Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Disclaimer: The names have been changed to protect the innocent and the not so innocent.
We had a good long talk about it and I proclaimed all sorts of parental type comments like; how a friend needs to "use their listening ears" and when a friend says "No!" or "Stop!" that you just need to listen to them. Sometimes these phrases come out of my mouth and I wonder who I am. Where did that come from? Honestly, I must have heard it myself many, many, many times before it flowed so effortlessly.
He sagely nods as if this is literally child's play for him and he already has this very simple life lesson nailed.
But he doesn't.
In fact, I find it interested that he wants to share this story with us now because it seems to be the exact issue that the teachers were bringing up about him on the playground.
Shea gets out there with the 50+ Kindergartners and gets revved up like an engine with faulty brakes. I know. 50! No wonder?
He wants to chase and play tag and do all sort of rough and tumble sorts of games and he may have several kids who are just fine with it for a time but when they have had enough, Shea has a tough time switching gears.
This is something we are working on and thankfully making progress on. And, now as I hear him regale us with this somewhat involved tale of how his naughty friend is doing the exact same thing, I find it charming and telling.
He is processing this lesson, somewhere in that sweet blond head, cataloging; defining; arranging; working it into the fabric of how he fits into the world; how friends are made and kept; how play stays play and doesn't turn into getting into trouble.
How many times does it take to say something for someone to learn? Answer: Depends on the person. With Shea it takes a bit of repetition for him to get it but that we already know.
He will get it. In fact, he is on his way to "getting it" right now.
Thanks "Pete" and "Bill"! You are keys to this puzzle.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Me? Not really. I am such an old crunchy grown up now that the season seems to just speed by. Today Thanksgiving, tomorrow Christmas. There is still, of course, that magical feeling in the air. Something kinder, more generous seems to hit humanity in the forehead.
I like that.
The tension in our house is palpable. Impatience at 11 is a very real thing. I can remember the flutter of anticipation that would sit in my stomach when I had to wait the allotted days. It is not hidden. It is not gentle or kind. It is out there for all to see on my middle schooler's cuff and she is working it for all its worth.
For about 2 weeks now, she has been nagging, cajoling, begging to open up her presents early.
I just shake my head with annoyance. She must think I rule the heavens, earth and the calendar but, I am sorry to say, my influence does not go that far.
"No! You have to wait until Christmas morning just like every one else!" I finally bellow after being needled for what seems like hours. Chagrined, she slinks away to regroup but just circles round to try again.
Sigh. No wonder I am exhausted.
I thought that Shea was somewhat impervious to this emotional roller coaster but when Molly proclaimed her impatience aloud just the other day, Shea piped up promptly and said, "Me too!"
Sitting back and watching their gyrations is touching although I remember it being tough when I was a kid. But, how long will it last? How long will they be enchanted by the stories, the tree, the gifts, the traditional shows we watch every year, our combined tradition?
When will it happen that they are more concerned with activities outside our tight little family unit? Answer: incrementally.
For that, I am not impatient.
I feel thankful, yet again, for all that I have. The health and happiness of those I hold dear. And, as the years pass, as the kids grow older; grow up and away, I will look back fondly to these unnerving assaults on the tradition. The wheedling, the begging, the aching ampatience; all tidings that my kids are still kids.
For, a while yet.
May your holiday be warm and wonderful and shared with friends and family.
Best wishes to you all!
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
It doesn't happen often but skating has been known to take place on beautiful Fisher Pond on Vashon Island. Northwesterners are quick to take advantage of a unique turn in the weather such as this. Or at least some people do.
During this cold snap, intrepid reporter and skating enthusiest, Happenin' Jan, documented the recent event.
In fact, I did not know that there is a Fisher Pond Skating Facebook Club with recently updated posts. And, a near by family who has been collecting skates of all sizes so anyone can give it a try.
Member of the club, Happenin' Jan said she could see the water lilies frozen underneath the surface, suspended.
Uh...I mean COLD!
Love to those in the tropics.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Make-A-Wish Foundation has made many dreams come true over the years. They continue to make the impossible somehow possible, bringing a little bit of wonder back into some very sick kid's lives.
Meet Jasmina Anema; she is 6 years old and has leukemia.
According to an article at The Huffington Post, the girl's trip from Manhattan to Washington D.C. was sponsored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation and was meant to happen last week, but was cancelled due to her ill-health, according to NBC.
In addition to the aggressive natural killer cell (NK-cell) leukemia returning, Jasmina suffered complications from her bone marrow donor's cells attacking her body, a condition called "graft-versus-host disease".
Jasmina was originally scheduled to meet President Obama and the First Lady around Thanksgiving, but according to NY1, she suffered seizures after developing Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome, as a side effect of medications.
Jasmina finally made the trip to the White House on Wednesday, visiting the Oval Office and receiving some gifts to take back home.
In an interview recorded before her failed Thanksgiving trip, the resilient girl admitted she couldn't sleep because she was so excited.
This holiday season think about donating to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and become part of making dreams come true for some brave kids in our own neighborhoods.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I get more and more thoughtful about Thanksgiving each year. It really is my favorite holiday. I guess as we age we begin to realize just how lucky we are.
Again, this year, I am thankful for family the most.
Jake who can build anything and who together we have built this beautiful life.
Molly who is the brightest, sweetest, bubbliest, funniest daughter a mom could ever hope for.
Shea who has taught me so much about patience and kindness and hope and acceptance.
Thanks goes to my generous parents who are an active part in their grandkids lives and are always up for an overnighter.
I am thankful for my brother and his beautiful, warm and gracious new family.
A give particular thanks for my dear friends on this sparkly rock in the middle of the sound. My live is rich with talk and ideas and laughter and love.
And, I am thankful for this sparkly rock itself! Somehow we managed to find the best place in the world for us.
I am thankful for my readers and the friends I have made through my blogs. I am thankful that I have found such a healthy, creative way to share some of life's quandaries. And, for all you great folks who actually read it. Bless your hearts!
Finally, this year I am thankful for our new pussy cat, Lulu, who has melted the crunchy exterior of our hearts and leaves only the ooy-gooy center with her crazy antics, purring snuggles and obliviousness about how hard to bite or whether that tea cup with tip or not.
I guess I am a pretty simple person. It doesn't seem like all that much now that I write it all out but I feel like the luckiest person in the world.
Hope your holiday is warm and wonderful with friends and family.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Hmm…telling adult woman NOT to do preventative screenings? What is wrong with this picture?
After the news hit, there has been quite an uproar. Woman everywhere are say, "This doesn't add up!"
Those screenings through your 40s can be baseline information for anything that pops up in your 50s. Mammograms are still one of the best early detection tool for breast cancer.
And just today I read from ABC news, that women have been getting too many pap smears too? Why?
Because they are just so darn fun? I don’t think you need to be a woman to detect my sarcasm on this subject. Pelvic exams are one of the most invasion, annoying and embarrassing procedure to get done. Yet, woman who take their preventative health seriously get them done, year after year.
So why the big change? Good question but I doubt if we will get a cogent answer from on high very soon.
Call me a flaming skeptic but does this have anything to do with the contentious health care reform debate bubbling forth all over the country?
Is this a way for the insurance companies to not cover preventative screenings? Yes, to me at least, it looks like it is.
So, to be clear - I am not a doctor and I am also not a lobbyist for the health care industry. I am a 45 year old woman who has been having mammograms on a yearly basis since I turned 40. And, I will keep on doing it even if those extortionist insurance “providers” won’t cover it!
Call me a skeptic but I don't think I trust my long -term health (or anyone else's for that matter) to the obvious monetary dictates of the insurance industry.
What do you think?
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
For the record, I thought he did an okay job but the threat is a little annoying and predictable.
What do you think?
Misconceptions abound about grinding
I am a 17-year-old senior at Vashon High School and have followed the discussion in The Beachcomber in regards to “grinding.” I have found some of the arguments made to be inaccurate and even offensive.
There seems to be a widespread misconception among adults on the Island that grinding is completely about sex and nothing else. However, when asked if they’d ever felt that their dancing partner’s actions towards them were disturbing or unwelcome, only 16 out of 359 who responded to a survey I issued at school on Monday said yes.
Most dancing partners at VHS are either dating or are friends and have agreed to dance with each other. It’s seen as inappropriate for a guy to simply walk up and start grinding on a girl. This week’s survey revealed that the students who are uncomfortable with it are by far the exception rather than the rule.
There’s no denying the fact that there are some students who choose not to participate. I didn’t even go to dances during my freshman year, but over time I gained the confidence to join in. Grinding is the chosen dance style of our generation, which explains why 70 percent of VHS students surveyed said they would not support a ban on the dance.
This is a common issue among high schools in the United States, with parents concerned about the alleged sexual nature of grinding. At Sequim High School, a new edict called the “face-to-face-and-leave-some-space” rule is being enforced, and dance attendance has plummeted. Their student body is over 1,000 strong, more than twice the size of VHS. Even with that many kids to draw from, they only sold 190 tickets to a recent dance.
At VHS, a similar drop would equate to the sale of around 80 tickets. Besides the fact that most kids just have a lot more fun at well-attended dances, these events are some of the biggest moneymakers for our student leadership cabinet. Programs would suffer if dance attendance fell so dramatically.
Referring to grinding as dry humping and clothed sex is a gross jump to a wrong conclusion. Similar objections were raised in the 60s and 70s because of dances like the Twist that involve little to no physical contact. Attempted parental control of those dances was unsuccessful and only resulted in kids seeking alternative opportunities to dance the way that they liked. When surveyed as to whether or not grinding was offensive or inappropriate, only 22 out of 359 students surveyed responded in the positive.
Some of us at VHS thought that the meeting Sunday at the elementary school to discuss grinding was meant as a good opportunity for the students to get in touch with the adults, and we were under the impression that a compromise was to be reached. But during the opening remarks, Superintendent Michael Soltman announced that “grinding is over.” Speaking for the students who attended, an absolute statement like that certainly didn’t set the stage to work out a deal.
A number of parents felt that grinding was an exclusive dance that left many students standing on the sidelines. For many VHS students, eliminating grinding will mean they no longer wish to attend the dance and will be effectively excluded. This seems hypocritical to me. I think that in this case, alternatives must be brought to the table in order to avoid a parting of ways between the student body and VHS-sanctioned dances.
— Eli Hoyt, a senior at Vashon High School, is active in student affairs.
Monday, November 16, 2009
It was the entire ASL alphabet with a bunch of signs for common words, a big thick heavy xeroxed thing that was psychologically weighty. She gave me 3 actually.
At the top were the words that Shea could say at the time:
Those were the days when he was basically a non-verbal 3 1/2 year old.
What a difference 2 years makes. Shea speaks full sentences now. Yes, slow and lilted with articulation issues, but FULL SENTENCES!!!!
Shea tells joke, not very funny ones but he does tell them.
He actually sings now and can sort of carry the tune of Happy birthday but he really likes to dance.
Shea tells his sister at the dinner table to "Be quiet. It is my turn to talk."
He asks his buddy, "Did you like the movie, Honon?"
Shea is trying hard to make his mouth work, I watch him focus on it. He wants to connect with the world in a verbal way and gain confidence. He isn't afraid to try.
When Shea only had a handful of words, I looked everywhere for some story and anecdote that would describe how kids with Apraxia progressed. What does 2, 3, 4 + years of therapy and working hard on speech do for a kid? The lack of prognosis drove me to distraction.
That is why I want to show other parents with kids with speech and language issues what is possible and there is always reason to hope. We may not see big jumps on a day to day basis but it all adds up. I have to remind myself of that every once in a while.
When Shea had only a handful of works, I would have kissed the feet of the person who could tell me that Shea would speak full sentences at 5 1/2.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Diana Harrison Biorkman (friend of a friend) has a 5yr. old son who is in the last stages of a 2 1/2 yr. battle with Neuroblastoma Cancer. The family is celebrating Christmas next week and Noah's request is to get lots of Christmas cards. If you have a moment could you send an extra Christmas card to:
1141 Fountian View Circle
South Lyon, MI 48178
Such a small and simple request that we can do for someone. If you know anyone else who might be willing to send Noah a card, please share his address. Wouldn't it be neat to receive so many well-wishes and Christmas greetings from around the US?
Tomorrow is a holiday but I am going to get one put together to mail on Thursday.
What do you say folk?
Can we surprise a brave little kid and give him his wish?
Check out the latest edition of Parenting Special Needs, a wonderful free on-line magazine! It includes a piece I wrote called, "Apraxia; when the words just won't come".
I wrote a blog post about the magazine some time back and have stayed in touch with how the magazine is doing. Apparently subscribers are up and the message is building.
So head on over and give them some love, and take a minute if you can to read my piece.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Apologies for gloating but for me finding a good GF recipe is reason to celebrate. And, if I happen to create one of my very own? Considering my usual lack of natural baking skills? Well, that is: time to celebrate - cubed.
I have managed to customize a pretty generic Pumpkin Bread recipe but first we need to address the pumpkin issue. I hear you saying, "Do I have a can of pumpkin handy?" NO! This will not do.
In a pinch, perhaps we can let is slide, but the fresh stuff is so much better. And, it isn't too hard once you figure out the best method. Trust me on this, I have tried a few different methods this season and will share only the successes.
Use sugar pumpkins or those old fashioned Cinderella pumpkins as they have a very high sugar count.
Slice in quarters, remove seeds and that stringy stuff. In large pot, place a streamer rack and a little water and stack the pumpkin pieces meat side down. Steam for a good 10 minutes or until the pumpkin meat is soft to a knife. Let cool.
Scoop out pumpkin (avoid the outer skin) meat into large saucepan. Add some water to the pumpkin meat and put a lid on it. It will continue to steam and break down into mush. Make sure it does not burn and keep adding liquid as needed. (I used the water that was left from the steaming as it was all orange and pumpkiny. Had to be good for something, right?)
When the pumpkin has broken down, use a potato masher to further smooth the mixture. Puree with immersion blender for very smooth consistancy. Let cool. Freezes well.
Now you are ready to bake!
Shelley's Garden Fresh Pumpkin Bread
2/3 cup rice/soy/hemp milk
2/3 cup apple sauce
1/3 Virgin Coconut oil, melted
4 eggs - I know it is a lot of eggs but it makes 2 loaves!
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 cup GF All purpose flour
1 1/2 cup Brown Rice flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
In mixing bowl combine apple sauce, milk, eggs and pumpkin. In separate bowl add dry ingredients. Pour melted Coconut oil into liquid and everything to dry ingredients. Mix well.
Pour into 2 greased loaf pans and bake at 350F for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Tooth pick should come out clean. Let them cool a bit before trying to get them out of the pan.
I was shocked at the light and fluffiness of this bread. More like cake really. I guess it must be all the eggs but it does not have any of the weird heavy, denseness of the usually GF baked goods.
We are quickly eating one loaf but I wrap the 2nd in a good foil envelope and pop it in the freezer. Freezes well then thaw at room temp.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Different people can see the same thing and get something very different.
Autism Speaks, an advocacy group promoting the research for a cure, released a video for a World Focus on Autism event that coincided with the opening of the U.N. General Assembly in September. The video is called "I am Autism" and has raised concerns in the autism community.
The video as written by Grammy-nominated songwriter Billy Mann and directed by Academy Award–winning director Alfonso Cuarón who both have children with autism. The video shows a series of images of children with autism, accompanied by an ominous voice-over: "I am Autism ... I know where you live ... I live there too ... I work faster than pediatric AIDS, cancer and diabetes combined ... And if you are happily married, I will make sure that your marriage fails."
The tone of the video has added strain to an already touchy relationship between many adult with high functioning autism and the largest autism advocacy group.
According to a recent Time article, some autistic "self advocates" are furious over the tone of the video. "We don't want to be portrayed as burdens or objects of fear and pity," insists Ari Ne'eman, president of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, a 15-chapter group he built while attending college at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. "Apparently, should my parents divorce, it's all my fault," says Ne'eman, who received a diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome, a relatively mild form of autism, at age 12.
Ne'eman's group has organized protest rallies around the country. These advocates argue that if Autism Speaks had more people with ASD on its board, its messages would be more sensitive to the individuals it seeks to help, and it might also devote more resources to improving services to people with autism now — as opposed to basic research and genetic studies that may not pay off for years.
"Groups like Autism Speaks choose to use fear and stigma to raise money, but very little is going toward services, research into improved educational methodologies and things that have a practical impact on our lives," Ne'eman charges. He notes that other disability groups have moved away from using fear and pity in their media campaigns.
Peter Bell, executive vice president of Autism Speaks, said the video got plenty of positive responses from the autism community. "But we realized it did hurt a certain segment of the population, which is why we removed the video link from our website," he said.
The video, Bell said in an interview, is a personal expression by Mann and Cuarón, each of whom has a young child with autism. "They are at that stage of life where they are grieving and unsure what the future holds," he said.
Bell admitted that Autism Speaks does not have any individuals with autism currently serving on its board. "We are looking at adding individuals with autism to various advisory committees," he said. The group is also initiating a better outreach to adults with autism.
It is obvious that both sides are really working toward the same thing; working to raise awareness and assure help for all people with autism. In future let's hope their good efforts can be combined.
What do you think? Did the video go too far?
What about these spoofs? Did they go too far?
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Marie Myung-Ok Lee's 9-year-old son was so violent, aggressive and destructive that she describes it only as the "dark time". He would repeatedly scratch himself bloody and was continuously covered in scabs and wounds. The school was logging up to 300 aggressive episodes a day with teachers wearing protective padding on a regular basis just to deal with his violent tantrums. It had gotten so bad that the school was pushing hard for here to medicate him with a pharmaceutical, such as Risperdal, to calm him down.
Last year, Risperdal was prescribed for more than 389,000 children—240,000 of them under the age of 12—for bipolar disorder, ADHD, autism, and other disorders. Yet the drug has never been tested for long-term safety in children and carries a severe warning of side effects.
From 2000 to 2004, 45 pediatric deaths were attributed to Risperdal and five other popular drugs also classified as “atypical antipsychotics,” according to a review of FDA data by USA Today.
Disturbed by the reality of Risperdal, she decided to try something else. With the blessings of her doctor, she applied for and got a medical marijuana license and began to provide marijuana to her son and has been able to see and document the life changing difference.
She baked cookies and made a weak infused tea and has worked hard to find an appropriate dosage and way to administer that worked the best. But the direct evidence for her is how her son is reacting to the new treatment.
"Since we started him on his "special tea," J’s little face, which is sometimes a mask of pain, has softened. He smiles more. For the last year, his individual education plan at his special-needs school was full of blanks, recording “no progress” because he spent his whole day an irritated, frustrated mess. Now, April’s report shows real progress, including “two community outings with the absence of aggressions.”
An eloquent writer, Lee teaches at Brown University and is the author of the novel Somebody's Daughter, and is a winner of the Richard Margolis award for social justice reporting. She has been bravely writing about her first hand experience with this treatment and generously shares them here and here.
Her experience brings up some good questions for our "war on drugs" society. Why is it ok to pump pill after pill into our kids? And more pills to deal with side effects? We don't even really know what the long term side effects are going to be. Yet a mild natural herb is still taboo?
I am not saying every parent should try this for their child with autism but clearly Lee has found something that has helped her son. My hat goes off to her and to all warrior parents who try again and again to find something that will bring some relief for their child.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
He spotted my Grinding article and invited me to visit there pretty darn cool site. They are the originators of the Do Not playlist for school dances; songs that have excessive profanity, sexual or violent lyrics. And, demystify what those wacky kids are up to.
They also have some good information on how school can handle the Grinding issue at their school.
And, come to find out he is just some dad from here in the NW that started this whole thing up. Good for you, Ric!
Check it out!
"My name is Richard Mattson. I am a father of a teen, a former radio station manager and a friend to administrators at every age level. I created the School Dance Network to help school districts, principals, dance administrators and parents sort out teen trends, and find the best ways to provide a great school social event, that’s not only fun for the students but in good taste.The School Dance Network provides usable updated tools for administrators to create fun, appropriate and positive dance events at schools. There is no charge....just register your school and start taking advantage of the many tools. Your input is always welcome and our phone line is always open to our members: 1-800-217-9930."
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Yarn, pieces of string, leaves: all the things on my messy floor are toys!
Our day time position when the kids are at school. It works well until she wants to sleep on my mouse hand.
Halloween spooky cat impersonation!
All photos were taken my miss molly-moo and she should get all credit and critique.
I think of coffee first and then a tool called a "grinder" and then the sandwich.
Never do I think of a simulated sexual act preformed fully clothed in a room full of people at a school dance.
Or I used to not but now I do.
Remember when a certain 6th grade girl (that shall remain nameless) went to her first dance? We mommys had an eye opening with the 8th grade grinders wowing all the little kids.
I risk being totally bagged for being a prude-y mom because I was such a rascal myself and you would be correct. But, I am not the only one.
The latest editorial in the Vashon Beachcomber, describes it exactly. Apparently the latest high school homecoming dance shocked and horrified enough parents that they get together on a Sunday and discussed how shocking it was! Full disclosure: I was not there.
The only rule for dancing is the girl can't bend over! Wow. Ok. I am not even sure what to say about that.
But obviously it has gotten the conversation going which is always a good thing. And one of the really nice thing about Vashon; we are a good size to have a real dialog in the public forum and can actually have a well rounded airing of an issue.
I guess I am just trying to figure out what is about this that is really bothering me. Is it because they are so young? Middle school does seem young to me; 11 - 13. And, there is a big hormone difference between 6th and 8th grade.
Maybe it's because they are doing this supposedly "private" thing right out in the middle of everything apparently without modesty?
Or is it that we are just letting them get away with too much? How bad will it backfire if we try and lower the boom on this sort of thing?
I guess finally I am afraid of the objectification and how the girls just seem to naturally slip into that role. I find it disturbing. I also want to hand them free condoms and birth control, STD information.
As parents, we are damned if we do, damned if we don't. If we lower the boom, it looks even sexier and if we allow it we are saying ok to sexual behavior in a public place.
So, what to do?
Instead of the Halloween dance tomorrow night, I am taking 4- 6th grade girls "over town" Bowling then back here for slumber party after. There are always other dances.
How would you say goodbye to your family? Its hard to even think about. What if you were 6 years old and had brain cancer?
Elena Desserich wasn't really supposed to know she was dying, her parents didn't want her to dwell on it the last days of her life. Her parents always told her the treatments were making her better. They always remained hopeful so Elena could live around optimism.
But the brave, beautiful, sweet, charming, artistic Elena did loose her fight with brain cancer. She did end up having to leave her family and left a hole a mile wide.
Her family started finding the notes right away; tucked into drawers, in a briefcase, with the Christmas ornaments, under things. Little notes from a little girl, mostly about how she loved her family and sister. Colorful drawings with hearts, she left hundreds all over the house and the family is still finding them.
According to an interview with the Today Show, her parents explained, “It wasn’t just a random collection of notes. She was actually hiding these notes for us,” her father said. “It was her way of letting us know that everything would be OK,” added Brooke. “You hope that it never ends.”
They found so many note, they wondered what to do with them. Such a pure, honest display of love and bravery, they felt they should share them. Maybe they would bring hope and solace to others who had to say goodbye to their families or had lost a child of their own.
The parents compiled them and posted them to an on-line journal, then self-published excerpts in a book that included reproductions of many of Elena’s notes. After selling several thousand books in just a few weeks, HarperCollins bought the book and published it, with proceeds going to the charity founded in memory of their daughter, The Cure Starts Now.
Life offers so many lessons and sometimes the most profound teachers are children.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Here she is doing "Cat in the Hat" for Halloween.
Why now? Our good old timer cat, Hector, has gone to the great big litter box in the sky. 17 years old. He had a good long mellow life and was a particular friend of Shea's. Back when Shea would only bestow words on us very sparingly, he willingly chat up a blue streak with Hector. They spoke the same language.
So now Hector is gone and we have adopted a new kitten, not just for Shea but for all of us. We could all use a dose of kitten antics in this house. Watching this little critter charm our socks off is pretty fun.
We're still naming though.
Bat cat (Shea's offering)
It's a real toss up!
Sunday, October 25, 2009
at the Vashon Theater
Sunday, November 15
1:30 p.m. (Doors Open at 1 p.m.)
30 minute discussion period following the film
FREE TO THE PUBLIC
America's boys are in trouble. They are the most violent in the industrialized world. Many are unable to express their emotions. On average, boys are doing worse in the classroom than they were 10 years ago.
Who is responsible for this situation? How do we learn to listen to and support our boys? How can we guide them on the path to becoming responsible, caring men?
The documentary, Raising Cain: Boys in Focus, provides answers, insights, ideas, and hope. Hosted by child psychologist Michael Thompson, Ph.D., co-author of the best-selling book Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Boys, this documentary explores the emotional development of boys in America today. Thompson consults with some of our nation's most respected psychologists, social activists, researchers and educators to probe the issues facing boys and find solutions to their dilemmas.
This two-hour documentary provides surprising new research about boys' inner lives, dispelling a number of commonly held misconceptions, and highlights innovative programs that are bringing out the best in boys.
Please feel free to forward this invitation to others in our community. We hope to see you there!
P.O. Box 1912
Vashon, WA 98070
Friday, October 23, 2009
Parenting a child with special needs is a challenge, a promise, a gift, a heartache. It can be life transformative and may just be the hardest thing a person takes on in their life. At time, it can be a heavy load to bear and can be terribly stressing on marriages.
But the human spirit can be dazzling in its creative drive while searching for hope and purpose. We see this in special needs parents every day. Learning to cope is a difficult process and different for each of us but the passion and focus that comes out of the journey can literally change lives near and far.
The term warrior mother is almost getting familiar with its connotation of a controversial vaccine crusader. But there are “warrior parents” out there around every corner blazing trails, improving lives, making a difference. These parents are hidden in plain site pushing strollers, wheelchairs, playing with their kid in the park, trying to find the right school placement, sitting at IEP meetings, driving to specialist appointments. These parents, simply by the fact of working to better the life options for their own child, are advocating inclusion for all kids with special needs. These parents and the caring specialists that they gather around them create something bigger than the sum of its parts. A family, in a sense, that shares common purpose, knowing that there is a place in this world for all of us.
Introducing some of these "warrior parents" and connecting them with other parents of kids with special needs is a focus of an upcoming series. I encourage anyone to contact me with suggestions of "warrior parents" you would like to see profiled. But, this time allow me to introduce:
Kelly’s Kidz – Kelly and David Hermann wanted to do something to honor their daughter Maggie who has Cerebral Palsy. They got the idea of starting a non-profit that would help provide financial assistance and resources to physically-impaired children with special needs and to create an opportunity for them to lead the best life they can possibly live.
From the Kelly’s Kids website, the Hermann's frankly share their story and say, “Because we have been so fortunate, we wanted to create opportunities for other families like ours to be able to provide their special needs son or daughter with everything they need. Not everything is covered by insurance and not everyone can afford all of the special needs equipment that they would like for their child. So we started Kelly’s Kidz. Our goal is to be able to use our resources to help provide for others – regardless of income level – what they cannot obtain on their own. Additionally, we’d like to create awareness. So many people are seemingly ignorant to the ways of the disabled. They feel that they should either stare or just look away in pity. If you have a special needs child you know that both of these actions result in anger and disappointment. If the public were just a little bit more accepting and courteous to the disabled, it would make our jobs as parents easier.”
Monday, October 19, 2009
Here's to staying healthy!
At a recent PATH seminar in Fargo, Dr. Goyal gave some very important, yet easy to follow, recommendations on ways to avoid getting sick.
Dr.Vinay Goyal is an MBBS,DRM,DNB (Intensivist and Thyroid specialist) having clinical experience of over 20 years. He has worked in institutions like Hinduja Hospital, Bombay Hospital, Saifee Hospital , Tata Memorial etc.. Presently, he is heading our Nuclear Medicine Department and Thyroid clinic at Riddhivinayak Cardiac and Critical Centre, Malad (W).
The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it's almost impossible to avoid coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as proliferation is.
While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of H1N1 infection, in order to prevent proliferation, aggravation of symptoms and development of secondary infections, some very simple steps, not fully highlighted in most official communications, can be practiced (instead of focusing on how to stock N95 or Tamiflu):
1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications).
2. "Hands-off-the-face" approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face (unless you want to eat, bathe, etc).
3. *Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don't trust salt). *H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don't underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.
4. Similar to 3 above, *clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. *Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities), but blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population.
5. *Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (Amla and other citrus fruits). *If you have to supplement >with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.
6. *Drink as much of warm liquids (tea, coffee, etc) as you can. *Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.
This is so interesting! Hat tip to my gal pal, Judith, for bring this to my attention.
I knew that having a good girlfriend was therapy but come to find out its like drugs! Good drugs!
UCLA STUDY ON FRIENDSHIP AMONG WOMEN
By Gale Berkowitz
A landmark UCLA study suggests friendships between women are special. They shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are. By the way, they may do even more.
Scientists now suspect that spending time with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis. A landmark UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. It's a stunning find that has turned five decades of stress research, most of it on men, upside down.
"Until this study was published, scientists generally believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible," explains Laura Cousino Klein, Ph.D., now an Assistant Professor of
Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University and one of the study's authors. "It's an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by saber-toothed tigers.
Now the researchers suspect that women have a larger behavioral repertoire than just "fight or flight."
"In fact," says Dr. Klein, "it seems that when the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the "fight or flight" response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect.
This calming response does not occur in men", says Dr. Klein, "because testosterone, which men produce in high levels when they're under stress, seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen", she adds, "seems to enhance it."
The discovery that women respond to stress differently than men was made in a classic "aha!" moment shared by two women scientists who were talking one day in a lab at UCLA. "There was this joke that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded", says Dr. Klein." When the men were stressed, they holed up somewhere on their own.
I commented one day to fellow researcher Shelley Taylor that nearly 90% of the stress research is on males. I showed her the data from my lab, and the two of us knew instantly that we were onto something." The women cleared their schedules and started meeting with one scientist after another from various research specialties. Very quickly, Drs. Klein and Taylor discovered that by not including women in stress research, scientists had made a huge mistake: The fact that women respond to stress differently than men has significant
implications for our health.
It may take some time for new studies to reveal all the ways that oxytocin encourages us to care for children and hang out with other women, but the "tend and befriend" notion developed by Drs. Klein and Taylor may explain why women consistently outlive men.
Study after study has found that social ties reduce our risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. "There's no doubt," says Dr. Klein, "that friends are helping us live." In one study, for example, researchers found that people who had no friends increased their risk of death over a 6-month period. In another study, those who had the most friends over a 9-year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%.
Friends are also helping us live better. The famed Nurses' Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life. In fact, the results were so significant, the researchers concluded, that not having close friends or confidantes was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight!
And that's not all! When the researchers looked at how well the women functioned after the death of their spouse, they found that even in the face of this biggest stressor of all, those women who had a close friend, confidante were more likely to survive the experience without any new physical impairments or permanent loss of vitality. Those without friends were not always so fortunate.
Yet if friends counter the stress that seems to swallow up so much of our life these days, if they keep us healthy and even add years to our life, why is it so hard to find time to be with them? That's a question that also troubles researcher Ruthellen Josselson, Ph.D., co-author of Best Friends: The Pleasures and Perils of Girls and Women's Friendships (Three Rivers Press, 1998). "Every time we get overly busy with work and family, the first thing we do is let go of friendships with other women," explains Dr. Josselson. "We push them right to the back burner. That's really a mistake because women are such a source of strength to each other. We nurture one another. And we need to have unpressured space in which we can do the special kind of talk that women do when they're with other women.
It's a very healing experience."
Taylor, S. E., Klein, L.C., Lewis, B. P., Gruenewald, T. L., Gurung, R. A. R., & Updegraff, J. A. Female Responses to Stress: Tend and Befriend, Not Fight or Flight
So on to my Mr. picky eater!
Because Shea won't eat much fruit or veggies, she is concerned about B vitamins. She did say that him eating cheese was fine. And, she was literally thrilled that he was getting Hemp Milk every day.
She suggested smoothies. Well, as you may know, I am the smoothy queen and have tried. Oh believe me, I have tried but to no avail.
If it looks like fruit, he won't eat it. I know, very weird.
So a light bulb went off over my head while I was there.
"What if I call it a milkshake? And poor chocolate syrup all over it?"
"Sure. Whatever it takes!" She also said if I could get him to do some sort of berry that would be great. They are full of all sorts of Bioflavonoids.
So, I got some vanilla ice cream, some berries and made a milkshake to great success.
What did I put in it?
Shea's Magic Milkshake
1 cup Hemp or Rice Milk
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 cup vanilla ice cream
Handful of berries (strawberries, Raspberries or Blackberries)
1 drop Vit. D emulsion (2000 IU)
1 chewable B12 (crushed up)
1 tsp. liquid Zinc
Place in blender. Block the view of blender as berries, banana, yogurt and supplements are put in. Blend very, very well. Berries need to be completely pulverized or suspicion sets in.
Does he drink it all? No. But makes a good dent and then I pour the rest into those "make your own Popsicle" holders and they make surprisingly good fudge pops! Even Molly likes them.
He doesn't quite get why he is so lucky to be able to have milk shakes all the time now. As an after school snack is a good time for it.
Wish us luck!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Well, my doc told me yesterday it was the dreaded "Swine Flu". (insert really scary horror movie music right here)
She said it was making the rounds and that is why it took so long for him to mend.
Interesting. I hadn't planned on vaccinating him anyway and now I am glad. He has been hit by the swine and now has the antobodies and will be stronger the next time around.
I guess we all are a little stronger because we lived near him the whole time, sharing the house, couches, snuggies.
Interesting turn of events.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Oh he hangs out with his sister and the neighbor girls but he is the littlest therefore he is a minority of one and not always treated as well as I would hope for him.
I have tried to do playdates but they really are tricky. I have to be honest. Seeing my kid next to a typically developing kid just hurts. Still does. Oh, we do plenty of it anyway but it hard for me to witness.
I have tried making connections with the other special kids in Shea's class with not much luck. Remember; the special kids are picked up and dropped off with door to door service by the fabulous special bus. We happen to live very close to the school so I do a lot of dropping off and picking up but not many special parents do.
I have written about this before. It is easy to just let them be. It is easy to not really be very plugged into the classroom happenings when you aren't there. Believe me, all the other typically developing parents are there. But special parents usually aren't.
So it has been slow going meeting other special parents who would like to connect. That is why I was so thrilled to run into one mom recently. Of course, I met her at Granny's and her eyes lit up when she realized I was another special mommy too.
So we planned a play date at my house last weekend and it was a great success. It made me realize that Shea really needs this and I need to provide it with more regularity.
He was so excited he could barely spit his words out but they got along pretty good. Shea was thrilled to show off his treasures but there was a little bit of scuffling over "stuff". Pretty mild really.
When his mom came to pick up, I am afraid I blabbed her ear off.
I guess we could all use a few more playdates with the right people.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Fabulous Autumn Beef Stew
1 lb. or so of Beef cut into chunks
1/2 cup (approx) red wine
4 potatoes cut into pieces
1 cup baby carrots
1 Sweet potato cut into pieces
1/2 bag frozen corn
1/2 bag frozen edamame beans
lg. container of Beef stock
more water if needed
salt & pepper
Saute onion & garlic until limp, toss in beef and brown. And red wine let simmer. Add both kinds of potato and beef stock bring to boil, add carrots, reduce heat.
Cook until potato falls apart and is soft. Add corn, edamame beans and water (if needed) simmer. Sprinkle paprika and nutmeg and any more salt & pepper needed.
Cool and serve. I served toasty bread points for dunking. Why are the called "toast points"? Because they are pointy!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
A very nice lady with a pretty darn cool blog sent me an award! Yes, an AWARD! How fun is that?
She says I get to revel in the glory for a bit then pass it on to 10 blogs that I would like to nominate. Ten?! Ten blogs that I love and adore. Gladly.
I will revel then I will pass it on. As it should be. But first I just have a few words to say... ahem...
Tossing things out there into the blogosphere is fabulously fun. I didn't really know it would be when I first started. At the beginning it was painful. I would cry while I wrote; feeling exposed somehow as I hit the post button. This was writing therapeutically; a pressure release during those early "acceptance" days with Shea. I am thankful that I had it.
Those early days are dark for any parent, only connecting with other parents seemed to help. A lot. I love it that I can throw out my tales and find people who can relate. I love that it is so easy to say, "Hi there. We have a big thing in common." to someone across the country or across the world.
My blogging is way beyond just therapy now although still very helpful, it is the community that keeps me typing tidbits and treasure from my life.
Everyone has a story while friendships can happen anywhere and anytime. So with that thought I would like to introduce you to my nominees for the Lemonade Blog Award.
I like that your posts are short and sweet but you always have something deeper to say; the quintessential "less is more". I wish I could hang out in your garden and we could do some "zen" weeding.
Fearless Folks...autism and beyond...
I can't make any nominations without including you. Somehow I feel like you are part of my family. I just love reading your frank, open, thoughtful and often hilarious perceptions on life. Your posts stick with me for days. I wish we could sit down and sip one of those fancy martinis you make.
Because without my best buddy I would never have started to blog.
Your honesty, poise, strength and fortitude while sharing the good, the bad and the ugly inspires and humbles me. I wish I could invite you for brunch and hug you and the kids very tight.
Because my incredibly beautiful, creative and funny daughter has made her own website and she could use a little pub.
Over the moon and back again
Because you were my first friend I made through my blog. It was so fun to actually talk on the phone in real time. I still love keeping track of what you are doing. I wish we could meet at the park so our boys could play.
Notes from the cookie jar
Because you were so friendly and supportive at the beginning. Your own story gave me so much hope in those dark early days. Plus your food porn shots make my tummy growl. Jeez, how do you do it? I wish we could meet over one or more of your cookies.
The Quirk Factor
Because you totally crack me up! Even in the face of the super scary, like loosing your house to fire, you kept it all together with grace. You are a force to be reckoned with. I wish I could take you shopping at my favorite thrift store, Granny's Attic.
Ends with 8741
Poet, philosopher, writer, parent. Where else would I get to hear about an Oprah sighting and get to see excellent rock sculptures all in the span of a week or so. You, my girl, are diverse and I love that about you. I wish you could show me the hot spots of Chicago.
Because I liked how you were thinking big with Jon's Room. You inspired me to try and reach a broader audience. I wish we could meet for coffee and brainstorm.
And, that is my 10. So congratulations to us all.
Keep up the good work, each and every one of you.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Even this guy!
Soren Khalsa, a refreshingly unusual looking Beverly Hills doctor writes extensively about how wonderful it is.
From the LA Times:
Soram Khalsa is on a mission to get Americans to up their levels of Vitamin D. Why? To protect them against a myriad of illnesses, including cancers, heart disease and diabetes. He even had a patient from his who's-who-studded medical practice in Beverly Hills hand deliver a copy of his book, The Vitamin D Revolution, to Michelle Obama. "In the front, I wrote, 'Vitamin D can help the country's health-care crisis. Please contact me if you are interested' and included my phone number. I haven't heard from her yet, but..."He suggest taking it to boost the immune system during the flu season. He even ventures to say that it can "prevent" swine flu.
Vitamin D? Don't we get that from sunlight? I am so behind the times, glimpses of "sunlight in a jar" flit through my brain. Naa. Probably not.
But it was suggested for Shea. He seemed so weak and peaked after his last bout. I was nervous for him and asked at the Naturapath's office. She was singing the praises of Vitamin D too, "Boost that Vitamin D! Whenever I feel a little tickle in my throat or achy, I just power up on the D."
Ok. Now that is some advice I can follow but what about my picky, won't take vits, gotta hide everything or he will turn up his nose and refuse it boy.
Bio-D-Mulsion Forte'. One drop is 2,000 IU. At it has really made a big difference right away.
His color is better and he seems stronger. I hide it in his morning hot chocolate.
Now if I could just find a mult- that I could hide so well.
What other immune-system strengthening measures are you taking this year? For yourself? For your kids?
Friday, October 2, 2009
By Nancy Greggs:
I wish I didn’t care that some children sleep
Hungry and cold, too weary to weep
Too hopeless to know that others could share – but won’t
I wish I didn’t care
I wish I didn’t know that some people die
Alone and friendless, without knowing why
Wanting to question why no one is there – but don’t
I wish I didn’t care
I wish I didn’t see what’s there on the news
Meant not to enlighten, but just to amuse
Designed to remind me what I could do – but can’t
I wish I didn’t care
I wish I didn’t know in my heart
That I am meant to do my part
To speak, to write, to sing, to plan
To do whatever it is I can
To give, to teach, to help – assist
Those who fight, speak out – resist
I wish I didn’t know I could
Change the world – if only I would
I’d be free, and unaware
If I could just not care
This is my burden, this is my task
To have to wonder, deign to ask
Why some have what is deemed their lot
Why some are valued, and others not
I wish I didn’t care about it all
Who lives, who dies, who heeds the call
Who listens, who hastens, who risks the fall
Of the concept, the dream
That we can be all that we seem
And never falter on our way to where we’re going, if only we go there together
I wish I didn’t care that my brothers are mine
That my sisters are sisters, subdued but sublime
That they are in my keeping, as I am in theirs
I wish I didn’t care.
But I do. And so do all of you.
It’s not about who they are; it’s about who you are.
Just care. A little goes a long way.
So try it.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Just for the record; I think Alan Grayson rocks! And, sent him an e-mail to tell him so. Wish all our Dems had the balls and the backbone to call it so plain.
Conjunctivitis then a whirlwind virus breezed through and laid him low. Pink eye doesn't usually last that long ( I learned) but I guess the virus made it last longer or that his immune system was so compromised he could not recover as quickly.
But today! Today Shea went back to school and that kid was pretty delighted to be back. He got hugs from his excellent "pretty in pink" pal, the fabulous Sophia. "You're back!" she hollered.
The teacher said half her class was absent yesterday as we weren't the only one who was sick. I guess I didn't realize.
Is this common for kindergarten? duh? I guess so but is this a particularly bad year? I just don't remember this when Molly was there.
It really got me thinking about Shea and his diet. I am a big proponent of "live" food. You know, fruit, veggies, yogurt. Many of you may know how militant I am about my kefir every AM.
Shea doesn't need any of those things.
Oh, I try! But, the reluctance is strong and swift.
As I was talking with our Naturapathic Doctor on a daily basis for a week plus during the illness that wouldn't go away, I expressed my concern about this.
We talked about putting together a strategy to try and slip in some probiotics into his diet somehow.
I feel like I need to build his immune system as we head into this ball buster of a flu season we are all hearing about.
Ok. Un-official Coaxing poll:
Who out there is going to get a flu shot? The normal one and/or the swine flu one? Your kids? Yourself? Please share.