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Happy Mardi Gras - Is It Bedtime Yet?

Hurricane drink By Kim Stagliano

Today is Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, as its known en Francais. "Laissez les bon temps rouler!" Which means, have you checked the toilet to see if it has overflowed? Sorry. Long few days here. My husband Mark (whom you met in my book) is traveling, and when he's gone this whole "solo autism Mom" role takes its toll on me.

My girls are good kids. But like some/most/any/all (choose the version that will offend you the least, I'm tired and can't choose for you) kids with autism, they are, well, a lot of work. Mia, Gianna and Bella have made great strides and I'm always proud of them (there, now I can check off the appropriate motherly admiration box) but they do test my limits of patience and grace a hundred times a day.  The hurricanes here come not in a tall glass filled with cheerful punch, but in waves of cleaning, wiping, fixing, guiding, managing, tutoring, cooking, cleaning, dressing, undressing, washing, shaving (check out our last name) tucking in and finally, breathlessly and blissfully closing two bedroom doors.

To our readers who are full time single parents, I tip my chapeau to you.

Lassez les bontemps rouler! As long as I can roule straight into bed.

And my two favorite words in French? Bonne nuit.

All I Can Handle Small Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism. Her book from Skyhorse Publishing, All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa; A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism is available now. Visit her website at Kim Stagliano. To request an appearance for a book signing or speaking engagement, email [email protected].


jane Casey

I just finished your book Kim. I laughed out loud about the poop with the sticker on it. Do you still have the photo on your cell phone?

My son who is 12 is now reading your book and he is pretty angry in general. Angry about getting the vaccines that tipped him over the edge. He is happy he can articulate that now and is happy he is well. But he is mad that your girls are sick and he can't help them. And even more saddened by the fact that some moms took their own kids lives. We understand this and can empathize (it is horrible). I plan to buy more of your books and give them as gifts.

I just bought AOA book and gave it to a nurse who is going into pediatrics here in Oregon. With the inscription (do your own research!!)

Thank your for your newsletter Kim!

Sandy Lopriore

He is telling me you have to suck all the water out and then usually the object/toy will usually come out right after. Then you should flush to get the bowl filled up again because if you leave it w/o water the methane gas from the sewer will start coming up. Remember - don't snake first because it usually lodges the object in worse. It is best to try the shop vac before moving on to the snake.

Teresa Conrick

OK- ShopVac Talk is SO autism and so cool and helpful!!

I have frequent flier with plumber (wish I could add him in my taxes somewhere...) but also have the snake AND shop VAC!

Any danger in vacuuming too much water out as you do this?

Thank you!

Sandy Lopriore

My husband said to make sure you get one that has a larger hose (around 2 inch diameter) so it fits as snuggly as possible in the toilet hole/drain for the suction to work.

I have not read your book but plan to. I live in Northeast Ohio and am curious to read about your time in Hudson. Also, I am interested in reading where your kids were diagnosed and treated while you were here.


This might be the best advice I have ever gotten. THANK YOU! Now to find a shop vac, if you've read my book you know we don't own one!

Sandy Lopriore

Wonderful conversation, I know, but just trying to help out. It really works. It is a Craftsman 4.5 H.P. wet/dry shop vac and it has removed plastic Dora dolls, wash rags, toothbrush...oh and the Little Einstein dolls that came with space helmets on--don't know if you have ever seen them, but they were one of the worst things to get out of the toilet!

The worst is in the winter when you have to drag it outside to empty it, but it really has saved us a lot of time. A few times my husband had to take the toilet apart but this has helped prevent that situation.


A shop vac in the toilet? Now you have really elevated the conversation. Really???

Sandy Lopriore

Hey Kim,

My husband wanted me to ask you if you tried using a shop vac before the snake? Using the snake first will sometimes lodge it in there more. Our daughter has flushed many things over the past few years so your post really made us laugh!

Teresa Conrick

Hey Kim,

It's 8:30 in Chicago. I am hoping you have your feetie(y) pajamas on and the glow of the Charlie Sheen network putting you to sleep.

All Best and we here love to help out as much as possible but my snake will not reach your toilet .. = )

wait-- that sounds like a joke you would say.......


You all deserve a pat on the back...and a comfy bed!


Kim, my hat is off to you- I seriously do not know how you do what you do and still manage to write and inspire the rest of us. All I can say is Thank you and God bless you!

chantal Sicile-Kira

Yes, Bonne Nuit is how I feel - I only have one but he is 22 and I am a single mom during the week - I can only imagine how you do it, Kim!! I should say, now though, it is actually negotiating the systems here to help him as an adult (don't laugh TOO hard) that makes me want to drink hurricaines.

Salut, et a la tienne! Et Bonne Nuit!!!


I wonder every morning as I drag my a$s out of bed, how I can possibly work in a nap. Then I pour a cup of coffee, read my first FB post and I'm going again. God Bless all our Mom's and Dad's who care for special needs. And 3 times the prayers for you my friend. I don't know how you do it without a full time provider living with you. And you BAKE! You are my idol! ;o) I'm not worthy. (insert arm wave)


The Duggars! That's funny! I agree it equals at least 4 NT kids- some equal 5. Bedtime almost means nothing to me, my guy has his own 24 random show. You never know if you will sleep or not. Gosh I love you guys. :)
"Leisure time is that five or six hours when you sleep at night." ~George Allen ... or 3 or 4....

Donna L.

Ok, Kim, just READING about that night makes me reach for a drink...and it's not even 8:00 in the morning over here.

"qui sont ces enfants et pourquoi sont-ils m'appeler maman?"


There are times when it is overwhelming. Last night I had one in the shower, one going batshit after her sister in a attempt to "play" which I love - but it looks a lot like a rabid cat fight, one has started hissing like a snake as a new stim that I need to tackle with gut issues I'm sure, in a bathroom with brand new Target towels and rugs and a toilet that was STILL overflowing after days and days of snaking (hey, maybe that's why she's hissing?) to get a box of period pad gel (overnight no less) out of the damn pipes. The bathroom was loud, I was moving around like an octopus on crack trying to wash one, keep one away from the other, mop the floor and counting the moments until bedtime.


Funny you should write this. I was just thinking the other day, how on earth does Kim DO that with the three?? I was having a hellacious day with my one (of three, but two are typical and present with their own challenges but let's face it: not even close to the amount of challenges autism brings). I've always said that a child with autism equals approximately 4 typically developing children. So that means if you add one or two more autistic kids, you are the Duggars. Happy Mardi Gras!

Cat Jameson

T-minus 11 hours and 40 minutes to bedtime over here. But, who's counting?

Here's to a good day for both of us, Kim!

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