Kindness changes the world one kid at a time…

Kindness changes the world one kid at a time…

Mr. Rogers

 

I love this Mr. Rogers quote. I live by this Mr. Rogers quote.

This week I was awe-struck when I witnessed first hand how if we teach our children kindness we can change the world.

My daughter, who is seven and in the second grade, recently started a new school (that is a story for a future blog post) but after the second day at this school she came home to tell me how there was one little girl who was being mean to the others. We talked about how things might be tough and scary for that little girl and brainstormed what might make her feel like she had to act that way. A whole week went by and my daughter didn’t discuss this girl any further.

Then on this past Monday my daughter gets into the car after school and she proceeds to tell me that she went and talked to the girl at recess that day. I asked her what she said and she retold the events.

“Mom, I was shaking I was so nervous, but I just wanted her to stop being mean to my friends. I walked up to her and asked her, ‘Are you just doing the things you are doing to do them or are you just having a hard time making friends?'” she softly spoke each word.

“I didn’t use the word mean mom because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.” She explained.

“Wow, I would have been shaking, too. What happened next?” I prompted her to continue.

“Well, she said she just really wanted friends mom. She said she just wanted us to like her. So I asked her if she would like to be our friend and she said yes and so we played together the rest of the recess and the next one.”

I can’t tell you how proud I was of my daughter in that moment because there really are no words. She was brave, she was kind and she made a difference in that little girl’s life that might be immeasurable.

Kindness matters every tiny bit. Compassion for others is necessary. Teaching that is priceless.

Here’s to changing the world with kindness, one kid at a time,

signature

The Shirt

be kind

I tried to talk him out of it. Not because I didn’t want him to have it. Not because I wouldn’t be proud of him wearing it. Only because the world can be stereotypically biased and cruel sometimes.

My mama bear instinct just wanted to keep him safe. Shelter him from hurt and ridicule. That is what we do as mama bears. Protect and shield as much as we can and then send them off out into the world hoping they are strong enough. Wishing them as few bangs, nicks, and bruises as possible, hoping they can stay whole and happy.

My son wore the above shirt today. The shirt he carefully hand-picked at Old Navy because I told each child they could pick one since they were on sale. The shirt he jumped and hollered about so excited because not only did it have his favorite character of all time on it, but it was also his two favorite colors: pink and purple.

This shirt has been worn many times, but to be honest sometimes it sits in the wash pile a little too long. It may also be hung in the closet a bit too out of reach for my son’s small arms. All to protect. All out of concern. All out of my need to shield him just a little longer. I have written about this shirt before and the comments we receive when we are out in public.

Now that he has started school, I knew he would want to wear THE SHIRT. Last night I hung it carefully in his closet within his reach knowing full well it would be the first choice for him in the morning.

In the morning as I bustled about the kitchen, I heard his joyful feet bounding down the stairs. He leapt into the kitchen proudly boasting his Sofia shirt and that he had dressed himself. I steeled my heart for him and what the day ahead might hold; all because of a shirt.

I spent my morning in silent prayer. As I busied myself with the tasks at hand, a constant repeated prayer kept running through the back of my brain:

Please God let the world be kind to my sweet boy today. His soul is pure and full of light. Please let the world be kind to my four-year old who understands more about forgiveness than his thirty-six-year-old mom. Please, oh please, oh please.

Dropping him off at school he skipped his way to the entrance, so jubilantly thrilled to show off his most prized possession, hoping his friends would love it as much as he does.

As he proudly displayed his shirt to one of his teachers upon entry, she looked at him, his twin then me and said,”Well at least we will be able to tell them apart today” just a tad bit too full of judgement. I saw his shoulders sink a little as he heard it, too.

My heart broke a little more for him today. He arrived home and excitedly rattled through a string of wonderful things about his day, there was nothing and I thought for a moment we were safe just awhile longer. About fifteen minutes later, he found me sitting alone and said,

“Mommy when I was sitting next to Eliza* today she said, ‘why are you wearing a Sofia shirt?'”

He went on to explain that he had told her how excited he had been when he bought it and how he got to pick out as a special treat. He said he thinks she thought it was supposed to be just a girl thing and that he didn’t like the way she asked him why he was wearing it.  I reassured him that his Sofia shirt was a great shirt and that he needed to always wear just what he wanted. He said that he would, but it was the disappointment in his little voice that broke my heart.

My hope is that he continues to wear what he wants and do what he wants no matter what his peers think or say, but I know that today changed him a tiny bit. He was disappointed that the world didn’t love that shirt on him as much as he loved that shirt on him. These events are bound to happen in varying shades throughout his life; that is part of life; but the mama bear; my mama heart, wishes I could shield him a little more; take the brunt of it myself. That is what all of us mamas wish for. We hope that the world is kind to our babies and that they can be their shining selves without facing ridicule. Unfortunate that, that isn’t always the case.

I want to take a moment though and thank those of you who saw my Facebook post and prayed and well-wished with me today.Thank you all of you kindness warrior mamas who help make this world a better place and with me become the village of support for my kids. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Watching my littles grow and learn,

signature

 

 

 

*Names were changed to protect the identity of children.

 

 

 

 

Three years and a few months ago…

Screen Shot 2013-07-12 at 7.49.12 AMThree years and a few months ago I went in for an ultrasound and it confirmed what I already thought – I was having twins. We were excited but also scared and if anyone gave me two of the same outfit I couldn’t hold them both at once without starting to panic a bit. I knew this was going to be wonderful, but also really hard. I already had two older children, so it wasn’t my first rodeo but two at once was a bit overwhelming.

A few months later I had another ultrasound. This time I had to go to a fancy place where they could not only measure the baby, but also watch blood flow and who knows what else. Very high-tech.

Anyway I knew pretty quickly that something wasn’t right. The technician took forever taking measurements and looking and re-looking at the babies. When she was done they moved me into another room where my husband and I waited for the doctor. I was not ready for what came next. The doctor told us that there was a large percentage/chance that one of the twins had Down Syndrome. She stressed that I should get an amnio test that day and went through stats of how it was more likely that I was carrying a baby with downs than there was risk that an amnio would harm one of the fetuses. I didn’t want an amnio – what difference would it make? I was having the babies no matter what; wasn’t this information enough to prepare me in the event one of the boys did have Down’s? She continued to state that if I was refusing the amnio that I should most definitely speak with a genetic counselor. {6 years ago I had already done that with my first son – there is some genetic history of disorders so I had been down that road – I knew that discussion wouldn’t make a difference either.} I refused genetic counseling and made an emergency appointment with my doctor. My doctor is fabulous! She spoke to us and she knew my history and that I would be delighted to have any baby no matter the circumstances and she agreed that this information was enough to prepare me in the event that one of the babies did in fact have a genetic disorder. She saw no reason to have the amnio and that was that.

Two weeks later I was back in my doctor’s office. This time with labor pains and they did a test to see if I was in pre-term labor. By the time my husband and I arrived home the phone was already ringing – yes I was in pre-term labor and could I please go to the hospital so that they could monitor me over night. I was given medication to stop the contractions, monitored overnight and released with strict orders of bed rest. I was not happy about being bed-ridden, but I knew it was best. I stayed down and it was really hard – like lose your mind hard. I still was working – answering phone calls and emails, which probably saved me from actually going crazy. I moved to the couch in the afternoon because my mom came to stay with us until husband got home from work. It went fairly well until the Thursday of Memorial Day weekend. I was 27 weeks and I was having some pretty big contractions.

This time they admitted me to the hospital, began monitoring me right away and put me on magnesium. That stuff is awful. It feels like they are setting you on fire from the inside out. You pretty much feel like you are dying and everyone just walks around you like no big deal. During the first twenty minutes in the hospital, my doctor made me transfer my care to a different physician since she would be out-of-town and she was pretty sure I would deliver that weekend. The head of the NICU came to speak to us and told us about viability, statistics of prenatal infants and what their lives are like. We toured the NICU and there were 25 week old twins I was not allowed to see because mine would be a bit more developed. I peeked a transparent arm as they quickly wheeled me past and my brain filled in the picture from books that I had read; that started the tears. Every bassinet we passed the crocodile tears just rolled down my cheeks. Those babies and those super moms – women of steel that we passed put me in utter awe. They were so strong, and brave for those tiny babies. I couldn’t even meet their eyes I felt so guilty I was crying at their sweet little ones.

I had to hang on 5 more weeks, there was no more if ands or buts about it. I had to hang on and I had to get out of that hospital. First step – get off the magnesium.

I accomplished that within about 48 hours and when they weened me off the magnesium, the very first night I was mag free, I had crazy contractions. I didn’t even feel them, the nurse’s feet running down the hallway is what woke me up. She was shocked I was sleeping through them. She gave me a shot of something – I got a shot of this about every other day for weeks, so I can’t believe I forgot what it is called, but I forget. Anyhow, it slowed and eventually stopped the contractions. I spent Memorial Day weekend in the hospital and on through to the Wednesday after. They checked me out, no major contractions so they decided to send me home, with VERY SUPER-DUPER STRICT orders of bed rest. I was bedridden for 5 more weeks.

During that time I was sent to the hospital every other day for non-stress tests. At one of these appointments in my 32nd week I started having major contractions again and they felt that the babies were still better off on the inside so they gave me another one of those lovely shots and stopped my labor. It was that day that I lost it. I knew (you know how you know – our mommy-sense goes off and you just know something isn’t right) that something wasn’t right and that those babies had to be born. I cried and cried. I didn’t speak to my husband for the rest of the day because he had said that I had to go to the hospital and would not listen to me that something wasn’t right and that the babies needed to be born . Luckily I had my last ultra-sound appointment the next day. I knew this would prove what my mommy-sense was telling me.

Sure enough they took forever again examining the babies. The doctor came into see me and he asked if I had any major plans for that night and I said,”just delivering these babies, no hot dates for me!” He smiled and said it was time. One of my little ones had stopped growing roughly 2-3 weeks ago and the placenta was just about null and void of helping him survive. So off I went to the hospital. Relieved, but still knowing that we were not completely out of the woods yet.

Another saving grace – we knew I was going into labor soon the day before and the very smart nurse I had seen gave me a shot of a hormone that would help my boys breathe on their own if they were born early. Thank goodness for that nurse. I was prepped for a c-section even though we would only go that route if necessary – my doctor just wanted to be ready in the event that was necessary. Things went very smoothly for the most part – as smooth as they can go in labor, right?! Both boys were delivered. C-Man was born first. They laid him on my chest and right away he sighed. His sweet little body let out the biggest sigh. He had been the very, very squished twin and was a whole pound smaller than his brother it would turn out. He also had no circulation to one of his legs for some time on the inside, the lack of circulation was so great because he was so incredibly squished the doctor was afraid he would lose that leg for the first few days of his life. Z-Man arrived 9 minutes later and he was screaming – he was so irritated that he had been born. No wonder, he had a totally different experience. He had been growing fine, getting enough food and nutrients and not in the least bit squished. He was small, but in all other areas a healthy baby boy.

That was the wonderful beginning to being a twin mommy. Today there are no remnants of that crazy 8 months, maybe traces of their personality differences, but no physical signs of what their prenatal life was like.

Being their mom is a blessing. While currently listening to two-three year old’s temper tantrums makes me think I am losing my mind and would be better off on bed rest, their “bear” hugs at bed time, cuddles throughout the day, silly faces and hilarious antics make all the whining tolerable. So for mama’s of twins – I have mad, crazy respect for you.

Love

Me

DMack

cuteness
Not my DMack – just an internet photo – but this is so her.

My six-year-old daughter graduated from kindergarten today. I can’t believe she is already so grown up. This little girl is so full of personality and fun it amazes me. Today I dedicate this post to her and so that you can see into the workings of her beautiful mind.

Here are just a few of her many -isms.

1. Not too long ago, we took a trip to San Diego with my parents, sisters, my aunt and their family. After we finished dinner we were all chatting and my sweet daughter lets out the biggest, baddest belch. I look at her – nothing…so I say, “What do we say?” And her sweet little voice replies, “What? It’s just the sound of dinner.”

2. Same trip, she is anxiously waiting in line with her Papa at Legoland to ride the Volvo go carts. As they near the very front of the line, my dad asks her if she is excited and she replies, “Yes, I am so excited.” Then she leans in and whispers, “but I don’t know how to drive yet.”

3. Last summer we were on our way to the beach and we have to go over some hills and through a canyon to get there and my little baby D looks over to me and says, “Mama there is something wrong I can’t talk loud no matter how hard I try.” Poor little bug just had plugged ears.

4. Two of our most favorite expressions of her’s are “We are almost there, I can taste it.” and when her baby brothers would cry too much she would mutter, “Drama, drama Barrack Obama.” Seriously no input from us; it was just an election year.

It is just so amazing to see that in a little over 200 days she can read, write multiple sentences, and do simple math equations when she started the year just knowing her letters and how to count. What a different a few hundred days can make.

Goodnight,

One proud mama