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*I received a copy of What Color is Monday? for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
What Color is Monday?
by Carrie Cariello
About the Book: What Color is Monday? is Carrie’s personal experience as a mother raising an autistic child. In her book, she shares with us the ups, the downs, the worries, and the tear producing joys of seeing a child succeed. What Color is Monday? will inspire every mother to see their child, not as a diagnosis, but another person just like us.
About the Author: This seems a bit redundant since the book is about the author, but I like to add these tidbits in. Carrie is the mother of 5 children very close in age. Their family lives in New Hampshire (I claim this as my home-state as well!). Her husband works in the dental field while Carrie stays home taking care of the family. She enjoys Bikram yoga (I’m very curious about this sweat to death yoga practice now), writing, and spending time with her precious family.
My thoughts: I think this is a must read for every parent. It doesn’t matter if you have a child on the spectrum, Carrie’s words will inspire you to be a better parent, and see past any flaws – because we all have them – to the child and person we all are.
After reading What Color is Monday? I made a resolve to stop yelling as often. I’ve never liked yelling, but my “red zone” seemed to get lower and lower every day. With Carrie’s words behind me, I’ve been doing pretty good, and I see the difference it makes. My kids are your pretty average kids – messy, loud, and completely lovable – but even so, I was able to put into practice similar techniques Carried used for Jack into my own parenting. I will be forever grateful that I picked up this book.
One specific piece of wisdom I will hold onto is something that had often weighed on my mind, about my own second child. The idea that she might fall on the spectrum had often been discussed between Mark and I. But I just didn’t feel like she was completely, or that we should put that label on her. Then Carrie nailed it on the head – WE ARE ALL SOME SORT OF CRAZY! You know we are. Everyone has their problems, their difficulties. What makes someone on the spectrum is the combination of many problems. So I will continue to love and teach my brilliant daughter, while often reminding her that she can’t climb on strangers laps and pointing to the man with the big white beard and yelling Santa Claus is not very appropriate. It’s who she is, and I love her little self just brimming with love for everyone around her.
I had a wonderful opportunity to ask Carrie some questions. I know she’s probably very busy with her kids, and writing, that I didn’t want to take up too much of her time, so I kept it to three questions I felt we could all benefit from:
What one piece of advice would you give a couple facing an autism diagnosis? If you could only tell them one thing, what would it be?
I would tell parents facing a diagnosis to try the best they can, not to panic. Believe me, I know exactly how hard that is – Jack is nearly nine and I still panic at times – but do your best to enjoy the moment and understand that though the road ahead is bumpy, there are many beautiful moments as well.
Also, the best advice I ever received was this: try to remember that behind every child’s behavior – every tantrum, every whine, every act of defiance – there is purpose. Your little one is trying to tell you something, and it’s important to try and listen and figure out what the meaning is.
I guess that’s two things.
What advice would you give to parents, in general, raising a herd of kids close in age?
Love the word herd! I think we’ve had the most success treating our five kids as a group when it comes to things like bath time, meals, and activities. We try to have them do as much together as possible.
Also, make sure to take time for yourself, whether it’s a “date night” with your partner or spouse, a yoga class, or an hour with a cup of coffee in the bookstore. Time to regroup and rejuvenate is essential, and your entire family will benefit.
What are your hope and dreams for the future?
For myself, I would love to continue writing. I would also love to do a strict pull-up unassisted.
For my children, I hope they continue to blossom and grow as individuals, but also always remain as close-knit a group as they are right now. I hope they won’t need too much therapy in the future.
And for Jack, I hope he lives the life he hopes for – one full of family and license plates and music. I hope he is happy and that his days are always full of color.
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