Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I will not cry when my kid goes to Kindergarten

I will not cry when my son goes to Kindergarten. It's not because I'm tougher than other parents or
that I'm cold-hearted. I love my child just as much as other mothers. I simply have a very different experience than some that makes me less likely to cling onto my child's image as my baby. I'm so used to wanting him to grow up and that hasn't changed for me yet.

When my son was born, it was far from your average situation. Every time the little 4 1/2 pound nugget gained an ounce, he was closer to coming home from the hospital. Every pound he gained or inch he grew meant he was leaving preemiehood behind. Only after we escaped physical preemiehood, did I realize that neurological preemiehood is more lasting. Life for us was full of setbacks followed by celebrations

As a baby, my son hit every milestone at an adjusted age, but then at around the 2 1/2 to 3 year old phase we started to notice he was developing a bit different from other toddlers--nothing profound, but just small things that added up. Oh, yeah, and he was hyper as all Hell and easily overexcited. We
were growing concerned. He obviously wasn't "normal" in the broad sense of the word. Looks from other mothers and whispers about autism freaked me out enough to go to the doctor and specialist. Repeated visits and testing yielded in a diagnosis of developmental delay in social skills and language. This would be something he may outgrow or the diagnosis may turn into something else. Only time would tell.

Then there was preschool at 3. I wasn't excited; I was scared of rejection for my son. And despite the multiple warnings I gave the preschool director about his delay, he was rejected, kicked out, and not because he hurt anyone or himself, or did anything "wrong." He was too hyper and she was convinced (although not certified to diagnose) he was autistic (he's be cleared by 5 professionals) and couldn't go to a normal school (read about it here).These are when my tears came: when someone judged my son (after 1 day!) and wrote him off as an unsolvable enigma. Friends consoled me that she was just one person, but it wasn't just one person. The judgments and offhand comments came more often than smiles or compliments.

So I worried, researched, took him to professionals, and together we realized he also has a few sensory issues. He cannot sit still and gets over excited for a legitimate reason. He attended a special needs Pre-K with access to therapists. He worked hard. We worked hard. We learned to say he was special needs with pride. His language caught up and he proved he should be in a typical kindergarten. We adapt. We make it work. We are prevailing.

Throughout all these struggles, I recognized how good we have it.  Some kids have disabilities beyond what we will ever have to face. The number one thing that breaks special needs parents, as discussed in group meetings, is not their child's lack of skills, not the fact their children may never grow into autonomous adults, but the fact other people judge them and their children. It is an awful feeling of utter helplessness that description cannot give justice.

Throughout these conversations, I also saw a trend in that none of us would exchange our child for a "normal" one. Sure, it would be easier to have a neurotypical child, and yet I resent the idea. I'm so used to the socially unsure, intelligent, creative, hyperactive, mature little man I'm raising that I wouldn't change him for the world. Every milestone he hits, is a celebration. Every new thing he says or does that shows social skills or a life skill, I celebrate. He celebrates.

My son starts kindergarten in a week but I will not cry. I will celebrate that all our hard work and his has paid off so he can go to school. I will rejoice in how he is growing up and not cling onto the idea of keeping him my baby forever. And for those who stand and cry the first day because your child is too grown up for your liking, just remember how great you have it and celebrate milestones rather than mourn them; think of those parents who are desperate for that to happen, for those who it may never happen for, and you'll realize you have so much to be thankful for. If you cry, let them be tears of joy, of celebration, of thankfulness for being given such a precious gift.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Dear Pinterest Moms...

Dear Pinterest Moms,

I want to share this story with you. Our nation is divided at the moment, but this will not a heavy political debate dressing women's rights or the President or whatever ills create a debate between your friends and yourself. It will, however, address how we women treat each other in this unsure climate.

It the not so distant past, I was with a group of ladies who rolled their eyes at a "Pinterest mom" and her social media posts--you know someone who uses the app to create all kinds of  crafts, great recipes, and so on. As I listened in, they were scoffing at the woman's need to look perfect to everyone, as in this was the only reason she--or any other woman they insinuated--might enjoy cooking or making crafts for the kids. At the time I held my tongue for the most part, perhaps weakly defending with how I liked cooking and crafting. I am a feminist, so discussing how I still enjoy certain gender roles often gets unfairly dismissed.

Then I became a Pinterest Mom. My son is hyperactive and cannot even sit still. So to save my sanity I Googled crafts for us to make pretty much on a daily basis, so converting to Pinterism only took a matter of time. With the pride of a mom who thoroughly enjoyed crafting with her son, I posted our works on SnapChat and sometimes on Facebook for our foreign friends and family to feel a part of our world. Then I remembered that day with the sassy critics of the Pinterest Mom. I was now her. Somewhere out there woman were most likely laughing at how I wanted to look good and how I want to seem perfect, which never crossed my mind or would ever be my ambition. I simply love to share. When I see a mother sharing a craft, I take a screenshot so I can give it a try too.
I came to a realization: if praise and perfection was not my end goal, it probably isn't for other women either. So why would these critics tear someone down who is making something nice for her family, who simply wants to share the experience? Because we're insecure. I've noticed a lot of people, when they feel as if they should be doing something--like craft time with their kids--and they don't have the time, inclination, or energy, they lash out. They pick on the person who makes them see their own shortcomings. And this is all done unconsciously.

Recently, I went Pinterest crazy for my son's birthday; I actually halted a few projects to keep in more simple. I didn't do it to get praise or to seem perfect. I did it because I like to do these things. I did it because, like my son, I have trouble sitting still and relaxing. But the main reason I did it was to see the smile of utter joy on my son's five-year-old face when he saw I brought to life the party he envisioned and asked for. And I would do anything to see that smile again and again.

So I will use Pinterst. I will craft with my child and try from-scratch recipes. And most importantly I will stick up for those who want to be great parents and to make their kids happy. I will try to make others see that we don't do things because we want everyone to think we're supermom; we do them so one child (or however many kids) thinks we are. Each child only has one childhood, and I want my child to look back at it and say it was amazing, not because all the toys he got and places he got to go, but because of all the time his parents spent with him simply creating something together.

So Pinterest Moms, I applaud you. I'm in your ranks now. Post your successes and your failures. Make your kids happy through these projects. And own it next time someone has the audacity to criticize.

Peace and Love,

Fellow Pinerest Mom

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hyperactive Procrastination

As I sit down here to write this, I'm realizing I'm performing another type of procrastination. I'm not doing what I should be doing, but instead taking on something else to occupy my time. Instead of focusing on my task, I do everything and anything possible to avoid my task. This, in a sense, is what I call hyperactive procrastination. This may just sound like your regular ole procrastination, basically avoiding or delaying a task, or if you get into psychological jargon it's really a self-control issue without the forethought of repercussions. And what I'm talking about is just that, but it's a bit more...well, hyper.

Right now, I should be sending out query letters to attempt to publish a novel. For those not in the writing industry, they're letters sent to gain representation in hopes to get published; in a sense, you sell your novel and yourself to agents. I'm not going to lie, my procrastination is out of control. I have three novels that have been completed, revised, and at least edited once. I have researched a list of thirty agents that are accepting submissions for each book's genre. I have crafted these query letters. All that is left is to personalize the letter for each agent by doing a little more research and emailing it. Yet, it has not been done. It is safe to say I had most of this completed over a year ago for the first novel.

Instead of doing what I should, I wrote two more. Not only that, I also continued the storyline of one into a second book of the series, then a third. In fact, when this blog is completed, I probably will attempt to finish the last couple chapters of book 3--without ever attempting to sell the first one. The writing comes easily and I love to write. At times I have to write or my imagination plagues me and I can't sleep. So whenever I can--even if I shouldn't--I write.

Right, so this might just sounds like ADHD, not procrastination. However, if I didn't feel like writing, I'd devour a book, detail my house, take my son onto another adventure; I will do any and everything to avoid something I dread doing. It's not really a lack of focus; I can easily focus when I want to.  This is where the hyperactivity part comes in. I never stop. I cannot sit down and simply relax or even watch TV without something else occupying my time. The only two exceptions to sitting still are if I'm reading or writing. I'm always moving, always doing something all the time. My day is consistently plotted out with things to do. Therefore, when you constantly do things on a frantic basis to avoid a particular task, I think we should call this hyperactive procrastination.

This oxymoron makes sense if you think about it. Now, how does one attempt to correct it? I wish I knew because I might have rounds of query letters out by now if I could avoid my hyperactive procrastination.