You may have gotten this from my posts about fear and the autism clinic last week, but the truth is I’m struggling. Special needs parenting is kicking my butt in a whole new way. I knew C would have a difficult time transitioning to preschool. I didn’t expect to see him lose skills and independence. I didn’t anticipate that he would get a cold and end up vomiting so many times that he hasn’t kept a full tube feeding down in days. Yes, vomiting from a cold; because that’s how his life is as a tubie.
Whenever I hear parents extraneously worrying about a child’s aches, pains or viruses, I find myself wishing that the fear in which I operate was that simple. For me, fear is the accomplice of special needs parenting. I may not want it to be there. I may not like it there. But, it’s there.
C is starting 3k on January 5! He’ll be in school three mornings per week. Those mornings conflict with the group therapies he has attended since February, adding to my anxiety about his transition. We’re excited for him and nervous about the new environment. I think he will *love* school. I think. I hope.
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Winter can get long and dreary, especially for our kids who are usually stuck indoors. We need to get creative to expend that energy we so easily use outdoors in warmer weather. It’s so much easier to go for a walk or a trip to the park in the summer! Exercise is great for our bodies and our minds. Here are five ways to keep your kids moving in the winter:
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Like most people, I want to raise my children to respect the environment and have a knowledge of renewable energy. That’s a pretty complex subject, though. How can I teach two toddlers about something as complex as green power? Learning begins with simple gestures! Here are three things that we do to teach our kids about the environment:
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When difficult times strike, you have the opportunity to witness the kindness of others. We have been in that position each time C visited the hospital. Friends stopping by the hospital, a homemade blanket, a toy car, or a cup of coffee go a long way when you’re struggling. Now that we have experienced that side of volunteerism and kindness, it’s become more important to me to pay it forward. I make an effort in teaching volunteerism to instill that value in our children. Giving to others is an important part of healthy living.
Special needs parenting requires more patience and perseverance than I sometimes think I can bear. I’ve been doing this for long enough that I really don’t know why the setbacks surprise me. Maybe it’s because they come on so quickly, seemingly out of nowhere. We’ve barely gotten into a routine with the good progress and we’re struck with a sudden downturn.
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I haphazardly threw sippy cups, snacks, diapers, Ice Mountain water and various items into the diaper bag that Baby Jo loves to empty. As I rushed from one end of the apartment to the other, I called out to C: “Okay, we need to leave in 10 minutes! Get your pull-up and I’ll help you put it on.”
No one ever tells you how hard parenting might be, that you might have a child who often demands more from you than you believe you are capable. No one ever tells you that, should this happen, it will consume all of your time, thoughts and energy. No one ever tells you that special needs parenting will leave you exhausted, exasperated and lonely.
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Poverty in the USA remains a big problem. My biggest concern? Hungry kids. Did you know that 1 in 5 children in the US is hungry*? That is a staggering number. I recall the pastor of our church recently talking about how many students, even in an affluent area, are signed up for the local school lunch program. I look at my children and can’t imagine the heartbreak of parents who are unable to provide enough food for their children.