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Austin and Kiwi (3 y/o Pacific Parrotlet)

See, he can be still for more than 5 minutes.

Today was very frustrating.  My son, Austin, came home from school with yet another detention.  This poor child has undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome.  He is not a neuro-typical child.  Yet, he is being treated like one.  When too much is expected from him he acts out and gets frustrated. And, his teachers don’t understand why he is doing this. 

 I am not trying to make excuses for my son.  Nor, am I excusing his behaviors.  I will be the first one to dole out proper discipline and I require that of other authority figures in regards to my son.  However, Austin is not a neuro-typical child.  He has a neurological disorder that requires some accommodations.  Yes, he should be treated as much like a neuro-typical child but, he needs to be given certain accommodations as discretely as possible.

Here is a prime example of what I’m talking about…

Austin had a spelling packet that was due today.  The whole class had a week in which to finish this packet.  With him forgetting to bring it home, not enough time during school, and becoming distracted; he still managed to finish the packet.  Or, so he thought.  When it was time to hand in the packet, a student that sits next to him was kind enough to tell him to check it over to make sure that it was done.  So, that’s exactly what he did.  While going through the packet, he realized that he had missed two questions.  It only makes sense that he would answer those two questions.  However, as he did this, his teacher came around to check on each student and ask if they had their packet done.  When asked, the student must tell the teacher whether their packet is done or not done.

When the teacher got to Austin, he was finishing the two questions that he had overlooked.  And the operative word here is overlooked.  In his mind, he had finished the packet and he was very proud of himself.  Unfortunately, that pride was shot down immediately.  His teacher emailed me later that day and told me that she saw him write two answers but Austin still insisted that he had finished the packet.  In his mind, not a neuro-typical mind, he had finished the packet.  And, on top of that, he had finished it on time.  This was an amazing feat for him.  He believed that he had finished the packet.  But he had merely overlooked two questions.  It wasn’t done on purpose.  It wasn’t done out of spite.  He had simply overlooked two questions.  I explained this to him and told him how proud I am of him.  That made him smile and I got a big hug from him too!  That, in turn, made me smile.

Needless to say, but I’m going to say it anyway, I’m headed to school first thing in the morning and try to work this thing out.  Austin needs an IEP (individualized education plan).  He needs to have sensory breaks.  He needs to be treated like everyone else as much as possible.  But, when it comes to him having to take a sensory break, it needs to be treated as discreetly as possible.  He never asked to be born with this disorder.  He’s dealing with it the best he knows how to and I’m very proud of him!  I’m proud of all my children and I love them unconditionally!

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Co-parenting 101

This morning I visited a website that deals with co-parenting. As a divorced and then remarried mom of four kids, I found this site very informative and helpful.

When Michael Thomas and Deesha Philyaw’s marriage ended, they say that they “became poster-children for divorce” amongst their friends. They are not advocates of divorce. In fact, they see divorce as the last option. But, when it became apparent that there was no other alternative, they learned to co-parent very well. Well enough, in fact, that they started the website Co-parenting 101 which helps divorced parents raise happy, healthy children. Many divorced couples find it very difficult to parent their children properly, or should I say safely, without creating emotionally traumatized, angry children. It is possible for divorced couples to raise healthy, happy children.

The article that caught my eye was:

 Co-Parenting Dad to Girlfriend: “My Kids Will Always Come Before You”

One woman recounts her experience with a divorced man with two little kids. She is concerned about his devotion to his children not allowing room for her and their life together as a couple. This account reminded me of what I told my husband when we started dating.

“My kids come first, and they always will,” I told him.

His response to me was, “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

That’s when I knew that he was the right one! I was very upfront with him from the start. My kids do come first and they always will. I didn’t say this to be mean or to push him away. I was just being honest about what kind of parent I am and how important my children are to me. But, that doesn’t mean that he can’t be a part of putting the kids first too.

Over the next three years of our relationship, he definitely proved that he puts my kids first. And he always puts them first in everything. Not in a spoiled brat kind of way, mind you.  Their needs are always put before ours and their wants are taken into consideration and mulled over extensively.  Add some “hands-off” discipline and we have a great family.  My kids may not be his biological children, but, he treats them as if they were his own.  

 

To add to our success, we both have a good relationship with my ex-husband and his wife, if you can imagine that.  Most people are flabbergasted when they find out that we actually enjoy our time with my childrens’ father and his wife.  It’s all about the children.  If you work together for the childrens’ sake, then there are no losers!  Our family is not perfect.  No-one’s is.  We have our differences every now and again.  But, for the most part, we’re a happy family.

 

If you are having a difficult time of co-parenting or you are dating someone who is co-parenting, please go visit the Co-parenting 101 website. I know that you’ll find the help that you need. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

 

Note: Michael and Deesha are not counselors, licensed or otherwise, nor are they able to provide legal services .

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Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities And Remaining Sane Blog

 Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities And Remaining Sane Blog

Rave Review!!!!!  Two thumbs up! 

5 Stars!   A must read blog!!!!!

 

Last night I found the most wonderfully caring, amazing, intelligent, funny woman on the internet.  Not that she was lost.  I think that, until I found her blog, I was the one that was lost.  I was so inspired by her blog that I just had to share it with all of you, my cherished readers.

Lindsey Petersen is a 50+ mom and author of Raising 5 kids with disabilities and remaining sane blog.  In her blog posts she recalls her memories of growing up in New England with an architect father that was very money conscious and a very loving, upbeat, optimistic mother whom she just recently lost.  She discusses much needed topics such as children with disabilities, adoption, dealing with stress, and so much more.   Her most inspiring blogs are about how she and her husband raise with 5 kids with disabilities.  Reading Lindsey’s blog, I laughed and cried and then laughed all over again.  There are so many things that I can related with.

Lindsey uses her positive, upbeat outlook on life to keep herself sane.  Much like, I imagine, her mother did.  Let’s face it, being a parent in this day and age is no picnic in the park.  Being a parent of children with disabilities is like being on a roller coaster ride.  We have our ups and downs but, by the end of the day, we’re satisfied with the ride.  On a daily basis Lindsey and her husband deal with such disabilities as ADHD, anxieties, Autism, blindness, OCD,  deafness, Dissociative Identity Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I’m sure that I’ve missed a few diagnoses somewhere.  For that, I apologize. 

I related with her because, I too, grew up in New England.  I recall my Nana’s house being so hot that I couldn’t breathe.   The downstairs was sweltering hot and as my sister and I ascended the stairs for bed, the temperature drastically changed.  We would slip into an ice cold bed and shiver for hours until we finally fell asleep.  Mornings were the worst.  It seemed that the woodstove had slept while we did and, come morning time, required someone to re-stoke the fire.  My sister and I lived with my mom and stepfather.  My mom was a cook at our elementary school for over 20 years.  My stepfather was a landscaper/carpenter/painter. 

 I’m a mom of 5 kids.  I have Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, OCD, and anxieties.  I’m also a mom of children with disabilities.  My youngest son has ADHD, OCD, and anxieties.  My oldest daughter, now 19, has shown signs of Bi-polar disorder since she was a child.   That was one very long roller coaster ride.  My last baby girl, Sierra Cheyenne, was born in January of 2001.  She died six hours and five minutes after she was born.  Had she survived, she would have been severely developmentally delayed.  I would give anything to have her back even though I know how difficult it would be to care for her.

I will never get enough of Lindsey’s blog.  I visit it on a daily basis.  I beg you, my dear sweet readers, to head on over to Lindsey’s blog,  Raising 5 kids with disabilities and remaining sane blog and enjoy the words that  I so very much cherish.  There is no way that you can leave her blog without being inspired and/or comforted.  Her blog has become a part of my daily dose of reality, sanity, and comfort.  I now feel that life is going to be okay no matter how hard that it seems.  Lindsey has become my sanity and peace of mind.

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My youngest son, Austin, was diagnosed with ADHD when he was six. Considering that he was so young, I wondered if he had been mis-diagnosed. But, he has shown signs of ADHD since birth and it does run in the family. Over the last 5 1/2 years he has shown no signs of growing out of his behaviors. He has been kicked out of three different schools.  He is easily distracted. He can be very hyper at times; so much so that I become exhausted just trying to keep up with him. And, he talks incessantly and loudly.

 

Austin is an intelligent, loving boy. Most people can’t see that side of him because he has ADHD. What they see is a difficult, hyper, annoying boy who can’t stay still. If they would look below the surface, they would see the same wonderfully amazing child that I see. Dealing with a child who has ADD/ADHD is never easy. It can be very frustrating, exhausting, and annoying. On the other hand, it has been one of the most rewarding learning experiences of my life.

 

Yesterday, I took the kids out shopping. It was very frustrating at times. Each child wanted something different and they just couldn’t wait for the other one to pick out their gifts. But, Austin finally picked out a DS Lite. Since his last DS went to technological heaven, he decided that was what he wanted most. I think that he’s been lost without it. At least all those games that we bought for his last DS aren’t wasted money. It’s one of the very few things my ADHD child can concentrate on.

 

His new DS came with a few rules, however. Being that he does have ADHD, he doesn’t think before he acts. I don’t know how many times I found his last DS on the floor, in the couch, in the kitchen, bathroom, etc. That is the reason why his last DS is in technological heaven. I discussed with him the importance of taking care of his things like I’ve done so many times before. He promised me that he would take care of it. So, I decided to make a few disciplinary actions that I would put into effect.

 

The first time that I find his DS where it doesn’t belong, I would take it away from him for two days. The second time would result in double that time. He would then have to wait four long days without his DS. By the third time, I would take it away for a week. Each and every time after that it would be taken away for a week.

 

I think that, considering his inability to think properly before acting, this is quite fair. I will give him reminders if I see him playing his DS. This gives him a better chance at successfully caring for it better. I can’t expect him to automatically care for his things without some kind of help. This afternoon, while watching an “I love Lucy” marathon, Austin sat next to me on the couch. During commercials he would play his Pokémon game on his DS. “So, where are you going to put that when you’re done playing,” I asked him.

 

“In my room on my dresser,” was his reply.

 

“Very good,” I replied.

 

This is an ongoing task with everything that he does. I have to keep on him all the time and redirect him many times a day. Without proper guidance and patience, he will be doomed to failure. I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen. I think that with little prompts here and there, behavioral training, and a lot of love he can be successful at anything.

 

For more information about ADD/ADHD in children, visit WebMD.

 

Here is a list of signs and symptoms of a child with ADD/ADHD 

 • Are in constant motion.

 

 • Squirm and fidget.

 

• Do not seem to listen.

 

 • Have difficulty playing quietly.

 

 • Often talk excessively.

 

• Interrupt or intrude on others.

 

• Are easily distracted.

 

• Do not finish tasks.

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Being a mom of four children is never easy. Heck, being a mom in general isn’t easy. But, being a mom with a chronic illness is the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to deal with. I have struggled with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome on a daily basis for the past twenty-six years. And, I absolutely refuse to let it get the best of me.

There is never enough time or money to do what I want to do for my family. If I’m sick or in excruciating pain, I can’t just stop being a mom until I feel better. There are times when I wish that I could do just that; put the world on pause. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t stop so that I can recuperate. Whether I like it or not, the world keeps turning, time keeps marching on, and I’m still a mom. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom. I just wish that I could be a better, more active, healthy mom for my childrens’ sake.

Two of my children went to their fathers’ for the Christmas holiday. That left me with only my 11 year-old son, Austin. These are the times when I get to spend extra bonding time with him. I find it very frustrating when I’m not feeling well when I have all this special time to spend with him. That’s the way it has been for me this holiday season. However, I try to find the rewards in the mess that I call my life. Today, I found a reward in spending time with my son.

This morning I woke up to a body full of pain. With much effort, I opened my eyes, sat up in bed, and moaned my frustration to the world.
“Why can’t there be a cure for Fibromyalgia,” I whined to myself.
“What? You okay baby?” asked my husband gently touching my back.
“Yeah, honey, I’m fine,” I lied.

My husband has been with me for the past three years. He treats all four of my children like they were his own. He knows all about my medical issues. He is so attentive to my needs and very seldom does he complain about my condition. As a matter of fact, with sleepy eyes and less than four hours of sleep, he sat up in bed and gently rubbed my back. God definitely gave me a gift when he sent my husband. When he had exhausted himself back to sleep, I slid off the bed and stumbled to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee.

My husband and I had just given the children the wii video game system. Austin was so excited that he wanted to share the experience with little ol’ mom. God, I love that kid!
“Mom! Mom, you gotta’ play this with me! I bet I can beat you in bowling.”

You’d think that something so simple as playing a video game would be easy for anyone. Unfortunately, in the pain that I was in, I just couldn’t make my muscles move without pain searing through my body.
“Honey, mommy’s in a lot of pain. You’ll have to wait a little while before I can do anything, okay?”
“Okay mom,” he replied. “I’ll just practice until you’re ready,” he said with a smile.

I really, really wanted to play the game with him. I love spending time with my children. Even if it is just playing a game with them, it means so much to them and to me. I knew that it was going to take at least thirty minutes before my muscle relaxers kicked in and I began to feel some sense of relief from my pain.

To my delight and Austin’s, a half hour went by quite quickly. My muscles weren’t so stiff and the pain had subsided. I then challenged him to a bowling game. With each frame, we rooted for each other and high-fived each other until we were both exhausted. We had so much fun! He won, of course. It may seem silly to be excited about playing a video game with your child. But, to me, it’s one of the most wonderful things that I can do with my kids.

As I sit here now, typing this memory, my pain has returned with a vengeance. I am ready for another muscle relaxer and my pillow-top bed. But, I will never forget the joy that I saw on my sons’ face as wii spent time together.


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I recently visited the Old Fashioned Living website. This website is a compilation of crafts, gardening advice, family activities, genealogy tips, and ideas for teaching your kids and grandkids about the generations that came before them.

I was very inspired by one of their articles written by Dionna Sanchez entitled, Leaving Legacies. In the article, Dionna tells us about a wonderful legacy that her mom left her and that she will be leaving her children.

[Quote] “I am so thankful to have a precious gift that my mom gave me – one that I am now doing for my own children. She kept journals for me and my sister.”[Quote]

You can read the full article on the Old Fashioned Living website here:Leaving Legacies

I was so inspired by this article that I decided to write one for each of my four children. My oldest daughter has already moved out of the house. But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t write one for her just the same. I think that I’ll start hers and keep writing until she becomes a mother. Maybe I’ll give it to her when she has her first child. Then, she can start one for her child(ren).

What’s a better gift than leaving your children with wonderful and cherished memories through the eyes of their own loving parent? I encourage everyone to try this. Mothers, fathers, and grandparents can all do this and leave their loved ones with their own legacy.
You can find more about Dionna Sanchez on her website, Emphasis On Moms

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Letter To My Children:


All of these many years, you’ve wondered how I knew certain things that you never told a soul. I have my ways of finding out these things. There are strategies that all mothers employ. It is a universal language. There are no barriers between mothers. This universal language that I speak of is called mothers’ intuition. A child does not come equipped with a manual. Although, in all honesty, they should come equipped with an in-depth manual. It would make life so much simpler.

At first, mothers’ intuition is foggy, at best. But, over time, and with much experience, the fog clears and a ray of sunshine lights our path. As the child ages, a mothers’ visibility increases with the passing of time. A mother with a one year-old child has only one foot of visibility. They are so concerned with what’s right in front of their child that they can’t see past that one foot range. But, with a ten year-old child, a mother has a ten foot range of visibility. Not bad. However, when the child reaches the teenage years, the fog sets in again and a mothers’ visibility decreases by fifty percent. Therein lies the truth with what I must tell you. Yes, my dear sweet children, I am a mind reader.

There, I have said it. Now you know one of my most treasured secrets. I will not, by any means, reveal any more secrets; not in this book nor the next. “Why,” you ask. Because, you will be reading this book and every book that I write in the future. How do I know that you’ll read my books? I know this because, I’m going to make you sit down and read every single word on every single page of every single book that I write. Then, I will make you write a book report. Mwah, ha, ha, ha.

I have painstakingly raised four of the most annoying, loving, aggravating, brilliant children on the face of this planet. The least that you can do for me is read my books in which you, my dear children, were the inspiration. For, without the birth of my children, this book would have never been written.

Love,
Mom

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