Thursday, August 17, 2017

Kindergarten Tears

In an hour E2 has meet the teacher. In an hour E2 will walk into her kindergarten room and begin her official schooling.

In an hour I will cry. I will continue to cry on the first day of school. I will not cry in front of her, but I will continue to wipe my tears as I stare at her in the rear view mirror singing along to Moana, I will wipe my tears as she and her big bow with ponytail bounce towards a play date, and I will wipe my tears when she gets off the bus for the very first time.

I know everyone tells you to enjoy them when they are little and believe me, I did. However, there is nothing enjoyable about teething, potty training, sleep training, and tantrums. Nothing. Did I wish those times away? Hell yes. Do I regret that? Fuck no. Can I still bawl like a child on the first day of kindergarten? Of course.

Whether you enjoyed the newborn stage (I loathed it), toddler stage (love), little kid stage of 3-5 years (fun), you still get to be upset (if you choose) when your baby starts kindergarten. It is the beginning of the end.

Kindergarten begins the "teachers see my kid more than I do" phase of life. And that's why I cry.

I cried when E1 started kinder and her teacher was awesome. I already know E2 has a fantastic teacher and this time around, it is even harder! I am a mess!!!

I cry because E2 will have successes and failures that I will no longer see.
I cry because E2 will learn something new and flash her awesome smile and I will not be there to witness it.
I cry because at some point she will be crying and I won't be there to hug her.
I cry because her future now belongs in someone else's hands.

We are zoned to a wonderful school. I trust the teachers immensely, but I am the ultimate mama bear and letting go of control and letting my baby grow up is tough stuff.

At the present moment I am crying, blogging about crying, and E2 is saying, "Mom! Is it time to meet my teacher? I already love her and kindergarten!"

So to E2's teachers from kindergarten through 12th grade - be kind, be mindful of your words, be generous with your smiles, and know she is an amazing kid.

Kindergarten, elementary school, and to the whole world - watch out, here comes E2! And trailing behind her is me, her mom, wiping away tears.




Sunday, August 13, 2017

Happy 6th Birthday

YOU ARE SIX!

Happy birthday, sugar! 

In the blink of an eye you are another year older and now starting kindergarten. I don't know how we got here so quickly. It is true, the days are long but the years are short. 

From the minute you were born you have had my entire heart wrapped up in your great big smile. No matter what the day brings you, you can find the joy. It is the greatest gift in the world to be able to find happiness in all you do and you, my daughter, smile brightly each and every day.

For six years I have worried. I worried when you wouldn't sleep, you wouldn't eat, you wouldn't talk. On your second birthday you had five words and ate about the same amount of foods. You were happy and content and smiled that smile, but I knew you could do more. And after six years, I still worry but I have also learned NOTHING will hold you back. Your future will be whatever you want it to be.

Your journey to six, which is so young and so old at the same time, has been long. Speech, physical and occupational therapy has been your life for four years. You have worked hard and worked with a smile. Preschool for three years brought challenges as well, and again you faced them with a smile. 

Anything you have accomplished, you have done with a smile. You know the meaning of pride. You know the meaning of hard work. You are an inspiration without even knowing it. 

Last year, when you turned five I said this was going to be "your year." And as you will learn, I am always right. 

This year, you have become a child I never dreamed possible. You squashed every worry as you began to tackle milestones and meet milestones that exceeded your age. You played softball this past year and even with your motor challenges you succeeded and were the most enthusiastic 6U softball player. The other teams would cheer for you when you hit the ball and ran to first. Everyone around you could feel the exhilaration you felt as you accomplished something so great.

Your two greatest challenges this year were learning to swim and learning to read. Learning to swim was a must from me, but I never imagined that this would become your sport. It is incredible to think at age five and half you wouldn't get your face wet and today, on your sixth birthday, you are learning to be a competitive swimmer. There is not a person in your life who is not cheering for you. Your successes have been amazing to watch.

Learning to read is no small feat. Not a day has gone by without you asking me to teach you. You want to learn and your desire to do something is all you have ever needed. Identifying letters and sounds, rhyming, beginning, medial, final sounds you have mastered. You can read small words in BOB books and want to learn more. Kindergarten is going to be a wonderful experience for you. You will take your aspirations into that classroom and become a greater version of yourself. You will learn more than academics and you will teach not only your teacher, but your classmates too how to achieve goals with strong perseverance and a smile.

I watched you this summer  and you literally swam into a different world. A world where you are no longer developmentally delayed. A world you control with that very smile you were born with.  Yes, your world will always have challenges, challenges unique to your learning style, but it is a world with endless possibilities.

It took six years for many people around you to see what I have always known - your heart, your smile, your endless zest for life is what keeps you going and what makes you capable of anything.

My birthday wish for you is your determination never dies and all your hopes and dreams come true. I look forward to seeing your toothless, six year old smile this year. 

Happy birthday, baby girl. I love you. 

Kiss, nose kiss, butterfly kiss.

Love,
Mom



Monday, July 31, 2017

Happy 9th Birthday!

Every year I sit down to write you a letter and every year I cry.
How is it possible the baby who made me a mother is nine years old?
How is it possible the teeny tiny infant weighing under 6 lbs is now a strong, beautiful young lady?

I will never forget the phone call that told me you were mine. I can still remember the weather, where I was, what was said, and the emotions that came over every inch of my body. Your birth was truly a gift from G-d.

This past year has been a roller coaster and you and I rode this ride together, but not willingly. You left the innocence of a child behind and began to experience true worries, frustrations, anger, and disappointment. You had to navigate some tough situations this year and I felt many of your growing pains. You had many struggles.

As you know, in this house we do not focus on the struggles but rather the lessons learned and the positives that have graced your life. And you, my daughter, have a wonderful life.

This year.....

You stopped tennis and found another passion, softball.
You enjoyed being on team sport and learned the joys of competition.
You rocked second grade and proved once again, you are a brilliant child.
You learned responsibility and time management.
You discovered the value of friendship.
You became aware of what a true friend looks like.
You stood up for others when no one else did.
You made positive choices when no one was looking and did not cave into peer pressure.
You experienced the loss of a loved one and were reminded how you treat your family is what is remembered.
You gained independence and started riding your bike 1 mile to the park.
You discovered the power of self reflection.
You became a more patient sister.
You realized you were more sensitive than you thought.
You recognized that others can make an impact on your life.
You embraced your own personality.
You uncovered the necessity for honesty.

On this ninth birthday, I want you to remember that you are the most amazing person. You are beautiful inside and out and even on your worst day, I love you more than the day before. Your heart is huge and you love with all your might. Your eyes are bright with a future that you will achieve because no dream is too big for you to tackle. Your smile lights up your face and makes those around you feel your joy. The loudness in your laughter fills our home and each chuckle reminds me how lucky I truly am.

I thank G-d each day you are mine. Your passion for learning and for your family is like no other. Your devotion to Judaism and G-d is inspiring. It is incredible to me that you, my nine year old, can provide me with such hope. I know you are going to change the world. Anyone that meets you, knows just how special you are in about 15 seconds.

After nine years of being your mom, I still wake up with admiration for you. You start each day anew, fresh, and willing to try things. Your stubbornness to be your best keeps you succeeding even when the odds are stacked against you. You make things happen. You take control. You live the day and pray for a better day if things did not go your way.

I cannot imagine what is in store for you this year as you enter third grade and spend your last year as a single digit.

What I do know about you, my nine year old daughter, is no matter what life throws at you, you will swing and not miss.

Happy 9th Birthday!
I love you more than yesterday,
Mom




Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tomboys In Tiaras is TWO!




Here are the top ten viewed posts of all time:

10. At What Cost

9. For My Grandma

8. PSA

7. Category 5

6. 15 Years

5. Taking The Last Step

4. 365 Days

3. Real Family

2. Unwanted Membership

And the number one post in the last two years......

1. Because I am A**Hole

Thank you to all my readers and to my family and friends who continue to support my writing and parenting journey.
This blog has been read by people in the United States, Israel, Russia, France, South Africa, Hong Kong, Brazil, Portugal, Ukraine, Canada, Argentina, Indonesia, China, Ukraine, Australia, Switzerland, and India!
Tomboys is definitely becoming a worldwide blog!
(This is so amazing to me!!)

I would like to give a special shout to my grandma in heaven because even though she is no longer calling me after every post and she is no longer commenting, I know what she is thinking and I know I am making her proud. Of everyone who has read this blog, she really was my number one fan.

HAPPY SECOND BIRTHDAY TOMBOYS IN TIARAS!

Monday, July 17, 2017

WHOLE 30 -

I just finished Whole 30.
It has been a life changing, eye opening experience. Seriously.

Thirty thoughts from my Whole 30 experience.

1. Giving up grains was tough, but necessary and not that difficult. I knew I needed to back away from the pantry.  
2. My bloated stomach was no longer bloated after a few days.
3. Brussel sprouts makes my entire family suffer from flatulence. I have never smelled so many farts in my life. ( I have an oil for tummy problems, so we kept eating them - man, I love my essential oils)
4. I learned how to prepare fish! AND it tasted amazing.
5. I missed cheese, but realized I ate WAY too much. I really love cheese. Cheese is so damn good. I didn't really care about giving up the rest of the food in the dairy category.
6. I am grateful for my friend who let me send her a text each day that I followed the program.
7. I was told give it three days and I would not miss my old foods.
8. After three days, I was still annoyed.
9. Ten days into the program and I was rocking it.
10. There is processed sugar in EVERYTHING!
11. SUGAR IS EVERYWHERE.
12. Holy shit, there is sugar in marinades on "plain grilled chicken" at a restaurant.
13. I discovered LARA bars.
14. I annoyed the crap out of my family at restaurants because I asked for all the ingredients.
15. I modeled commitment to my children.
16. FUCK! There is sugar in meats at BBQ places!!
17. I realized there would be sugar in the BBQ sauce, but it is in the rubs on the meat!
18. My clothes started to fit better after two weeks.
19. My clothes were too big after the 30 days.
20. Giving up legumes was no big deal. I needed to back away from the hummus.
21. My girls started eating more fruit. (Even E2!)
22. E1 joined me in eating more vegetables. We both like okra now.
23. I was not a daily a drinker of alcohol so I thought giving it up would be no big deal.
24. I was SO WRONG about giving up alcohol.
25. I missed red wine and vodka sodas.
26. I googled "Can I have _______ on Whole 30" frequently in the beginning.
27. I realized I knew more about healthy eating habits and basically just ignored my knowledge.
28. I lost over ten pounds and quite frankly I needed to drop that weight.
29. I stopped stress eating.
30. I AM SO PROUD OF MYSELF.

I honestly entered these 30 days because my friend lost weight and I wanted to lose some weight too. What I learned is that I am stronger than my temptations, my family benefited from an insane amount of home cooked meals, and I really do feel better without all that processed crap in my diet.

I am going to continue down the Whole 30 path, BUT I will bring back the alcohol (occasionally.)
Sometimes, this mama needs a drink! (Or two)




Thursday, July 6, 2017

Balloon Spray Paint

I saw this idea on numerous blogs and have been wanting to try it, but we did not have a balloon pump. Well, we FINALLY got a balloon pump!!!!

Supplies needed:
Paint (we used crayola washable paint)
Thumbtacks
Canvas
Balloon pump
Balloons
Something to pop the balloons - I have seen darts being used, but we just used an extra thumbtack
Optional- goggles and a smock/poncho

Instructions:
Fill the balloon with paint
Pump the balloon to desired size and tie balloon
Attach balloon to canvas with thumbtack
Repeat until the canvas is covered.
Pop balloons!!

E1 and I LOVED this project!! E2 did not want to participate in the popping of balloons, but she enjoyed watching her big sister.






Monday, June 19, 2017

P.S.A.

Alright, let's do this. Let me set the record straight once and for all.

A learning difference/disability does NOT go away. Children with learning differences succeed when they are given the tools they need to be successful. Success means the tools are working. It does not mean the disability disappeared.

For four months E2 has been in daily (Mon-Fri) swim lessons. When I enrolled her, I explained to the swim company she had a language disorder and motor planning delays. These two general categories have a list of other issues that fall underneath and I explained them all. The swim club told me they could most definitely teach her to swim. AND THEY DID. The swim club assigned E2 instructors trained in special needs (there were two she switched between). The instructors worked daily on using the same exact words for the motor planning. The instructors used shortened instructions for multiple step directions. The instructors were patient when her anxiety took over and she panicked from not remembering the motor plan even though she had just done the exact stroke three minutes prior. The instructors understood how frustrated E2 becomes when she cannot answer a question because she does not understand what they are asking. The instructors had E2 perform the strokes outside the water while she repeatedly said the motor plan with them out loud.

With daily swim lessons, special needs trained instructors, and with accommodations E2 learned to swim. She went from barely blowing bubbles to swimming the length of the pool.

The above is why I was so fucking pissed off and shocked this morning. We arrived to the swim club to see E2's instructor, Ms. D,  in clothes. I asked her if she was sick and she explained she was working afternoons. I responded saying I did not realize we were switching back to Ms. T, the other teacher. Ms. D said we were not. E2 had been assigned to someone else.

QUE THE MAMA BEAR.

I went to the front desk and firmly asked what was going on and then explained E2 is labeled in THEIR system as having special needs. The woman behind the front desk, who now looks annoyed and possibly terrified at my bugged out eyes and glare that could kill, turns to Ms. D and says, "But does she really still need the label?"

MAMA BEAR ATTACKS.

Before Ms. D can even respond I say, "I am so sorry YOU thought you could remove her label. That is not up to YOU. It is up to trained diagnosticians and therapists. It is up to me, her mother. It is not up to YOU to decide she no longer needs a label and accommodations."

With that, the manager came out and the class and teacher were switched and everything went back to normal.

In my head and to my friends, I used these words - Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME??? E2 succeeded and continues to succeed because we give her the damn accommodations! She fucking needs them!! She has a learning disability! Why the hell would I remove her label?? I am not afraid of labels. I am not afraid to admit my daughter needs help. E2 only feels different when she cannot accomplish something. She does not feel different when the help allows her to be "like everyone else." Fuck. Give the kid what she needs.

To the swim club, to parents, to school districts, here is my PSA:

Children with learning differences/disabilities do NOT outgrow them. They do NOT wake up one day and no longer have the issues. They learned compensation skills, they learned WITH accommodations, they accomplished their goals with all the tools we, their parents and educators, gave them.

When a child with special needs shows mastery of a skill it means HOW you are teaching them is working.
It does NOT mean they are no longer special needs.

Understand?
Good.