Category Archives: yoga

31 for 21

I have been blogging for about four years now. In my first year my friend Michelle at Big Blueberry Eyes began hosting the 31 for 21 challenge. Although Boo doesn’t have Down Syndrome she has a lot of friends that do.  I have participated for the past three years and will do so again this year. 

And this year I am starting on time, so bonus points!

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Boo’s favorite friend at school, Jillian, has Down Syndrome. Just like Boo, Jillian learned sign-language first. Did you know that most therapies used in treatment for a person with autism or developmental delay were first created to be used for children with Down Syndrome?

Sadly more fiction is out there about Down Syndrome than facts. Last summer a man (for lack of a better word) told a woman that it is immoral to have a child with Down Syndrome. He is wrong, so wrong. I am not promoting pro-life or pro-choice, it is your decision. However I urge, no beg you that if you are pregnant and told your baby might have Down Syndrome to find out the facts, find the support and find information before making a choice you cannot take back.

Here is what Down Syndrome is not:

  • Down Syndrome is not contagious
  • Although all children with Down Syndrome experience some cognitive delay, having Down Syndrome does not mean the child cannot learn 
  • Down Syndrome is not a rare disorder. In fact 1 in about every 700 children are born with Down Syndrome 
  • People with Down Syndrome are not always happy. Just like all children they have their moments
Here is what Down Syndrome is:
  • People with Down Syndrome have jobs and participate in the Community
  • People with Down Syndrome have the capacity to love, to learn and to affect change
  • People with Down Syndrome life expectancy has grown to be that of most peers.
  • People with Down Syndrome have friends, know love and just like their peers have tempers
  • According to NDSS, there are more than 400,000 persons with Down Syndrome living in the US. Chances are if you do not know someone today you will tomorrow.
  • Down Syndrome does not discriminate on race, age or income level
Having Down Syndrome is a life sentence, but it can be a beautiful life. 

The purpose of the 31 for 21 challenge is to post every day in October. Each post does not have to be Down Syndrome related. I did focus on that today to kick off the month. Please visit Michelle’s post to learn more about participating.

I hope my fellow bloggers join Michelle’s Challenge. Because awareness promotes acceptance.


Just what we all want for our children. To be seen just like everyone else.



 
To learn more about Down Syndrome, please visit the National Down Syndrome Society.

My Challenge: Jessica



I introduced you to my friend “J” about two years ago. She was Boo’s Yogi before life got too crazy to keep up with it. I am happy to officially introduce Jessica, the mother of four beautiful daughters. She practices and teaches Yoga for the Special Child. In her “spare” time she organizes The South Shore Buddy Walk  and Co-Founded a non-profit Heart Beats for Down Syndrome

Her challenge?

My Challenge: Being Present

All of my life I have always looked to the future, planning and making lists, trying to be older. I used to sign up for things in magazines so I could get mail (at age 10). I couldn’t wait for responsibilities and bills and being an adult. I didn’t have to wait long. At seventeen, I became a mom, and not just a typical teen mom-but a teen mom to a baby girl with Down Syndrome.  This is not my challenge. As I write this, it’s nine years, four more daughters and plenty of bills later, and my challenge has nothing to do with the circumstances of my life. The responsibilities I always wanted are in abundance, and can be overwhelming and stressful. There are lots of things in my life that are challenging, but not internally, causing damage to my spirit. My biggest challenge is that I struggle to be present, to truly live in the moment.
I set my intention for this summer to be present, to be grateful for each moment, whether they are good or bad.  Not even two weeks in, I find myself at 8am counting the hours until bedtime. I spend so much time planning and rushing for the future: bedtime, back to school, vacation, that I am unable to be happy in the present. I have a history of anxiety and depression, and looking to the future has always been a coping mechanism for me. It has served its purpose, and I have better techniques now that I can use to get through rough patches. Unfortunately, as the saying goes: Old habits are hard to break.  By looking to the future, and planning, and making lists, I am depleting so much joy that is found in sitting back and watching my girls grow up and explore their world. Sure, I can get so much done when they are playing outside and doing crafts, but I lose out on seeing what interests them and how they accomplish things. I miss out on bonding and teachable moments by choosing to write lists instead of coloring and penciling in playtime rather then always making time for play. I want to wake up, and instead of rushing the day away, I want to be content just letting the day unfold and not view that as being unproductive. I may be too hard on myself, which is another challenge I face J, because it’s not like I don’t do all of these things, it’s just that I wish it could be more natural for me so that it could be more of an occurrence in my daily life.
There are so many times I am in the grocery store, frustrated and losing patience, when someone stops me and tells me I’m going to miss these days. I am grateful to these people, because I know it is true, but I usually have so much going on, I forget. By not being present in the moment, but rather operating on auto pilot, I miss out on what my girls are finding to be so funny and why they think the grocery store is a giant play place. If I were present, I might enjoy the shopping trip a little more (emphasis on little) instead of being preoccupied and snapping at them, which only leads to guilt and discontent on my end.  By committing to too much, and having to rush around, being present is impossible. I want to accomplish this goal by being easier on myself and reduce the expectations I set that cause me to lose out on the little things that happen when I am physically present but too preoccupied to notice and be grateful.
I’m sure that many people face this challenge, and some may not even view it as being worthy of such a title. It’s the way of life today.  For me, though, it is important and it is something I have been trying to work on, and fail time and again.  Again, setting the expectation for myself to change right now, this summer, and all of a sudden be present in every moment, is unrealistic. I just hope that some of the time, instead of rushing to the next moment, I will have the strength to just stop and watch it all unfold and find my happiness in that. 

*****
 Don’t we all, working moms, stay at home moms, dads, those without children…don’t each and every one of us forget to stay in this moment. This precious moment in time? We struggle with being HERE, right here watching the sunrise because our child woke up at five freaking am. Instead our thoughts race ahead to the coming day wondering how we are going to deal with this child who will be cranky in two hours. Rather than just enjoying the moment of their smile.

Even if it is five freaking am.

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

Filing under what the heck was I thinking?

Attention: Anyone in your 20’s this might not be the post for you. See, right now you have a rockin’ bod. A bod to die for that you don’t have to do any real work to maintain. Oh you also have time for the gym. 

Anyway, I am  22 years past the prime of the 20-year old. And I put on a bathing suit for the first time this year. It was not pretty. I am sure that the pasty white skin didn’t help the image. And yes, I could use a little self-empathy.

I asked the always reliable husband: Do I look fat? Ladies, especially, those in your 20’s do not in your 40’s ask a man you have been with for too long to remember for his “honest” opinion. He will give it to you.

“Well,” he said without a moment’s hesitation, “If you are asking me if you have put on weight in the past 3 or 4 years, yes. But you are not fat you just have a pouch and flabby legs”.

Yes he lived. Because, well, he was right. I haven’t run in over a year and the only aerobic activity I have done since Boo’s birth look like this:


Now friends, in the interest of honesty, I know I am not fat. I do not really have a weight issue. Things just aren’t where they used to be. I am in no way trying to be dismissive of those who struggle with their weight on a daily basis. But I am not happy with the “pouch”. So I did two things…

I signed up for a 5K with only 2 weeks to train. I’m an idiot like that. I outted myself on Facebook for accountability and I asked my nephews if they thought that was time enough to train. One replied, of course. The other one said: sure if you put down the wine. Guess which one is my new favorite?

Next, I contacted the always reliable and exercise-aholic Tia. She agreed that the 40’s have not been kind to our bodies. She then recommended the on-demand videos that are 10 minute work-outs. Surely I can find 10 minutes, right?

Well, the last time I tried a video workout I ended up watching it on the couch with some Gelato and a glass of wine. But this time I was going to do it. I could find 10 minutes,  I will, I will.

The other night I picked Allie up from school, ran errands and made it home before Boo and hubs (he had therapy duty, yay him). Started dinner and said, hey wait I have 10 minutes now.

Choose the cardiac dance video and proved once again why Allie thinks I cannot dance. Marching, I did that step perfect. The slide, yup got that down. Then they moved onto something and I, well, mis-stepped. I have no idea what move I was trying to make but I landed on the floor. Then with perfect timing, Allie comes in…

Allie: Mom what are you doing?

Me: I am exercising

Allie: I don’t think that is what exercising is supposed to look like.


Yes, she lived. Because she was right. But I got up and finished the last 7 minutes of the workout. Yes, friends, I fell in minute 3. As soon as you stop snorting wine you can finish reading….

Oh you are back!

This morning I got up and found another 10 minutes. So I did the Thin-in-10 core work out. Twelve years ago I did Pilates and Yoga 3 times a week. This should be a breeze. Let’s forget that the last Pilates/Yoga work out was 12 years ago.

I could not do a sit-up. Not one without heaving my legs off the floor for momentum. I did manage to some of the other torture moves. Thankfully there were no witnesses.

But I am determined to carry on. I will find 10 minutes every morning/evening and find time to train for the 5k.

Because I will wear a bathing suit this summer and I want to tan my pasty white skin.

And if you haven’t had a chance yet and feel bad for me and my pouch please take a moment to “like” me! I am nominated for the Best of the Blogs. Just visit this link and “like” with Facebook.

http://www.babble.com/mom/a-letter-to-new-special-moms/

You can only like me once, though. So thanks to everyone who already likes me!

 

Boo and Yoga

We are incredibly lucky to have found Jessica, Boo’s Yogi. I have written before about Yoga for the Special Child. But for a quick update for those new to this blog, we started Yoga with Jessica about a nine months ago. It was truly an act of Fate that we met, her daughter is a ‘peer’ classmate in Boo’s integrated preschool.

Jessica is an absolute treasure. On top of running a husband and a house with five children, she is also a co-founder of Heartbeats for Down Syndrome. In her “spare” time she teaches yoga for children like Boo. She does both private (for children like Boo who would not be able to concentrate) and small-group glasses for young children.

I have seen Jessica teach a group class with a mix of typical and not-so-typical children. But, biased here, I like the solo lessons. Boo cannot follow directions. Most times Jessica has to move Boo into the position. What we have found is if Jessica’s older daughter does the lesson with Boo the results are beyond terrific.

I started Boo in Yoga for the Special Child to help with Boo’s frustration at being non-verbal. That didn’t happen. What did happen is a significant change in Boo’s bowel issues, a language explosion and a willingness to do the Yoga on her own.

Today in hydrotherapy, her PT was concerned about the toe-walking and a tendency for her right leg to turn inward. To demonstrate she asked Boo to stand on one leg. Boo didn’t understand. But when we said, Boo tree pose…viola! Boo stood on one leg in an almost perfect tree pose.

Hey huge milestone there!

It is difficult, between Jessica’s commitments and my own life we tend to interfere with Boo’s Yoga schedule. One of my goals (and Jessica’s) is to make her lessons more routine. I have noticed, when I put the extra time in (between homework, life and everything else) Yoga for the Special Child works.

Honestly, we should probably go 3-4 times a week. But between work, school, therapies and life it just isn’t possible.

But Yoga isn’t for just the “Special Child”. Allie loves Yoga. Because I am not a Yogi nor one who can mediate I am not the best mentor for the girls. But before bedtime when we put Boo through her poses, Allie joins in.

And we all relax, if just for a moment.

To learn more about Jessica’s story please visit Heartbeats For Down Syndrome or the National Down Syndrome Society.


This post was inspired by Rachel Tao of Poop who shared a story of childhood yoga and then recommended I post Boo’s experience. Rachel is one of the calmest bloggers I have “met”. She always sees the message in the little things. Something I need to learn how to do. Thanks, Rachel!

To find a Yoga program for the Special Child look here (I really recommend finding someone on this site and not just anyone.) for Yoga just for the child I found this site but cannot totally endorse it since I found Jessica simply by putting out a cry on Facebook.

Namaste!