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Showing posts from June, 2011

eSpecially Parents June Edition: Marriage

eSpecially Parents topic this month is marriage. It is not an easy topic for anyone to tackle because it is hard to be completely truthful about what goes on inside your own marriage - it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing to share the ins and outs of your relationship. And really, whose business is it anyway? Well, I asked the moms of eSpecially Parents to share their marriage stories. Not all jumped to answer and I am sure they have their reasons, but marriage is private. However, I believe we can all learn from one another. Most of us have more in common in our marriages than differences and if we knew what was happening in our own marriage was happening next door, we would feel a bit calmer and normal. Last week while visiting family in New York, I heard a story of someone who would go on and on about how perfect her marriage was every time her group of friends got together. Everything from sex every night to no arguments, etc. This person kept this story of perfection going

Special Exposure Wednesday: Summer is Here!

Pearly Whites

 Would you wiggle a tooth in that mouth?  I know I lost my teeth once too. But when it is happening to your own child, it is a little strange. Ben's dentist told me at the last visit that he has loose teeth. Although curious, I dare not stick my finger in his mouth to check. I like my fingers just as they are, in one piece. Yesterday, I noticed a tooth growing behind one of Ben's bottom baby teeth. Curiosity got the better of me and I ventured into that shark mouth and sure enough the tooth in front was loose. If Ben were a typical kid, he would be wiggling and playing with it non-stop. Without the extra assistance, it may be awhile before it comes out. Ryan is very concerned becasue Ben has been grinding his teeth for quite awhile and to hear Ryan talk, they are down to the nubs. I have to say, as dramatic as my husband can be, Ben's teeth are worn down quite a bit. Ryan is worried that Ben will do the same to his adult teeth. After a telephone call to the denti

Magic Marker Monday: R2D2

Another one of my sister's fine pieces of culinary art, made especially for Logan's family birthday party in New York. Do you have an art project you would like to share with others? Submit to Magic Marker Monday .

Can't We All Just Get Along

 Although advocating can sometimes seem like a never-ending job, you are fighting for the rights of your child and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you are lucky, there are a few lanterns along the way held by people who will aid you in your journey. Ben's paperwork to apply for a toileting system has been held up since March. Unfortunately, I did not know it, and I was under the impression that the 3-6 month wait for approval was well underway. When I posed the question to the vendor about when we might expect the toilet, I was told that the paperwork needed was never completed by the therapy company. Once I got involved and sent emails out to light a fire under a few people, the paperwork was completed and sent in. Later, when I asked what the heck happened, it seems that there was a disagreement between the vendor and therapy company about who should fill out the paperwork. REALLY? Is that what this was about? AND YES I AM YELLING. Please take a step ba

"I a Big Boy Now"

Sean has had an extrordinary few weeks. He sleeps on the top bunk of Logan and his new bunk beds, he is wearing underwear and using the potty regularly. And with my own regret and excitement, Sean is calling Logan, "Logan" and not "der" for brother. In a matter of weeks, he has changed so much. Sean does not miss an opportunity to tell anyone that he is a big boy. Strangers, friends and family members are all told that he sleeps "top" and "go potty". His excitement to be seen as a big boy is overwhelming. Logan made the rule that when Sean reached 20 times using the potty, he would get underwear. That special day came last week, on one of the final days of school. At pickup, Sean ripped down his shorts and announced to Logan that he was wearing underwear while pointing to his bottom which was covered with Lightening McQueen. Today at the YMCA childcare, Sean used the bathroom there. When he saw their specially designed child-sized toilet, he

Magic Marker Monday: Art Extravaganza

 Over the weekend, I cleaned our art closet and realized we needed to have an art day to deplete our overflowing supplies. On the first day of summer break, we invited neighborhood children to join us in making fun arts and crafts.  With several stations throughout the house, children chose what activities they wanted to participate in and did them as often as they wanted. We had everything from necklace making, paper airplane building, puppet designing and clay molding.  Although Ben does not love arts and crafts, he definitely loved having children over the house. I helped Ben make a noodle necklace and let him eat it when we were finished. Bracelet made from buttons. When the arts and crafts were finished, Star Wars became the game. Ben got right in with the kids. It was fun to see him interact with everyone. One little girl whom we have known since she was two, really took an interest in Ben, asking appropriate questions and trying to help Ben get what she thought he

Introducing "The Shiny Little Pebble"

Jeremy White* just published his first children’s book entitled, The Shiny Little Pebble . Jeremy and his wife, Faith along with their three boys have been friends to our family for several years. I am excited to share his book with you. It was written to give hope to today’s children during hard times - be it moving to a new place, separation or divorce, military life, or the loss of a loved one. Reading The Shiny Little Pebble with children will open a door for communication, encouraging us to interact and love the children around us. After all, kids experience pain and loss just like we do. With a little bit of humor, quirkiness, and scientific exploration mixed in, The Shiny Little Pebble has the potential to tighten family bonds for a lifetime. Purchasing is available online at , , and .    * A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a Bachelors of Architecture and

Special Exposure Wednesday: Teachers

For the past three years, Ben has been in Mrs. H's classroom. This year he says good bye to her because his school is closing and both are going their separate ways. I am not sure what Ben understands about the change that will occur next year, but I sure do. Even now as I write this, I have tears in my eyes. Mrs. H cares about every one of her students, but has the uncanny ability to make your child feel like the most important one in the classroom. If ever there was a teacher meant to do what she does, it is Mrs. Hoard. She uses firm discipline combined with a great understanding of the best methods to teach children and then infuses the system with love. We will miss her, but she's already agreed to attend Ben's birthday party in July. This year, though, we will be prepared for Ben's reaction. Last year, he literally gave her a hug that lasted a full 5 minutes and pretty much kncked her to the ground with excitement. If that's not telling of a good teacher, I

You'll Be In My Heart

The special education classes at Ben's school performed Phil Collins' You'll Be in My Heart . The words held more meaning because the school is closing and students, teachers and assistants are being displaced to many other schools. There were not many dry eyes by the end. And if you do notice Ben in the center with the orange shirt, he is crying because he saw me. His reaction was upsetting and shocking, since crying is only reserved for wanting to watch a Bob the Builder video. I guess I should not complain, it appears my status is now on par with Bob. * Digital effects in place to obscure identities of the children. You’ll Be In My Heart Lyrics by Phil Collins Come stop your crying It will be all right Just take my hand Hold it tight I will protect you From all around you I will be here Don't you cry For one so small, You seem so strong My arms will hold you Keep you safe and warm This bond between us Can't be broken I will be here Don

Magic Marker Monday: X Marks the Spot

Each week this year, Ben's class studied a different letter of the alphabet. When I visited his class last week for the school performance, this artwork was hanging on the wall along with the rest of the" class skeletons." So cute and creative! I post artwork every Monday as part of the Magic Marker Monday Series offered through 5 Minutes for Special Needs . Check it out to see more artwork or to post something of your own.

Desk Model

I think I will start a resume for Ben - he's been in videos about Kindergarten readiness and literacy , and now, he is here modeling a special cut out desk. Who knows who might coming knocking next?   Duke Energy ran this story: Hydro Employee Uses Gift to Craft Furniture for Students Don Ligon builds desks for special-needs children. If you’ve never worked with special-needs children, it’s something you’ve probably never thought about. It had never crossed Don Ligon’s mind. But when a friend told him about how special-needs children require special desks and the problem she was having finding them for students in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system, he understood. And then Ligon had a light bulb moment. He was already involved with woodworking as a hobby and had made several pieces of furniture over the years. Why not build the desks for the children? Now, at least once every year, he delivers a batch of solid-oak desks for students. He’s built more than 150 over the

Special Exposure Wednesday: Who Have You Hugged Today?

Bye to the Sandman

2011 When you have a child with special needs, progress may be slow. It can also be unexpected, surprising and even downright mind boggling. And if you don't pay attention, it can go unnoticed. For Memorial Day, we went to the beach. Ben's sand eating is infamous in our household and extended family. I am not exaggerating. As soon as Ben sits in the sand, he begins to double fist sand. I am not joking...just ask Grandma and she will give you an earful. It can be horrifying for some to see the amount of sand he eats. We even warn people who come with us to the beach so they do not freak out on us or Ben. 2009 Well this year, we expected the same. We are always prepared for it, well not prepared as in we want Ben's breakfast, lunch and dinner to be sand, but prepared to tell him no, move his hands away from his mouth and then eventually give up because it is a job we do not succeed at - Ben's hands are faster than ours. Ben did not eat a grain of sand for the t

Magic Marker Monday: Love Letters

For the past several weeks in Sunday School, we have been reviewing the book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years , by Donald Miller . The book's basic premise is: When you have a chance to talk with God about the story of your life, will you be proud to do so? Will it be an interesting one? How would you change your life so it would be a good conversation with God? While on his journey to "rewrite" his life story, the author meets many colorful characters along the way - people who have good stories to tell. Most have overcome conflict to achieve their goals. Many have found ways to help others along the way. Today's class was about helping others. As a way to demonstrate the book's theme, we made Love Letters for children at a local hospital. Love Letters  is a program where anyone can make cards and give them to the hospital staff for distribution. The Love Letters website outlines a few simple guidelines to be followed. I made contact with the ChildLife

Support AMBUCS!

Looks like another company is jumping on the Pepsi Challenge bandwagon and giving away money to charities. Yes, it is all good, just don't be deceived that these companies are being unselfish. It gives the company publicity in the social networks while appearing like a company with heart, but many charities do benefit. So in the end everyone wins. And this time, they are using the word, "Endorse" instead of "Vote"  - guess it sounds more exciting. But vote is what you are being asked to do. AMBUCS is in the running this time. They give adaptive tricycles to children with special needs. I have written a lot about  AMBUCS because Ben is a two time recipient of one of these devices. We love it, he loves it and the more kids that can have one, the better. Take a minute to check these sites out and endorse/ vote if you choose:

May Edition eSpecially Parents: Elizabeth's Story

Ryan is now 13. I have a teenager in my house – a teenager who is more like a 6 year old. Ok, so are most teenagers, but not all the time. I think this is the hardest part of having a special needs child - for our family right now. But, Ryan makes up for this in so many other ways. Ryan has Down syndrome. He is very friendly, happy and likes to show off. He is a go with the flow kind of kid 95% of the time. He likes trains (and the subway in DC), Disney movies, red boots, taking walks and annoying his younger sister. He loves going to visit his grandparents who live on a chicken farm! To mention his “granmmmmmommy and grandddaddy" always makes him smile and the fastest way to make him mad is to tell him it is time to leave the farm. Ryan is a busy young man. He is proficient at the Wii swordplay game and “practices” every morning before school. After school, he attends a church after school program where he plays with peers and does his homework. He is always happy to see me an

Whose fault is it anyway?

Sean and I were having an exceptionally difficult afternoon together. Whether it was lack of sleep on his part or bad time of the month for me, we were at each other's throats. It was time to get Logan from school which requires a 1/2 mile walk. Sean refused to get his shoes on. After several attempts, a lot of yelling from both of us, a slap on the hand (his not mine), I told him I was leaving. He ended up putting his own shoes on and following me out of the house. And for those of you wondering, no, I did not have a Plan B if he decided not to follow. We did not speak the entire walk. As we got closer to Logan's school, I, of course, felt guilty about yelling and slapping Sean's hand. I decided to break the ice, be the bigger person, as they say. Yeah, I know, I am the mom. So I said, "Sean, I feel badly about fighting with you." Sean turned to me and ever so sweetly said, "Mommy, it wasn't your fault. It was my fault." Never underestimate

Special Exposure Wednesday: More Reality TV

All from one evening with Ben. Now couldn't you see this as an exciting reality TV show?