Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

About The Blogess of Finding Ninee

About The Blogess of Finding NineeHi! I’m so happy that you’re here!

About The Bloggess of Finding Ninee

The Blogess (as in the blogger your highness and the author of Finding Ninee) is me.  Kristi Campbell. Kristi Rieger Campbell for those of you who may know me by my maiden name.

A Ninee (9E) is the way that my son pronounces the word airplane.  It’s my favorite strangely-pronounced word of his. He says it so adorably and while I will do everything in my power to help him reach his full potential in every area of his life, an airplane will likely always remain a Ninee in my heart.

I began this blog in the fall of 2012, without having a clue about blogging. At all. I started writing a memoir designed for moms in my position – moms who aren’t sure whether their children’s autism spectrum issues equal autism.

Easily discouraged after reading that a publisher would rather shave a cat than hear another memoir proposal, I thought blog it!  I’ve learned a little bit about blogging since then, and am blessed to have found an amazing community of special needs parents, parents of typical children, humor writers, and overall awesome people, many of whom I’ve now met in person.

BT (Before Tucker), I had about 18 years of marketing experience in a variety of national and global technology companies and more recently was a co-host on a hilarious (and under funded) weekly radio show.  Once Tucker was born, I became a woman who almost always leaves the house in either flip-flops or Uggs, depending on the weather – a stay-at-home mom. While I do work part-time now, my passion is writing and drawing really stupid-looking pictures for this here blog.



My niche, you ask? My primary goal is to raise awareness and acceptance for special needs. I believe with my entire heart that the world should be open and accepting of everybody, regardless of his or her ability (or lack thereof). I often write about autism, special needs, and my son’s school journey.

Although much of my identity is being a special needs mom, I have a past and a present of my own, and also write about my experiences in the 80’s, life perspectives, and occasionally manage to produce some humorous drawings and thoughts. I think it’s important to remember that as moms, as parents, we’re so much more alike than different. While your parenting books may be of a different nature than the ones I’m reading, our parenting experiences carry many similarities and parallels, so I prefer to categorize Finding Ninee as a life blog, with a large side of special needs parenting. For more about this website and its origins, visit the About Finding Ninee page.

The Credentialish Stuff:
Winner of 2014 BlogHer Voices of the Year People’s Choice Award (category Exploration)
Proud cast member of 2014 DC’s Listen to Your Mother Show
DC Editor for SavvySource
Featured on Huffington Post, Autism Speaks, Scary Mommy, Mamapedia, Families in the Loop, and a variety of other websites.
Published in multiple print anthologies including Mothering Through the Darkness, Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness, The HerStories Project, Mother of All Meltdowns, Awakening Wonder (ebook) and Life Well Blogged: Parenting Gag Reel.
        

I look forward to getting to know you!

Start your own blog! Here’s my easy, step-by-step tutorial.

  • Coming Out | Finding Ninee - […] menu Skip to primary content Skip to secondary content HomeAboutThe BlogessStoryThe Real DoctorUseless […]September 24, 2012 – 6:38 pmReplyCancel

  • K - Thank you for sharing your storyNovember 26, 2012 – 12:20 amReplyCancel

  • Nisha - I’m glad you’re using your struggles to help others I believe that is the ultimate purpose of life, to use our struggles
    to help others.December 22, 2012 – 11:08 amReplyCancel

    • admin - Thank you so much for your comment. I, too, believe that sharing our struggles is helpful. If the only thing this blog ever does is make a mom who is in a similar situation feel less alone, I’ll celebrate.December 22, 2012 – 7:52 pmReplyCancel

  • Maggie Amada - Thanks for sharing your story. Parenting is hard, no matter the issues your children face. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a child with developmental challenges. I’m sure, whatever it does, it makes you see the world with a different flavor.

    One thing I’ve noticed about writing is that it makes you more honest and more open. It helps you deal with the things you might bury otherwise. When we share it, writing forms a connection with the outside world and lets us know we are not alone.

    Publishers may not want to take a chance on your memoir, but individual people probably will. Maybe we’ll see a self-published book from you in a little while.February 2, 2013 – 10:11 amReplyCancel

    • admin - Thanks, Maggie, for such an insightful comment. I guess we do see the world with a “different flavor” as you put it (love that). And you’re so right that writing makes us more honest – it’s easier sometimes to put things out there using this medium. And who knows? I recently learned that Kindle allows you to self-publish and keep 70% of the profits to yourself. Not a bad deal!
      Thanks for visiting 🙂February 2, 2013 – 10:28 amReplyCancel

  • Alicia - Lost In Holland - This blog is truly wonderful and fills a very important niche that has been largely neglected in the community. Im glad you are speaking about this “middle place” parents find themselves in. though my experience is much different (I have a 17 year old daughter with clear, very severe diagnoses to include the autism spectrum) I appreciate your experience as a young mother with a child presenting in that “gray” area. I do remember those days well and so many moms in your situation. Lovely blog, important message. I wish you all the luck in the world and will keep reading… i especially connect with you about writing your memoir (I am too) so I will love to follow your journey with that as well 🙂
    PS- thank you for visiting my blog through love that max 🙂February 3, 2013 – 9:29 amReplyCancel

    • admin - Hi, Alicia,
      Glad we found each other. It’s so cool that Ellen from Love that Max hosts the linkups.
      Thank you so much for the awesome comment. I really appreciate it and it means a lot to me when moms recognize the gray area that some of us navigate. It feels lonely sometimes, to not be a part of a specific community and able to compare ideas, diets, behaviors, therapies, etc. I’ve been lucky recently and have made friends with some of the moms in Tucker’s preschool class, which makes a huge difference.
      Thanks again! <3February 3, 2013 – 5:46 pmReplyCancel

  • Bonnie-Welcome to Breannaldh's World - Hi Kristi! I’ve been reading this and your “about” section. I would have loved to have someone to talk with about these issues when my son was tiny. I’m so glad that we have the internet now. It makes such a difference in our world to be able to connect with people you wouldn’t know were going through the same things without it.

    I have a son, who’s in his early 30s; so as much as I would like to tell you a lot of details about my son’s issues, and how similar our stories are, I feel that it would be an invasion of his privacy.

    I can tell you that I knew within a few months of his birth that something was wrong although I couldn’t tell what it was. Family and friends thought I was imagining things. By the time he was a year old I was totally convinced. But it wasn’t until the city I live in sent a public health nurse to our house to evaluate my daughters’ developmental status that I had an official medical opinion of a problem. My city evaluated all 18 month-old babies to see whether they might need services for various delays.

    My son was close to three years old when he was evaluated, because we had moved into the city when he was 15 months old, and the public health service was not aware of us until our twin daughters were born. The nurse evaluated him and expressed the wish that she had seen him at 18 months because there were programs and other evaluations that could have been done. But he had to have been evaluated at 18 months old in order to qualify. She found that he was way ahead of schedule in some things and way behind in others. There was no middle ground. My daughters at the right developmental stage for their age.

    I had been asking my pediatrician to recommend a pediatric neurologist. He didn’t want to do the referral because he saw a very bright child with some different, but not disturbing, behaviors. Bright children, he told me, often behave differently from others.

    I kept pushing and finally got the referral; but we could not do the evaluations the neurologist wanted because the hospital she worked out of would not follow her recommendations for administering the tests to toddlers as opposed to adults. We never got a diagnosis.

    Long story short. I will share this with you: my son is extremely bright but had a very hard time reading body language and facial expressions and silences and he had emotional issues. He has overcome a lot of these issues. Now he has the same issues that all adults have.

    He went through some very hard times; yet earned his BA and entered the work force. He has been a member of a band for more than fifteen years; has traveled throughout Europe and the United State four or five times with the band; writes and records music and has a tight group of friends. He writes his own blog. He made it.:) It was a very tough haul for us both as well as the rest of the family. (I was his main advocate and I had to do it every day, sometimes several times a day.) It does affect the rest of the family when a child needs so much of the parents’ attention. I’m really proud of my three daughters because they understand the issues even though they felt really left out a lot of the time.

    II’m tired; so I hope it won’t upset you that I can’t remember which boy has trouble with certain sounds. I recommend that you ask your pediatrician to refer you to an ENT to evaluate his tonsils and adenoids. My nephew could not make the “k” sound at the end of words, and this made it very difficult for him to speak clearly. It affected the way other children and adults, particularly teachers, responded to him. They would either yell at him or dismiss him.

    My nephew’s doctor had him evaluated and it was determined that his tonsils and adenoids should be removed. After the surgery, with speech therapy, he picked up the sound. It vastly improved his pronunciation and people responded to him positively because they could understand him. He speaks perfectly clearly now, and no one who doesn’t know his history would ever guess that there was a problem with his speech. It might not be the answer for the little one. But if you haven’t already done so; it couldn’t hurt to eliminate that as a problem.

    I will add that until I was twelve I couldn’t breathe through my nose and had a very strange voice both of which were corrected with T and A surgery ( no not THAT T and A :P) and also surgery done on the bone and sinuses. What a difference that surgery made for me. I was able to breathe through my nose and it changed the quality of my voice. It also ended the recurrent double ear infections and the tonsillitis.

    I wish I could talk with all of you in person to let you know that you just take it one day at a time. And in each of those days for me there was at least one funny or sweet thing where my son was concerned. He had a beautiful smile and a sunny disposition and that’s what I remember most.

    I’m sending all of you moms a great big hug because you really deserve it.:-)February 22, 2013 – 1:25 amReplyCancel

    • admin - Hi, Bonnie!
      Wow, thanks for the super-long comment with such great information. Nobody has yet suggested that we try an ENT, but I will definitely look into that. Tucker’s “k” sounds depend on what follows. So, he can say bucket, rocket, and Michael pretty perfectly but not Tucker or truck. Tucker comes out like Tu – er and truck is tru. It’s weird because I know he can make the “k” sound.
      Your son sounds amazing and a true testament to you fighting to get him the services he needed. Cheers to that! Awesome 🙂
      And ha ha on “not that kind of T&A surgery.” Glad you got your sinuses fixed. It must have been hard to not be able to breathe through your nose!
      You’re so sweet to share all of this. Thank you!! <3February 22, 2013 – 9:51 amReplyCancel

  • Donofalltrades - Kids are funny with their words. My 2 year old calls the breakfast sausages on a stick wrapped in a pancake “neenawgs”. Good God I can’t tell you how long it took before we were finally able to find context within which to figure out what the hell he was saying whenever he’d say it. He also calls any emergency vehicle a “weewoo” lol, he’s not right in the head that one.July 30, 2013 – 3:57 pmReplyCancel

  • Erin - Hi there mother of a sweet Ninee! Just received your comment on my blog and was very touched you took the time out to reach out to me. I have been actively following your blog and have loved. everything I’ve read. I have been secretly ( well now, not so secretly)hoping to write for your Land feature one day. Thank you for your spirit of honesty and your commitment to community among the. special needs parents out there.October 19, 2013 – 4:46 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Erin
      How is it I never replied to this? Sending love and hugs your way.February 1, 2015 – 2:56 pmReplyCancel

  • Sara - My son had speech delays as well and everyone always said he had “autism” when he was younger but, was never formally diagnosed other than a Dr saying he was probably “A little aspurgers”..whatever that means. Anyway, love your story. My son called helicopters “alcores” for the longest time. It is funny how their little brains come up with new words. I always embraced it and miss when he was that little! He still have speech issues but now, it is talking way too fast(ADHD) and has social issues(He is too much for other kids I think and has social skill issues that his school is “working on”) I have found great frustration with his school and re-evaluating him for an IEP.January 29, 2015 – 11:16 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Hi Sara,
      I’m sorry that you’ve found so much frustration with your son’s school and his IEP and all of that. It’s not easy for sure. One thing I’ve learned through the process is that if I keep being annoying and loud and asking for what I want, we usually get it (services and support wise anyway).
      Alcores is adorable!!!
      Let me know if you want to talk more and thank you for reaching out and leaving a comment!!February 1, 2015 – 2:58 pmReplyCancel

  • Krista Shultz - My daughter called her shoes her “scoobs” and even thought she is now 17, shoes are stil “scoobs” in our house!June 18, 2015 – 3:07 pmReplyCancel

  • Abigail Zebrowski - Such a pleasure to meet you Kristi 🙂 I’m looking forward to settling in and reading!October 26, 2015 – 2:08 pmReplyCancel

  • Anna Godby - We are going through a similar “struggle” with our little guy… So many signs of autism spectrum disorder, yet doctors are all too often reluctant to diagnose, saying “he’ll grow out of it” or “he sort of makes eye contact so it can’t be” or my favorite “he plays with you, so there’s no way…” Le sigh. Love the “ninees” though! My son is extremely, literal, to a fault. One of my favorite conversations with him went something like this: “Look, Mama”~him “Oh no, it’s a spider!”~me “*sigh*, no it is not a spider. It is a toy.”~him “Oh, whew! It’s just a toy spider.”~me “*shakes head* No, it is not a toy spider. It is just a TOY!”~him When will I learn? 🙂 Love your blog, thank you for sharing your thoughts!February 29, 2016 – 3:16 pmReplyCancel

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