Tag Archives: child

Keeping kids on The Safe Side

23 Oct

The Safe Side

Seven year old Somer Thompson was abducted, murdered, and thrown away with the trash this week.

There seems to be an endless barrage of tragic news about abducted and abused children. I don’t know if it is happening more frequently, multiple media saturation, or if now that I’m a parent my ears are tuned more toward news relating to kids. We try to regularly review our “stranger safety” plan and emergency plans with our kid, but the necessity of increasing the frequency and intensity of reviewing these plans and practicing our emergency plans is highlighted this week.

Somer’s mom told NBC’s The Today Show :

“It takes just a couple seconds to tell them you love them,” Thompson said. “Tell them you love them because you don’t know what’s going to happen. And just make them aware of stranger danger. I tried with Somer. I feel like I failed — obviously.”

Our little guy tends to be pretty black and white, so when we first discussed the concept of strangers, we found that people like his grandma’s friendly neighbors fell into that gray area and he would just totally freeze up and then freak out- not knowing how to handle the gray area. Because of our extra challenges in teaching our kid so he can actually use the information, I looked long and hard at what was on the market (and online) that could help us explain “stranger danger” to him effectively.

After a little research I found “The Safe Side” a program by John Walsh and Julie Clark (you know- the Baby Einstein lady). They do have a website, but the DVD really helps get the point across in a fun and friendly way, that even my kiddo could understand. It teaches what to do in certain situations and most importantly uses a simple “traffic light” system to help kids remember the rules.

We enjoyed the DVD and I highly recommend it to any parent (kids 9+ might find it cheesy or goofy, but it still brings the message home).
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Remember, try as we might, we can’t be everywhere all the time. Teaching kids safety doesn’t lock them up in an isolated tower, but rather opens up the world to them by giving them the tools to navigate it safely. I remember a time when kids roamed the neighborhood free and only showed up at dinnertime. We do not live in that world anymore and we, as parents, need to educate our kids in different and more intensive and extensive ways than our parents educated us.

Amazon carries the DVD for under $10 (Amazon purchases through this link send a tiny percentage back to us. Woohoo! Thanks in advance!).

TheSafeSide.com’s website also has downloads and printables for parents and kids.

The whole safety thing reminds me of the parable about teaching a man to fish and feeding him for a lifetime. You can isolate your kid and keep them safe (and miserable) by exclusion, or you can teach your child to be safe and you will help keep them safe for a lifetime. The murder of that innocent little girl and the interviews with her mom in the media underscore the importance of frequently reviewing safety information and making sure it is information that our kids can actively use. I am also reminded of all of the “don’t touch, tell an adult” rhetoric given to kids about firearms and matches and lighters and the hidden camera news reports showing the kids doing the opposite of what their parents told them. We need to make sure our kids understand and can actively use and recall safety tactics.

There is nothing neurotic about quizzing your kid before a family outing, visit at a friend’s house, or even using action figures to play out scenarios (we use Playmobil figures as they are pretty generic and equally sized- underscoring the concept that you don’t know who is good or bad or dangerous by appearance alone).

We don’t want to scare our kids, but we owe them, and ourselves, their safety. My son knows about Somer. Her mama sang, with others at a candlelight vigil, “You Are My Sunshine”. I cannot imagine what Somer went through, I cannot imagine what her mama is feeling. I cannot imagine a world without my sunshine.

A little girl named Somer died this week, at the hands of a bad/evil person. Her mother wanted people to know how beautiful and sweet she was and how she wanted to be friends with everyone. (from the NBC Today Show interview)

Let’s do whatever we can to keep kids from being a statistic and another tragic story on the evening news.

Hugs all around.
xo
Bek

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I think he likes me!

22 Aug

He thinks…

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

I think I need to make a little shrine-like thing of all the amazing things Alex makes for me.

This will be in a frame, next to my “1000 sails” card, the pop-up book, and in front of them will be the “mama rocks“…. This one is extra special because he wrote it without any prompting or suggestions or help from anyone. This was totally under his own steam, from his heart (and from his trains!)

We gave him his zuchertute/schuletute on Thursday- his last day of Pre-Kindergarten. We didn’t want him to be distracted by the treats on his first day of actual Kindergarten. (I’ll post pictures of the cone/tute soon! Promise!)….

He wrote this note on his personalized notepad from ThisIsIt.Etsy.com with his new fountain pen (I realize he is not even 6, but I have always found fountain pens to be easier to write with and he has been fascinated with mine, and it requires a little more responsibility than traditional disposable pens but I thought he was ready) and mechanical pencil….

How cool is this?

I’m thinking of heading to Cafe Press to have them put it on a Sigg water bottle so I can be inspired and feel loved and healthier all day long.

I have a serious case of the warm fuzzies. Going to hug my boy again.

xo

Bek

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Islands in the stream….

18 May

Islands in the stream….

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

That is what we are…

Anyway… Where was I…

Kiddo is a picky eater- he’ll try most anything, but he’s a creature of habit and has sensory issues- so he’s very specific about what he likes and what he loathes…. (and if he changes his mind he will admit nothing!)…

So, he likes everything bagels, corn, and cheese….

So I popped the bagel (with some shredded cheese) in the Rocket Grill and it squished the daylights out of it! So I put it on a plate, put two little morsels of grilled (rocket grilled, baby!) chicken “sunning” on the Isle of Bagel…Of course, the sun is powerful (sun=corn in nifty little pinch bowls…pinch bowls are a lifesaver when you have a kid who cannot handle different foods even seeing each other, never mind *gasp* touching…)

The broccoli is a unique specimen of palm, found only on the Isle of Bagel. By the way, the stars in the blue sea are starfish, and that orange slice toward the back is the mainland (ok, ok, it’s one of those make-a-plate things and it’s an orange moon and a starry night sky)…

So, why does food need this backstory?

Because my kiddo is *that* detailed. He is also very rules based, so artistic presentations of food challenges his deeply ingrained meal & food rules in a fun and somewhat novel way. It’s fun, he’ll argue with me that the palm tree is really broccoli, if he’s tired I know better than to present anything with even .05% whimsy or all hell will break loose. We are working hard to soften some of his rules and his rigidity as living in the world with other people often requires compromise and a little grace and we are getting there, albeit very slowly. How slowly? He’s rules based, he has no gray area, he can’t generalize, so if a scenario is not repeated exactly (ie temperature, light, people present, etc…) he can’t apply the new rule or the exception to the rule, or even withdraw a generalization from his brain/bank to really understand or function reliably.

If you don’t know any kids who are this rigid- imagine potty training a child at home and then take them to grandma’s- most kids can apply their at home potty training to other locations (sometimes with a little urging or reminder and a little modification on everyone’s part)- they can ignore the variables-to a point- and find the constants (the potty, having to pee, etc). Alex can’t ignore the variables so he can see the constants clearly. In the potty training scenario, if you switch up the variables from his home/training base, it’s like he has never seen a toilet in his life and you have to start from square one. (and this isn’t a far off analogy- I was on the verge of making a public restroom scrapbook for him so we could study up before leaving the house- and so we could focus on the visual similarities in the comfort of our home). Is everything this intricate and challenging? Yes. It isn’t getting easier as time goes on, but it is changing, so there is no such thing as boredom. And in all this I can’t stop marveling at the details he notices- it’s like wearing reading glasses- he can see the words clearly but all else disappears…It’s like he can read the words and get sucked into the story but if you ask him about the physical book he has no idea what you are talking about… Raising Alex has made us appreciate the intricacies of thought and reasoning and creativity. Ok, now where was I? :-)

Last night he was in a good mood. He let me explain the food to him. He announced “I like my food plain” and I countered with “it is very plain, I just put it on your plate a little differently”. He hesitated and quickly gobbled up the sun/corn…

I showed him how he can pull a little bit off of the chicken to just taste it (chewing meat type stuff makes him gag or hurl- depending on how far he is into the meal)… And he tasted it and then even ate another little piece without our urging.

Unfortunately, the rocket grill turned the cheese bagel into a crispy, tasty grilled panini sort of a thing, and it was too dense for him to chew (without again gagging…)…

But I feel triumphant… The chicken was no longer stranded as it swam into his mouth and down to his tummy…

Alex declared that it was turning to night as he gobbled up the corn (thereby making the “sun” go down)…

He wouldn’t try the broccoli until I remembered the key to a 5 year old boy’s laughter. He wouldn’t buy the tree devouring giant scenario and then I remembered…

I whispered to him that broccoli magically transforms into horrific, near deadly, rank gas when you eat it.

He giggled and took a bite…

Victory is mine.

By the way, I just received a copy of the Sneaky Chef cookbook in the mail… I’ll comb through it with an eye toward sensory defensiveness (particularly my kiddo’s, but there seem to be a few people cooking for kids like Alex and more typically developing kids seem to have many of the same food quirks) and let you know if it’s worth the purchase… I think kids can learn the joy of healthy foods without hiding them, but when dealing with sensory issues sometimes you have to go behind the scenes, hide the good stuff, and reveal it slowly… And sometimes you have to play with the food.

xo
Bek

Old pictures and updates…

10 Mar

Found this today.. This is Alex and me. Just before his 1st birthday, he was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Boston for every neurological test except the one the doctor wanted him admitted for (an MRI).  The cribs are solid steel and built like tanks. The nurse told me I could climb in if I wanted to…So I did.

Bek & Lexo the Great (2004)

Bek & Lexo the Great (2004) *click for all blog entries about Alex...*

Anyway, I love this picture and so does Alex and I just felt like sharing on this sleepy Tuesday night. (Can you believe how big he has gotten? Can you believe that his head is now only a couple of centimeters smaller than mine? And mine is in the >98% to begin with!)

For those of you that are curious, we still don’t have results on my MRI from last Monday (yes, it has been almost 9 days. We were supposed to have the report within 24-48 hours.  The neurologist’s office finds this odd as well but hopefully the radiology peeps are just reading and rereading it and writing a thorough report).  I am still having the jello legs/weakness thing and the arm thing. I’ll post when we have more info.  Needless to say I am steering clear of power tools for the time being, but never fear! I have quite a few pieces in my arsenal that you have not seen yet! So I will be posting those and also planning for a “Move us the heck out of Florida to anywhere with an increased likelihood of Jeff finding a job and more options to help Alex rock even more Fund” grab-bag/mystery sachet/container o’surprises thingeroo fundraiser in the near future… So keep those eyeballs on this space and keep your fingers crossed that we get some sort of an answer soon so we can get back to whatever it is we do here.

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Hugs all around,

xo

Bek

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep…

6 Mar
3 days old, first time I was allowed to hold him....

3 days old, first time I was allowed to hold him....

(I chose these image from the NICU… They don’t quite feel like a fit for the post but they kept hollering at me..)

I can only imagine how it feels to lose a baby.  Even during our ten days in the NICU, the deaths of the tiny patients were not spoken of, for us outside that baby’s family, it was marked by the absense of an isolet or incubator that was crowded with doctors and loved ones only hours before.  We knew, all the parents knew, that we were fortunate as it wasn’t our baby. But it could be. In the NICU the emotional stew that you live in is a lifetime of emotion and stress in a matter of weeks or months…It’s a lifetime compacted into a tiny room and a tiny plastic box with portholes, wires, tubes, and distressing alarms.

A little over 24 hours old...Finally got to see his face in person (the nurses gave me a polariod to have in my room a few floors away while I got the rest of my IVs)

A little over 24 hours old...Finally got to see his face in person (the nurses gave me a polariod to have in my room a few floors away while I got the rest of my IVs)

But we were lucky.  I don’t think I will ever forget how lucky we were that Alex was ok. My mother was annoyed when I mentioned other babies in the NICU, who were there before Alex and stayed long after he came home, or who “disappeared” overnight-focus on happiness, she would tell me.  I truly believe that the stark contrast of what we had, and what could have been- what was a reality for many people, makes me appreciate Alex’s survival much more.

Since Alex’s birth and many changes in the life of our family, I have, in my journey, seen friends and family lose children at all stages of development, at all ages.

I can only imagine the loss of a child. I am grateful that I can only imagine it.  Perhaps I am not imagining it accurately, but I know my love for my son, and how the possibility of losing him has felt, and the helpless, drowning sensation that his distress, prematurity,and neuro issues, and the two miscarriages before my pregnancy with him, have impacted me on so many levels…  I can only extrapolate and the place where I wind up is stifling, hot and humid, very dimly lit…I imagine it to be like a vat of a viscous substance- like molasses- drowning, muscles aching as they try to move, there are no words, but by some cruelty you can still breathe, even if it’s hard and physically hurts….I can only imagine that the reality is much more terrible that what I can imagine. My heart goes out to anyone who has experienced the loss of a child, their baby, at any age or stage.

My cousins Aimee and Julie, just introduced me to an amazing organization that helps parents who are facing the death of their baby remember their child.  The site for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep has much more detail about the program.  Here’s a paste from their about me:

“This is the place where the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation gently provides a helping hand and a healing heart. For families overcome by grief and pain, the idea of photographing their baby may not immediately occur to them. Offering gentle and beautiful photography services in a compassionate and sensitive manner is the heart of this organization. The soft, gentle heirloom photographs of these beautiful babies are an important part of the healing process. They allow families to honor and cherish their babies, and share the spirits of their lives.”

I checked out the site and I really wanted to help, to honor the families that I know that have lost a baby, which is why I’m trying to help spread the word…

They are currently running a fundraiser to support the NILMDTS mission. Our cousin Jaime  is participating in a national model competition that benefits NILMDTS.   Please consider visiting the image gallery and voting for our lovely Miss Jaime while supporting a wonderful cause.

You can see Jaime’s picture and vote for her by visiting:

National Charity Model Search benefitting NILMDTS

Every vote cost $1.00 and every dollar goes to a charity group close to our hearts, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (www.nilmdts.org). Jaime also has the opportunity to have a photo shoot with a renowned photographer if she is in the top vote count by March 15th, 2009. Please be generous and vote by then if you can! You can continue to vote until April 2nd, 2009 to give Jaime the chance to be the National winner!!
Thanks a bunch….

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