Category Archives: parenting

My Challenge: Robin

Today is pretty cool day for a Challenge. I have never met Robin, she isn’t a blogger and I wouldn’t know her if she hadn’t taken the time one day to reach out via e-mail and offer an avenue for me to explore with Boo. Beyond cool for me. When I asked her to write a Challenge for this series I had no idea what she would submit. Those of you with young children hold onto your Cheerios as Robin explains life after the kids grow up.

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My Challenge: Chris

Today’s challenge is from Christine Carter. Chris is the mom of two who began blogging not only to record her children’s lives but also to bring hope and encouragement to others. She writes on all topics but her foundation is in her faith. She makes you feel not alone in your whatever your challenge might be but gives you encouragement to handle it.

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This week

Today I am very thankful. So thankful I am participating in the Ten Things of Thankful hosted by Lizzi

1. I am thankful for the friends who got what I was trying to say when I spewed venom earlier this week. That I would not trade Boo for the world but once in a while life becomes too much.

2. For Walt Disney & Company, I understand not one more parent wants to hear Let it Go but to see Boo’s face as she watched the Ice Show? Magic. Pure Magic.



3. For sisterly love.


4. That more people got the humor of Helicopter parent than were offended. Come on people lighten up, life is too short!

5. The I Run 4 group for their dedication and willingness to provide emotional support for families.

6. For M&M’s. Lame, maybe. But they are important to my state of mind. The fact that I can just eat three and provide amusement to others is an added bonus.

7. For older sisters willingly giving up their toys to their younger siblings.

8. For the friend that took Abby for a weekend of one-on-one attention. 

9. For this video right here that shows Abby is not the only sibling who loves unconditionally. 



10. And lastly, for this moment. This moment right here when Boo was a just a little girl in love with princesses and castles. 



The fact that she just tells us to OME ERE and look at the castle and not really play with it doesn’t matter. That she just holds the three punsel (Rapunzel) Barbies stolen from her sister, meaningless. What I see here is a little girl who loves Princesses just like her older sister did. That she made Abby bring this up from the basement and place it just so in her room. That Boo WANTED this castle, relayed it to her sister and made it happen. 

Some Milestones are different than others. This one is pretty freaking cool to me. That Abby grabbed my phone to capture it, amazing and so grateful my girl is so wonderful. 

Both of them.





”Ten

My Challenge: Echo

Today’s My Challenge is from Echo a mom blogger who writes about the joys and tears of home schooling two children, one with autism and one with a diva issue. 

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My biggest challenge and my greatest love…
When Kerri asked me if I would be willing to participate in this series, I was ecstatic. I think that opening up and sharing our struggles and challenges is a great way to help each other grow as parents.
My son. My handsome, smart, charming and stubborn son is on the Autism Spectrum. He has PDD-NOS (formerly diagnosed as Asperger’s Syndrome). He is extremely high functioning, but also has a lot of sensory processing and social interaction issues.
My daughter. My gorgeous, intelligent, dramatic and independent daughter is NT (Neuro-Typical). She has hit all of her milestones and continues to grow and progress.
My biggest challenge is also my greatest love, raising my two children. Raising a child on the spectrum is hard for anyone, add in sibling rivalry and it can be complete chaos. I have to navigate so many issues, that at times, I feel like I am nothing but a referee.
Try dealing with the emotions of an over dramatic 8 year old when he realizes that his 3 year old sister is faster than him. Try dealing with his frustration when his 3 year old sister starts riding her bike and he cannot.
Imagine trying to get your strong-willed 3 year old to stop touching her brother a certain way. Imagine trying to break up a fight between a 3 year old and an 8 year old because the 3 year old took her MegaBlocks back.
Feel the heartache when you watch one child achieve something that the other could not. Feel the confusion because you don’t want to treat them differently, but you have to because of age. Feel the frustration when your 8 year old constantly yells at your 3 year old and your 3 year old constantly pushes your 8 year old’s buttons.
My children are my greatest love and I would not change either of them. However, trying to raise them together, equally is truly my greatest challenge.


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When Echo sent me her post she wondered if it was “right” for the series. After reading it I replied it was freaking awesome. I think all of us with multiple children have the challenge of raising them the same but different. Add in a disability and YIKES it can sometimes (most times) seem overwhelming. 

Thank you, Echo for sharing your challenge today. You can read more about Echo at Mad Mommy where she shares everything from the 100 lb challenge to home schooling. 


What's your challenge is a series that was inspired by a program I created at Abby's school. I am amazed at how honest and hopeful the challenges have been. Thank you to all who have contributed. To submit your challenge, please e-mail me at firebailey@gmail.com


My Challenge: Janine

My Challenge: Trying to do it all during summer vacation

Sometimes in the blogosphere, you get to know other bloggers and mothers through their compassionate and inspirational writing.
This happened to me, when I got the chance last year to check out Kerri’s blog.  I was hooked from the first post, I met and try my best to read and keep up with each of her blog posts about her life with both of her daughters.
As a fellow mom to girls, many times I can relate on some level or another. Other times, Kerri leaves me feeling truly humbled by all she has been through with being the mom to her extraordinary daughter, Bridget (Boo) and how far she has gotten Boo to come in her short life so far.  I have no doubt Kerri will keep on pushing the limits to help Boo overcome her undiagnosed diagnosis to become the absolute best Boo that she can possibly be.
For that alone, I feel like a bit of a fraud to complain and share my challenge here today, because for the most part I consider myself truly lucky to have all I have in my life with my husband, my two girls and a thriving blog and design company, too online.
That’s right I work from home and for the most part it is just crazy here on any given day, but we just took the craziness to a new level by now being on summer vacation.  That is right I have two little girls 16 months apart under the age of 5 (my oldest doesn’t turn 5 until July 17th).
Plus, as if that wasn’t enough to keep my days jam packed full, we just got a brand spanking new golden retriever puppy only 2 weeks ago.
To say, my days are insane these past few weeks would be an understatement.  Not going to lie and sugarcoat it, I have found myself many days just in over my head.  I am just doing all I can to stay afloat.  
Somehow, I have gotten to all my recent requests, but will tell you I haven’t sought out any new opportunities, as I am just trying to make sure all I have committed myself to indeed gets done.
My Challenge
Janine with her new pup
So, if I had to name one challenge right now, I would have to respond and say that it is working from home on summer vacation with my two daughters home with a new puppy to train, as well.
Yup, fun times here and definitely not quiet nor easy by any means, but still it is my life and just do the best I can right now.
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Like many moms out there, Janine is trying to do it all. Going from being a teacher to a stay at home mom is challenging enough. But then starting an at-home business? Let alone trying to run your business from your home during summer vacation? And write a daily blog. YIKES. Thank you, Janine for your kind words and for letting other moms out there know we all struggle with trying to do it all. You can read more from Janine at Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyholic and if you need assistance with website design visit her at J9 Designs

What's your challenge is a series that was inspired by a program I created at Abby's school. I am amazed at how honest and hopeful the challenges have been. Thank you to all who have contributed. To submit your challenge, please e-mail me at firebailey@gmail.com

TBT–Out of the Mouths of Babes

Welcome to Throw Back Thursday, blog style. 



(Originally posted 18-JUL-2012)

Abby is taking some summer help in math at a local school. This morning when I dropped Abby off she was telling me about the kids in her class. Some were from her current class and others she didn’t know. Abby said that there was only one other girl, a bunch of boys and one weird boy.


Weird boy, I asked, do you mean the boy with Down syndrome?

          What’s that? Abby replied.

Well he is special needs, like Boo, I explained
Oh, is that why he has a teacher just for him in the class? (Yup) That makes sense now. I thought there was something different but couldn’t figure it out. Why didn’t they tell me so I could help him?


This conversation floored me on many levels. First, Abby has intuitively known that there is something special about Boo and has accepted her without conditions. I automatically assumed that she would recognize and accept it in another child. Second, Abby attends enough of Boo’s therapy appointments to see other children like this boy. I was completely astounded that she even had to ask, or worse in her mind label this boy as “weird”.


Abby has been a staunch defender of Boo. She would never let one of her friends use that term with her sister, so why did she do it with a boy she just met? Have I failed in some way in to prepare and nurture her to accept all others like she does Boo?


Of course, I asked Abby. Not that specifically, but why she did she not understand that this boy was special. She thought because he was so big and not little like Boo he was just a boy.   I asked (just to make sure) that she hadn’t made fun of this boy. She was quick to say no, but that she wished that the teacher had told her because the other boys in the class did. Abby was so cute, telling me that she would make sure it didn’t happen again! We had a long talk about Boo and how would Abby feel if one of her classmates called Boo “weird”.


But it made me think, is inclusion working? Are the teachers and other parents explaining to their children that not all children can run, read, speak like others. Whose responsibility is it really? Mine, in some way because while I can educate/prepare Abby and she can then teach her peers. But neither Abby, her dad or I can go into Boo’s class and wake up the other children/parents. I can only be responsible for the children who interact with Boo in my presence.


Is it the teacher’s responsibility? Certainty, but how can they do this without embarrassing (not the right word, but hopefully you get my point!) the child in question. Abby thought the teacher should have let the kids know. But by privacy laws, they cannot.
I think the biggest obstacle is that the other parents are not on the playground or in the classroom with their children. So they might not even be aware, like me, that their child may be prejudging some one. Think about it, if you do not have a special child would you think to educate your ‘typical’ child about a child with Downs, CP, and autism or like Boo one who is undiagnosed? I will admit that before Boo I cannot honestly say I would have said something to Abby until she asked/made a comment in my presence.

I think as children get older they may become more aware (and yes, mean). But at Abby’s age it is just a sense of innocence where they don’t really notice differences in others until the difference is glaringly obvious.

Boo is in an integrated preschool with a not so equal ratio of special/typical kiddos. Even there I notice that some parents look at us askew when Boo is not participating like their ‘typical’ kid in the class. Once a child asked their mom what was wrong with Boo and the mother, instead of educating, told the child to ‘hush’.


So I don’t know what the answer is, if integration is worth it or how to educate the world at large that Boo just has a different sense of typical.

I am the Dr. Jeckyll and Mrs. Hyde of Parenting

Unless you are the parent of an only child, most of us will admit to parenting our children differently. You naturally parent a boy-child one way and a girl-child another. You could be the helicopter parent of the first-born (don’t touch the stove!) and the seasoned professional of your youngest (touch the stove, that will teach you).

This weekend I realized that I am the Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde of Parenting. 
It is not that I am taking what I learned with Abby and using (or not using) my infinite knowledge with Boo. Instead I have discovered I am two completely different personalities with each of the girls.  

For consideration:

Recently Boo and Abby started swim lessons. When Abby has hers I leave the pool area and (try to) ride the spinning bikes. When Boo is in hers? I hover and sit on the bench with an eagle eye. And she has a 1:1 ratio with the “Y” instructor. Last week when there four children and one instructor I was the captain in charge of leading the other moms to unite and explain that this was not safe or fair. Abby’s lesson? The instructor doesn’t even get in the pool with her. 

Abby must finish her dinner. Everything on her plate, no exceptions. Unless it is a new food then she has to at least try it. Boo? If she is tired and fussy she gets cereal for dinner. Even if I have to spoon it into her mouth.

Boo has to shower every morning. Abby? In the winter she might go a day (or two three) without. In my defense,  the only way to get a comb in Boo’s hair is when she is in the bathtub.

Boo goes to bed no later than 7pm every night. Abby has been known to stretch her bedtime an hour (or two).

I talk more with the moms of Boo’s classmates. I don’t even know some of Abby’s friends or their parents. 

I don’t worry about what Abby eats. She is a grazer like her mom. But she mixes it up. She knows for every piece of crap she has to have a piece of fruit or veggie. Boo would eat from the time her eyes open to the time they close. I monitor her diet and what she eats more than I do my own.

I worry less about Abby. She recently went on a sleepover with a friend to a house I had never been to with a mother I had met once. Boo? She is not allowed to go to pool parties, ice skating parties or anywhere that she might not be safe. Although David did ask the guy who invited her to the skating party if he was on drugs. 

Boo makes me cry more. Abby makes me want to pull my hair out in frustration during homework. 

I attend every doctor’s visit of Boo’s. I share Abby’s with David. Until this year’s physical when they both refused to go with the other one.

I will stop, sit or dance with Boo. I am more likely to tell Abby to wait until I am done the dishes.
Abby must make her bed every morning, no exception. Boo doesn’t but she has Abby make her bed, too. I tried getting Abby to make mine and failed.

The only time I am a mom of one brain/soul/heart with the girls is in my love for them. I hope it balances out, because there is no way in hell Abby is getting a pony.

How about you are you a Jeckyll and Hyde parent?








TBT–That Parenting Manual needs updating

Welcome to my version of Throw-Back Thursday, blog style. I’m taking Thursdays to revisit some older posts.  I hope you enjoy the trip back in time.

Originally posted 23-AUG-2013

You know how before you give birth some one gave you a What to Expect book? You also probably did a birth class. None of which prepares you for life with an actual child.

Last night Boo woke up at midnight and proceeded to throw up every 15 minutes for the next couple of hours. Then she only woke every 45 minutes to throw up. Eight hours and four loads of laundry husband comes home from his shift.  As I lay Boo on the couch to go to work, she throws up one more time….all over me.

Second shower and a change of clothes and off I go to my paying job. You know when you get into the office you ask the question, how are you to your coworkers. Not that you actually care after being up all night, but just to be polite.

And then that one coworker, the one without children. The one who is unmarried and lives with the dog that is her life. You know the one that I mean. The one that has time to exercise, take long walks, drink her wine without interruption. The one who has the life you used to have before children. Let alone a sick child. She proceeds to tell you that she is ‘exhausted’ but ‘surviving’.

And all you want to say is survive this (with the one finger salute) and walk into your office. Instead you empathize and escape to your office as soon as it is polite. You walk into a call from your husband saying Boo has now spiked a temp. What should he do? To another call saying the contract is ready to be picked up and that a hundred emails that tell you other things need to be done before you can escape to take care of the most important part of your life.

But you need the paycheck. So you put your big girl panties on and go to work.

And think to yourself, I’d really like to meet the author of that book, because they have no freaking idea of what to expect.

Bear with me…

This is kind of a Jen Kehl type of post but I hope everyone bears with me. I listen to Pandora at work. This means music goes from Eminem to the Drop Kick Murphys to the Glee Soundtrack.  The other day right after I heard a song by Eminem the music transitioned to Christina Perry’s A Thousand Years (theme from Twilight). 

It was the instrumental version so I did not have the singer’s voice, just the one in my head. It occurred to me that the song while about true love, to me is about parenthood. 


“The day we met, Frozen I held my breath. Right from the start I knew I had found a place for my heart…”

With each girl I literally held my breath when I first held them. I was so afraid I would break them. But I knew in that instant I had found my home. One where I would always be warm and loved.

“Time stands still. Beauty in all she (he) is…I will not let anything take away what’s standing in front of me…”

Time does stand still. It also goes faster than a heartbeat. But there are moments of parenthood where you are lucky to see for the rest of your life. Their first step, their first smile (for real, not the gassy one). The day they drive the car for the first time. The moment they find their true love. No matter how many times you hear “MOOOOMMMMM” and wish they had a mute button. It will erase the moment you heard them say momma the first time. 

“And all along I believed I would find you. Time has brought your heart to me. I have loved you a thousand years. I will love you a thousand more”

Children don’t understand. I know I did not understand the depths of my parent’s love until I had my own. Time might march on. We are only “here” for a short time. But love transcends time. It transcends distance. You can have a child half-way around the world and yet your love reaches them. 

Your child might be non-verbal. They might be in the midst of an epileptic seizure. They might just be being a pain in the butt teenager. Yet they feel your love.

For a thousand years you get to feel theirs right back at you.

And that is how deep I got into A Thousand Years until Men in Hats came on. So everyone grab your child and do the Safety Dance!