Sunday, November 19, 2017

Risk

Mr. M: "Mom, I want to play basketball."

Me: "Okay, sure bud let's talk about it later."

A couple days later ...

Mr. M: "Did you sign me up for basketball?"

Me: "No bud, let's talk about it later."

A few more days pass ...

Mr. M: "Mom am I signed up for basketball?"

Me: "No bud, not yet."

This went back and forth for around two weeks, Mr. M begging for me to sign him up to play basketball, and me shrugging it off.

If you aren't yelling at me through your computer you probably should.

You should be yelling at me...

Your kid just said he want to do something!

He asked you again and again.

Come, on why are you signing him up.

You should be supporting physical activity.

This is a great thing.

Come on!

Yes ... I thought about all of the above statements, and then I also thought about...

When Mr. M was two and in music class. When I didn't know that you were on the autism spectrum. When I would look around the room watching all the other kids easily following along to the directions, moving their tiny hand back and forth the beat of the music, and fully engaged.

While you ran circles around the outside of the group when your hands didn't follow along to the teacher's directions, where we stuck out like a sore thumb.

Where it was so painfully obvious you were completely different from the other kids.

Back before we knew about the different wiring in your brain. Back before we knew you were different but not less than your peers. Back before we knew about your thief.

We finished up music class and starting applied behavioral analysis therapy (ABA).

Instead of music, tiny tots basketball, or baseball you were at home. You learned how to communicate, follow directions, use utensils, and play.

In this time you have gained many new skills. You have an age level vocabulary, you know how to follow directions, and you are constantly telling me your wants and needs.  As your skills have developed we started enrolling you in a variety adaptive athletic programs.

Programs where there are kids of all different abilities, but the community as a whole knows that there are challenges.

Where people are accepting, kind, make modifications, and can relate.

Where we fit in like a glove.

Where I am comfortable.

Where you thrive.

However, you want to be with your peers.

You want to play basketball with your friends.

I get all of it, and I really want it all for you.

I do.

However, I am also afraid.

Afraid of parents who won't get it, overly competitive people, judgment, staring, and me having to explain you.

Afraid of putting you in a program that you won't succeed in.

Afraid that you will stick out like a sore thumb again.

However, I thought about all the first reasons that popped into my head, on why I should sign up for basketball.

I thought about your tiny voice asking me over and over again.

I thought about why I didn't want you to sign you up and what it really came down to... my ego.

You don't care if you are the best or the worst.

You just want to play

You just want to be with your friends.

You just want to have fun.

Late last night, I put my ego, fear, and skepticism aside,

I took a risk.

A big one.

Welcome to recreational basketball, Mr. M.

I can't wait to watch you play.



xoxo - the chaos manager 









Sunday, November 5, 2017

Let's Not Compare

First of all, I am so so so guilty of this.

Secondly, my blog for me really is just a diary of my random thoughts and this post is really for me and my mental well being. I am not judging you if you have a different philosophy than I do.

Still with me after all my disclaimers?

Often times, I see on social media a call from mom's to keep things real.

See, we as mom's know that every single moment in raising our child isn't all rainbows and sunshine. We know that while often times raising these tiny humans does include the most heartwarming, funny, and amazing experiences of our lives, it also some of the worst.

However, all we ever see on social media is the best.

Kids in the hippest of outfits without a stain.

All smiles and not a single tear.

And of course, those quaint chalkboard signs.

And well....because I am totally guilty of embellishing thing from times to time....I kind of live by the phrase, "thankfully there is no sound in these pictures". (And if you are thinking, "Well hey you make those vlogs too.....", There's a lot of magic that can be created in iMovie).

Due to all this continual life editing by myself and others, there is a call from some mothers to keep things real.

That as mom's we should be posting not only the good but the bad and even ugly as well.

Keep it real ...

Post the meltdown over the wrong colored cup.

Post the untouched dinners.

Post about the lack of sleep.

Post about the fighting.

Post....post....post.... 

Often times, this keep it real call has another message attached to it as well.

That everyone's kids misbehave and by posting about the real moments and being open about what parenting is really like, we are making others feel better because they feel less alone.

I totally understand this.

I struggle seeing my social media filled with always smiling kids, dressed in the finest stain free kids apparel, all while having the best time ever.

Then I see the "keep it real posts" scattered in by the one momma who is brave enough to show what it's really like, and I'm on the other other side of the computer gulping my wine thiking ....

YES I AM NOT ALONE!

However, there is one big fault in this keep it real movement. I don't think we are addressing the true problem.

Us.

See, with this keep it real movement, what we are actually doing is comparing.

Comparing...

My life to your life.

My kids to your kids.

Our traditions to your traditions.

My income to your income.

and that's the real problem.

See, when I look at your picture and think, "they had such a better time trick-or-treating then we did", or "look at those hand-sewn costumes, I don't even have the time to brush my hair", or "why can her child say trick or treat while my child is non verbal"?....

I am comparing.

I am pinning you versus me, and when I do, there are no winners.

This is what really needs to stop.

We all know that our facebook is filled with a highlight reel.

In reality maybe it should be?

After all, those keep it real moments also often include minors that have no say in what you are posting about them. Imagine if your mom had social media when you were a kid....would you be okay with her posting all your life lessons?

Everyone has good days and bad days, however some of us choose to highlight the positive. I don't view that as being fake, however, more as being rightfully protective of their families privacy.

We all know that there are days where the caption under our photo reads, "had the best time at the pumpkin patch!" attached with a perfectl photo. However, in reality, the day was filled frustration and forced family moments.

So, instead of pushing to keep things real, why don't we instead change the movement from "keep it real" to "let's not compare".

From now on, when I see your perfect pictures on my social media, I am going to look at them knowing that I don't know the full story.

Maybe it really was the best day ever or maybe it was a forced moment. I don't know, I don't have to know, and it doesn't matter.

What I am not going to do is to compare your life to mine.

And that, my folks, I believe is the true key to happiness.





xoxo - the chaos manager 







Sunday, October 29, 2017

An Open Letter to Vermont Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe

Dear Secretary Holcombe,


I wanted to reach out to you to tell you about my son.

He has sandy brown hair, brown eyes, and he is skinny as a rail. He is also smart, kind, funny, and charming. 

Oh, and one other small thing, he is on the autism spectrum. 

Well, maybe the last bit isn't a small thing and maybe more of a big thing. I guess for us it depends on the day and how much he is pushed to meet his goals.

It's complicated. 

So complicated in fact, that some days I imagine that he is a Lamborghini.

Just like a Lamborghini, you don't see a kid like him all the time. But when you do see a Lamborghini you can't help but notice how different and more complex they are from other cars. A difference that when driven by a professional driver can produce record speeds and turn everyone's head, however, when left in the hands of an untrained driver, the Lamborghini will struggle to get out of first gear.

When my Lamborghini first entered school I would say he was stuck in neutral.
My Lamborghini, beautiful, unique, and complex was placed in a classroom of Hondas, Fords, Volkwagons, Toyotas, and Kias. All different types of cars with their own set of strengths and weaknesses. However, each of these cars work on the same principles. Putting gas in the tank, placing the key into the ignition, moving the shift to D, and pressing on the gas.

The school my Lamborghini attends knew that my car was a little different than all the other cars, so they decided to assign a driver just for him.

A driver, who was caring, committed, and wonderful. A driver who loved my Lamborghini as if it was a Lamborghini of her own. A driver who worked long hours for little pay and was often overlooked. A driver for whom I am still deeply grateful to have helped support my complex car.

However, try as they might, this driver never received the necessary training to drive my complex car. Due to the lack of training, my son's driver couldn't get him to engage past first gear.

For an entire school year, my Lamborghini stayed static and stuck. As the engine revved and the driver tried to move my Lamborghini from first gear and into second, the engine became too hot and instead of moving into second gear, the engine cracked a head gasket.

While my son's first driver wasn't properly trained, I also knew I couldn't completely remove the driver. If I left my Lamborghini alone without a driver at the wheel, well, my Lamborghini quickly would have moved from the first gear right into park.

See, my Lamborghini at one time needed a driver to show him how to trick or treat. My complex car had to learn how to knock on someone's door, to say "Trick or Treat" and pick out a piece of candy from a bowl. Pretty much the easiest and most engaging thing for a child to do. If my Lamborghini needed his own driver to learn that task, could you imagine if my car was left without a driver to learn how to complete something less reinforcing such as reading or math?

I knew I should not look to Uber or put my faith in a driverless car, instead, I needed to find a new driver for my Lamborghini. I needed a driver who understood Lamborghini's, had driven plenty of Lamborghini's in the past and has a manual that provided a multitude of ways to troubleshoot how to get my Lamborghini out of first gear.

It took me an entire school year to secure a new driver.

An entire year.

A full school year where my car was stuck in gear and overheating.

A full year of damage.

A year that was so beyond repair that it had to be repeated.

After a year of advocating for the correct driver for my car, I finally received the driver that we needed all along.

A driver who is trained on how to drive complex cars. A driver who is an expert on driving Lamborghinis. A driver who knows how to turn the complicated car into a curve-hugging, record-setting, head turning machine.

So please Secretary Holcombe, please do not remove the drivers from these cars because they aren't producing results.  If you remove your drivers, all of the complex cars in this state, these brilliant, capable, wonderful cars will quickly shift into park.

Instead look at the drivers and the training that they need to complete their job. Invest in your drivers and invest in your Lamborghinis. This is the only way the Lamborghinis of this world will become the engineering marvels they were designed to be.






Sincerely,

A mom who is just trying to do what is best for her Lamborghini