Love.

Uplifting things going around FB yesterday.

Here.

Here.

Here.

“As we are holding our brothers and sisters in prayer who were either maimed or killed in this latest act of violence, let us remember two things. One, lets allow this event to be a catalyst for the activation of compassion in our hearts & souls & learn to live in the questions of “how can I serve? & “how can I help eliminate suffering”? And two, always remember that the All-good always wins and regardless of pin pricks of violence that are experienced by many on this planet the GOOD far exceeds the appearance of evil. Life always wins! Stay prayerful! Stay Grateful! -Peace.”

– Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith, Agape International Spiritual Center

 

 

Amazing Self Advocacy at the Dentist!

The kids had dental cleanings scheduled for after school today. Last time, Riley really wanted me to go back with her. This time, as I’ve done every time, I asked if she wanted me to join her? Or was she okay going by herself?

“I think I’m okay going back by myself,” she said.

I played it cool.

“Okay Riley. And if you want me for any reason, you just say, “Excuse me, but I’d like you to get my mom.”

She looked up from her People Magazine,

Okay? Okay. We’re good.

The hygienist came out and took her back. No prob.

I sat in the waiting room with Seth, basking.

When she was finished, she came out as if she’d always gone back to get her teeth cleaned without me. Totally nonchalant.

Can you take it?

Next it was Seth’s turn. He did want me to go back with him, so I went. On the way down the hall, the hygenist (who had never worked with Riley before) told me that on the way back to the room, Riley had advocated for herself saying, “I have autism, and I’m really sensitive so I’m going to ask you to be gentle.”

I am so glad she told me Riley said that. I felt giddy over it. She’s asked the assistants at the orthodontist’s to be gentle before, but never explained the whole thing. Never without her mom.

I thanked her and then told the hygienist about Seth’s tics, made sure she knew he can’t help it, yada, yada.

All was well and then, she tried to give him mint mouth wash. Little man don’t do mint. He hates it, says it burns his mouth. He stopped her and asked for another flavor and she said, sure. Evidently, Seth advocates for himself too.

It was awesome telling HT. He had the exact same proud, thrilled, oh-my-God-how-far-we’ve-come reaction. We love us some Riley. And Seth is the coolest as well.

It has been an extremely stressful time lately, getting the house ready to sell. I’ve been out of my mind with the pressure of getting it all done. But this, has made my day.

I can’t stop smiling.

*Sometime soon I’ll tell you about my talk at the dental school last Friday, a result of the post linked to above. The short story is they were nice and it went well.

The Business of Baby

The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don’t Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Before Their Bottom Line, by Jennifer Margulis.

I will give this book to every newly pregnant woman I meet for the rest of my life. I believe in it so much I will champion it to anyone who will listen. I will go into book stores and I will move it to a prominent place of display, (in front of What to Expect), every chance I get. If you have children, no matter what the age, buy this book. Tell everyone you know. This is a VERY IMPORTANT book. 

I wish this book had been out when I was a new mommy. Oh…how much easier I would have breathed about so many things. If I’d read this book, maybe I would have trusted my own judgement more about my babies, rather than handing over my power. I would have enjoyed them more and worried less. I wouldn’t have felt so scared and alone when facing off with physicians I didn’t agree with.

You know that old parable about the roast with the ends cut off? And it goes on that way for generations until one day a woman asks her great grandmother, why do we cut off the ends off the roast? She thinks there is some important culinary reason behind it. The great grandmother says her mother didn’t have a pan big enough to fit it in.

So much of what we do as parents is just following along, not questioning. Doing what has always been done. In this book Margulis uses her critical thinking skills, her undercover investigational skills, and tons of scientific research to question things we commonly subject our babies to without even thinking about it. But unlike corporate America whose job it is to scare us into buying more products, this book is empowering. So empowering! You will worry less after reading it. You will trust yourself more. You will be a better parent. A thinking parent.

The Business of Baby is full of information. And a book with so much info could be dry, but not this book. It reads like a novel. Or a conversation with a friend. It is so interesting and engaging. It is full of personal stories. Margulis tackles the subjects of breast feeding, diapering practices, circumcision, vaccines, the corporate grip on our physicians, our ridiculously high infant death rate in the U.S., the overuse of ultrasounds, and overall fear mongering that gets us to buy products and agree to practices that are not in the best interest of our children.

She talks to physicians about what it’s really like to run a pediatric practice business. She talks to an outspoken vaccine proponent, who privately tells her he admires Jenny McCarthy and those who are questioning the over-vaccination of children in our country.

This book needed to be written. Margulis, a devoted mother of four and a beautiful writer stepped up to the plate and did a very thorough job. I am so happy for the generations of children that will benefit from it.

Jennifer Margulis dedicates The Business of Baby to her mother, the late Lynn Margulis. Lynn Margulis was a prominent scientist whose work “helped transform the study of evolution.” She bravely challenged the ideas of many other prominent scientists and since then, her theories have become “accepted evolutionary doctrine” according to The New York Times.

Jennifer Margulis is the perfect combination of someone who truly values science, having been steeped in it, and who is also entirely devoted to mothering. Like her mom, she is “sticking her neck out,” challenging ideas that have been widely and unquestioningly accepted. The Business of Baby will be an important part of the evolution of parenting as we currently know it, as reader by reader we begin to think, begin to question, begin to wake up.

Her mom would be so proud.

BUY THIS BOOK! Read this book. Give it as a baby shower gift. Tell your friends. Be part of the change.

Amen.

* For more on author Jennifer Margulis, click here.

* Like the Facebook page for The Business of Baby here. 

Uncle

There is a writing workshop I really, really want to go to coming up later this month. There are two people presenting I really, really want to meet in person. I admire their work and have received good support from them, and I would like to support them back,  and I just would love to immerse myself in their positive ju-ju for a day or two.

Plus there is another HUGE writer I would love to hear speak. Plus, there is another smaller panel and one of the writers on it I would just be thrilled to meet in person. I love her work and what she is about and she could be a very influential contact for my next book, a spiritual book on parenting children with special needs.

BUT

It is over eight hours away. And I am bone tired. We traveled six hours by car two weekends ago because Todd’s mom is sick and I’ve barely got my footing since getting back. And we will likely be doing it again soon.

AND

We are getting our house ready to sell. It is a TON of work. Clearing out. Painting. Hiring various contractors to do work we can’t do. Getting inspections taken care of. Meeting with realtors. Selling our stuff on Craigslist. Trying to get it “show” ready.

ALSO

Todd has been working like a demon. He’s been doing tons of shifts that start at 6AM, and he is tired too. We’ve barely had a moment together in weeks, and I miss him.

ANOTHER THING

I meet with some of my women writer friends here the weekend of the workshop, and this group is very important to me and I won’t be here in Cleveland much longer and I don’t want to miss it/them.

PLUS

I’d miss chorus. And I won’t be here in Cleveland much longer and I don’t want to miss it/them.

SO

I just have to cry uncle. I have to believe there is always another workshop. Always another ship coming in. Always Divine timing.

I could go to the workshop. But it would likely wipe me out. Writing workshops are great, but they are not relaxing. They are not retreats. They are often stressful, and emotionally draining, especially if you are doing real work. And why go if you’re not going to do the real work?

It’s all okay.

I can do everything I want in this life, just not all at the same time.

Damn it.

Let the Dogs Speak!

I first met Marianne McKiernan when she contacted me to do a story for the news organization she works for in Denver. She is a service dog puppy raiser as well as a reporter and her dog-in-training, Rocket, had a mad crush on Jingle. In addition to training dogs for Canine Companions for Independence, Marianne is an animal intuitive and she has offered her services a couple of times when our pets have been out of sorts.

In her new book, Let the Dogs Speak! Puppies in Training Tell the Story of Canine Companions for Independence, Marianne tells the story of four dogs she’s raised and she does it…in the dogs’ voices…thus the title.  Their names are Hudson, Parker, Ross and Mars. I started to read the book, and then Seth hi-jacked it and I didn’t see it again for three weeks. He took it to school for his reading time there, and he read it every night before bed. He really enjoyed learning about each dog’s story and also the personality and idiosyncracies of the many dogs discussed in the book. For instance, one dog is phobic of butter. When his person takes a stick out of the fridge, he gets really scared. We all have our issues, right? One dog liked to use his bone as a skateboard. One dog’s hobbies included rolling in dead snake.

I enjoyed learning more about what goes into the process of raising a service dog. I had an idea, probably a better idea than most, but I didn’t really know the extent of it.  In addition to the extensive work puppy raisers like Marianne and her husband John put in, the dogs at Canine Companions go through a rigorous program with prison inmates as well (Jingle also did this in her program with 4 Paws for Ability). As one of the dogs in the book states, “It takes a village to raise a service dog!”

Let the Dogs Speak! would be a perfect book for anyone who is considering obtaining a service dog. It would be especially soothing and wonderful and exciting to read for anyone who is actively waiting on a service dog. It would also be great reading for anyone who is considering being a puppy raiser for a service dog program. But truly, anyone who loves dogs is sure to get a kick out of it. Every question you ever had about service dogs and their role in society is covered.

You just can’t imagine the dedication and commitment on the part of puppy raisers like Marianne. They take puppy after puppy, love them, work with them, and then let them go, time after time. It takes a special kind of person to make that kind of committment and sacrifice.

On behalf of our family and those like us, we thank you Marianne, and we’re so appreciative for your willingness to do the beautiful work you do.

We are glad you Let the Dogs Speak! and we are so blessed to call you friend.

Marianne is busy raising Jeb, puppy #9, almost 8 months old.  Rocket, #8, is at Advanced Training and he’s a hopeful for a May graduation. Even after all the hard work and love put in, not every dog makes it through the program. It is nerve wracking for Marianne right up until the day of graduation.

Jeb is continuing Marianne’s DogBlog at The Denver Channel.com.

She says she gets more out of CCI than she puts into it, and feels it is a pleasure and a privilege to raise these dogs.

Be Kind for Autism Awareness

Parent teacher conferences at Seth’s preschool. We are new to town. I don’t have a local emergency contact person. We’ve only been here a couple of months and it’s all I can do to tend to my two children. One with autism. I don’t get to “do coffee” or hang out with the other preschool moms, chit chatting away, making friends and emergency contacts. I’m busy with doctor appointments, and therapies, and making every morsel my family eats from scratch in order to follow The Specific Carb Diet to a T. I don’t know it yet, but my health is about to take a dive. Adrenal fatigue. Thyroid.

I don’t have anyone to leave my kids with for this 20 minute conference. But the conference is essential. Mandatory. I noted previously the secretary’s office has a train table, a basket of toys and books. I’m sure it will be alright. I’ll be just down the hall. They play nice together. Nothing should set Riley off here.

The secretary says, “Yes, yes of course! They are darling! Look at them!” I let out my breath. I never ask for help. I hate asking for help. But she’s so gracious. I get a lump in my throat.

Seth’s teachers love him. They say he’s a doll. In and out. No dilly-dallying. I’m on my way.

Back in the office, the director is there. She takes me aside and in no uncertain terms tells me this is not a daycare. I can’t be leaving my kids with the secretary. She has work to do. If she lets me do this, then everyone will do this, and no work will get done.

I feel punched in the stomach. I have just moved here. I don’t know anyone. No emergency contact. I moved here for my older child who has autism. I am trying so hard. I am buckling with the strain of the last few years.

I asked for help, one time. For twenty minutes.

Tears welled in my eyes and I willed myself not to cry. I didn’t cry. I wouldn’t look at her. I took each child by the hand and walked briskly down the hall.

She approached me the next day. She felt terrible. Wanted me to assuage her guilt. I couldn’t get on her bad side. For Seth. He deserved some normalcy in his life. I was polite.

This is autism.