An Open Letter to the Parents of Charlie Gard

Dear Chris and Connie,

I remember when I first read your story via a link on twitter. It has been maybe 2-3 months now. I remember the emotions that welled up inside my own heart as I read about your precious baby and his battle. I remember looking at my own boys. I have a 2 year old and a 4 month old. I saw my babies in the picture of your son. I cried. I cried so hard. From that moment my heart, my thoughts and prayers have been with you and your sweet little boy.

The phrase “I’m sorry” seems such a shallow thing to say to you both in this time of immense heart ache and pain. I could add a couple hundred “so”s in between  the “I’m” and the “sorry”. But somehow I feel that would make the phrase even less meaningful. So I will have to stick with I’m sorry.

I’m sorry your little boy was the 1 in a million to be diagnosed with this illness.

I’m sorry that for whatever the reason, the Dr’s in London were not able to treat him.

I’m sorry you had to watch your little boys health decline.

I’m sorry the courts and hospital would not let you leave even though you had raised your own funds to save your baby boy.

I’m sorry that it took the US congress so long to make you a US resident so we could have some power to bring you to New York.

I’m sorry that so much time was wasted in court proceedings and bureaucratic nonsense that your precious angel slipped into a state of hopelessness where there was no return.

I’m sorry that it doesn’t look like you will even be able to take your baby home with you to let him go in peace. But that he will be stuck in the hospital that held him a captive while there was hope.

But let me tell you… What I am the most sorry about… I am so sorry and so angry that your rights as the parents to your child were stripped from you by a bunch of damn suit and tie government bureaucrats that most likely went home to no kids or healthy kids every night. People biologically and emotionally removed from your child got to make the choice about the most important thing about him. His life.

As Charlie’s parents you had every right to do everything within your power to save his life. I would have done exactly what you did. And I would have fought like hell. Exactly like you did. I know that because of your story being known all over the world at this point lots of people will have their own opinions about what you should or should not have done. ANYONE who would side against your decisions for your baby is not worthy of second of your thoughts. Connie, no one criticizing your choices for your baby carried him for 9 months in their body or pushed him out during hard labor. Anyone that doesn’t 100% support you both in your choices  for your son and in the grief you are/ will be going through is not worthy of your time.

And for every jerk out there on social media that thinks they know how you should have lived your life, there are thousands that stand with you.

You are in my thoughts and prayers as you prepare to send your baby to the angels. He will be safe. He will be free. He will be in no more pain. He will be able to see and hear. He will run and jump. He will be watching over you from above. He will spend all eternity with Jesus and the angels. And he will know that his parents fought for his life until the end. He will love you forever.

I hope and pray you will continue in fighting for the rights of parents to love, protect and do whats best for their children. I know you are not the only parents that this kind of tragedy has happened to. The all knowing government courts and officials put you through hell on earth. So you give em hell right back. Charlies Army is behind you.

From one parent to another, with love, sympathy and a really big hug,

Kate ❤

Open Mom Diary #1

I went to the grocery store with my youngest son. It was such a peaceful experience. I arrived at the store and put my sweet baby boy in his carrier. I got a shopping cart with a cup holder and proceeded directly to the Starbucks strategically located at the entrance to the store. I walked through the store sipping on my favorite drink and picking out food for my little family. I was silent except for the periodic whispered “I love you” to my baby followed by a kiss on his head.

I did not have to explain to a 30 lb toddler to put his feet in holes for his legs in the grocery cart while holding him in the air. I didn’t have to talk about all the vegetables we walked past. I didn’t have to explain that you can only have 1 free cookie or no free cookie if a sweet had already been had. I didn’t have to rush to keep jelly jars on the shelf as Godzilla toddler thrust his arms out as the shopping cart went down the aisle. I didn’t have to tell him to sit down in the cart. I didn’t have to tell him to stop grabbing the candy in the check out line and I didn’t have to say “No you cant hold the eggs.”

It was glorious. But I felt guilty…

I did not feel guilty for reveling in the break from my toddler. I felt guilty for not talking to my baby. I felt guilty for the silence.

Before my first son was born I read an article somewhere on the interwebs about a study that had been performed on babies through their toddler years when it came to adult verbal interactions. I can’t for the life of me remember where I found this article. I took from it that verbal communication is absolutely necessary for your childs development(duh. I don’t know why I needed to read this online) and that there are parents out there that do not talk to their kids which messes them up for life. I determined that I would fill my childs ears with the sound of my voice constantly and he would be an excellent communicator by the age of 2.  I did. And he is.

I talked to my son ALL DAY LONG. EVERY SINGLE DAY. I explained everything we did and everywhere we went. I sang or talked to him continually even if there was really nothing to say or talk about. He now talks. CONSTANTLY. This probably has more to do with him being a toddler but because of my neurotic ideas about not wanting him to be intellectually deficient, I missed out on the silent moments.

So here I am. Baby #2 and I feel like I am short changing him on my time and attention. I talk so much to my older child because he is always talking that when I’m alone with my youngest the last thing I want is words to break the silence.

There is not much of a conclusion to these thoughts. More of wondering musings of how to parent two instead of one. Now that we have hit the 6th month its easier to interact simply because he is more attentive. I include him in the conversations about Thomas the train, towers, bulldozers and cookies. But I also don’t want to feel guilty about enjoying my quiet times with him. The silence will only become more scarce in my house. I didn’t cherish it with my first. I wan to cherish it with my second. I want him to know I don’t love him less because I’m quiet.

I am going to have to accept that I will not have the same kind of time with my youngest that I did with my oldest.  So from now I want to intentionally get my alone time with him. So I can talk to him or just be silent.

One thing is for sure I can’t spend my periodic moments with him feeling guilty. That is a waste of my precious time with him.

 

 

 

So Where is my Parenting Manual?

Today my son had a tantrum. You know like every toddler and like everyday. This is the following conversation that took place with my self and with my son simultaneously:

“Caspian you don’t need to have a tantrum about this” *I guess I should count him instead of reasoning with him. Its not like he is going to say “Oh golly mom your right!”*

“Caspian I’m sorry your disappointed” *I want to have empathy for him*

“One.” *He is yelling louder. Should I just take him straight to time out?*

“Do you want to go to your room?” *Like he is going to say yes you idiot…Should I do a time in? Isn’t that where I just hug him and tell him I love him when he is naughty? Ok he is just yelling louder and stomping.*

“Two” * In the 123 magic book it says to not reason with them. Maybe I have not given enough choices today. Love and logic says give choices… and reason?*

(Toddler picks up toy to throw at 5 mos old)

“Don’t even think about it!” *Should I spank him if he hits? It doesn’t make sense to hit him for hitting someone else*

(Toddler throws toy at 5 mos old)

“THREE!!!” *There is no way on earth he should have a time in for hitting his brother*

(Picks toddler up and puts in room for time out.)

All the while still second guessing my self about my discipline methods. This happens in my house EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

The reason I decided to share this story is because of a video I watched a few days ago from prageru. Here it is for some context.

 

 

I read the comments. Always a mistake. The guy in this video is a child physiologist and an author. Everything in this video is  EXACTLY how my mom raised me. She did a pretty good job. I am not emotionally scarred and I am a functioning, contributing human in society. Yet the comment section was filled with people basically saying that this guy did not know what he was talking about. If the professional (according to the people in the comments) doesn’t know anything about kids and discipline how can these people be so confident in their chosen methods… and more importantly… WHAT THE ACTUAL H E *DOUBLE HOCKEY STICK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO???

But for real this is a serious question that I wrestle with everyday. I have read 3 different parenting books, watch these kind of videos that come up on my social media feeds and read the comments. Everyone claims there method works  and that it is best. Some times I find myself going through several different techniques a day. But that is bad because its not consistent (or so I have heard). It literally doesn’t matter how many time outs, promised rewards, toys taken away or scoldings he gets. Sometimes he does the same naughty thing 12 million times in 37 seconds.

Its not like I hadn’t picked a parenting method before I had kids. I was not planning on winging discipline. I was the perfect parent before I had kids…

To be honest, I like what this professional had to say in this video. I don’t know if it was because it seemed easier to me then what I am currently doing or if it seemed familiar because its how my mom raised me. So I did what most 27 year old moms do. I called my mom (I swear my mom is like the smartest person in the universe). I told her my woes and struggles. And like most moms she had sound and wise advice. She told me that the “professionals sort of know your kid, the people in the comments know nothing about your kid and you are the professional when it comes to your kid. There are different methods. Some work well, some work for some kids and some are just stupid. Only you know what will work for your kid and its ok to spend some time figuring it out.”

I will say this. I know for sure that my attitude and demeanor affects my sons behavior. When I am cheerful, calm, patient,kind and engaging with him we are much more likely to have a successful day. If I am short, irritated and focused on what I want to do… oh boy… its world war 3 in my house until I check my attitude. And cookies. Cookies make everything better always.

I guess I have no real profound conclusion to this post. More of an open diary on the struggles of a mom with young kids. I hope it encourage someone else who is wondering where the heck is the manual on parenting. Your not alone. 🙂

Get a drink (coffee, wine, chocolate milk whatever) put your feet up and know that you are are the professional with your kid.

 

Starter Homes with No Stairs.

My parents bought a house in 1989 in the state of Maryland for 130k. This house was 2 years old at the time, had 1900 sqft, 3 good sized bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, formal dining room, eat in kitchen and a spacious living room. There was also a nice sized backyard and a garage. This was sold to them as a starter home. It became so much more. It was the house I came home to from the hospital and was the same house I left at the age of 19 when I moved cross country. My parents took our cookie cutter starter home and transformed it through out a 20 year period into a one of a kind house that ultimately sold for twice what they paid for it. Fast forward to this past weekend in the year 2017.

We are trying to get our feet wet in the housing market because like most families (I think) we would like to buy a house. Its a little slice of the American dream. I want to be able to tell my boys to go outside when they are driving me nuts and have that outside be a yard. Not an apartment parking lot. I want to paint my walls yellow and hang up a towel rack or knock out a wall if I feel like it. And yes. I want to cut the grass and rake leaves. However what my parents got and what I can get are not even in the same universe. At least not in this town.

We saw 3 houses over this past weekend. It was depressing. Our budget is 125,000. (slightly less then my parents. So ok just 1 bathroom would be fine… Please?) In this 40,000 people midwest town, 125k gets you a 200 year old house with little to know updates, bedrooms with no closets, lead paint, dysfunctional kitchens, the original 1850s windows, second floors that don’t have electricity, stairs that are nonfunctional and wiring so outdated that random ground wires are running from big appliances like your washing machine to small screws in the out dated wall sockets. (yes that was the greatest run on sentence ever) Oh and there is charm and the original beautiful hardwood floors. I guess that supposed to sell me.

I am not exaggerating… The 3 houses I saw had all or most of these problems (along with the charm).

Now before anyone reads this and thinks I’m a spoiled millennial that wants an hgtv home for 5 dollars just because my parents worked hard and had a nice house… No. Don’t even. That’s not a thing. (but for real?! Have you seen these young families on HGTV where their budget for a house is 750,000 ?!?! What the heck?! I obviously went into the wrong profession). Here is what I want.

I want to have the opportunity to be a home owner. I want to be able to move in and live life. I don’t care if its dated, the appliance aren’t new, the paint is ugly, its small and there is only one bathroom. I’m happy to spend 125,000 dollars on a decent structure that I could live in and slowly update it and turn it into my home as extra money arrives. I am not happy to spend that much on a house and then have to throw 100k more at it just to be comfortable. And by comfortable I mean having a counter top in the kitchen. Not a granite counter top. Just a counter top. More then a small shelf that comes out from the sink.  I would even happily pay 40k for a house that I had to gut and fix up. But I refuse to live in this weird in between of a fixerupper/gut the house being sold at functional house price. Just no. So to answer the questions of why this millennial rents? There you go.

I don’t know why the housing market is like this in my town. I don’t know if its different in other towns or cities across America. But I wish it wasn’t. I don’t want a free hgtv home hand out. I just want a mortgage… and food. I guess I have a couple more years of savings to go….

How my life ended when my son arrived

Yes. You read that correctly. My life ended when I had my son. Please note that I did not say my life is miserable, I am depressed, I have no purpose or that my husband and I don’t have great chemistry. I said my life ended. Emphasis on the word MY. Life continues. But mine as I have known it is over.

A few weeks ago I had a friend from out of town drop by for a few hours as she was passing through visiting people. We sat on the floor in my living room drinking coffee, discussing her plans for graduate school and possible careers as well as my 8 month old sons adorableness. As I sat helping my son stack colored cups and tubber ware on top of each other my dear friend looked at me and asked a very appreciated and profound question. “Do you enjoy this?”

This… This meaning stacking cups and sorting shapes in a shape sorter. This meaning making baby food for 3 hours every other day. This meaning devoting my entire life to another human being instead of pursuing my dreams, my happiness my desires. My life.

What did I say? I said no. There is no part of me that enjoys and longs to clean poop out of my sons crib, listen to yelling and screaming every time I say no you can’t play with the scissors (how he always manages to get a hold of those still stupefies me) or stack the same blocks on top of each other for 3 hours. I said no. I said “No I don’t enjoy this. But I don’t want anyone else to do it.”

I don’t enjoy changing diapers but I don’t want anyone else to be the one to get my son to say mama. I don’t like waking up every 2 hours but I don’t want anyone else to cuddle my little boy when he is sick. I don’t like having to deal with a tantrum whenever my son is tired but I don’t want to miss his first step.

I want to have a career! I want to look good in my clothes! I want to shower when ever I feel like it! I want to have a social life and it would be amazing to drink my coffee when its hot. I also want to color, spend all day at the park, cuddle while having story time and take care not to miss anything about my baby boys life. I can not have all of these things.

Now before anyone starts thinking that I think moms that work are short changing their kids let me drop this-I work. Every day I get up, wave good bye to my little treasure at 7:30 in the morning and don’t see him again until 2:30. It kills me. And Im not even taking him to daycare! He is with his Dad! It kills me because I miss going to the park. I miss 2 meal times with him. I have missed little miles stones in his life. Instead of being concerned about my mile stones, I want to see him take his first steps. Before he arrived there is no way you could have convinced me that I would care more about playing on the slide then pursuing a career as and avionics tech with Garmin. But I do. I care more about the slide.

As a working mom I miss things. I have to share my child. I share him with his dad but some of you moms have to share your treasure with a teacher or a nanny. I get it. Some of us work so there is enough money to eat at dinner (thats me). Some of us work cause we truly love it. Some of us work because our children drive us nuts (thats also me sometimes). And its all ok. Here is my point.

Whether you stay home part time, full time or never. Your children are part of your decision. Your children factor into almost every choice you make. After I became a mom I was no longer able to make any choices or decision based on me only. My little guy factors into every thing. I am not free to pursue a masters degree and go on an archeological dig this summer like my friend who came to visit me. Could I do it? Sure. Am I free to do that without a thought of how it would affect me son? No. There is a difference.

Every mom is different. Life is different. We make different choices for our kids and our families. Work, stay at home, join the circus whatever… But any mom who thinks she can have a baby and still pursue her life as she did before that child arrived is grossly mistaken. They invade our life and hearts. I don’t know about you but having a child to me is like having your heart right out there on that little persons sleeve instead of your own. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

*** I wrote this almost a year ago when I was really struggling with my place in life as a mom. It has sat on my computer until now when I finally decided to share it as my first post. Will some people disagree with my opinion and experience? Sure. (However it does baffle me that people actually try to disagree with someones life experience.) Will others feel the same as I did a year ago? Sure. That is who I hope to encourage.***