Friday Five and a Personal Note

Hello all, this is a little bit more of a personal post than I normally do.  I usually mention my girls, but don’t give away too many details about their little lives.  However, this week, I am going to share about my oldest and some big stuff that is coming up.  So here are the five reasons I am making it through this week without losing my mind.

 Five Reasons I am Making it Through this week

  1.  My husband is literally the most amazing person I know, he keeps me laughing as well as sane
  2.  My girls bring insane amounts of joy and love into my life
  3.  I have an amazing support system in my friends and family
  4.  I try really hard to make lists, even if sometimes I add things I’ve already done, just so I can cross them off
  5.  Not going to sugar coat this one, caffeine, lots of caffeine

Alright here goes…I have shared in the past that my 5 year old has epilepsy.  She was diagnosed when she was 4 years old.  She has had many different tests and one hospital stay in the past year.   She has been on a few different meds and we found one that was working, in fact so much so that we hadn’t seen a single seizure in 8 months.  However, that all changed as we were boarding a plane to Disneyland in December and she had a seizure.  Her seizures, started happening again on a more regular basis and started to really impact her.

Having a petite that has a medical condition like epilepsy can be completely devastating, and maybe not for the reasons you might think.  Of course, the obvious, it isn’t fair, but because sometimes it can rob her of experiences or change her experiences and that is a tough pill to swallow.  Sometimes it is hard, because you want to keep your petites safe and you can’t, you can only do your best, and sometimes that isn’t good enough.  Other times, it is that you see everyone else with their perfectly healthy children and you get a little jealous.  But, that’s not helpful.  Sometimes it is the guilt you feel that somehow you caused it, maybe it was the coffee you drank or the stress when you were pregnant or just faulty genetics – again not helpful.  At times it is when people say I don’t know how you do it, or when I have a bad day I just think about you and I feel better, not realizing that what they are really saying is you’re my it could be worse person.  Sometimes it is just that you feel helpless. Sometimes, the hardest times, are when the worrying and fears of it all get to you and you feel like crying.

With all that said, there are some things that I have learned over the past year.  As parent’s we do the best we can.  My husband is my strongest support and I am lucky to be in the foxhole with him.  We fight and advocate and rally around our petites fiercely.  We sometimes need to vent and finding someone who will listen and not try to solve the problem is invaluable.  Having a support system is critical, whether it’s a group on a Facebook page or a circle of friends.  Sometimes it is just trying to let it go and know that tomorrow will be another day that you made it through this one.  The most important thing that I have learned through all of this is that my daughter is an amazing little girl, who is incredibly brave, compassionate, empathetic and smart; that epilepsy is something she has, but is not who she is.

Our petite is going into the hospital for a seven night admission.  I am trying desperately to get everything organized and ready so that it is as smooth as possible.  I will write more about the planning for such a long hospital stay soon.

Traveling with Young Toddlers

Traveling with babies ItemsOne of my dear friends is traveling with her petite to Hawaii in a few days, I was trying to remember what all we packed for our little one when we traveled to California when she was 13 months old and then to Ireland when she was 16 months.  There are a few things that really saved us on our travels:

Stacking cups were great for her because we could put snacks in them and then hide things under them as well.

AquaDoodle book is a must for any kid who is on a plane or in the car it is great.  At 4 years old she still uses it in the car.  It was one of the best purchases we’ve ever made, just don’t lose the water pen.

Easter eggs are great too, buy them now, I always seemed to want them when it wasn’t near Easter.  They are great to put little snacks in or you can put beans in them and make shakers.  Plus they are fun for the kids to open, its like a little present.  Try to find the eggs where they shells are attached that way you wont have to try to find tops or bottoms.

Colorful Post-its these are fun to stick onto the tray table as well as window.  They are also fun to pull off of the little stack, not very environment friendly though.

Blue Painters Tape this stuff is awesome, same idea as post-its, fun to peal on and off of the tray table and windows

Cheerios we used these in the eggs when the petite was 12 months, then used them with pipe cleaners when she was 16 months, she enjoyed putting them onto the pipe cleaners and then eating them

Fruit/Veggie Squishies these are a must for traveling babies, they are the perfect size to take on the plane and virtually mess free.

Toddler or Baby Crayons these are awesome, you can color on small notebook pages. Really easy for little hands to hold onto.

Window Clings I just saw this one on Pinterest, and thought it would be a good idea to have these little cute clings to decorate the window.

Some other items to pack, an extra shirt for you especially if the petite will be sitting in your lap.  A scarf/pashmina for nursing in private.  Extra set of clothes for the petite and binkie if they will use them.

I am sure there are a ton of other ideas out there for traveling with toddlers, if you have a suggestion for something that you do and love please let me know in the comment section.  All of the stuff I listed above can be found at Target, the only thing that I have to order online was the AquaDoodle and you can find it here.

Traveling with a little one can be very overwhelming, I find that the more planning I did the better things turned out and who knows the petites might even just sleep the entire time.  🙂sleeping

Happy Travels.

 

A Veritable Shit Show

photo 1Over the last few months we’ve been working on getting my girlies’ epilepsy meds sorted out…what this means is that my lovely daughter who was always terribly sweet, empathetic, polite and charming turned into a wild, loud, rude, angry, aggressive, overtly emotional kid.  The type of kid that you may see in Target screaming because you won’t let them buy those cheap  princess toys at the checkout line.  Or maybe you just happened to see us at Target.  Everything became a battle, literally almost everything was a bargaining session.  There was door slamming that was tantamount of my teenage years.  (sorry about that Mom) There were moments where I would pretend to go to the bathroom just to escape.  Sometimes I would go in there and just silent scream.  You know where you scream and no sound comes out and somehow that makes you feel better.

Worse yet it was the effing meds.  So she couldn’t even begin to try to control it, so getting frustrated seemed incredibly ill placed.

Right after this was taken the strolled was kicked into the gorgeous painting behind it.  Umm...Shit.

Right after this was taken the strolled was kicked into the gorgeous painting behind it. Umm…

Now that the meds are more controlled when we see these behaviors, we are always wondering is it residual issues with meds, is it the anxiety that we’ve seen come before having a seizure, or is it just plain old 4-year-old behavior?  Not sure.

I don’t know about other families but when one of the four of us is in a foul mood or having a rough time, it seems to spread rampantly.  We had one of these days a few weeks ago while we were at the art museum of all places.  My petite, kept crossing the line into exhibits, getting damn close or even touching the art.  To the point where the staff was following us from room to room, at one point I swear I even heard over the walkie talkies, they are coming your way.  We left moments before I am sure they would have kicked us out.  A few days ago they were giving our free tickets to the museum, but since I am pretty sure there is a picture of me and the petites on some back room wall, we opted to stay home.

No big deal just having a timeout in an art museum, complete with a foot stomp.

No big deal just having a timeout in an art museum, complete with a foot stomp.

All of this makes me laugh a little because now that the meds are getting sorted out we are seeing a lot less of this craziness, but you know it still happens and it’s really all about how you react to it.  I have a really hard time not being mortified when we’re in public and she throws a fit, I feel like it’s a reflection of my parenting.  This of course doesn’t help when bitchy people (sometimes even other moms, WTF?) give you snarky looks – like control our child;  wow, what a brat; ugh, glad my kids are so perfect.  I also love the parents that give me the look like I’ve been there, those parents are my favorite.  I’ve really tried not to freak out about what other parents or people think.  My handsome hubby has really helped me to let it go and not worry about this.  Now my mantra is: do I know these people?  Do I really care what they think?  If I did know them what would they do?  Odds are if I was out with my friends when this happens, well I was at the museum with a friend.  She laughed hysterically with me, then we went to a local brewery for a mid-afternoon lunch/mommy beer.  Don’t judge, we deserved it, we were basically kicked out of an art museum.

My not so expert recommendation for veritable shit shows, try to keep your cool and if you can’t get the hell out of there and laugh about it with a friend.

E

Reflections on Consumerism and Raising the Petites

My Sunday morning was spent drinking a cup of tea and reading about this amazing Mom in Britain: Hattie Garlick.  She created this blog to chart her journey of a year of opting out of “kid consumerism” after reading about her journey, it really got me thinking and reflecting on my spending for the petites and what it means and the implications of kid consumerism.

I reflected about the money that we spend on “things” (as you can see, the petite doesn’t lack things) , how going Target to get the necessities can mean spending close to a hundred bucks and how many of those bucks are spent on things that we don’t need, that aren’t nourishing foods, are poorly made, or just simply over indulgent – over time these things really add up.  How it is almost impossible for me to walk past the children’s clothes section and not just grab a cute onesie or pair of jeggings.  Rationalizing these choices with false need or inflated reward.

What I mean by inflated reward is that now whenever, and I mean seriously every time, we go to the store my 4 year old wants something.  A snickie (snack item), or small toy, whatever, she now, through my own creation will throw a fit if she doesn’t get something.  I also know for a fact that I say if you are a good girl while we are running errands you can have _____.  So now, I have created this little petite who has been conditioned that good behavior in a store is not expected, but is rewarded.  So now that I am aware of what I’ve done, comes the process of undoing it.  We, as a family, have spent a lot of time talking about earning things.  The petite has a Responsibility Chart and when she does the items on it she can earn something from a prize bag (mainly Target dollar Hello Kitty Items). I wish I could say that I didn’t need to break it, that I didn’t have moments where I just wanted to take the easy road, but that isn’t the case.  But breaking the “what do I get” now is imperative.

Just this week I was chatting with a friend who is still teaching and she was saying that her kids always say well “what do I get?”  Turning in homework, showing up on time, being polite and kind, participating – what do I get?  It is funny to me, because even when I was in grade school which wasn’t that long ago, I graduated from high school in 1998,it wasn’t like that.  Honestly I don’t remember thinking when there were team challenges in class, I wondr what does the winning team get?  Umm…the WIN!  You turned in your homework or you got in trouble.  What you got was a grade.  Somehow now that is not enough.  There were consequences, now in place of accountability and responsibility we have entitlement.

What got me really thinking about Hattie Garlick’s journey to opt out of child consumerism and if there is a link to this entitlement.  I don’t have the answers I am just one mom trying to do what is best in a realistic way for my petites to ensure that when the are older they don’t firmy believe that the world owes them something.  That instead they believe that they can contribute something to the world instead.

-Erin