Archive for May, 2010

Self-help

Friday, May 21st, 2010

One of M’s IEP goals is to continue to work on self-help skills (buttoning, zipping, opening/closing).  The skill set will benefit him throughout his lifetime.

On my run today, I realized that I should have the same goal as M’s Mother: to work on my self-help skills.  I’m defining self-help skills differently though–  specifically, I mean taking care of myself by working out daily.

I was inspired by a fellow Mom blogger’s post on keeping her gym membership (check it out here http://peacegardenwriter.blogspot.com/2010/04/writer-wellness.html) and realized for me, I need to commit to learning the skill set of self-care.  It’s easy for all Moms,  especially those of special needs kids, to push our needs to the bottom of the list.

You can call it what you want — self-care, self-help, self-preservation, me time.  I define it as giving myself the gift of health every day (and in turn, that gift makes me a better Mom and a better person).  The metaphor of running works particularly well for me; as M’s Mom I’m running a marathon not a sprint and in order to reach my goals, I need to do my work.

Each day, I happily and enthusiastically give gifts to many others so today it feels particuarly decadent to commit to give myself a daily one.

Here’s to presents!

Spring Training

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

M, J and I spent the better part of the late afternoon playing baseball today.  I feel like I was just in a game that went into extra innings and we won.  It was pure joy!

Before you yawn about our outdoor antics, note that this is not your average backyard baseball game.  Instead, our game c0nsists of announcers, players, managers, umpires and fans all in an imaginary Fenway Park.

The twins take their baseball as seriously as their father and his father did.   (Yes, the rumor is true: a former dog’s name was Fenway).  The Red Sox blood runs in their veins and has since before they were born.  Dad purchased Red Sox hats and accessories well in advance of their birth.

Some stats:

*The twins can name all the players, even the new ones and the manager.

*They can call some of the types of pitches: fast ball, curve ball.

*They know if a pitch is a ball, strike, or foul.

*They cheer at all the right moments.

*And, most of all, they hate the Yankees. (Sorry NYC friends.)

The Red Sox are more than just a team — they represent a positive family hobby for the four of us.  The baseball season has become a special tradition for our family.  I love watching M and J participate and enjoy the game with us.

During our game today,  I was reminded of the time last spring when our pretend Fenway baseball game was a like a life preserver during a rough day at sea.  It kept us all afloat.  Last May, M struggled in school a lot (I got daily calls and always had a knot in my stomach when the phone rang)and in addition to that stress, he had some health issues that lasted from February to June (resolved).  At the exact same time, I had some minor health issues myself (resolved) and some other major stress, too.  For me, each day was very challenging and the only time I had a moment of sanity and pleasure was when the three of us played baseball.

In fact, some days playing baseball was the only thing I felt like I could do right as a Mommy.  (It was fun for the three of us, it was great for M’s sensory needs, it was a distraction from the stress and illness.)

I have vivid memories of the twins wanting me to pitch and pitch and pitch.  They didn’t want the game to end and neither did I.   We wanted to prolong  our visit to the imaginary Fenway Park as long as possible.  The importance of those games were no less than the World Series.

I’ll never forget how baseball helped us through a tough time.  And I’ll always remember the sun shining, the ball in my hand, the smack of the bat and the cheers/giggles/screams of two very happy kids and one happy Mommy.

Go Sox–both real and imaginary!

Girl Power

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

This morning was not a typical morning:

First, M needed help in the bathroom  –and it wasn’t pretty.

Second, M did not want to go to school because some boys have been teasing him on the playground.

Third, J got her finger caught in her umbrella.

And this was all before 7:45am.

Thank goodness (once the kids were at school) I could call my Mom and my sister.  They are each a force on their own but together they are invincible and their advice is always right.

Just venting and hearing their voices, in addition to their great advice, took all the tension away and helped me get back on track.  When I can’t reach out to them, I often find myself thinking about the advice they would give to me and that always makes me smile.  I like to think of the three of us as our own Mom-network where we can turn for laughs, stress relief, emotional support, and friendship. I don’t know what I would do without my two best girlfriends — my Mom and my sister.

It is moments like this morning’s venting session (multiple phone calls) that remind me I am never alone on the tough days.

That is a gift every Mother needs.

Pet Shop

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

We plan to get a dog soon.  I know it is going to be great for M.  (We used to have a dog but she is in doggy heaven now.) We are in the middle of a major dog research project; it’s fun but a bit confusing.

But…

If we could have any pet in the world, it would be Skippyjon Jones.

Skippyjon Jones is a Siamese cat that thinks he is a chihuahua.  M and I (and J and Dad, too) have had endless laughs about Skippito’s adventures.  M’s own adventures (plus his affection for “jumping on his big boy bed”) remind me so much of Skippyjon Jones.  It’s so great to have such a positive and funny character to foll0w.

And it doesn’t hurt that I feel a kinship with his mother — Mama Junebug Jones.  She is always calling Skippyjon the best nicknames (Mr. Fuzzy Pants, Mr. Fluffernutter, Mr. McPooh, you get the idea) and covering him with kisses.  If I were a character in author Judy Schachner’s series, I know that Mama Junebug Jones and I would be best friends.

Here’s a link to the web site:

Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner

Gotta run, M is bouncing on his big boy bed…

Twins

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Today M and I wore our matching John Deere hats.  He was beaming (and so was I).

He was thrilled that I wanted to be just like him — I am quite sure he does not experience this feeling often.   Usually, someone (teacher, parent, sibling) is telling him how to be more like everyone else.

I feel great that I gave M a gift today.   And I feel lucky that I got the chance to be just like him.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Every parent wants to give equal alone time to their children.  With a special needs child, it is always challenging to dole out the alone time the typical child needs.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to focus on my daughter during our visit to meet our new niece Miss M.

I am thankful that J and I had a great girls weekend from start to finish.  I loved letting her dictate our activities.  The best part: I didn’t have to time-share between the twins.  I belonged to J and our goal was to have fun.

The weekend went by in a flash.  I’m already planning our next one.  Soundtrack suggestions welcome!

Love Letter

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Dear M:

This is a letter to thank you for a great week.  I am happy we had such a terrific time.

Here are some of the things I am thankful for:

1.  You did a great job when Dad was extra busy this week.

2.  You were very patient.  At school and at home, you made excellent choices.

3.   You were a good listener.  Especially about our diet changes and dry cereal. : )

4.  You were excellent at being the “man of the house.”

5.  You did a great job with your sensory diet — all by yourself.

6.  You were very well-behaved at our meeting.

7.  You did an amazing job tolerating the sounds and visual stimulation at the school Art Show.  I was very impressed with you and your artwork.  Thanks for letting Mom take multiple pictures! of you and your lighthouse! : )

8.  Your ability to self-calm and control your excitement about the trip to the John Deere store made my week.  Between waiting for Dad’s return and the store trip, I think you have achieved a milestone. Congrats!

9.  The icing on the cake: our later-than-usual dinner at a noisy, crowded restaurant during peak hours.  You rocked!

10.  Last but not least, thanks for my new green JD hat.  I’m thrilled to be part of the John Deere club with you.

Thank you for always trying your best, always making a grand effort and for being you, honey.

I love you more than you will ever know.

Love and xoxoxoxoxoxo,

Mom

The Power of New

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Today my sister gave birth to her third daughter.  I’m moved the power of this new life, her debut today, this small person I don’t know yet.

A state away, I still felt the weight of her miraculous arrival as if I stood in the delivery room.

It feels hard to wrap my mind around the space where she didn’t exist yesterday and where she does today.  It’s breathtaking to me and spiritual and human.

Of course, the occasion allows me to return to the birth-day of M and J and to relive their sacred arrival.   I will never grow tired of this memory.  Nor will I ever cease feeling eternally thankful to have had the privilege of my pregnancy and their birth.

Today glows a little brighter with the arrival of Miss M.  My new niece.  The twins’ new cousin.  A small perfect miracle.

The Glass is Half Full

Thursday, May 13th, 2010


Now more than ever before in my life (and especially as the mother of a little guy with some special needs), I appreciate positive people.

I can not say enough about good energy and how far it takes me in a day.  A surprise phone call with an old friend, a terrific email, a sweet facebook post, a kind comment on my blog  — the vibe from the positivity (is that a word?) moves, inspires and energizes me.

Filling my glass with positivism buoys me everyday.

Cheers!

The Everything Game

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

It all starts with “J, do you want to play a game?” or “M, do you want to play a game?”.

Today’s gift:  The Everything Game.  I think it may be a twin thing, but I can’t confirm that.  What I do know is that it is an all consuming imaginary game that J and M play often.  It is only for the two of them.  It usually involves all of their toys (from cars to dolls to books to instruments) and it can be played in different locations (bedroom, basement, outside, the car).

The game has it all:  drama, comedy, tragedy.   Sometimes there are different languages.  Sometimes there are different plots.  Many characters make appearances.  And best of all, the game never ends.

M and J connect very deeply when they play The Everything Game.  Their camaraderie and affection is beautiful to watch.  Secretly, I spy on the game when I know they aren’t looking.   The lessons of friendship and love are lifelong gifts that J gives to M.   And M gives to J.

In the land of The Everything Game, M and J are two peas in a pod and everything else fades away.