Category Archives: Grateful Mama

No Means No. Except When It Doesn’t.

No means no is a pretty good rule to live by.  Except when you’re a parent.  Then, the meaning of no is way more complicated.

I’m so honored to be a new contributing writer at Mamalode.com and to share with you my first post chosen for publication, “The Meaning of No.”

Click –> HERE <– to read it.

(Holy crap!  I’ve been published!)

Okay guys.  I stink at asking for favors, but here’s what I need you to do:

Read it.  Even if you read the original version of this essay on my blog, click through and read it again.  The more people who click through to Mamalode.com, the more street cred I’ll gain for future writing gigs.

Like itRetweet itFavorite it.  Go crazy with it on social media.

Comment on it on Mamalode.com.  I promise I’ll respond!  Think about all the freakin’ times you’ve said no to your kids and immediately wished you hadn’t.  I’ve already said no this morning at least a dozen times for no good reason at all!

Last but not least, SHARE IT!  Send the link to every Mama you know who has struggled with the word “no,” which I bet is all of them!

I’m a Grateful Mama for your support!

(Holy crap!  I’ve been published!)

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Filed under Grateful Mama, parenting, writing

Good. Sport.

Each week, my seven-year-old son brings home six vocabulary words.  Every Monday night, his homework assignment is to write out each definition and draw a picture that exemplifies the word in a special “vocabulary book.”

One of his words last week was persevere.

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“to not give up if something is difficult”

“What did you draw for persevere?” I asked him. (This boy of mine with the beautiful mind isn’t likely be the next Vincent van Gogh.)

“That’s me with my ice skates on because hockey is difficult for me,” he said.

After I caught my breath, I told him it was the best, most perfect picture he’d ever drawn for a vocabulary word ever.

Here’s the thing about my son and sports. He likes – no, loves – sports and he’s always a good – no, great – sport, but the truth is that he isn’t very good at sports.

I don’t care if my kids like or excel in sports.  They can be professional athletes or musicians or computer programmers or archeologists or meteorologists or whatever the heck they want as long as they’re happy and healthy.  I’m incredibly proud of everything they do (except when they pee on the floor next to the toilet), and I’m even more proud when they challenge themselves to do new things, especially hard things. Believe me, watching them try their hardest is way more fulfilling than watching them win.  But how do you know if and when to encourage or discourage one activity over another?  For some kids, passion and talent surfaces at a young age (Tiger Woods began swinging a golf club before he turned two!), but for a lot of kids, it doesn’t.

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) made it difficult for my son to develop a foundation of athletic skills at a young age.  As a toddler, it was nearly impossible for him to focus or follow directions.  On top of that, he had balance issues, weak fine motor skills, no sense of right and left, and no idea where his body was in space.  No wonder T-ball was so damn hard!  And let’s not even talk about the basketball class where he had to wear a mouth guard, which was nearly impossible because of his over-sensitive gag reflex, and play in a busy gymnasium with several terrifyingly loud buzzers that went off often and unexpectedly.  It was a sensory nightmare, and he spent most of every game in my lap.

Post-SPD diagnosis and therapies, we dabbled in some independent sports, like swimming, tennis, and golf.  With each one, he showed some modest potential, but none lit a fire in him.  Now, with basketball and soccer, both of which he enjoys playing, he “get’s it” and participates more, but energy, confidence, and focus (or the “chasing butterflies syndrome” as we affectionately call it) are still issues that inhibit him from reaching a higher level of team play.

And then we went to Massachusetts.

On a trip to visit family last summer, my son watched in awe as his older cousin ice-skated in full hockey gear at a local ice-skating rink.  He was hooked instantly, and I’d never seen him so determined to succeed.

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The irony of his sudden and intense desire to learn how to ice skate (just like his cousin) was that there was a time when the sensory overstimulation of an ice skating rink was his kryptonite.

He started lessons at a local rink as soon as we returned home, and by January of this year, he “graduated” to Ice Hockey 101.  Now, every Saturday afternoon, he dresses in full gear – padded pants and socks, shoulder, elbow, and shin pads, padded gloves, socks, a helmet, ice skates, and a hockey stick (and this is a kid whose tactile processing deficits once made it impossible for him to wear pants!) – and leaves his heart out on the ice.  Is he the best  player in the class?  Not by a long shot.  But he holds his own.  He skates and stops and jumps and dives and hustles and listens and follows directions and works as hard as everyone else, and there’s no question that it’s as fun for him to do as it is for us to watch.

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In a culture where kids (and parents) get serious about sports before they can tie their own shoes, I’m a Grateful Mama that although my son may not be naturally athletic, he has what every athlete needs (but not every one of them has) to succeed in sports and in life.  He has courage, resolve, and buckets loads of perseverance.

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Filed under boys, Grateful Mama, sensory processing disorder, sports

It’s A Girl!

No, I’m not pregnant.  If you thought so, you’re either nuts or a new reader.  If it’s the latter, welcome to The Runaway Mama!  Where two kids are plenty!

I’m not having a baby, but I am a New Mama!  Introducing Gertrude Glenn (a.k.a. Gertie)!

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Gertrude was my girl name.  You know, the name I would’ve given a human girl.  I know what you’re thinking.  GERTRUDE?  It’s a grandmother’s name!  It’s dated!  It’s dreary!  For your information, I also love the name Agnes, and before we decided on Dylan, Oscar and Henry were on our short list for boys.  So there.  I’m an old-fashioned name kind of girl.  (Somehow, I ended up with a Dylan and a Riley – which I love, by the way – but such is life!)

As well as being classic and beautiful (if I do say so myself), Gertrude is also a family name (on both sides of the family), and Glenn is after my Great Aunt Glenna, a firecracker of a woman whose style, whit, sharp-tongue, and big heart I admired greatly.

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Gertie Glenn is teen-tiny bundle of deliciousness (and a peeing pooping mess!), and it was totally and completely love at first sight for the whole family.  Before we met her, I feared her presence would be a painful reminder of Harry.  I’m happy to report that it’s been just the opposite.  In fact, it feels a lot like Gertie was a gift from Harry.

I see so much of him in her.  Like when she twitches her front legs in her sleep or tries to drag a palm frond three time her size across the yard or chews grass with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.  In these moments, I feel like Harry is talking to me, and I’m a Grateful Mama for the connection.

Whereas my theme song was  “Say Something” by A Great Big World

Say something, I’m giving up on you

I’ll be the one, if you want me to

Anywhere I would’ve followed you

Say something, I’m giving up on you

…it’s now “You’ll Be Okay” by the same band…

You’ll be okay

You’ll be okay

The sun will rise

To better days

 

And change will come

It’s on its way

Just close your eyes

And let it rain

 

‘Cause you’re never alone

I will always be there

You just carry on

You will understand

After one full day with Gertrude Glenn a.k.a. Gertie Glenn a.k.a Flirty Gertie a.k.a. Gertie McShmertie, I’ve developed a highly complicated, uber-complex hypothesis about parenting human and canine babies: There’s little difference between the two.

Case in point, the following happened (or didn’t happen) during my first 24 hours with Gertie:

1. I forgot to eat.

2. I felt guilty.

3. I cried.

4. I accomplished one half of one task on my 50-item to do list.

5. I did the one half of one task during naptime.

6. I cleaned pee and poop all day.

7. I talked about pee and poop all day.

8. Because of the aforementioned pee and poop, I did a lot of laundry.

9. Exhaustion-induced clumsiness resulted in several bumps and bruises, including a doozy on my left leg that happened when I moved “baby equipment” (the crate) from the kitchen to the bathroom where…

10. I finally took a shower at 4:30pm.

Five o’clock has new meaning, my friends.  All over again.  And just like with human babies, this too shall pass.

A toast to New Mamas of all kinds!  Cheers!

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Filed under babies, Grateful Mama, guilt, Harry, list, motherhood, pets