Month: August 2016

Where My Exceptional Child Leads Me I Go

http://mrg.bz/630a53

My life is nothing short of boring. I think I have spoken before in this blog how many years ago, more than I care to imagine now, I was feeling restless and bored in my life. It was way before Michael was born, way before I saw how important writing was to who I am, and I, humble human, asked God to please challenge me and show me the path to a life of meaning, which despite a good marriage, a loving family and friends and health, I did not feel I had. Yep. I said to challenge me. I asked for it. And the next thing I usually say is that God and the Universe has not stopped challenging me since I requested that all those years ago. Sometimes, on particularly “meaningful” days I have been known to scowl and talk upwards, “Ok, enough. Stop laughing.” But I digress. In many ways, I have grown up so much. From doing many jobs and seeing that none satisfied me. From moving out of my hometown and learning what I was made of, for better or worse, and then from spectacularly crashing from two burnouts until I finally remembered, “Oh yeah. I asked for challenges. Now, I need to be strong and ask for help to get through them.”

That’s the thing. God and the Universe never give you something you can’t handle at some point. Even in my darkest moments of despair when I was crying holed up somewhere and I would pray fervently, “God, I can’t do this. I can’t be strong anymore. Get someone else.” I would always hear what I imagined was a sigh, but a patient one. And the answer was always the same, “Yes, you can. You were made to overcome whatever challenges you have.” And dang it, I knew I was, but challenges and unexpected adventures are so scary. What if you fail? What if you upset people? What if you lose stability? Michael has taught me that none of this really matters in the end. Of course¬†we all need to follow rules, have stability of some sort to pay bills and have a routine. But, all the people pleasing, all the time worrying about what others think instead of feeling life, trying new things, going on adventures. I’d been missing out, and Michael has showed me, and continues to show me more and more, how important it is to go on crazy adventures.

http://mrg.bz/19a34c

The other day we went to a new park that he had seen driving in the car. On the way back to the car, he discovered another mini park that was too small for him to play in, but my little guy insisted on going on the equipment. He bumped his head, got annoyed, but then said, “it’s ok Mommy. I wanted to try. Let’s go back to the car now.” We ended up going back to the car from a totally different direction. Michael and I together navigated back. He is rubbing off on me. ūüôā I never would have done something like this prior to Michael’s birth. Ask my close friends. I tend to go to the same places, the same restaurants, but now Michael is shaking me out of my comfort zone. I have been reborn, and my new self, my exceptional mom self, is not afraid. I have Michael to guide me as he has me to guide him.

Exceptional Parents, how many crazy adventures have you gone on with your Exceptional Children? ¬†Our kids naturally draw attention to themselves because they are different, and are not afraid of being so. This is a good thing if channeled properly. Don’t be afraid to go along with them for the ride, wherever it leads. Until next time.

 

Feeling stressed about fall and back to school? You are not alone. Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net

 

 

Advertisements

Late Buses And Stress-The New Way This Exceptional Family Handles The Unexpected

http://mrg.bz/b210f0

 

Michael never ceases to amaze me. He will freak out over things like taking a certain street he doesn’t like, or if I don’t let him choose his snacks. Understandably, he wants control, but sometimes he is really upset over this. His bus coming late this morning and bringing him home super late? For that, he was only mildly perturbed you could say. What set him off? When I told him we wouldn’t have time to go to the park due to the late hour. But after giving him his space and taking mine, he recovered quickly. I am truly amazed at what he is able to start handling, and even when he does get upset, like insulting me or overturning furniture he will look at me or Dad as if to say, “what are you going to do about it?” Instead, we calmly explain, “we don’t hit, scream, insult or throw things when we get upset. Neither do you. Use your strategies.”

The first day of school is always a little bit of a whirlwind what with the bus routes changing and the drivers having to learn a new way to go. Then, there is the fact that we had work being done by the city on our own street yesterday which further complicated matters. Well, that’s life right. I thought how ironic, that it is all happening at once but sometimes that’s how it goes and you have to learn to go with the flow. You have to make the best of it. I tell Michael this all the time. Now I am living it, or doing my best to when I briefly forget my words.¬†Explaining all these changes to Michael was not easy, but he surprised me. He handled it, asked some questions, and then we went with our evening, I went from being a ” bad mother who I won’t hug” due to no park when he got home, to at bedtime, “the best mother I could ever have.”

http://mrg.bz/f9b437

Seeing how I handled the unpredictability  yesterday too made me feel pretty proud of me. I had come very far from the anxious type A woman I have been for most of my life. I used to also try and control things, or at the very least, worry compulsively about them. That was my way of trying to feel more powerful in my life where I had felt so powerless in many ways. That changed when I saw how I could have power, peace and control if I learned how to let go. I do this by meditating and living in the moment. Sometimes I stumble, I fall and I get back up. This is the lesson I want Michael to learn. It is important I practice it myself.

Exceptional Parents, how does stress impact your Exceptional Child? What lessons have you learned from teaching your child to handle stress? Don’t worry if there are times you have not set the best example. Apologize to your child, and talk to them about both of you using your strategies to calm down and move on better the next time. We are all human and need to learn from one another. Until next time.

 

Feeling stressed about fall and back to school? You are not alone. ¬†Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net.¬†

 

First Day of School: What This Exceptional Mom Has Learned

http://mrg.bz/e94d3b

Here we are. The day has arrived. It’s back to school today. The summer months pass by so quickly, and each year I find I learn new things about myself and Michael. I learn what we are both made of, and what we both still need to learn about the other one.¬†I have gotten into the groove of organizing his school stuff, and this year like¬†last ¬†year Michael helped me as well. I usually have all his clothes labeled reasonably on time or at least within the first week back. ūüôā What is harder is navigating the stresses and strains that occur during the first week, and even first few weeks back at school. Michael is a good teacher though, and I am learning how to read him better in the last week before school starts. That is always a tough week and this year was no exception.

I ¬†even anticipated the stress that would come the week before school. I nearly made the week before losing my temper, but then again, I’m human. After Michael and I made up over some fights we had, I explained to Michael about how important it is to use our strategies to handle our anger. I got mad at him and myself, but I immediately started to implement my strategies of going off alone to breathe, calm down, and refocus. I am encouraging Michael to go back to his¬†drawing board and find new strategies that work for him too. This is difficult as he is not able to do this on his own yet, and I don’t want to be telling him what to do all the time. That leads to more anxiety and stress for both of us.

http://mrg.bz/6fd596

What I am also slowly learning as an exceptional parent to an exceptional child, is just how much guidance I need to give, and how much more I need to step back, let him make mistakes and learn from them. This is hard for any parent, but watching your exceptional child struggle with anger, aggression and stress in general can be heartbreaking for all. We are making progress in that he is talking to me about how he feels. Even if it occurs after a meltdown or fight, that is progress. It is not easy, but then neither is any kind of parenting. I take comfort knowing that every day I learn a little more about my strength as Michael does about his. I also take comfort that my community of exceptional parents is going through the very same thing as I write this, and will have their ups and downs with their child over the course of the next month as children adjust to the new school year.

Exceptional Parents, what have you learned about “back to school” from your Exceptional Children? Are they still teaching you as much as you are teaching them? If so, that’s great. None of us knows everything, and as long as we give our children and ourselves the space we need to make mistakes, learn from them, and grow, we are all on the right path to understanding each other better. Wishing all of you and your children a great back to school! Until next time.

Feeling stressed about fall and back to school? You are not alone. Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net.¬†

 

 

 

Beaches, Waterparks and Picnics: Final Stay Cation Unwinding as A Family

http://mrg.bz/80c66b

So this weekend we are planning the last of our family staycation trips as it is, well, the end of our family vacation. I have been working in between and Dad has been running errands, but for the most part, it has been family or Mommy/Daddy time with Michael.¬†¬†The beach should be fun as it always is. We eat out in the sunshine, frolic in the water (ok it’s more of me chasing Michael down the beach or in the water and beach), and then we head home. This year he has his last soccer game and an awards and dinner party in the evening as well. It will be a long fun day to be sure and one I know we will all enjoy. We are also planning a trip to a local zoo and splash park as well as a family picnic in a beautiful area close to our home. Michael loves being outside in nature and enjoying the simple things. This gets easier as he gets older.

http://mrg.bz/3d775e

What I love is how we can do more of these things now as a family that he is older and Dad and I worry less than we used to. We need to structure as much as we can and go over strategies so Michael does not get overwhelmed, but he understands what is expected, has a higher tolerance for staying somewhere longer than before, and is surprisingly easy with changes like moving an outing to a day when it is not raining. A couple of years ago there would have been meltdowns and screaming. Now, he is calm and handles it beautifully.

We are trying to get him involved in picking more active things to do as a family, sports, walking and it is paying off. Michael and I have gone for some long walks, bike rides, and Dad has taken him to a few parks. We are all slowly winding down to the end of the week when routine and structure will slowly be put back into place to our relief, and though Michael is complaining about school, it will help him as well.

Exceptional Parents, what plans do you have for the last weekend before back to school? Are your kids excited about school? Are you? As long as you have been discussing the transitions and preparing them as best you can, you will not go wrong. On the other hand, some kids will do better with a little less prep. It will mean less to worry about. You know your child. You know yourself. Trust in what works for your Exceptional Family. Until next time.

 

Feeling stressed about fall and back to school? You are not alone. Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net.¬†

How Michael And I Challenge Each Other

http://mrg.bz/25f56e

 

I have tried this summer to give Michael more challenges.¬† This has usually worked out beautifully, but at other times it has backfired on me. Michael has had to remind me that I don’t understand or that he can’t do it. Sometimes he has been right, other times, with gentle encouragement, I have showed him that he is wrong and can do it. But I am beginning to see the advantages of pushing him a little bit and what I expect of him, as long as he has ways of handling his stress.

Emotions continue¬†to be the difficult thing for him to handle, especially¬†when he gets overwhelmed and frustrated. I am constantly talking with and reminding him when he is calm about using his strategies when upset to handle his emotions, but lately due to the time of year and increasing anxiety about school, he will fall back into hitting himself, hitting me, or screaming and swearing or other inappropriate behavior. The good thing is that he is catching himself more quickly¬†after these incidents, calming down and apologizing, but stopping the overreaction is still too difficult for him. It is a process and one I know he will get through as will I using patience and love. ¬†It’s just a matter of him finding something that works for him. Ever since he was a baby, once Michael understood something, he became an expert at it above and beyond.

http://mrg.bz/d0fce2

Some challenges I have been asking of him are help around the house, waiting to go places or staying home until late morning, a VERY hard thing for my active kid to do, and teaching him how to initiate a conversation and not to interrupt one in progress. This is also hard. He will often interrupt with an “excuse me Mommy.” It’s all coming though, and I see how he is doing his best. The other day Michael gave me a challenge. He wanted to go for a long bike ride. The route sounded far too long for him to bike, but I decided we would do it as he wanted to try it. I left my bike at home in case he would need some help from me in giving him a push or two. I really did not expect to get farther than another five minutes of¬†our usual route of about thirty minutes. He has not been bike riding consistently this summer, so I figured he would be tired. He actually did the equivalent of an hour and a half! And yes, he was flying down the bike path on a busy stretch near our house. I was the crazy happy Mom jogging along side him marveling how, once again, I had been proved wrong. I was so happy about it!

Michael has always surprised me like this, even though I now know that he is full of wonderful abilities and is wiser than me in some ways. He later confessed he didn’t know if he could do it, but “I pushed through Mommy and forced myself.” He was smiling as he said it. I corrected him by saying he did not force himself, but he pushed and tried so hard he succeeded! I was so proud of him. On the way back home, he said he couldn’t do it, but I told him in a firm voice I couldn’t push the bike home he had to. And so he did. Michael¬†reminded me how important it is to never give up on ourselves.

Exceptional Parents, what challenges do you give your Exceptional Children? What challenges are you maybe afraid to try? Remember, our kids will only be brave if we show them that we believe in them. As parents, our job is two fold: reminding them of what they can do, and reminding ourselves of what they can do. Then, we can show others, teachers, therapists and professionals the amazing things our children are capable of doing. Until next time.

 

Surviving the Last Days of Vacation the Exceptional Way

http://mrg.bz/3c3e35

We are in crunch time, the last few days before school starts and I’m, well, exhausted to put it mildly. I am both happy that Michael is home with his Dad and I, as he was done with camp three weeks ago proclaiming it fun, but wanting to make his own downtime, and also counting down to, as I joke about it, my first day of vacation on Monday, August 29th. After¬†bringing in the school supplies, I have my yearly tradition of buying myself a fancy coffee at my favorite local coffee place, then heading home and savoring that before diving into my day. It is a pensive and exciting time of the year all at once where I look forward to the new, what will Michael learn and grow with this year, and the old, what new behaviors will we all be dealing with as Michael grapples with change, challenges and transitions?

What I am excited about is the play dates we have had the opportunity to have this summer. It’s only been with two friends as everyone is so busy either on vacation or with other activities. All the same, it’s with good friends of Michael’s and he and I both appreciate seeing our friends and coming up for air in the last home stretch before school starts. It’s the simple things in life that make us happy. Meeting at a park, having a cup of coffee, going to a pool or splash pad. Having a conversation with a friend who knows you, who you don’t need to explain yourself, your family or your kid to. That is something powerful and something I never take for granted.

http://mrg.bz/aa88b0

 

I have also been fortunate to have had a lot of downtime with Michael at the pool, playing tennis and yesterday doing a long and fun bike ride. We have talked, bonded and it has given me a chance to have quality Michael/Mom time that I can treasure once he is back in school and our time together in the day is shorter.

Exceptional Parents, what are your plans in the home stretch before school starts with your Exceptional Child? How are you spending time with them and keeping them busy? Has your experience been an overall positive or negative one with them? Hopefully, there has been more positive than negative moments. Our kids are really incredible little human beings and each of them will do great things. It is important as their parents that we nurture their gifts, help work on their weaknesses, and love all of them, as they do us. That is the best way to survive in the final crunch. Until next time.

How Michael Makes The Everyday Things Extraordinary

 

http://mrg.bz/3df03a

Going with Michael on any so-called mundane or ordinary outing is anything but ordinary. He will always pick up something I would never have seen or thought to comment on. It will either by about the directions we took to get there, one of his favorite things, or pointing out a landmark I hadn’t noticed. He will also observe the people around him and make comments on what they are doing or thinking. I can see that he is trying to figure out human emotion. The hard part is that Dad and I have to teach him to do this quietly as people do not like being commented about out loud. Still, as with everything, Michael gives us a new perspective on how we look at things and see the world.

He also will make his own little twist on how we play certain games and though there are moments where he asks lots of questions, there are also beginning to be moments when he just likes to have quiet time on our long walks or at home. He will tell me when he needs to be alone and when he needs company. He is intense in all manners of the word. We had some tough moments over the course of the last few days as Michael adjusted to being back home from being away for our very first family overnight trip. But now I can see he is settling in, enjoying his last few days of summer holiday, helping me with chores like groceries, laundry and dishes, and mentally preparing for school next week.

http://mrg.bz/6af829

Even at some really tough moments over the last few days, Michael is still teaching me. He is teaching me about my own capacity for handling stress, change, challenges of any kind, and how to come forward and admit when I have failed and succeeded in handling them. Yes, I have had words and reactions I have wanted to take back. I have also tried to remember when I have responded well to stress and given Michael a good example to handle his own anxieties and anger. I have reminded him of using his strategies, of also using words instead of yelling to communicate how he feels, and to not be afraid of anger. I spent too many years making this mistake. Anger is just another emotion that we need to be able to express properly, just like happiness, joy, creativity and sadness. Michael and I are learning it together.

Exceptional Parents, what do you learn from your Exceptional Children? How have they taught you about handling emotions, transitions and your own loves and fears? That is what is so important to remember about exceptional parenting or really even any parenting. Our kids are teaching us as much as we are teaching them about love, life and growth. Be the good example and when you’re not, don’t be afraid to admit that you are learning too and explore along together. Until next time.

 

Feeling anxious about the transition from summer to fall in your exceptional family? You are not alone. Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net¬†

Rain, Rain Go Away- 8 Ways Our Exceptional Family Survives The Wet Stuff

http://mrg.bz/da6a97

 

So rainy days used to be brutal for me and Michael. I’m not someone who is overly fond of rain, and Michael would become really restless. He was always an active little boy and did not do well with quiet indoor activities. Has it gotten easier as he has gotten older? The answer is yes and no. He will now listen to music or go more on the computer when it is raining, but usually Dad and I still end up taking him somewhere by car. He is beginning to understand that if it is really raining hard as it was a week ago, we need to stay home. In those cases, what do I do to keep Michael busy? Here are some things I’ve tried (or Michael has gravitated to) and that worked:

  1. Listening to CD’s or watching a movie with popcorn: We try and make it a fun family (or a fun Mom/son Dad/son whoever is with Michael) event so that it does not seem we are doing this because of the rain. Yes, it has meant watching the Minions movie or Peanuts for the zillionth time, but if it works, we do it. ūüôā
  2. Baking: This works better in the fall or winter, but sometimes doing something concrete and creative with a delicious result, will distract your youngsters from boredom.
  3. Painting or arts and crafts: This got easier as Michael got older and now he will often go and do crafts on his own. If not, I will try and bring out some craft ideas to do with him.
  4. Go for short outing to shopping mall or library: If there isn’t a huge hailstorm, Dad or I will often take Michael for a walk to his favorite shopping mall or the library for books.
  5. Indoor swing, trampoline or tent: I strongly encourage Michael to use his indoor equipment. We are trying to get him interested in building a tent as camping is something we want to try in the future.
  6. Playing Hide and¬†seek, I spy with my little eye, Hot Dog, or Tickle Monster: This gets easier as he gets older. He loves hide n seek especially in the house. We also have two great sensory games we play: “Hot Dog Michael” where he, the hot dog, is squished between two buns and condiments are put on him (pretend) just before we reach down to “eat” him (kissing or tickling) etc. This is great if the child needs calming as it restores some sensory input. Tickle Monster does the same. ūüôā
  7. Board games for age level: This can be fun if they are character games and child is older. For example, we have Minion Trouble that Michael loves and when he was younger a themed Shoots and Ladders.
  8. Smaller fun centers: This is our last resort as fun centers are usually packed solid on rainy days. However, this can be the short visit out of the house that you both need before retreating to a quiet comfort of your home.

http://mrg.bz/257c2f

Exceptional Parents, what activities do you use to keep your little exceptional ones busy on rainy days? Are they calmer or more hyper due to the rain or do you not notice a difference? Every child, like every adult is different. I would love to hear how you handle the rainy days with your children. It means transitioning to a different way of doing things often. Whatever games you choose, make sure as always that it fits your child and family’s personality. Good luck and have fun on your next rainy day together! Until next time.

 

Feeling anxious in your exceptional family? Having difficulty transitioning from summer to back to school? If so, you are not alone. Download¬†my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net. You will learn new tips and tools to lead a happier and healthier life in your journey as an exceptional parent and caregiver.¬†

 

Annual BBQ’s and Exceptional Traditions

http://mrg.bz/ab8621

 

I love traditions. I love the way they mark time, passages, and growth. I also love the way traditions bring family and friends together. Michael’s Dad and I started a tradition a long time ago with close friends where we all get together once a year at our house for a BBQ lunch or dinner. It has shifted back and forth, but now it is back to a dinner so friends of mine who have smaller children don’t have to worry about their kids missing their nap, and my other friends with older children and activity commitments can still make it. Still, the friends of mine who don’t have children also have the opportunity of squeezing our dinner into their busy schedules. As a result, we’ve pretty much had everybody make it every ¬†year for the past eighteen years that we’ve been doing it. These are friends I grew up with. We knew each other as girls, then women, then husbands and now children are in the mix. It’s absolutely wonderful.

For Michael, he is also learning about how important friendships are, and about the building of traditions to keep friendships going and moving smoothly into changes that occur in life. These friends are his aunties and uncles so to speak, and he gets along well with their kids. It’s always a fun way for us to end our summer with this BBQ. Now that Michael is older, he actively helps us prepare by buying the food, and tidying up a bit. Alright, he cleans his room, but still it is a start. ūüôā I am so proud of how far he has come from being overwhelmed by people, to looking forward to a party, even though there are challenging moments for him.

Exceptional Parents, do you have any summer time traditions that you participate in with your Exceptional Child? How do they respond? How do you respond? Remember, give them time to grow to love these traditions and soon they will begin to change their response to them. It also gives you a chance as a family to grow together, try new things, and form new memories. Until next time.

 

Soccer Connections And Friendships Formed

http://mrg.bz/c75fb2

Michael’s Dad and I are very excited that he is back to playing soccer again this summer. There is something about the game of playing soccer that is fun and simple. I’ve always loved the idea of parents sitting on the sidelines watching their kids play a simple game with a ball, getting fresh, and learning about team spirit, and really what it takes to make it in the world with a healthy dose of cooperation.¬†What I especially enjoy is that Michael has found a soccer team that for him is a good fit. It is smaller than a team he was playing on previously, and for him that’s important. He tends to get swallowed up in big groups, lots of coaches and lots of kids. As he grows, he may be ready for more competitive teams, but for right now, he is right where he is supposed to be. He also has a crush on his¬†head coach, who also babysat for us once. He has “married her,” and looks forward to seeing and sharing things with her at every practice. We have to remind him she is there to coach all the kids, but of course she and the other coaches understand. It is an adapted team which really helps as all the kids are exceptional, and the coaches know how to handle them.

http://mrg.bz/ba637a

Michael’s Dad and I enjoy talking to the other parents as we do at his other activities which are also adapted. They get it and they get how our kids do things a little differently, and are smart in their own right. They get how hard it is for our kids who want to be active, but do not always have the options on non adapted teams or cannot keep up with the pace on these teams. Most importantly, as our exceptional kids realize they are not alone in the way they are, their exceptional parents realize it too, talking to other parents facing the same challenges of raising an amazing child or children who are not textbook.

Exceptional Parents, do your Exceptional Children do extracurricular activities? Do you go the adapted or non-adapted way and how do you and your child find them? The important thing to remember is to follow your child’s interest in pursuing activities along with their capabilities. Don’t ever push them too far beyond their comfort zone, but be there to give them a little nudge to get out there and meet other children, learn about playing, and allow yourself the opportunity of meeting parents who are facing the same journey as you. Until next time.