Tag: parenting

Let them Eat Candy

So I just got finished with volleyball and I was talking to one of the moms and she expressed her concern about her kids trick or treating and eating too much candy.  Not that I have any experience to back up giving advice on parenting but since she asked me for it I told her:

“Let your kid have the best day of their lives, best weekend in fact, and then next week they can be back to restricted candy”

This kind of goes along with my opinion about kids and movies.  I wrote about it in my piece Content, Content, Content. Kids are impressionable but sometimes we overdue it, we worry too much.  (Again, I know easy for me to say with no kids.  I get it!).

All I know is that I went for blocks trick or treating and got a pillowcase full of candy and so did most of my friends.  We ate tons of candy for a couple of days and then before too long our stash would be thrown out or given away.

But the memory of kid excess, imagination and fun, lasted.  In fact, by forcing the religion of clean eating on our children we can do more damage than a couple days of candy.  We make food too big a deal instead of simply a fun, silly part of life.  Instead of acknowledging it’s pleasurable qualities we demonize food and make a child feel guilty for something they should not feel guilty about.  It’s not good!

I really like how the Washington Post’s piece of the same name says it:

“It might be better to assume that, when it comes to candy — and much else — children are people, too. Instead of treating kids as fragile, helpless, stupid creatures who will perish if we don’t swaddle them in layers of social and emotional padding, we could treat them the way adults like to be treated: as intelligent beings with a strong drive for autonomy and respect.

Kids need our wisdom and our knowledge. They need to learn from us what good food looks and tastes like, and how to take care of their bodies. They need to understand media and advertising’s power to persuade and distort. But we should give them the freedom to learn to be themselves.”

I was totally that kid who needed to be respected and allowed to make my own choices whenever possible, so I relate to what she was saying.

Also, did you know the idea that sugar makes kids hyper is a myth? Science News said:

“Sugar doesn’t change kids’ behavior, a double-blind research study found way back in 1994. A sugary diet didn’t affect behavior or cognitive skills, the researchers report. Sugar does change one important thing, though: parents’ expectations. After hearing that their children had just consumed a big sugar fix, parents were more likely to say their child was hyperactive, even when the big sugar fix was a placebo, another study found.

Of course, there are plenty of good reasons not to feed your kids a bunch of sugar, but fear of a little crazed sugar monster isn’t one of them”.

So let your kids be kids.  Don’t try to give out dried fruit or something lame like that.  They will be ok.  Kids aren’t stupid.  They need their little moments of abandon and glee just like the rest of us but with a little nudging and encouragement that is a moment to remember not an everyday occurrence.

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A Working from Home Legacy

Feel like you are at war in the office? I have!  Be like me and work from home.

Just a joke below…

dilbert work from home 1 dilbert work from home 2 dilbert work from home 3 dilbert work from homeGrowing up I basically had 2 stay at home parents.  My Mother was and is a homemaker (my family is 35, 33, 30, 23, 17, 14 so my Mom has always been an active mother of a variety of ages).  She is also someone who made running her home a career.  Her hobbies usually involved bettering family or home in some way.  Countless dresses she sewed for us until her tailoring skills were good enough to make costume after costume for my sisters plays.  She did a Midsummer’s Nights Dream set in the 20s I believe and the gowns and suits were stunning.

So my Mom has always worked from home.  If there was  part of home life she wanted to master it.  Her gardens are always the best in the neighborhood, especially in our home in Utah there were flowers that wondered all around the front and back yard with a large patch of lily of the valley that I will never forget.

I could go on and on about my Mom but suffice it to say where some women see housekeeping as a necessary evil, my Mom see’s it as her calling and what she wasn’t good at, she became good at.

Then there is my Dad.  My Dad has been an entrepreneur for his career. He is perhaps the only person on the planet that could go to law school, not finish 2 papers, and then 25 years later find out he had actually graduated.  That’s just the kind of person he is.  He pursues something 100%, gleans all the good he can out of it and then moves on to the next idea or spot he is needed with no regrets.

In my life he has been in paid employment as a photographer, framing store owner, computer program designer/manager, ESL computer lab installer, board member, various roles at JWA, Grabber, Impact, Grabber Construction, Kobayashi and Poler to name a few.

Probably the most influential time of my life was when he founded a company called Linguatronics.  He had spent the years in the late 80s, early 90s working on a program to help Japanese people learn English.  That’s what brought our family from Utah to Maryland.  Being in the DC area meant we were close to so many other metropolitan cities and he could promote his new product, as well as other products.

Eventually this morphed into installing computer labs in colleges to help with ESL and other language courses (Linguatronics).  There was a software that helped teachers to communicate with students while learning.  They could take over the students screen, talk to them and help them in other ways.  I’m not sure how many labs were installed but by the time we moved to California in 1998 (7 years) he had exhausted his leads and was needed to help with the family businesses.  Things transitioned and changed once again.

But I was basically grown up by then so my greatest memories are the Linguatronics era.  My Dad had co-opted the dining room into his office.  This meant the french doors of the dining room had glass and we could see in and watch him work.  I remember him being constantly frustrated when we would take his office supplies- particularly his scissors.

‘Where did you girls put my scissors?” he would ask in exasperation.  We had no idea.

When we moved to Maryland I started middle school and my sister Anna was a year old, so we had 1, 9,11 and 13 year old.  My Dad has always had different sleep needs than most people so we didn’t see him a lot when it was late and we were home from activities or in the morning (now he is a great early riser but not back then).  I think back to looking through the glass and always being able to see my Dad.  What a blessing that was.  He was working 70+ hours a week to make that business work and they had a small toddler to deal with (although Anna was the dream sleeper.  She will moan and groan about sleeping in the laundry room but I think that noise made her sleep like a rock to this day!).

When my Mother got pregnant she had to go on full bedrest meaning my father would become Mom and Dad for the entire pregnancy.  My roommate just asked me if my Mom got up for church or other small things and the answer is no.  I remember one time when my brothers mice turned out to be pregnant and he woke everyone up in the middle of the night that she got up.  She was up for my sister Megan’s baptism and to go to the doctor but I don’t recall any other times.

When I was 15 my mother got pregnant again and so my freshman year was spent, family-wise, on survival mode.  I was probably not as helpful as I should have been because I found the whole situation to be incredibly stressful and worrying.

If I felt that way imagine how my Dad must have felt.  Here he has 4 children including a 5 year old in kindergarten, 3 teenagers at different spiritual and emotional levels and working 70+ hours as a self-employed businessman.  The amount of pressure must have been enormous.  (And he was young men’s president during this whole time!)

I remember as soon as we found out my Mom was expecting we would transition to paper plates and all of the kids would be assigned days to cook and chores.  My Dad at one point had a complicated chart he called ‘The New Order’ which was just overcomplicated and a little crazy to actually work for a while.  Then he tried a ‘New Order 2’ which was less effective… 😉

My Dad also was determined to not let the massive garden my parents had worked on go to pot with my Mother on bedrest.  One day he saw a farm stand and was convinced it would be a great idea for his kids to sell tomatoes on the side of the road.  Remind you- I was 15 and somewhat surly.  There was no way I was going to be selling tomatoes to all my friends unless we were starving.

My father was undeterred and proceeded to plant 36 tomato plants. From what I read 1 tomato plant can produce as many as 25 tomatoes so we had nearly 1000 tomatoes at the end of the summer! And of course, we never did the tomato stand, but we did learn how to can tomatoes from Sister Saunders at the ward, and my sister Megan sat Anna in the red wagon loaded with tomatoes and went door-to-door giving them to our neighbors.

I wasn’t going to share that story but I think it displays well how intimately my father has always been involved in our family.  This is not the aloof businessman that some of my friends had.  I can’t think of a single time in my life when my mother said ‘wait till your father comes home’ because he already was home.  And despite being insanely busy we never felt like my father was busy.  In fact, if you had asked us at the time we would have said he did very little (shows how much kids know!)

He has always had the ability to merge life and work and friends and anything else in his life pretty seamlessly.  Just today he was writing an email, helping someone at the house and hear about my upcoming date on the phone.

That has been a great example to me as I have chosen to work from home for my career.  I guess that was very natural given the example of my Dad.  I would never have thought it but 3 years in corporate America was enough to convince me the dreams of my youth were really nightmares.  I think of working in a cubicle and having some horrible boss and I feel ill. I wonder if my Dad felt that way too?

He has an office now but it is very close to my folks home and it is next door to the kids school (now they are all in high school or beyond).

My Dad used to take us on business trips (Boston, New York, even Europe) and we had great experiences on a small budget.  I went to see The King and I with my Dad and went to the Statue of Liberty and Plymouth Rock.  I also took my first and only trip to Germany, Czech Republic and a little bit of France when I was 14.

But the work trip I remember most was in Maryland.  I had helped him at a school in Montgomery County (next county over) and he asked me if I wanted to drive home.  Being a kid with unmatched confidence I said sure.  I am not a great driver even now and then-yikes! The belt loop is a massive freeway in DC with about 6 lanes (I’m guessing!).  I was terrified and I remember weaving in and out of traffic and at one point my Dad said ‘keep your hands on the wheel…’.  It was pretty funny.

Another story I wasn’t planning on telling.  Basically my Dad has a way of working without making his children feel like he is burdened or worried.  I have worked with him since 2005 on an almost daily basis and have rarely seen him come unglued or ‘stress out’.  I’ve done plenty of it but he is just a strong guy and a true multi-tasker.

I guess I’ve been thinking about my Dad these last few weeks as I’ve had a career change.  I remember all the one’s he had and looking through that glass door his eyes focused on the computer, and nearly always on a phone call with someone who inevitably became a friend, and we would see at dinner eventually.

My Dad is the type of person who went to Czech Republic and invited a total stranger to come live with us, and when that didn’t pan out said his cousin could come.  He’s just a great guy that believes in people and I think that makes him a great man of business even if every enterprise has not been ‘successful’ it was to him.

People ask me how I can work from home.  Don’t I get distracted?  Well, sometimes I can but I saw my Dad do it every day of my life and he had much more to distract him, but the distraction was and is his happiness. That’s his light and the work is just trappings for helping people.  So, yes I get distracted on occasion, but I know how to use that energy to get my work done and be my best self.

They say that those who telecommute actually get more work  done than their corporate counterparts and that is probably because we are always working.  You can be called or emailed at anytime, which can be a drag but again I have the example of my Dad to help me come close to balancing it all out.

I wasn’t even planning on talking about my Dad that much in this post but he is such a great example to me on how to work, and how to work from home.  He is an example to anyone on how to keep a balanced life.  He’s certainly had his tough periods but in general he is a happy, hopeful person.  When I get in my funks it is almost always because I become obsessed with one part of my life over another.

Luckily I have my Dad to tap me on the shoulder and help me figure it all out.  I really do love him and my Mom.

What lessons about work have you learned from your parents or mentors?  How has that helped you in your career?  Or perhaps you learned what not to do?

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Nora Ephron: I Feel Bad About My Neck

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Any friend of the blog knows I love Nora Ephron.  If I could write like anyone it would be her.  She had a way of finding humor in the everyday female experience. Something as little as getting coffee, watching a movie or baking a cake could be witty and full of heart.

She unfortunately passed away in 2012 but in addition to her many movies (directing and writing) she wrote several delightful books of essays including the 2006 I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman.  This is not an important book but I kind of love it and it was our choice for book club this month.

Unfortunately nobody that had read the book was able to attend so I am going to share with all you what I would have shared with all of them.  Let me set the scene to start (I always try to make everything pretty but tried especially to honor the uber-classy Miss Ephron.

I wanted to do something really beautiful and decadent worthy of Nora so I made this russian cream
I wanted to do something really beautiful and decadent worthy of Nora so I made this russian cream

To make the Russian Cream you simply mix 2 cups sugar with 2 packets unflavored gelatin.  4 cups cream.  Heat till hot but not boiling.  Cool down and mix in 4 cups sour cream.  Put in molds.  Let set in fridge overnight.  Unmold and serve with fruit. It’s an easy recipe but it looks beautiful.

We had a pretty pink spread
We had a pretty pink spread
I found these beautiful peonies and I couldn't resist
I found these beautiful peonies and I couldn’t resist

So now you feel like you are at book club. Let me tell you about it.

One of my favorite essays Nora says:

What I Wish I’d Known”

People have only one way to be.

Buy, don’t rent.

Never marry a man you wouldn’t want to be divorced from.

Don’t cover a couch with anything that isn’t more or less beige.

Don’t buy anything that is 100% wool even if it seems to be very soft and not particularly itchy when you try it on in the store.

You can’t be friends with people who call after 11 p.m.

Block everyone on your instant mail.

The world’s greatest babysitter burns out after two and a half years.

You never know.

The last four years of psychoanalysis are a waste of money.

The plane is not going to crash.

Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of thirty-five you will be nostalgic for at the age of forty- five.

Write everything down.

Keep a journal.

Take more pictures.

The empty nest is underrated….

Here was my version of

What I Wish I Had Known by Rachel Wagner

Travel more when you are young

People will not be real with you a lot of the time

Privacy is overrated

A $100 couch is just as comfortable as a $1000 couch.

Do not select the appliance package when you buy your house

Leaving singles ward sucks. Be ready.

A plate of spaghetti will change your life

The dream job is coming

DVR is a game changer

Date more in college

Panic attacks are the scariest moments of your life

Mr Sunshine is still hiding at 33.

Can never own too many maxi dresses

Aside from the basics most of what you learn in school you will never use

Good choice not going into debt

Look up open water swimming in 2001 not 2011

Paying dues will take you ten years

You are a leader. Stop resenting it and embrace it.

Nora and Cooking

Another essay I love is called Serial Monogamy:  A Memoir.  It is actually all about her relationship with cooking and food.  Throughout her life and marriages Nora had adventures in food.  At 16 her mother gave her The Gourmet Cookbook, then the Flavor of France, Julia Child, Michael Fields, Craig Claiborne, Lee Lun’s Chinese recipes, Marcella Hazan, Martha Stewart and Nigella Lawson.  Cooking took her through changes in career, 3 marriages and her children.  She even has internal dialogues with the chefs. It reminds me of the rat in Ratatouiee that has conversations with Chef Gusteau

She ends the section in a very sweet way “I especially like making her roast beef dinner, which is very much like my mother’s except for the yorkshire pudding.  My mother didn’t serve yorkshire pudding, although there is  recipe for it in The Gourmet Cookbook.  My mother served potato pancakes instead.  I serve yorkshire pudding and potato pancakes.  Why not?  You only live once”

I love that.  You only live once so make two starches at dinner.  It’s a lovely little essay.

Nora on Parenting

My favorite essay is on parenting.  Even though I am not a parent I am a child of parents and I find it very moving. She starts out saying “I gave birth to my children, which was not that long ago, when there was almost no such thing as parenting as we know it today”

“Back in the day where there were merely parents, as opposed to people engaged in parenting, being a parent was fairly straight forward.  You didn’t need a book and if you owned one it was by Dr.  Spock, a pediatrician and you rarely looked at i unless your child a had a fever…back in those days no one believed that you could turn your child into a different human being from the one he started out being…”

“All this changed around the time I had children. You can blame the women’s movement for it-one of the bedrock tentes fo the women’s movement was that because so many women were entering the workforce men and women should share in the raising of children; thus the gender neutral word parenting and the necessity of elevating child rearing to something more than the endless hours of quantity time it actually consists of.

Conversely, you can blame the backlash against the women’s movement- lost of women didn’t feel like entering the workforce or even sharing the raising of children with their husbands, but they felt guilty about this, so they were compelled to elevate full time parenthood to a sacrament”

She goes on to talk about the pressure people feel molding their children into these ivy league perfect people and then they grow up.  I LOVE the ending and I hope my parents feel a little bit of this when we are all back with all our idiosyncrasies and choices:

“Meanwhile, every so often, your children come to visit.  They are, amazingly, completely charming people.  You can’t believe you’re lucky enough to know them.  They make you laugh.  They make you proud.  You love them madly.  They survived you.  You survived them.  It crosses your mind that on some level, you spent hours and days and months and years without laying a glove on them, but don’t dwell.   There’s no point. It’s over.

Except for the worrying.

The worrying is forever”

I tear up whenever I read that.  The worrying is forever. I can picture my parents worrying about me and it makes me feel loved and I’m grateful for that love.

In Conclusion

Some of the essays are quite humorous.  There is one about her scandalous non-affair with President Kennedy and another about her life in an epic apartment in New York.  They aren’t all equally great but I love them.

It is the perfect summer book.  Light, heart felt and beautiful.  I don’t want to oversell it but I love it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts if any of you have read it since I didn’t get to talk much about it this morning.

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Family is Dying

I’m sorry this to me is just shocking.

“We’ve always had a private notion of children. Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility and haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children”.

Call me crazy!  I thought my children were my children and my responsibility.

She goes on “We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families.”

Hmmmm…where have I heard that kind of talk before? Oh yeah sounds slightly like Karl Marx who said “The education of all children, from the moment that they can get along without a mother’s care, shall be in state institutions at state expense” .  People like Ms. Harris-Perry actually believe what Marx is saying, that the society can teach children better than the outdated notion of family.

After all, family can teach such antiquated ideas as traditional marriage, sexual chastity and heaven forbid they become greedy capitalists!  This explains why early collectivist thinker, Jean Jacques Rousseau left his 5 children on the steps of an orphanage, not because of need but because a state education was better for the whole of mankind.  Ridiculous.

I’m sorry but nobody is more qualified to teach my children how to be a man or a woman than me.    And I will not be handing over that role to any institution or ‘community’ that may or may not agree with my definition of what is good, and right.  Over my dead body! This is why I will be homeschooling my children, if I ever have any.  I am not going to have my children indoctrinated by the likes of Harris-Perry.  It is an outrage.

The family is the most important institution on the earth and the disintegration of societies has always followed a disintegration of the family.

“The Family: A Proclamation to the World” remains “a clarion call to protect and strengthen families,” according to Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who says it is also “a stern warning in a world where declining values and misplaced priorities threaten to destroy society by undermining its basic unit.”

The Proclamation on the Family closes with these warnings to the likes of Harris-Perry:

“We warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

This warning was given in 1995 and clearly the Prophet and Apostles saw the attack on the family that was going to come in the next 2 decades.  Would they have said that if there was nothing threatening the family?  No.  It is not just vibrato but a warning that calamities will befall a society as it strays away and disintegrates the family.  It’s been happening for years.  Now people are getting comfortable saying it, even promoting it as a noble endeavor to move beyond the family.  Marriage is already been diluted, now let’s dilute the notion of family.

My children are my children.  My family is my family. The collective can help when I feel it is of help but that is it.   I decide what is best for my children and you better work with me on that or we will have issues. At the very least it will be me removing all the crud shoved down their throats by the supposed enlightened collective.  Unbelievable.

“HANDS OFF MY KIDS! My kids futures are not for you to raid in the name of social justice and the need for more ‘failed investments” Say it loud and clear Michelle.  The family is the most important social unit and I am going to keep that ‘ private notion’ to my grave despite what Harris-Perry might say.

If Harris-Perry is so comfortable with the collective teaching her children than why doesn’t she send her kids over to my house and I will teach them about traditional marriage and the Proclamation on the Family?  For some reason, I think she’d resist that.  She only wants collective when it agrees with her and fits into her worldview.  I am consistent.  The family is an eternal unit and nothing is more important to the happiness and stabilization of our nation than that.  My children are my responsibility.

I repeat:

“We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families.”

Unbelievable to me.

ps.  I love the little shout-out to the Mormon church by the liberal commentator.  We do it right…

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Kids Have it Good

So I hated being a kid.  I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be more grown up, more mature.  While I could never go back to being told what to do and how to do it all the time (wasn’t good at that when I was a kid), there are some perks that I wouldn’t mind having.  (It’d be like the movie Big but in reverse, go back to being a kid.  Script in there!)

I was thinking about this today when I was trying to decide what to eat and nothing looked good.  I seem to shop all the time but never have much to eat or that I feel like eating.  (I know, a first world problem but there you go).   As I was staring into the fridge I couldn’t help but think ‘I wish my Mother was here to make me dinner…’.  My Mom is an excellent cook and I definitely didn’t appreciate the gift of having a delicious meal placed before me every night growing up.  What a treat that was!

This memory of my Mom’s cooking started me on the thought track listed below:

Reasons Kids Have it Made:

1. Food of Some Kind Provided to them (in most situations) 3 meals a day

2. They don’t have to do meal planning, shopping list making, or have spices for whatever is made (I am always short something when I cook)

3. They could read all day and it be considered a good thing

4. They have activities like piano lessons and art classes paid for and encouraged.

5. They have time to take piano lessons and art classes

6. They can act like fools and it is seen as charming, not idiotic

7.  They don’t have to worry about dating, relationships or your biological clock running out!

8. They have someone who plans birthday parties for them and Santa still brings them presents.

9. They get driven everywhere and are completely oblivious of road rage, distracted driving and trying to navigate through town

10. When they do chores around the house they get an allowance. Those end when you become an adult! 😉

11. Their only job is to learn and get along with people.  (That I am most envious of!)

12. They should be able to eat without freaking out over carbs, fat grams, sodium, sugar and dieting

13. They have more to look forward to than to look back on

14. They have someone to make them soup and go to the pharmacy when they are sick

15. They have someone to help them on projects or doing most anything.

16.  They can have imaginary friends and talk to themselves and everyone thinks it’s charming not psychotic

17.  They have leaders, teachers, parents and others who are all thinking of how they can challenge/entertain them

18.  They don’t have to work and worry about money

19. They don’t have to worry about politics, current events or anything they can’t control

20.  They still have energy at the end of the day!

So there you go.  Enjoy it kids while you can!  Goodness knows I should have!  (I guess when it comes down to it kids are lucky because they still, or should, have a Mother at home)

What would you add to the list?

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Guest Blogger: Children with Special Needs and Their Moms

When I decided to do NaNoWriMo I asked my friends if any of them would be interested in guest blogging so that I could focus on my book.  I was surprised by the response I got and below is the first guest entry.  It is by my friend Nancy who has a special needs son.  I had asked her a few weeks ago what was the best way to help a family with a special needs son in my ward.  I didn’t want to come across as patronizing or rude but instead helpful and loving.

Nancy gave me some good advice and I suggested she summarize her thoughts for this blog.  I hope it starts a discussion and helps make us all better.  Perhaps if church is not a part of your life you can apply the same suggestions to other situations where you interact with special needs families, making our world a tiny bit better and more Christlike.

Children with Special Needs and Their Moms

My name is Nancy and I am guest posting for Rachel this month. I have had a hard time blogging on my own blog but feel honored to post for her. Rachel and I served a mission in the same mission. I left as she came. My mission prepared me with a few things that would and have helped me in my life. However, it didn’t prepare me for what was fully in store.

In 2005 we found out we were expecting our first child. I was attending the University of Utah and had already applied and started school. We were very newly married and thought we had the whole world figured out. We had planned that I would finish my semester at school and be on my last final and would go and be induced the next day. Our official due date was December 25.

The last week in August we found out we were having a boy. We were very excited and scared and the reality that we were having a baby was setting in. September brought chaos.  Tyler decided to arrive 15 weeks early and was born September 21st weighing 1 lb. 11 oz.

our full story can be found on my blog.

Tyler is now 7. He has several diagnoses and is disabled. He has cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus and is legally blind. Tyler is not in a wheel chair but has very obvious disabilities. He is much delayed and doesn’t act 7, but ranges in abilities from about 2-7. Some days are challenging.

One of the hardest things to do is to go to church with Tyler. In Nursery he had a walker so he was not allowed to go in with his walker because it was a hazard to the other kids, and it really pushed us away for a while. It was easier to not go. As he was older, we have gone back and been active, and inactive, depending on the season. Seems weird to some, but we do what we have to sometimes.

Here are some things that might help others understand disabilities and church and how to approach a mom/dad with special needs and a few big things NOT to say!

So here are some don’ts:

  • Do NOT attend church if you are sick.  If you have been around people who are sick, have had a fever, or just don’t feel well. Kids with special needs tend to have a compromised immune system. Places like church are a breeding ground for sickness. A cold to you is a life threatening illness to them.
  • Don’t tell the parents that it is a “blessing to have a child like that.” Because the truth is, it’s very hard and most people go through a period where they don’t feel it is a blessing. It can also be a source of anger towards Heavenly Father.
  • Don’t be afraid to wonder what is wrong with their child and especially don’t be afraid to ask. Better ask than stare.

For the do’s: (Because there are more positives that you CAN do than not!)

  • Ask AND MEAN what can I do to help? Having a kiddo with special needs is HARD stuff and moms with those kinds of kiddos are tough as nails and don’t have time to sift through the fluff of who is just saying it and who isn’t.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask what their diagnosis is, what it means and offer something to help during church. I haven’t sat through a church service in 7 years. Ty gets overwhelmed. It would be nice to have someone offer to sit out in the foyer for part of sacrament, so I can listen every once in a while.
  • Understand that we are trying to keep our kids quiet and when you see a seven year old playing fetch with his brother in church it isn’t what we WANT them to do, but what we have him do so we can go to church.
  • When they don’t whisper, understand it is ok. Heavenly Father doesn’t’ really care if they are quiet or not. And then, reach up and ask if it is ok if you take him for a walk. Moms are so embarrassed by the loudness of their child, but a quick walk outside is refreshing. We would do it ourselves, but having someone offer gives everyone more blessings. Us for going to church and you for serving.

Those are the ones that I can think of. Heavenly Father understands why you miss church when you are sick; he understands why we stay home if we need to. He understands so much more than what we do as church members. Special needs are hard and not everyone ever accepts it as “Gods will.” It takes a toll on a marriage, family and the child who has the disability. But it also does bless us. I know for us, our testimony of unconditional love is one that only a parent of a child who has accountability missing could have. They don’t know or understand hate.

As the mom of one of these awesome kiddo’s, I appreciate all that anyone is willing to do to learn about my child and how to help him have a better experience. I am willing to talk to anyone about him. I am willing to share a bit of his amazing spirit with anyone who is willing.

Diet Before 10

I shared this with my facebook community but thought I’d do the same with my blogging community.  I think this photo tells a lot.

I can relate to this photo because I was on diet before I turned 10.  I have almost no memories of not being on a diet in my life.  In fact some of my most vivid memories are being put on diets or being told I was fat by kids or even coaches, other adults.  As all my readers know I was also bullied for nearly 2 years (4th and 5th grades) because I was overweight.

I have to say compared to some of my overweight friends, my parents have actually been pretty great.  They did put me on a diet when I was young but overall they tried to be supportive and loving.  I did not get a ton of pressure from them to lose weight and I certainly was never told that I was ugly, embarrassing, fat, whatever.  I hear such stories from some of my friends and I’m grateful for good parents.

So what is my advice to parents who have a heavier child and don’t know what to do? Here goes:

1. Set the whole family on a healthy lifestyle regiment so that one child is not singled out. Then everyone wins.  It could even be a fun project to do together.

2. Explain that it really isn’t about appearance. Its about health, energy, happiness.  Perhaps give them examples of athletes, other adults who maintain a healthy weight.  (show them my blog about my swims 🙂 )

3. I think a lot of parents feel guilty about their overweight children and that just makes the child feel worse for failing their parents.

4. Do not EVER be embarrassed by your child.  This will only teach them to be ashamed of their bodies and could lead to behaviors later on that are far worse than being overweight such as self-abuse, eating disorders, and addiction.

5. Try to avoid using food as a reward or a punishment.  It will happen on occasions such as birthdays or at a party and that’s fine but in general find non-food related rewards

6. Avoid equating food as a sin.  Do not make a child feel guilty for what they eat.  Just encourage the good and move on from the bad. I still struggle with feelings of guilt and even sin when I stray from my diet and I don’t think that is a healthy behavior.

7. Introduce your kids to new food experiences so they don’t think that healthy food=boring food.

8. Involve your kids in the cooking process so they can see what goes into it.  A processed packaged meal will never give your children any excitement for fresh, healthy ingredients.  Also take them to farms, have them learn how to milk a cow, see where eggs come from, how to make cheese, whatever.  This may be a drag for some kids but in the end it will help them build healthy eating habits and a love for good food.

9. Be positive, positive, positive, positive!  Even today, I find I need overwhelmingly positive feedback from my trainers and other support.  I know what I could improve on.  In fact, I’m usually beating myself up more than I probably should and don’t need any help in that department.  Any added ‘tough love’ just makes me feel depressed and hopeless

10.  Make sure you explain all aspects of health to your child.  Meaning physical, mental, spiritual, emotional whatever.  All of these aspects are important for a healthy person.  Writing in journals, meditating, having honest discussion, learning new things, reading, prayer, other worship,  and learning to manage stress are all AS IMPORTANT as our weight.

11. Make sure they have correct information about weightloss, health, etc.  Despite all my dieting I never learned that type 2 diabetes was curable.  When they diagnosed me as border-line a few years ago, I honestly thought I was going to die. I was petrified.  Instead of just scaring kids with words like cancer, heart disease, diabetes.  Let’s explain what they really are and how they can be prevented and overcome.

Recently I did a wellness challenge where there were 10 categories of health including 15 minutes of spiritual reading and setting daily goals.  I think this type of overall wellness would be a great system for kids.

Now some of you may scoff and say ‘she’s single.  What does she know about raising kids?’.  Well, I was a kid once and I know intimately what it is like to grow up as a fat kid. I also have kids in my life who I want to support in the right ways; therefore I have given the topic much thought.

Its important to understand that as adults, we are all fighting an uphill battle when it comes to the health of the kids in our lives.  They have so much coming at them from the media and even other children and adults at school.  We must conscientiously work at fighting this messaging or our kids will get their self-worth from the myriad of other sources trying to claim it.

Unfortunately sometimes people that mean well can be a destructive influence.  Celebrities like First Lady Michele Obama have started a ‘war on childhood obesity’.  I really wish Mrs. Obama would rethink this wording.  I wish she was more focused on health of all children whether they happen to be heavy or skinny.  I certainly am proof that an active heavy person can do things that a lazy skinny person could not do.

Health, health, health not weight, weight, weight.