because…

I'm Max's mom. He is the hardest working kid I've ever met and has taught me more in his five short years than I learned in the 31 years before I met him combined.


  1. Thanks again Ellen another great guest post.
    Hi Katrina. Thanks for the post.
    Love the idea of sleepovers!
    And the checklist. Used this on our new borns - never thought to use it on me.
    The proactive approach to strangers is commendable - I have no experience of autism but have seen negative reactions to my son's disability - being ready rather than just reacting is a step up.

  2. Ellen, this is an awesome series! My mom have loved to have this 25 years ago when I was young! xoxo

  3. Great choice in guest bloggers :)

    Hi Karina,
    You're a great mom never forget that :)

  4. This is a great post Katrina! Your love and dedication to your son was immediately apparent when I had the opportunity to meet you at BlissdomCanada. Great to see you sharing some of your tips for other moms!


Thanks for sharing!

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