My sweet girl,
I really don't even know what to say. I have no words for the feelings that are inside me today as I watch you play and talk and run and dance and sing. I could say that I am filled with love, because I am. But that's not enough. I could say that you are funny and smart and so full of music that it makes my heart laugh and think and sing and dance right alongside you. But that is not enough, either.
There is a quietness to what I am feeling today. A stillness that is surrounding me as I watch you. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit sad today, too. But only because you have been incredible every single day of your life and I know I will never be able to remember every single moment no matter how hard I try. I want to remember every single moment.
I am watching you today and I can't stop crying the misty whimsical tears as I think about the enormity of the love you bring to our family. You give smiles and light and love freely. You forgive instantly. You accept our faults and expect the same in return. You have taught us to breathe deeper and wait just a minute longer when we become impatient.
There is an ease that you possess that none of the rest of us have. It is surely your superpower. You are a compass.
Your heart is worn proudly on your sleeve. You have strength in you that is quiet at times and in other times it is pouring out all over the place. Your ability to create is astounding for a person so little.
You always know the climate of a room. You remind us to give more of our hearts. You say things like, "Wanna sit with me?" when you know someone is upset or "I jus need two minutes, mkay?" when you are pushing the limits of something or "I need you to hold me right now, Mama!" when I am missing the mark and need to slow down.
And you, little lady, have your brother figured out in all the ways. You are the only one who does. You gently tell him to whisper with you when you see him escalating. You know when to hug him and say "I got you, Bud" and you know when to leave him be alone even though it kills you a little because you want to hug and hold and kiss all the pain or fear away. You also now when it's an OK time to razz him up and give him a taste of his own medicine.
You stand up and take no guff, Plum. You are nobody's doormat. Sometimes your voracity for all the things backfires and scuffs your confidence but never for long. You are learning to temper your storms and give others a chance to lead. But it's hard for you. You are kind of a bad ass when it comes to taking the reins and charging forward. I LOVE that about you. It will serve you well in life.
So I'm sitting here thinking all of these things and tears are hitting the backs of my hands as I type. I am all at once in love with this day, your first full day as a three year-old, and wishing it wasn't here just yet. It's too soon and it's just the right time. I want to go back in time and I want to stay right here to see what tomorrow is all about. I want to hold you as a tiny baby one more time and I want to head outside and paint our driveway with you today. I want to smell your sweet newborn head again while watching you sing your favorite song in full costume.
Just a few weeks ago, Daddy and I were talking about how all of a sudden you are very much three years-old. You are taller and your hair is thicker. Your sentences are getting so long and complicated. You have an air about you that looks different for you and we kept trying to put a finger on what it was. There is a newness. Like a new side of you is about to emerge. I can't wait to be here when it does.
Happy Birthday to you my compassionate, kind, hilarious and fancy little lady. I still need to pinch myself when I consider the gift that it is to be your mama. I'm always striving to earn your love. But, damn, baby girl... you just make it so easy.
OK, I'm gonna be honest, when I first read your post on the Huff Post Blog titled, Why Do Your Kid's Allergies Mean My Kid Can't Have a Birthday? I wanted to jump through my computer screen and find you so that I could shake you by the shoulders and yell. My wits and senses were scattered throughout my living room while I processed the stance you laid out in your post. Eventually I calmed down and gathered them all up. But my poor husband is still reeling from my nonstop explaining to him all the things I wanted to say to you. So now that I have calmed down, I want to tell you something.
Your stance is every allergy parent's worst nightmare.
Let's just look at your message on the persecution you feel because your child's school does not allow homemade baked goods due to the allergies of the kids in the classroom. Here you describe how you are sensitive to the issue of allergies because you yourself have an egg white allergy. That's nice. But then you go on to basically say, and I'm paraphrasing, of course, "Tough titty, other kids! My kidlet deserves to enjoy a birthday celebration with homemade cupcakes at school. Allergy kids are not more important than my angel!" You can see how this makes you seem a bit....awful, right? Moving forward, I have so much to say to you so let's do this. Your words are in brown. My responses are in black. Here we go.
"All over the country parents are being asked to accommodate the specialized needs of other people's children thanks to the skyrocketing number of food allergies and food intolerances. (They both have similar symptoms, but intolerances are generally considered less serious and not life-threatening.) We can't bring in homemade cookies or snacks; we're asked to buy commercially prepared goods. Even if you agree to bring in commercially prepared snacks, you're asked to make sure they're "gluten, nut, and egg-free" or some other combination of scary food exorcism [Sounds like a pain in the butt].
To a certain extent, I get it [Yay!] . When I was in high school, a girl in my town died from eating a few bites of a Twix bar that happened to contain traces of peanuts. Many allergies can be deadly, even in tiny increments. If a child in the same homeroom as my son could go into anaphylactic shock and die due to allergies, I think we have a communal responsibility to keep him or her safe [Excellent! You understand!] . I would never endanger the life of a child over a peanut butter cookie; that would be ridiculous [Wonderful] .
However, I am rapidly reaching the end of my rope as I try to accommodate what feels like every child in the universe. Schools ask parents to bring items, to provide snacks and to help with class parties and celebrate birthdays. My children's school requires that we only provide store-bought treats because some children have allergies or dietary restrictions. One mom told me there were so many allergies in her children's classes last year that all she could bring was gummy bears and juice boxes [ True story: Kids LOVE juice boxes and gummy bears!].
"Let me get this straight: I'm supposed to feed my kids processed, preservative-laden food because your kid has a wheat allergy? No. I don't want to. [Cool! No one told you that you had to! They are just asking you to not endanger other children.] I want my kid to have the made-from-scratch cupcakes, the ones made with fresh butter, sugar and yes, real flour with real gluten in it, and not a commercially prepared cupcake that has an ingredient list a mile long. [Awesome! Your kid is lucky to have those cupcakes! Why do they need to be at school though? Do you not celebrate your child's birthday at home too?] How could that possibly be better? Not to mention that commercially prepared items are expensive [ They sure are! Here is a list of other things you could bring: Fresh fruit with marshmallow dip, suckers, stickers, temporary tattoos, jelly beans, glow sticks are always fun, Jello cups, Skittles, Laffy Taffy, Twizzlers, Blow Pops, Starburts, fruit snacks, Swedish Fish, Smarties, Ring pops, fruit leather or roll-ups. ] I understand the problem with allergies because I have allergies; I'm allergic to egg whites [ So is my daughter. Does your throat close when you eat them? Hers does. It sucks.] . The difference is I don't demand egg-free items when I go to parties or to work events [And also that you are a grown woman, not a child at school but whatever] I don't always get to eat what people are serving, but I certainly don't demand that my friend make me a separate cake for me on her birthday ["Demand" is the word you are using. No one else is using it. Just you. Also, does your friend celebrate her birthday by coming to where you HAVE to be and eating her egg saturated cake in front of you? That would be rude of your friend.] It makes sense to ban certain items when children are too young to ask and avoid foods that they might have sensitivities toward. But once we cross a threshold, personal responsibility and parental education need to come into play [ I agree. You have crossed that threshold. You need some education on this issue] . I agree that a teacher should let all parents know about any life-threatening allergies in a classroom. However, my kid shouldn't have to forgo his birthday cake because yours can't eat it [ uh, I agree? Just make it at home and enjoy it there!] Some schools have even gone the route of banning all classroom birthdays and celebrations, which is ridiculous. The fear of one shouldn't outweigh the rest [ Its not just a fear, Carina. It is a very real and potentially deadly food]. We don't always get to eat things we want to eat [Truth. Sometimes we don't get to eat cupcakes at school. You are not being oppressed here] . Sometimes I have to say no to your tasty, egg-laden brownies [Here's an excellent egg-free brownierecipe] . Sometimes my kid doesn't eat something because it has nuts, and he simply doesn't like them. Sometimes your kid with allergies can't eat my kid's birthday cake [ Do I need to point out the difference between not liking something and it being a deadly ingredient? Does that actually need pointed out? Like for real?] Let's stop the allergy insanity, and let the rest of them eat cake [at home!] -- the lovely, homemade, buttery, gluten-stuffed cake. [That sounds delicious. Can I come over to your house and have some? I promise to leave my food allergic child at home so that she doesn't annoy you with her sadness as she watches us eat those awesome cupcakes you made.] " (all quoted italicized text is from here)
In short, Carina, I want to thank you for your honest and loud voice. Because it reminded me that I don't get to stop being on guard for my daughter. It reminds me that you are out there judging the severity of my child's allergies without ever having met her or me or her allergist. You remind me that I have work to do in preparing her and her school for her going to Kindergarten.
Sadly, you also remind me that I am still considering homeschooling her for the first few years because of attitudes like yours. You know, just for the first few years while she is still so young and could make a deadly mistake at school. Then when she's old enough, I'll send her on to public school knowing she can keep herself safe. Then the only thing I have to worry about is toughening her up so she doesn't come home crying because all the other kids at school got to enjoy your super special buttery and homemade cupcakes while she sat and watched.
So yeah, thanks for that.
PS: You seem to think that anaphalctic shock is the only result worthy of making concessions so I thought I'd show you this. This is what happens to my daughter's body when one of her allergens touches her skin. Her throat doesn't close with this particular one. She just gets incredibly uncomfortable and claws at her skin until it bleeds. Not life threatening, just painful and awful. And guess what? Those cupcakes you want to bring? I would bet a million bucks that they include the ingredient that does this to her. So come on, just have your awesome cupcakes at home and send your kid to school with a safer option. Please?
1. the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions having a pleasing effect.
2. agreement or concord: peace, cooperation, fellowship.
I’m sure that our neighbors will disagree, but at our house, we often achieve harmony during ear-piercing sessions of heavy metal rock band practice. When the pots and pans are clinking and clanging with the rhythmic genius of our son Pants and I’m strumming away on a Disney Princess guitar while Plum wails into her soup ladle microphone, life is good. During band practice we have peace inside of our nest even if all the woodland creatures in a 5 mile radius can hear us. I hope they understand and are not too inconvenienced by our achieving the second definition of harmony though not the first.
But like all families, we don’t always jive. Like all families, we are not always on the same page. Some days we have to work a little harder to find our harmony.
My kids, just like all kids, are unique. But trust me when I say they couldn't be more different from each other if they tried. Actually, sometimes I think they are trying. You know, just to keep us on our toes. Anyway, promoting harmony and understanding between them can be hard work. Work that I don’t always know how to do.
Pants needs to be alone for an extended period of time at least once a day. This happens when he becomes uncomfortable in his own skin and needs to find a quiet, dark and solitary space to limit all of the sensory input coming at him. His closet is usually his first choice.
As you can imagine, Plum sees this act of treason against their relationship and a reason to force him into her presence. It’s because she wants to be with him. And instead of using words beyond her developmental ability to explain her frustration, she often turns to one of her most powerful communication tools in her tool box to express her pain. Tears. The saddest kind. The real ones.
When we first encountered this challenge to the harmony in the house our first plan was to gently remove Plum and try distracting her from her mission of sitting right next to, if not right on top of, her big brother when he needed space. It worked once or twice. Maybe three times. But , it turns out that, even at 2 years-old, people do not like to be deceived. As she pushed back and became more angry, It occurred to me that my brilliant plan was actually deception. And as toddlers will do, she saw right through it.
So we started our new genius plan and it involves explaining personal boundaries and sensory processing needs to a toddler.
Oh it is so easy! Just kidding. It’s not even close to easy. In fact, we are still working on it and I suspect we will need to for a good long while. It’s important work, though. Work that I suspect we will appreciate when both of these kids are in high school.
For months and months and months I have taken all the opportunities I can to talk with Plum about how her brother ticks. How sometimes everybody needs some space and time alone to find peace. I talk to her about how nice it feels for her when she sits to read a book all by herself and wrapped in a blanket. I talk to her about how her skin feels when she is happy and how her body feels when she is angry.
We’ve been at it for just about forever now without a ton of success.
And then…a break through. Last week, I hollered from the kitchen that it was time to eat dinner. Racing down the hallway with an urgency and a finger to her lips, my little girl shhhh’ed me. “Mama, shhh! My brudder is peace-ing. Let’s give him da space, kay?”
I went to check on him. He told me the same.
And with that, she and I ate dinner together. No hard feelings. No sadness. Harmony.
Later that night I heard a familiar rustling and clanking coming from the utensil drawer. As the kids emerged from the kitchen in their finest costumes holding their microphones and drumsticks, a smile spread across my face.
It was time for band practice.
It's me, Mama "I love Valentine's Day SO MUCH" Pants. I wanted a word with you, if you have a minute.
According to your Facebook status and tweets, I have gathered that you hate Valentine's Day. Well, I'm hoping you have a good day anyway. I mean for real. Don't be pissed. I get it. You don't want some silly holiday telling you to do nice things for people. I mean, jeez. Right?!
Well, I was there once too. In my early twenties, I hated Valentine's Day with a passion that I dare say no one could have mustered except me. I mean I wanted to light that mother fudging day on FIRE. I look back at my 20 yr-old self raising a middle finger to love and I giggle.
I was a doof.
I had completely missed the point. And instead of just chilling the hell out, I decided that I was somehow oppressed and being tread upon by all of the oppressive shit that was oppressive. I enjoyed figuratively peeing all over everyone else's joy on Valentine's Day. I found solace in saying things like "I don't need no damn holiday to show my love" and "F#@k Valentine's Day. It's just another day to sell chocolates and flowers that will DIE" and "I HATE your stupid ass-face Valentine's Day!"
A long time ago, like hundreds of years, the peoples decided that Feb. 14 was all about the love. Everybody was all like, "SWEET! I've been meaning to tell the gentle lady around the way that I fancy her!"
Not a bad thing.
Then in the 20th century, some folks decided that the day of love didn't have to be about skrunking and making babies. They thought, "Hey! We can just celebrate the love we have!" and others were like, "Super idea, Agnes!" and thus, the modern day Valentine's Day celebration was birthed.
Not a bad thing.
Late in the 20th century when consumerism took hold, card companies were all like, "Oh hell, yes! We can make money because of this day with people loving each other!"
Maybe a bit weird, but in general, when we look at the grand scheme of capitalism in America, this is not a bad thing. Small business flower shops and chocolate shops do their best business this day.
So here we sit in the 21st century, all pissy and opinionated about how Valentine's Day is a ploy to get you to spend money. And that pink hearts and chocolate are stupid and that receiving roses any other day of the year is special, just not on valentine's Day.
a bad thing.
Because... Ugh. Bah-Humbug to you, too, Sharon et al.
It's a bad thing because I mean, jeez, I'm gonna love someone sending me roses on Feb 14th and I'm gonna love it on June 14th too. Seriously, you guys, come the fark on! It's a holiday dedicated to loving people.
That is NOT a bad thing.
OK, calm down, I get it. Brandon and I are far from the romantic types living in this house with tiny people who are basically the most skilled "romance"-blockers you have ever met. Ev-ER. We have resigned to the fact that our romance is gone right now and has been replaced with "Mama! I need wiped!" but we still love each other. And do our own thing on Valentine's Day and Malley's and Godiva don't get a red cent from us. It's not about spending money. In fact we don't do gifts for each other at all. This is what we do.
So stop it right now with hating Valentine's Day. Consider that we all vow to keep the Christmas spirit throughout the year but, I mean, come February when your neighbor forgets to shovel the sidewalk and you want to unleash your hell-fire upon them, it's all but certain that you are not in possession of your Christmas spirit any longer. Or what about how we vow to be always thankful, not just in November but for all the days. I love that idea, too, but I am never more un-thankful than when I owe the IRS money. Am I right?
You get the point. It's not bad to have a day dedicated to love. Just take a look around your life, pinpoint who you love, it can be anyone. Here's a short list of possibilities: your dog, your kids, your family, your best friend, the dude who flirts with you at Burger King, your co-worker who makes you laugh, your spouse, your nieces or nephews, YOU
etc etc. Pinpoint someone and celebrate them. It will feel good.
So don't be a hater this Valentine's Day. Don't hate any day of the year (except tax day, you can hate that if you want). Just take the day and make it work for you even if that means not celebrating it.
OK, so just in case you still hate Valentine's Day, I picked a Valentine just for you. A scenic romp of changing fonts and inspiration through the song Just Remember I Love You
by the band Firefall. It is perhaps the worst love song ever written. But I used to have the 45 and play it on repeat in my room when I was like 7. I picked it just for you. Have a listen and imagine us standing on a mountain in the dark of night watching our shadows share a sweet kiss. There is no way you could hate Valentine's Day after that. No way.
Happy Valentine's Day!
My Darling Ohio,
First let me say that I love you. You provide my life with four beautiful seasons, great scenery and there are no hurricanes or major earthquakes here. This is a big win for me as earthquakes are on my Top Five All-Time Scariest Shit Ever list. I loved growing up here in Ohio. There is a lot of small town love and the opportunity for big city fun. I love you, Ohio. But, Ohio? We still have a problem.
This week marriage equality became a very real possibility in Kentucky.
Kentucky. (No offense, Kentucky. But...Kentucky!)
OMG, Ohio. WTF.
I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought of my babies getting married someday. I'd be lying if I said it was just a few times too. I'd also be lying if I told you that I knew the kind of person they will choose to spend their lives with. I cannot make those kinds of assumptions.
I will say that I have blurry visions of wedding dresses and tuxedos and white Christmas lights ( because that means fancy) and flowing wine and dancing. But I have no idea who will be wearing what or if they will actually choose these traditional clothes for the day they take the leap.
If they choose to take the leap, of course.
It is human to desire companionship. We are social beings. We feel love deeply. We are drawn by nature to connect. To be with. But there is no telling and there are no rules about the who. Well, not basic human rules. There still are your bullshit rules, of course, Ohio.
I know that whoever the lucky son of a biscuit is that gets to spend their days with my babies will be loved by us. Not for what they look like. Or their race. Or their creed. Or their citizenship. Or their gender. Or height. Or their possible bad dye job.
Ohio, I will love them. Will you?
They will be loved by us because they love our baby. They will be loved because they chose our amazing child to be with. They will be loved because they made the best choice possible. They will be loved because I'm a big fan of loving love.
So, come on, Ohio. Stop being ridiculous.
True story: This one time on Facebook, a lady came along and told me to pull my pants up and sit down when she didn't like my thoughts on the Duck Dynasty "scandal". I giggled because...what?! Then I figured out that she meant I was "showing my ass" which is an antique turn of phrase that apparently people use to tell you you are an idiot or something. Any and all that... I think it applies here. You are showing your ass, Ohio. Pull up your pants and get with the program.
I mean, I can't even believe we are still talking about this. So let's stop. Let's just let people marry who they want. It's not that far away and we both know it.
Love (for all the people),
This post is about sexual abuse
I have been going back and forth and around again wondering if I should ever write about this. I've been petrified at the idea. Frozen. And truth be told, I don't have anything new to say on the subject. That doesn't mean that I don't want to say it though. The truth is that I need to.
I read a letter
from Dylan Farrow. In hers, I read something not unlike my own story. A child who was abused sexually. And I still to this day struggle with how
to be heard on this subject. I was 12. I told my story to a police officer and one prosecutor. I was called to court years later and asked a few questions. I knew they didn't believe me. My abuser never did time. He abused others, too. None of us received justice. He was found not guilty. I'm going to stop right here and qualify that my abuser was not my father nor anyone blood-related to me. And my family did believe me. Sadly, though, they didn't have the power to exact justice. And I didn't have the strength at the time to tell all of them. I was afraid.
But yeah, It happened to me. I won't re-hash the details. My former therapist of three years, Barb, is the keeper of that story and worked with me to heal my broken insides. Thank God for her. She listened. She believed me. She walked with me every week to the other-side of it all. She was there at the end of that journey, too, when I suddenly realized I no longer needed her to walk with me and went on alone. Ready to live. Ready for my life.
I am healed. I think. Healed in the sense that I can live each day moving forward. Healed in the way that I can think about this time in my life and not want to do drugs. Healed in the way that I can remember what happened to me and not be frozen in a prison inside my own body crying for help and freedom from the pain. Healed in that I have found happiness and love and peace despite once believing those things didn't happen for people like me. I am healed though I will always have scars.
Yet I'm still angry. I'm angry that so many children are unheard. So many of us never see the crimes against us prosecuted. So many of us never come to place where we can even tell our story. And when we do, so many of us are victimized again. And again. And again.
Because our memories are questioned. We are told that, because we are young, we will not be believed. We are told that because... it's true. I'm gonna say that again. We are told that because it is true. That, my friends is some fucked up shit. And no matter what you call it... rape culture, patriarchy, anti-child society, <insert buzz words here>...whatever you call it. It's not right. Whatever you call it...it is REAL. I know because I was there. And millions of others know because they are or were there, too. And guess what? 96% of children who disclose sexual abuse are telling the truth. [source]
Let that sink in for a minute.
Yet, we are told that "it was years ago" and that memory is "tricky" and "faulty" and something we cannot trust. We are told that it is not our fault that our brains could have tricked us into believing something that is untrue. Of course most never come right out and say they just don't believe you. They simply try and give you reasons why you shouldn't believe your own memories.
And that makes me wonder.
I wonder why it is so easy to doubt the words of a child. Why it is so simple to go straight to questioning the truthfulness of a child's bravery? Because parents are divorcing? Because custody is an issue? Well, DUH! OF COURSE IT IS! Who among us wouldn't leave someone abusing our child? Who among us wouldn't fight to the end to keep your child safe from their abuser? That's what parents do. They protect their children. They fight for their safety. I mean, right?!
But when a child reports sexual abuse, the story so often goes like this. The first response is silence. Fear. Horror. The mind begins considering the fallibility of the victim. Are they remembering it right? Are they being coached? Are they old enough to know what they are talking about? Proving it wrong would mean that this horrid crime wasn't committed and that makes everyone feel better. Well, most everyone. All of this before anyone ever calls the police. Rinse. Repeat.
Is a child's recollection any more fallible than an adults? Nope. They are more
trust-worthy. They are MORE
truthful about the big stuff. Yet still they are MORE
vulnerable to the repercussions of speaking out. Their stakes are higher. And in the end, they are less protected.
We live in a world where hactavists are compelled to break the law
to find justice for children. We live in a world where those same hactivists face more prison time than people who rape, torture and abuse children
. We live in a world were football
is more important
than protecting children
from rape. We live in a world were religion hides and protects pedophiles (I don't even have to link you to that one but I will
). We live in a country where women and marginalized populations in our own military are not safe
from their peers. We live in a world where even cops
, the ones supposed to protect us, sexually assault people in their custody. We live in a world where books are written and published and for sale about how to groom a child and company's sell them until a group comes along and petitions them to stop.
We live in a world that doesn't want to look sexual crimes in the eye. And because of that it runs rampant. We cannot continue to hide our eyes from this. It's time to change laws. It's time to expose the culture of silence that allows perpetrators the comfort of knowing they are probably not going to get caught. It's time to start believing our children because they are telling the truth
I am relieved that my voice is being added to a greater voice of women and men saying, "It happened to me". That my children will read this someday knowing that there are no ghosts haunting me. Not anymore. That this is not a secret that I had to keep. That they will always be believed. That there is no shame in being the victim of a crime. None. I am no longer afraid.
I am relieved to leave here on this blog that I am a survivor. That I fought hard to not drown in it despite never receiving justice. He did not ruin me. And it doesn't have to ruin you. Because, I promise, we are not ruined. We never were.
I read an open letter written by Dylan Farrow. Then I read the response from Woody Allen. I also read a lot of back forth in the week following those statements. So many people questioning. So many people dissecting. I read what seems like every available public piece information about the accusations. I have been a bit over-doing the reading about this, actually. So I need to leave this here.
In the end, what I want to say is this...
I believe you, Dylan. I believe you.
At any given moment, more than 1,100 trained volunteers are on duty and available to help victims at RAINN-affiliated crisis centers across the country. IF you need to talk to someone, here's a good place to start. National Sexual Assault Hotline - 1.800.656.HOPE Click here for international hotlines.
Once again, I am seeing a lot of posts about kids. Specifically, I'm seeing all sorts of kid hating...again. It seems that it's every winter so let's think about that for a second. It's winter. I'll wait.
So I wanted to write a rant-y and pissed off post about how hating on kids is wrong. I also wanted to yell at the person who writes this kind of status update " Dear Parents, Please keep your crying and obnoxious kids away from restaurants. No one wants them there. Thanks, Me" Hahahahaha! That's so funny. Except to me, it's not. My inner-monologue screams "J'accuse?!" and "I am SO OFFENDED!"
After seeing the seventh post like this IN ONE DAY, I was worked up and fuming and cooped up in my house with cabin fever (<- see what I did there?) and I just wanted to pull an Ozzy and go off the rails ( ...on a crazy train...sorry, I couldn't help that).
But then I calmed down and spent some time thinking and thinking and thinking about what I wanted to say about this. Suddenly, I remembered a favorite quote about being offended.
I try to live by this quote and believe that choosing to NOT be offended is the better option for my blood pressure. I do try to practice choosing to walk away. I do. Ommmmmmmm. So instead of ranting on the downfall of our society and all of our failings as human beings as evidenced by the disrespect of children (and the elderly) while sitting on my high-horse, I have decided that I will just offer a few reasons why we have the nerve to take our kids out in public. Cool?
Awesome. Let's start.
The Top Five Reasons I Take My Kids Out in Public
1. They are people
2-5: See number 1.
That is all.
Ugh...It's not all! I can't help myself...here I go...
My children are, in fact, human. When they were born they were not micro-chipped with all the inner workings of our society and it's expectations for social graces. They were also born without spoken language, manners and/or the ability (yet) to regulate their feelings as they come. These things are meticulously taught to them by experiencing the world they live in. It is not even close to possible that a clean slate human being can learn all of the rules for all of the places in a short amount of time. Shit, I still do not know all the rules. I'm also never going to learn them without field experience. If that makes you mad or ruins your child-free life for 10 minutes, I want to invite you to reconsider your stance by imagining being tiny again.
Think about how everything in the world is bigger than you. Think about how in order to get your needs met you have to communicate without words. Think about how frustrating it must be for you to be shown shiny and pretty things and then be told you cannot touch them. Think about how someone is always grabbing at you or moving you from one place to the next. Think about how you are seeing grumpy faces rolling their eyes at you with body language that screams "I don't like you". Think about how many times a day you are told no or don't touch that or get down or put that back or come here or stop!
Consider having a belly ache or being extraordinarily tired or that feeling we get when we are getting sick but it just doesn't show yet and your parents have to go to the store to buy food because, well, that's what people do. Think about being born naked and warm and then people keep trying to put things like cold jeans on your legs and torture devices on your feet. Consider, if you will, that a child learns about the world at an extremely rapid pace from the second they are born. Think about how utterly overwhelming that must be. Truth be told? I'm a grown-ass woman and it overwhelms me.
Trust me. Seriously, TRUST ME, as parents, we try hard to avoid public meltdowns. We really do. Because, and this might come as a shock... we really don't like them either! I have been known to avoid waiting in line anywhere. I try to time my excursions into the world to avoid crowds, traffic and random other stuff. But every time I go out with these two nutballs, I teach them. I do my best to parent them (Yes! Even in public!). Sometimes I can abandon my cart and call it day. But sometimes you just can't. Sometimes you have to power through because if you don't get the toilet paper, the medicine, the dinner etc you are up a creek without your proverbial paddle.
I know it sucks to hear a crying child in the store. I promise that I try very hard to avoid it but what I will not do is scream and yell or hit them or drag them out by the arm for you. What I will not do is cower to your judgment of them. I saw a meme this week on Facebook that people thought was just hilarious about beating your kids at home so that strangers won't want to beat them in public. So many people had a nice laugh about that. I didn't though. I would argue that a stranger that is so infuriated about a child having a meltdown in public needs to take a long hard look in the mirror. What caused you to forget that a child is a human being who is still learning the ropes? What caused you to forget that you were once a child? What is so skewed about our society that a leap to judgment about the child or parent is preferable to thinking "Wow, they are having a hard time, I hope that mom or dad or child is ok"? Are we so far removed from compassion that a snide comment to our friends (within earshot of a struggling family) comes easier than helping them load groceries onto the belt? Think about that, please. Consider it.
Well shit, it seems I got rant-y anyway. That is not lost on me. I clearly have some work to do in the area of not getting offended. I'll keep working on that. I could go back up there and change this into the post I thought I was going to write when I sat down but I don't want to. I can't help but feel the feelings sometimes. Plus, I'm about to take my kids out to dinner and everyone is waiting for me. If all goes well, we are hitting the local CVS too. I'm rolling fast and loose tonight. Wish me luck.
Always good to remember.
A note from Mama... You guys! YOU GUYS!! I am ecstatic to bring you this update from Paige on her awesome kid, Davis. I am blown away by the hope and real answers that the National Jewish Hospital's Atopic Dermatitis program provides. And well...it just might be me and Paige's new dream project to help as many kids get to them as we can. In that spirit, please go back and read about Titus who, like Davis did, needs to get to Denver. Titus is a baby living with severe atopic dermatitis and we are currently trying to raise enough money to send him to Denver for the help he deserves. Please consider giving a few dollars to help him get there. Then all you need to do is read the guest post below from Paige to see that this program is a miracle. This program is second to none. This program is hope. Please give today. If you are here for the first time because you are looking for stories on healing atopic dermatitis, click here to read all of the posts in this series. xoxo, Mama Pants
Look how mama is holding his hand.
Look at that FACE!
Well you guys, so many people have been asking me how Davis has been doing lately that Mama Pants and I thought it’d be a good idea to write an update to get the word out that he is doing AMAZING!Silly kid. Feeling great.
Two months we've been home and I still catch myself staring at him in wonder. Is this really the same child? Is his skin really that soft and clear? Has he really been sitting there since he got home from school, playing with his hot wheels without me having to redirect, fix his clothes, hold his hands, pat his itchy spots, apply lotion, and debate with myself for the millionth time whether to give him Benadryl?
It really is him. But he’s not the same child, not by a long shot. This kid is FULL of energy from a full night’s sleep almost every night. This kid isn't groggy from antihistamines. This kid looks people, even strangers, in the eye and smiles without a trace of self-consciousness. This kid will freaking throw down for an Oreo.
In all seriousness though, the difference is more than I could ever really describe. Every facet of our lives has changed, from the foods we eat to the activities we participate in and everything in between. We've incorporated the soak and seal baths into a relaxing bedtime routine and, for the most part, it’s become effortless; or at least, closer to effortless than laying in his bed restraining him until he falls into a fitful sleep. And the holidays this year…I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it was to be able to make gingerbread houses with him and let him eat almost all the same foods as everyone else at the family get-togethers.
Of course we still have to be careful and vigilant, but vigilance now looks a whole lot more like normal life than it used to. And things aren't perfect; he’s had two allergic reactions in the last couple of months. The difference is that now that his skin is so clear, I've been able to actually witness the hives appear and spread across his body. I know immediately what’s happening and can deal with it accordingly.
My little man is going to turn five in a month. Next fall he’ll start Kindergarten. And while I know I’ll never forget the difficulties we've faced, it is amazing to me to think that one day I’ll look back on those struggles and truly understand what a short time in his life it was. His eczema will NOT define him as a person. It will not shape his personality and affect every aspect of his interactions with people. It will simply be something he learns to manage, now that I know how to teach him to manage it.
It feels like so much longer than four months since that day in September when he told me he wished he could have a different body. There is no possible way I could have imagined that by Thanksgiving his wish would have darn near come true. Looking back I can see that I’d honestly stopped hoping things would ever really change for him and it was his words that day that woke me up and reminded me I had to keep trying.
It doesn't do any good to wish we’d done it sooner, though of course I do. I think of all those nights he (um…okay WE) could have been sleeping and those days he could have been playing like a normal kid and I just have to tell myself that it happened when it was supposed to happen. But you better believe I’ll be out there shouting from the metaphorical rooftops of the internet in the hopes that other parents of kids like Davis will hear: THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT CAN HELP. It IS possible. You CAN make it happen. Do it NOW so you don’t ever have to wish you’d done it sooner. And if you take nothing else from our story, take this: Don’t ever stop hoping.
About the Author:
I'm Paige. I have two incredible children who blow my mind daily, one of whom I write about here. This is the story of our journey to find him a better life.
Friends, a few weeks ago Titus' daddy contacted me. He had been scouring the internet looking for help for his baby boy. That's when he stumbled onto the story of Paige and Davis (read all four posts here
). While reading Paige's account of her struggle to heal her son and the ultimate triumph that followed, Matthew Farnell began to hope that his baby could be healed too.
Taken from Titus' fundraising page... Titus lived his first month as a normal, itch-free baby. At one month old, he began to develop some cradle cap on his head and eye brows. The cradle cap got much worse and spread to his body. His pediatrician diagnosed this as seborrheic dermatitis and said he would outgrow it by six months. But he never did. After seeing many specialists, doctors, and herbalists, and eliminating all but 12 basic, organic foods, Titus continues to get worse. Today he is very red, scaly, raw, itchy and inflamed.
We feel like we are surviving one day (and one night) at a time. Our two-year-old daugther often reminds Mariya (mom), "don't cry again, mommy." We are pretty much stuck at our house as it is so hard to take him anywhere. Anywhere we go, we have to have our own organic, from-scratch foods for mom and Titus (because mom is still nursing him as well). We have to be ready to answer everyone's questions about Titus, and assure them that we have tried pretty much everything.
Titus' family is desperate to get him into the Atopic Dermatitis program at National Jewish Hospital in Denver. Sadly, their medical insurance will not cover it. They need to pay for the program out of their own pockets. We can help them. WE CAN HELP THEM! So let's do it. Give today.
I recently had the chance to ask Titus' mama, Mariya, a few questions about her baby boy...
What is your favorite thing about Titus?
Probably my favorite thing about Titus is his smile. We went through a period of time where he was very sick and wasn't smiling - it almost seemed like he wasn't going to make it - but now he is smiling and laughing again even though he is so itchy and wants to scratch his skin off. It's comforting and encouraging because even though he isn't feeling good, he has a way better attitude about his condition than I do.
How do you get through the really hard times?
I just pray a lot and cry a lot. It's really hard. I just pray that God helps us through each day and night - one day and one night at a time. It's even harder now because we have a three-week old newborn also. I'm nursing both babies.
What is your dream for your son?
I guess my dream for Titus is for him to be a regular human being - to be able to sleep, to be able to take a normal nap, to be able to eat more than just 8 safe foods, to be able to play without itching (to be able to do anything without itching, actually), and to not have to worry about only wearing 100% cotton clothes. My dream is for him to have a normal face with baby soft skin. I don't even know what he actually looks like without all this eczema, since he has had it to some degree since one month old. My dream is for him to have healthy kids one day, without any eczema or other serious health issues.
The Farnell Family
WE can help Titus get to National Jewish. We can help this family find healing treatment for their sweet baby boy. Please consider giving a few dollars. If everyone reading this gave just a few dollars, Titus would be on his way to healing in no time at all.
Please, Let's help someone! You can give any amount here
If you cannot give financially, please share this post far and wide. Share it across all of your social media platforms. Tell your friends about Titus. Email your boss about Titus. My hope is that I get to come back here and tell you all about the miracle that happened here for Titus. I know the internet can do magical things. I've seen it happen. So let's do this! Let's make some magic happen. Let's help baby Titus!
all photographs used with permission
It's been a wild week over here. I was FREAKING OUT about Plum being sick. I stressed about all the possibilities. All of them. Turns out she is righteously constipated. I'm so relieved.
Anyhoo, it's Friday. Looking back on my week, despite losing my durn mind worrying about Plum, lots of things made me happy. Here's a sampling of what made me smile this week!
Supporting his sister at the doctor. This was taken approximately 4 seconds before they both turned into little turds and rioted in the exam room.
Getting x-rays and being the cutest little patient.
I heart Cory Booker <3
One can never be too careful when riding a blow-up unicorn. #SafetyFirst
Crabbiest little rainbow clown in town
Preschool pick up conversations with Mr. Pants are some of my favorite. You can find them on our Facebook page
A well deserved after blood work trip to Arby's because mama had the sads and Plum insisted on a "beefy sammich"
This is the best meme that has ever been created. I laugh at it several times a day. Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/outlineincolor
So hey...What made YOU smile this week? Share it with me in the comments or come on over and upload a pic of your own over at The Family Pants Facebook page!