By Tamara Anne Fowler | CNA Media Team
Barbara Kelso describes herself as a sleep-deprived mom, writer and amateur paparazzo of her neurodiverse autism spectrum disorder family.
She started her blog, Kelso Kids, 7 1/2 years ago as a journal for her daughter Leonora, now 7, in case something happened during Barbara’s pregnancy with the girl. Barbara had gestational diabetes, and the medical professionals were scaring her about being pregnant.
At only 34 years old, they labeled her pregnancy geriatric. If anything happened, she wanted Leonora to know who she was, and what her hopes and dreams were.
Kelso Kids began to help her feel less alone in her experience as a mom. As time went on, her blog evolved. Barbara included personal observations, her experiences with post partum depression and anxiety. She wanted to piece together why moms can struggle – and come together in a sense of community.
Barbara found she was developing a small but loyal fan base. “However, dogs on Instagram have more followers than me,” she laughed.
Five years into her blog, son Owen was diagnosed with autism at age 18 months. Her daughter was tested last year and Barbara learned Leonora was autistic as well.
Barbara became completely overwhelmed with both kids being autistic. There’s a lot to deal with. Owen’s preferred outfit is naked. “I, Owen,” he will announce proudly. Leonora has a very active fantasy life. She is obsessed with inventing things, coding games and creating things.
Barbara went through the grieving process. Now, she is able to see things more from Owen’s and Leonora’s points of view. She can accept these Kelso Kids are unique.
“The beauty of autism is there is no filter, no hidden agenda, no malice,” Barbara observed.
As Barbara neared 40, she wanted to have a book under her belt. She published “Chimera Lines” in 2015. It’s a darkly humorous fiction about what life might look like if an earthquake was to hit Portland, and how an entire neighborhood of friends and family would react. “Chimera Lines” is available on Smashwords.com and Amazon.com.
She was breast feeding at the time, so a good chunk of her book was written one-handed, using her phone.
Now Barbara has no fewer than four new books she is working on. The one she really wants to finish soon is “Merit Badge,” a wry fiction about a family that is neurodiverse and the wife is leading a double life as an assassin.
The protagonist’s autistic husband is clueless.
Tamara Anne Fowler is a copy/content editor, fiction editor and accountability coach. Visit her at EditKitten.com, email her at Tamara@ editkitten.com or call 310.359.6038. She would love to hear from you.