Thursday, December 23, 2010

To all of the new parents out there

I know quite a few people who have recently had babies.  I would like to give you a gift.  The gift of my experience as a mom, teacher and observer.  I have been working with young children from infants up to 3rd grade for most of my life, and I graduated from the college of experience.  If you do the same thing for years and years, you pick up a few things along the way.
My first gift....the gift of a mess.  Children learn through "doing".  Let them.  Give them crayons and markers and paint and play dough.  Put news paper or an old shower curtain down if you are worried about the mess, but please let them make it.  I have been totally amazed by the number of kids who go to school and have never used a marker or paint because "Mom doesn't want a mess".  How sad!!
Next I give you the gift of noise.  Yes, noise.  It's awful and gets on your nerves like nothing else, but let them be noisy every now and then.  Give them toy instruments to play, drums or pots to bang on.  Let them sing at the top of their lungs (this gets REALLY old when they are in their 20's!!  Trust me on this one).  Let them go outside and scream for no reason at all.  Most kids keep a lot of energy bottled up and it has to come out or they will explode.  The think of THAT mess you will have to clean up!

Speaking of cleaning up, let them clean up their mess.  Little brooms and dust pans, clean sponges...little kids love this stuff!  Fill the sink up with water and bubbles and let them wash their lunch dishes (that shower curtain on the floor will come in VERY handy now).  Let them mop up the water on the floor afterwards.  Let them clean while they are little because once they get older and realize it isn't really a fun thing, they won't want to do it any more!
Teach your children how to respect others.  Particularly when you are out to dinner for example.  Don't sit your kids at a different table and ignore them, thinking that the waitress will baby sit them.  They won't.  This is something I see all the time and it is just rude!  That waitress is not making enough money to be running around taking care of people and baby sitting your kids as well.  Teach your children that these waiters and waitresses are working and it is not their job to clean up the salt and pepper your kid has dumped all over the table.  Respect.  If they do make a horrible mess, have your kids make an attempt at cleaning it up.  And have them apologize.  To the wait person AND to the customers around you who have had to deal with the chaos you all have created.  If you can't tell, this is a MAJOR pet peeve of mine.
Another gift I give to you is boredom.  Let you kids mope around and be bored once in a while.  They might actually have to use their imagination to come up with something to do.  Make them turn off the TV and the video games and entertain themselves every now and again.  Boot their butts outside to play.  Please do not give your children toys that do everything...beep, drive, speak, walk, spell, color, etc.  A few of these are fine, but where does the imagination get used with these?  It doesn't.  These toys do everything....there isn't anything left for the kid to do but watch.  Keep a healthy stock of picture books, coloring books and crayons, blank paper, scissors, glue (yes GLUE!), glitter....things to create with that they can use when they are bored.  You might just be surprised what they create!

Please know that I am FAR from the perfect parent, and my kids is FAR from the perfect kid.  Once Danny hit 7 years old, I was out of familiar territory.  From then on I had no idea what I was doing.  But those early years I actually felt comfortable.  These are just suggestions.  Don't be afraid....of messes and tantrums, of boredom and back talk.  They are all learning experiences for you AND your child.
Enjoy your children when they are young.  They really do grow up SO fast.  Get in there with them and help them make a mess!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What am I missing??

I always feel like Charlie Brown during December.  Like I'm missing something.  For the life of me I can't figure out what it is.  I love the lights and the music.  I love buying gifts for people just as much as I love getting them!  There is something about finding the PERFECT gift for someone and watching them open it!  But through the whole month, every year, I feel like I'm missing something just out of my grasp.  I've tried going to church, and maybe I've gone to the wrong ones because it didn't help.  I've read the whole Jesus part of the bible from conception to death...nope, that wasn't it.  I give to charities, I work with kids every day (you'd think some of that excitement would rub off on me).  I don't know what I'm not doing right.  And instead of making me happy and excited, Christmas just brings me down each year.
If you can help me figure out what I am missing and how to find it, please let me know!  Otherwise, just call me the Charlie Browniest.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

OMG!! It's Armageddon!!

I promised my sister I would write this blog about Armageddon.  Not the actual end of the world, but the movie, and not because we like the movie, but Danny's obsession with all that is the movie Armageddon.  It has been going on for YEARS!  More than 2 or 3....we're talking like 10!!  Danny has literally gone through at least 4 video cassettes and I don't even know how many DVD's of this movie.  It's a characteristic of autistic kids to obsess over some things.  Some kids like cars, some balls, some dinosaurs.  Mine likes Armageddon.  I wanted to give a little background on why I was writing this, and now I would like to re-live some of the more humorous experiences this movie has given my family.

Danny has gone through I don't even know how many of those styrofoam space shuttles you use to be able to buy from craft stores.  At one point I stocked up because wings were always getting broken off during their disastrous flights.  He has a (very thick) folder of printouts of all the characters.  He found a way to shrink them down and glue the faces to tiny little foam astronauts!  I thought that was clever!  >    >     >      >      >      >      See!!  >     >

I remember coming home one day after Jim and I were maybe at the grocery store and finding Danny in the living room, chained (with his plastic link chains) to the Ab Lounger he had brought up from the basement (Man!  I wish I had a picture!!).  He was acting out crash scenes (as they happened on TV) and he was "strapped in a shuttle seat".  Jim and I just looked at each other and burst out laughing!  What else can you do when your teenager is thrashing around while chained to an Ab Lounger?

My all time favorite Armageddon story is when Danny came walking through the living room in slow motion...really!  It looked like the 6 Million Dollar Man was strolling through (you young folks won't understand that reference)!  I asked him "What are you doing??"  He said "I'm walking like an astronaut!".  I think Diet Pepsi might have come out of my nose at that point!  Jim and I still occasionally walk through the house like astronauts just for fun!

He keeps trying to change the movie.  He complains to me all the time (still) about changes that they should make to the shuttles so that the one doesn't collide with part of the asteroid...force fields, beaming people to the surface....things like that.  I told him to write to Bruce Willis and let him know.  I have to remind him often that IT IS JUST A MOVIE!!!!!  He claims he knows that, but in the next breath he is complaining about something else that they screwed up!

Our son can quote the WHOLE movie word for word.  We had the cover of the DVD scanned onto one of his birthday cakes.  THAT made him very happy!  He has space bed sheets that he still uses.  We haven't seen the movie in a while (thank God!) and we don't bring it up because it could start another marathon.  I hear the opening segment and I want to run screaming from the room!  I have lost all respect for Bruce Willis and Ben Afleck all because of that movie.  I don't care what they have done since.  Once you have seen Armageddon over 2,000 times (no exaggeration) you really notice how bad it really is.  The acting sucks and the special effects are bad.  BUT it has made Danny happy for many years, so it does have ONE good point.

Danny and his favorite Aunt Shoo!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thank you, God!!

and now:

God knew what he was doing when he gave us Danny as a son.  He knew we would only be able to have one child, so he gave us a son who would be child-like forever.  Danny is the perfect fit for us.  He is simplistic and complicated all at the same time.  He is amazing sense of humor!  Danny is 20 years old and still holds our hands when we are out in public.  He still kisses us goodnight.  He say's "I love you" whenever he leaves the room.  Danny still hugs us, and he will kiss the top of our heads as he walks by (if we are sitting down).  He sings to us and dances for us (not always a good thing for the ears, but it IS entertaining to watch).  Danny can be found each and every morning snuggled in his bed with his teddy bear tucked under his chin and his large stuffed power ranger nearby.  He is kind and friendly to just about everyone, especially to those who are lower functioning than he is.  He LOVES to help other kids, and he LOVES LOVES LOVES babies!!!  And kitties!  His teachers adore him, as do his friends.  Danny is sweet and handsome, and he has a beautiful soul that shines through every time he smiles.  And he is loved unconditionally by us, forever and always.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Are my ears bleeding?

My lovely son seems to think he is a wonderful singer.  He's not.  Plain and simple, he sounds....loud.  It doesn't help that he sings the most horrible music ever...N*SYNC, Backstreet Boys, New Kids On the Block, O Town.  Just awful stuff!  He walks around with one ear bud shoved in an ear, singing at the top of his lungs and doing his interpretive dance.  Danny is NOT by any means a flexible kid.  Since the day he was born he has been as stiff as a board, so when he dances he adapts the moves for what he is able to do.  When some one does a backflip, he just jumps...that type of thing.  I have no problem with that, except for when things start to fall off the walls from all the jumping.  But back to the singing.  AWFUL!  And he always says "I'm a good singer, right?" to which I usually say "Well, you ARE loud".  To which he will say "Yeah, and I'm good too!"  I usually get sarcastic and say something like "Danny, my dear, you have the voice of an angel.".  He says "Thank you".  then he'll shove the other earbud into my ear and make me suffer!  I raised the boy on what is now classic rock...Kansas, Queen, Boston, Zepplin...and this is what he ended up with.
Danny claims he will not need to get a job because he will be in a boy band and just be rolling in cash.  I tried to explain to him that even those geeks in boy bands had to have a job at first.  He doesn't believe me.  "They can't have jobs Mom because they have to practice"  Duh Mom!
Dan likes to arise from the depths of the basement, where his bedroom and The Bat Cave are and serenade us.  Jim will say "That boy  has a BIG MOUTH!".  Danny will say "I heard that!" and I'll say "I can't hear anything because MY EARS ARE BLEEDING!!!"
I try not to complain (to him) about it too much because I know that if that horrible sound was not there, it would mean he was not there, and, well, that just makes me sad.  SO...I'm stuffing cotton in my ears.  Who knows, maybe one day I'll learn to like his music.      HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!  Yeah, like THAT'S gonna happen!!!  :oD

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December =

December =
pine trees, presents, lights, cookies, laughter, music, family, traditions, ornaments, tinsel, stress, shopping, crowds, peace, hope, giving, singing, wrapping paper, colors, snow (in some places), kitties in Christmas trees, carols, red, green, blue, yellow, silver and gold, reindeer, Santa, Rudolph, Hanukkah, dreidels, menorahs, candles, prayers, stories, photos, friends, cards, happiness, joy, Jesus' birthday, scotch tape and scissors, boxes, travel, staying home, special feelings, the end of an old year, the beginning of a new year, Christmas vacation, projects, excitement.
I love December!