Mafe Maria: Every story has a happy ending if we give it enough time

A Boy Growing Up

(90 entries)

His name is Joaquin. He is passionate pursuing his interests, driven to learn and experience newness constantly, exceptional in skills and abilities, creative, energetic; and he was once diagnosed in the autism spectrum. He constantly dazzles me as he explores this life, as I see his joy experiencing and mastering everything new he understands, as I witness him moving into areas that were once difficult for him, as I see him growing more whole and beautiful every day .

Swimming Update »

After eight lessons of formal instruction—or, as formal as it could be with this child—Joaquin is now teaching himself how to swim. During his lessons we were fortunate to have Nanette, his most recurring instructor. As soon as she learned from me about Joaquin’s learning process and sensory sensitivities (I didn’t want his challenge to […]

Running »

All summer. Several times a week after Joey gets home from work. We’re so impressed by Joaquin’s ease at this. He doesn’t get tired, and he’s fast on long distances.

The Road Trip »

I just returned from Radical Authenticity at The Option Institute (expansive beyond my expectations), and Kiki is working on a virtual road trip via Google maps from our home to the institute at Sheffield, MA . I’m loving the project and finding a number of learning opportunities and differences for him to perceive. I got […]

“Leon”, a Filmmaking Project »

As the time for vocal exercises started to approach its end, and with an emerging motivation for animated Disney films, I noticed that Joaquin was using my computer to record his own movies. It was so exciting!… Completely spontaneously, he’d impersonate characters and record himself with PhotoBooth, and he’d even bring costume props to enhance […]

“Leon” Film Premiere »

Time to make the popcorn and get cozy. It’s finally time for the world premiere of Leon, a filmmaking project that kept Joaquin and I busy and very motivated all February and part of March. The movie is about a little lion and his friendship and adventures with two friends he meets along the way. […]

Steak Pimienta »

Joaquin and I have been working on a serious filmmaking project for several weeks, and we exported the final movie today! 61 mins with credits as Joaquin set out to do. This is a short clip with one of my favorite scenes. It took me a long time to edit it because I wanted to […]

A Book Collection by “Harey” »

Joaquin’s newest passion is to write illustrated STORIES (whoo hoo!). He started a few days ago, and as I’ve added variations, it’s become a new favorite activity for him. I love his illustrations. They’re 3-dimensional and so expressive. This is “The boy who recharged his batteries” (we often talk about me needing solo time to […]

Spontaneous Gorgeous Symbolic Gestures »

Watching this was so exciting!… Even to Heidi, who at the time didn’t know much about the gestures goal… It’s been just two weeks of very subtle “work” giving Joaquin’s brain little pieces to figure out symbolic gestures, and today he spontaneously gestures “move the couch down”, then creates another gesture reproducing with his hands […]

Back to Spanish »

Things are getting tricky and interesting at Joaquin’s house… Nineteen months after asking me to stop talking Spanish (in order to focus his verbal development), he has decided that he wants to re-learn “Español”. It started with this 5-year-old high-pitched voice nagging me every third word I said because I said it in English, and […]

Conversations with Joaquin: Death »

We’re looking out Joaquin’s window to the house across the street. For a few days Joaquin has been talking about wanting to go under Mike and Ann’s bushes, and we’re talking about him having to ask permission from them, and they may not understand what he means by “can I please go under your bushes”, […]

Friend Eliza »

Over the last month before turning three years old, Joaquin started writing numbers, drawing their outlines, spelling words and writing some, all by himself. His memory is amazing. His focus, passion, and control when drawing and writing is (I believe) extraordinary. All signs of a beautiful mind at work. And, as exciting and reassuring as […]

Slash »

Bollo’s latest hobby is to type on my computer. He selects a key, presses it, and says out loud the name of the corresponding character. Letters and numbers used to be fun, but he’s now totally into three new characters: guion (-), igual (=), and his favorite ever: slash (/). Check out the pride in […]

The Trail of Blood »

Note to self: This is how you deal with the nosebleed of a wild toddler and successfully contain him to minimize the bloody mess around the house.

Rottweilers and Two-Year-Olds »

I once heard that Rottweilers lock their jaws when they bite… Nap time is approaching, so I offer Joaquin his toothbrush. Of course, he’s busy playing with clothes hangers, and he decides that he doesn’t have time to brush. He drops the toothbrush and I threaten him with a serious brush your teeth or I’ll […]

The Wonderful Twos! »

Last week, my babycenter newsletter called Joaquin a “preschooler”. It also warned me, in case I’ve been bracing myself for the arrival of the “terrible twos”, that what’s truly terrible is the second year — the one we just passed — because the “twos” (or third year of life), newsletter says, are a much tamer […]

These days, Joaquin… »

At 1.5 years old, Joaquin: Walks around “our property” (the backyard) like Simba, the Lion King. Announces poops and pees (and perhaps farts) by becoming very serious and saying popó in a solemn tone to express the gravity of the situation. Demands more than two choices to select a video to watch. Two?!, he moans […]

So close to tragedy »

It’s been almost two weeks since I was given the names and numbers of five 12–year–old girls who live in the neighborhood and perhaps could babysit Joaquin. Despite a recent horrible day of depression and swearing that I will NOT have a second child, I haven’t called one of those girls yet. Joey asks me […]

Lately, Joaquin… »

Understands my words way more than I expect. Signs “milk”, and says “mama” and something very close to “bird”. Reads books out loud and talks in an adorable unknown language that includes words like “apbm”, “capbm”, and “puapua”. Knows exactly what we’re talking about when we sing the tune made by a certain toy, book, […]

Weaning »

No. Not from the breast… Turns out, Joaquin stopped breastfeeding exactly at the year without any trauma. It happened in the most natural, gradual, perfect way I could’ve possibly planned, except, I didn’t have to plan it and execute it. It just happened, and all three of us involved (Joaquin, me, and my boobs) didn’t […]

Days 6 and 5 »

It’s crazy to realize this, but it seems that some trigger suddenly went off on Kiki’s brain, because over the last two days I’m seeing things that were not there before. Yesterday, towards the end of the day before daddy got home, I was feeling a little tired. In these cases it’s best NOT to […]

Day 7 »

On the countdown to Joaquin’s first birthday, allow me to indulge on a little bit of shameless mommy blogging and document my baby’s last week as a baby (major sniff). Today’s morning was no indication at all of what the afternoon would bring. Joaquin had a terrible time at his Little Gym class. And I […]

That Glorious Day »

This Tuesday — I’ve been told — Joaquin’s nursery mural will be featured in an article on Cookie Magazine. Imagining that they might link to my site (maybe not), I thought it would be cool to have as a welcome mat that Christmas e–card/slideshow template I’ve promised to give away. So I got the template […]

Best Compliment Ever »

(At least it would be, if I could take any credit for it.) As I child I was a terrible eater. I distinctly remember a female figure spoon–feeding me and begging me to please swallow. My tiny mouth closed shut with several bites of food still inside, unchewed, stuck in there since the feeding begun. […]

Overheard in the bathroom »

Joaquin is getting more and more mobile, and giving him a bath on your own is becoming more and more difficult: Baby wants to sit up, and he loves to lean to the side to touch and play with the container of fresh water we keep by the bath tub to rinse the soap and […]

Liquid or solid, but by all means NOW! »

This has been going on for a few days now…Towards the end of the day, nursing the bollo becomes almost more stressing than speaking in public. Why, you ask. Well… It so happens that Don Joaquin recently has decided that he no longer has the patience to suck for longer than 3 seconds to get […]

Trompita tastes bananas »

Don Joaquin has officially started eating solids and I thought his fan club would enjoy seeing him take his first meal of cereal, milk, and bananas. Please notice the face he makes, and how he throws himself and holds on to the chair on the last bite (towards the end of the video)… What a […]

If you believe in reincarnation… »

Silly, I know, but it had never occurred to me how difficult it is to learn to do the things we do so effortlessly with our bodies. It was only several weeks ago, when I saw the expression on Joaquin’s face while he was holding a rattle with his left hand and mom offered another […]

Born Free »

Right between getting a breast ultrasound (no worries, it was just a cyst) and falling prey to a terrible cold with a fever of 102°F, I went to the baby store to shop for some toys for little Joaco. Wasn’t planning on buying anything big, when suddenly this awesome product crossed my path… The Bumbo […]

Endangered Nap »

For the last week or so, putting Joaquin down to sleep his mid-afternoon nap has become mission impossible. Mom and I, the two victims of this new behavior, keep theorizing about what may be “wrong”. We strategize. We experiment. We discuss. We fight. We keep trying to make him sleep. I read that a two-month-old […]

Four Weeks »

Soooo…. It’s been four weeks since Joaquin was born… Those of you who have had babies — specially moms — will probably understand that as much as I’ve wanted to write about my experiences, and share that christmas e-card template I promised, it is really hard to get much done between baby feedings… It takes […]