Monday, November 30, 2009

Children's Christmas

Now that Christmas is quickly approaching I think of my childhood more often.  The days of innocence and the tender belief in those mystical, yet amazing fairy tale creatures.  The days when Santa meant bringing gifts to all the good little boys and girls.  How mother's would gently remind their children that if you weren't good Santa wouldn't bring a sack full of goodies. 

Today  I finally discussed the reality of Santa with my 11 year old son.  He winced when I gave him an honest answer about Old Chris Kringle, but I could tell he already knew the truth.  I was saddened at his loss of innocence yet I welcomed the ease it would bring me as a parent with holiday shopping.  I wish he could have held on to those beliefs as I remember how fun it was believing in something so magical as a child. 

But as we talked about the myth of Santa we visited the idea that Santa is alive in all  of us.  His spirit is what keeps Christmas alive and what makes the season so much fun. 

Luckily, I still have  an 8 year old who is trying hard to still make sense of the whole Santa idea.  She wants to believe, but she is begining to question his amazing abilities and his never ending age.  She seems to be a bit more savvy than her brother and  a bit more realistic about what any one person is capable of doing.  I'm a bit saddened that she too will soon learn the truth about Santa and that her innocence will slowly drift away!

As a parent I revelled in my childrens love  of Christmas. It's the one time of year when I can really see a genuine smile and an overwhelming sense of happiness.  Nothing is more precious than watching your children thank Santa for all he has done. 

As the biggest day of the year grows closer I am reminded not just of my younger years of innocence but the importance of enjoying it for as long as it will last in my daughter. 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I woke up this morning and realized another day was about to begin. Luckily, it is a holiday and I am off from work and the kids are still sleeping. The dog is awake and anxious to be let outside, but ultimately, he's looking for his morning meal. I didn't want to wake up this early but the neighbors rooster thought it was my time.

The rooster is a new feature in the neighborhood these days. Not sure what everyone else feels about the newest addition to our community, but I can tell you that each morning when I hear that little guy try to get out a "cock-a-doodle-d0" I want to throw something at it. Not sure which object I would like to throw, but by all means use your own imagination. I have nothing against animals, or roosters for that matter, it just doesn't seem fair that a bird can dictate to me when I should be waking up. The only thing that makes it livable so far is the fact that it's a young rooster who hasn't quite figured out how to use his voice. His time will come! One morning he will bellow like a mature rooster and than it will be time to purchase ear plugs. Not sure how much time I have left before that will happen.

Not only are the chickens and the rooster new to the neighborhood, so is the brand new 3,000 square foot ranch that is being erected directly next door to me. This is a mother's nightmare!!! I'm all for climbing mountains and having fun, but not when the dirt becomes a reoccurring fixture in my home on a daily basis. Not to mention the additional piles of laundry that now need to be attended to because my kids don't want to be wearing dirty clothes while they climb higher and higher on the dirt piles! Oh, and the shoes! I could have sworn those sneakers were brand new three days ago! Now, they lay on top of the lawn filled with mud and looking like they have had a life span of over a year. Mom's can't win when they are up against dirt piles and roosters.

The rooster has finally quited down and the neighborhood is eerily quiet this morning. No rush of people speeding off to work this morning and no loud buses picking up children, together this has made our neighborhood a type of vacation get-a-way!

Today is Thanksgiving and every year I am amazed at how quickly life has passed me by. I feel like I just digested last years turkey and here I am preparing to eat another one. My kids are another year older, I'm another year older and that darn rooster has only just begun to live!

This Thanksgiving will be typical of all those in the past. Wake up, o.k........ the rooster is anything but typical this year; watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade with my children, or shall I say we will try to catch pieces of the parade in between the sibling rivalry and the whines of boredom,which will ultimately ring out loudly from each child; and finally we will patiently wait to travel to a relatives house where we will all overeat.

This holiday is all about being grateful for what you have in your life. Even at your worst times you will be able to look within your own world and see that you are fortunate enough to have things that others may not have. I'm not talking necessarily about materialistic items, but of those thing that make your life easier to live. No one has a perfect life. Being thankful for having both arms, both legs and two eyes are just a start. Being thankful that you are able to breathe without assistance or able to take a shower in clean water. Being thankful for a friends listening skills or a family member who welcomes you into their home. Being thankful for the little things like hearing a rooster and hearing you children bicker are all bonuses in life.

Life is never going to be perfect and those expectations left me years ago. This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for the rooster the piles of dirt and the fact that my children are waking up this morning!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Disabilities in Children/ Autism, ADHD, Aspergers, PDD, Dyslexia, Processing Disorders

Back in October of 2007 I was fortunate enough to find a fantastic job. I work for a company called Brain Balance Achievement Centers. Our main goal is helping children with disabilities better themselves so that they can have a better life.

Although I was skeptical about the program, at first, I decided to listen and learn more about the company. The more I learned the more it all made sense to me. After teaching for so many years in the public schools I, too, thought things like Aspergers or ADHD weren't curible. I have learned since the start of my new job, as the Center Director, that it's not true at all.

I have watched quite a few children go through our program and come out successful. I have watched severly autistic children start talking and making eye contact with in a 12-24 week time frame. I have watched children drop off their ADHD medication and begin to excel in school. I have watched children with Dyslexia turn their reading problems into something of the past. I have watched my son go through the program and after 6 weeks on the program tell me he likes himself more (this from a child who never liked himself) and I have watch several children come in as Aperger's children and leave no longer fitting the criteria for a child with Asperger's. It's truly an amazing program.

People often call the facility with such doubt, but we understand. It sounds too good to be true! We know most of you have tried everything and nothing has worked. We know your child is on medications and you wish they weren't. Sometimes we get such sad and heartfelt calls regarding children and their diabilites. We want to help you, but its hard to convince people that we do get results.

Our progam, for those who may be curious, revolves around the hemispheres of the brain. It seems that children with neurobehavioral disorders (Autism,Aspergers, ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, Processing Disorders) all have parts of the brain that work slower then other parts of the brain, which in the end causes these children to have difficulties in things like socializing, learning, behavior, etc.

I love my job because I finally get to watch children succeed in a way you don't normally see happen. I get to be apart of a team of people who care about the welfare of children. I get to be one of the first people to talk to children with Autism and I get to hear their first words. I get to listen to the children who are on ADHD medication tell me they feel better off their medication now and I get to hear older children, with Aspergers, say "thank you" for helping me. I also get the pleasure of listening to the parents of these children and how thankful they are for everything we have done for their child. Its the most amazing job!