Are you going to pout and drown? Give up on life? Lay down and feel sorry for yourself? Life is unfair and unkind and you will only find the ugly sides if that is all you choose to see. Or are you going to get up everyday and stop asking why me and start asking why not? You’ll never know the great things you can conceive if you give up before your time. Are you going to continue the cycle of broken dreams? The “let me wait and see” waiting for something to happen but never striving to be. Some of the worst tragedies in life are laced with silent screams. Moments of complacency. The feeling of just not seeming to care. The day after day you choose to let pass you by. Why I declare, are you dead or alive? For most we seem to survive somewhere in between. Not living up to true potential, a staple of fear. Frozen in time, petrified to become uncomfortable and rather live a lie. I will not create a path of broken dreams, of false hope and forgotten life. I will take that uncertain step into the unseen just to be anything, but barley alive.
Lots of woman dream of the day they have a little girl and can put her in the cutest clothes. The lace, bows, and pretty dresses. It makes women squeal. I must confess, I do not have this drive. I still remember suffering at the hands of little girls’ fashion. So, when I had a daughter of my own, I vowed to make comfort first. I have no idea if I have a sensory issue, but I thought I’d share some of the things I remember driving me crazy. In hopes it can maybe help some moms with their children, that may suffer from similar issues. Not to say I’ve outgrown them, I just get to dress
This is a pretty big given, considering the options of tag-less clothes they have now. However, please keep in mind these things can drive adults crazy. Just imagine it for kids.
Be aware of where the stitching and seams hit your child’s body. These two I circled would have driven me crazy. The high stitching on the chest would rub when I raised my arms. Also, would rub on my nipples causing super irritation. The other one in the fold of the arm would be another sensitive area for extra fabric to cause friction. Add caution with stitching that fall on the belly button too.
The blue dress would probably have driven me crazy in three ways. The chest stitching as mentioned. The short cute sleeves in a lot of girls style have a habit of bunching up in the armpits. I admit, the collar would probably have been annoying, but I may have been able to tolerate it.
The purple dress on the right. Be careful with stiff dresses like this that don’t have a lot of flexibility. Especially under the arms. I use to feel almost panicked and constricted when they had no give. Like my arm was stuck.
Oh, lace, how I hate you. Lace has improved over the years. Not nearly as stiff and hard as it once was, but still I’d use caution. Around the neck like this dress and in sensitive areas like the fold of the arms.
Keep in mind a lot of this has to do with
I personally hate anything above my belly button. I have to buy low rise pants. This has been a constant struggle of mine. I can even remember having contestant battles with the seat belt because where it put pressure on my stomach made my nausea. Somethings may seem crazy, but they can actually even make your child feel physically ill.
Tights and socks
Worse thing I’d say about tights is all the bunchy up of your underwear. I could tolerate them as a child, but some might not. A big annoying thing was the seam of the tights at the toes. It didn’t always sit above your toes. Sometimes it sat along the front of them. Kind of like the picture on the right. That was a big trigger. Beware thigh high socks though. Sometimes the constriction and odd placement can be annoying too.
If you talked to anyone in my family they will say they would rather take a trip to hell than ever go shoe shopping with me again. This one is not so much my fault. I have skinny ankles and long feet. We always had to add an extra hole to any buckles and even then the heel still might have been too wide and rubbed blisters. The shoe had to be lightweight and had to have a way to be strapped on, couldn’t be a slip on. My note about shoes is, just pay close attention. Shoes that aren’t fitting properly can cause blisters and real pain.
This is probably the most common one and just personal preference. You’ll have to try different things. Look at the lace, how thick the elastic band is, where the seams hit. I personally preferred my underwear a little big. I did not appreciate skin tight, but another kid might not like extra fabric. Maybe, try little shorts? Honestly, if underwear ever becomes a daily battle, I’m just letting her go commando.
Girl vs Boy Romper
Here’s my example. These are rompers. Basically, PJs for babies. Girls, we have a short weird sleeve, that can dig in the armpit. Nice extra stitching to rub on the chest and nipple area. Last, a nice elastic around the leg to add extra constriction. Boys, on the right, has none of that.
There we have it. Some of my big clothing annoyances. Even though I directed this from a girls point of view, this can go for boys too. These things may not apply to every child and they may have their own issues. It can be the fabric, how it fits, the placement of certain things. Some kids only like broke in clothes. I’ll take an old beat up t-shirt over a new one any day. These are just things to keep in mind. All this may seem silly to adults, but it’s like a mental thorn for people like me. Some of it is actual physical pain too. For me, I didn’t like things that rub certain areas. I also didn’t like feeling trapped and my movement restricted. Like I mentioned I would panic if I couldn’t move certain ways or felt like I couldn’t get my clothes off. I would get sick to my stomach and sweat. Being fashionable is nice, but I just don’t think it’s worth sacrificing comfort. At least not for our children who have no idea why. I hope next time you’re having the clothes battle with your child this comes to mind and helps.
“Being mindful of the times when maybe, we the parents, can be the atmosphere the asteroid breaks up in. Rather, than letting it create a crater in some young life.” – D.J.W
Navigating parenthood is like walking in the dark. You really are just going blind and doing the best you can. It doesn’t matter how you do it because someone will always tell you, you did it wrong. So, we stumble around like a bunch of newborn foals and hope to find some footing. We’ll never be perfect, and that’s ok. Kids don’t need perfect, but they do need love. They do need stability.
I grew up in a home. Not a house of people, but a home. Perfectly flawed. I was a confident and headstrong child. Little did my stubborn-ass know, this was built on the love and stability of my home. When my parents divorced and the foundation on which I built my confidence was cracked. I became unstable. A rebel without a cause, I was lost. The place I turned to when I felt insecure, was gone. They were just as lost but being an adolescent teen juggling hormones and new beginnings, I spiraled without the parental alliance I once knew. It felt like I was looking over the rubble of what was once my fortress. I was so very vulnerable and insecure. I watched my family break off like walls crumbling. First, my mother left, then my brother joined the navy, and my father became unstable. So, it was my time to go too. I wandered for many years, slipping and falling. Seeking shelter in people just as broken themselves. Turning to alcohol for confidence and burning bridges out of blind anger for the world.
This story has a happy ending. I found new strengths, new strong bonds, and a confidence only life experience can give you. My childhood family has healed and become different. Not bad, just different. The point is that even though I had a good childhood, the break of my family in my teens caused a ripple effect that followed me for years. I can only imagine what children who are born into a cracked foundation feel. We wonder why youth is so damaged. It’s so important to keep a safe place just for them. Even when your own world is falling apart. Sometimes, you just have to curl up around your children and take the blows of the falling debris. Never let them go it alone. We have grown shells. They are still very much unprotected without us. Life as an adult is far from perfect. It’s ok for your child to see you cry. It’s ok if you don’t have the perfect roof and 4 walls, but you’re love, and care is the foundation that they will build on. Please pay very close attention to your children when the earthquakes of life rock your world. They’re watching and waiting to follow your lead.
My mother and grandmother often tell me how I tried to follow my older brother onto the school bus, his first day of kindergarten. Him being close to 3 years older than me, it wasn’t my time yet. They also tell me how I quickly shooed my mother away on my first day of preschool. I apparently was fiercely independent.
However, my memories are not the same. To this day bologna sandwiches still bring back bits of memories of preschool. Nap time on a cot and playing. They’re not bad memories, but not great. Fast forward to grade school and it just gets worse. Besides, the normal memories of getting teased and picked on. I remember being shuffled around. I was pulled from class for one on ones, with special teachers. I was also placed in the special needs classes for short periods of time. Along with memories of my parents getting so frustrated with me, with “what don’t you understand!” when it came to math problems. I remember my brother teaching me how to write the number 5 because I just couldn’t understand the flag on top. Or at least that’s what he told me when it finally clicked.
I shut down. I shut down from learning. I was convinced I was stupid and slow. I never won spelling bees. Hell, I usually failed spelling tests. I was frustrated. This followed me all my life. I dropped out of high school. I did get my GED and was in community college before the kids in my graduating class. I went on to college to be a veterinary technician. Not glamorous, but it’s what I wanted to do. Well, there was no chance someone as stupid as I was going to be a veterinarian. Even in college I excepted and was always at the back of the pack.
Now, I’ve been doing a lot of self-searching and trying to figure out who I am, what do I want to be, and where I want to go. I’ve been self-teaching. Realizing, I can learn anything I want. I do have the ability. Maybe I’m not as unintelligent as I thought. The adults in my life may have not seen things this way, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. This is how it felt, this is how my young mind interpreted it. I wasn’t at the same pace with the rest of the class, I learned differently. Unfortunately, no one understood. They tried to shove me in a box. Like the saying goes “you can’t judge a goldfish by its ability to climb a tree.” I was a victim of this system. A system designed to make the perfect factory workers. It doesn’t feed creative minds. It’s doesn’t praise problem-solving. I do remember kicking one of the smart kid’s butts in a game similar to checkers. It was all about anticipating. I was good at that, but it wasn’t treated or nurtured like a skill. Even though, it was supervised and witnessed by a teacher. It wasn’t graded upon or taken into consideration. I remember my brother had nicknamed me “MacGyver” because I could find a way to rig tools out of random things to help me with problems. I think it started when I tied a piece of floss around my loose baby tooth to rip it out. Can you see a pattern, of why I looked up to my brother so much? He did seem to have the patience and ability to work with me and take notice of my positives.
I now love to learn. I see endless possibilities for my mind. Not because of school, but despite it. It did so much more damage than good. I do worry about the others that have suffered the same. I hope they can find a love to learn. So, for payback, school. I’m giving you a big fat “F”. Your outdated system squishes creative minds. It smears problem solvers in the dirt. You put young people in a jail cell. You sterilize their minds into believing they’re not good enough because they don’t live up to your bubble test. I hope this grade haunts you. I hope it makes others doubt you and they look for another way. I hope society wakes up and nurtures each child’s strengths and weaknesses. I may have not been able to climb trees, but what if someone had just thought to put me in the water?
I use to work in a pharmacy where nuns from a convent visited often. The conversation would always end with a “God bless you.” often when you have a struggle or a tragedy in life people say “praying for you.” I’m not a religious person. I just never like organized religion. I don’t really seem to like organized anything. I have my believes that fit me. I’m not an atheist. I believe in something out there. What I do believe in, is the power of our minds. The power of negative thoughts vs positive ones. What I’m really shocked to find is people get offended when someone wishes well on them in their religion. Some people that aren’t Catholic will flip if you say, “God bless you.” I, however, appreciate. I don’t care how you word your positive vibes to me. If they’re happy thoughts I’ll take them with their intentions. For religious people blessing you or praying for you is a big compliment. It’s their highest form of gratitude. Who am I to care how it’s delivered, let alone get mad. For me it’s not the words that matter it’s their intentions. It’s very similar to the tone of voice. It’s not what you say, but how you say it. I’ll happily receive good vibes and happy thoughts any day. I feel honored you took time out of your day to ask good things for me from the powers that you worship. Even if they’re not my own. The heart speaks in many languages. The words you use it’s purely up to you. I will take them for the positive thoughts they are. There’s so much hate and anger already in the world why try to infected something said with love.
I’ve come to realize saying “I’ll never do that” as a mother is the biggest jinx you can put on yourself. I remember pre-motherhood watching mom friends go about their lives and passing my unwanted judgement. Thinking to myself or even saying out loud “I’ll never do (insert snobby comment).” My how the tides can change.
I had a friend that bedshared with her son and then her daughter. Her husband slept on the couch. If she complained about marriage trouble, I would think “well duh, your husband sleeps on the couch. While you crowd your bed with kids.” Even after I became pregnant I swore my child would never end up in my bed. “I’m way too heavy of a sleeper and I needed my space to sleep.’ I currently have a sleeping toddler snoring away next to me. This has been our arrangement since the first month of her life. My spouse never happy with the idea, sleeps separately. I believe the marriage trouble taboo that comes with it is due to a programming of the western norm. I feel safer knowing she’s close at night and even though my partner might not like it, he understands.
My best friend had children before me and when her second was born she breastfed. I remember being soo uncomfortable around her at this time. She breastfed until her daughter was a toddler and I remember her pulling her mom’s shirt down in the middle of a conversation. It was just too much for me. When I became pregnant I decided to breastfeed. If nothing else it was cheaper. I also did believe it would give her the best start in life. Somewhere in there, I think my best friend planted a seed that made me think it was the right thing to do. However, I said I would never breastfeed until she was old enough to rip my shirt off. I was shooting for 6 months to a year tops. Well, folks, I’m still my daughter’s walking milk carton. We’ll be hitting 3 years in a few months.
One of my hardest examples to swallow is “I’ll never put my dogs second.” I honestly thought I understood the love of a parent and had that same love for my pets. I would run into a burning building for them, I would risk my life to protect them. I had no idea that my life’s value didn’t hold a candle to my child. I really wish love for a pet could be comparable to that of a child’s. I suppose if I never had a child I would have never known there is a difference other than the obvious common law, that people’s lives are treated with more value than animals. No, I love my dogs. I want the best for them, but my daughter is my heart. It’s a bittersweet realization.
The list could go on and on. “I’ll never take my kid in a store barefoot.” If your toddler losing their mind over putting those shoes on and your running on two hours of sleep, you might just throw in the towel. “I’ll never give my kid candy” If you need two seconds to yourself to catch your breath, you might just bribe them with candy (not saying I’ve ever done this, just ya know.) “I’ll never put my kid on one of those leashes. They’re not a dog” If you got a runner and you’re walking around a dangerous area, please, put them on one. It’s ok to admit defeat. Just look at it as a building character. It takes a lot to admit when you were wrong.
My biggest piece of advice for parents, never ever, ever, say I’ll never. Karma, the world, God, whatever has a wicked sense of humor. You think You know, but you have no idea. Being a parent pushes you to limits you never knew existed. It’s a world of giving up your stance for a little piece of sanity. A desperate time that calls for desperate measures. Screw what people think, you do what you have to do to get by. As long as you do the best you can to keep your child happy and healthy, and your peace of mind, go ahead and eat your words. I think I’ll just stop saying them. To all the mothers I judged, my most sincere apologies. You’re doing great and I’m sorry to have been one of those people. I hope you get a giggle at my expense.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” —Vivian Greene.
I may be all over the place. I lack in organization and time management more than I’d like to admit, but every cloud has its silver lining. “I think, therefore, I am” I don’t fear the mess, I am the mess. I’m so used to nothing ever falling into place that when it doesn’t, it’s nothing new. I don’t kill myself over holding a perfect image. Hows this transfers into motherhood, you might ask? I don’t hold my daughter to a standard. I don’t expect her to fall into sync with my life’s rhythm. We make our own, crazy lyrics as we go. I don’t buy the perfect shoes and keep them out of the mud, why? They’ll only fit for a couple months tops, anyway. I don’t put her in clothes I think will be uncomfortable. I’m sorry my child’s comfort isn’t worth that picture of fake reality professionally photoshopped on the wall. I want raw real life. I want spontaneous laughter. I want the wind in our wild hair and earth between our toes. I have no one to impress with my perfected mommyhood, we all know its fake anyway. I’m not sure why we continue to put on the show.
I also won’t break my back trying to make my house look like a magazine. We live here. With a toddler and 3 dogs. Dishes are in the sink and I probably need to vacuum. With 3 dogs I will always need to vacuum. I will not let my best years with my baby pass me by cleaning. I want all the little moments that add up to be the best memories. I don’t want to remember trying to rush her out the door and snapping at her because she found chocolate and covered her sparkling clean face. I don’t want to remember feeling ashamed because I couldn’t fake it with the best of them. So, I won’t. I refuse. I welcome the chaos. As long as it means happier authentic moments.
This is my dedication
I’ve just recently started taking pen to paper and writing my thoughts and experiences down. While what I write about comes from my heart others definitely helped to inspire me.
I hope to never forget when I stepped into motherhood. I was lost to say the least. As a woman that had never fantasized about the white picket fence and 2.5 children. I had been hit with a heavy dose of reality. “Who thought it was a good idea to give me a child? Animals, I can handle animals. Some are even born with their eyes open and walking. What is this pink, helpless, furless creature?” Like most people, I turned to the internet. I read all the how-tos. I read the endless lists of top 10 baby toys, top 5 signs to watch your infant for, and so on. All this was interesting enough, but what helped me the most was other moms. The brave mothers that wrote their stories and shared them. They exposed their intimate secrets of the good, the bad, and the ugly of every milestone. They share their most vulnerable and weakest moments with the world. I’m sure for every mom that cherished that information there was some internet troll belittling them, but still, they shared. Any time I felt defeated I could search my problem and get other moms with blogs and websites writing things I felt like I could have written it myself. Sometimes I got solutions to problems, other times the hope there is light at the end of the tunnel but I always got the reassurance that I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t trapped and helpless. I had a tribe of women who felt, fear, shame, and worry like I did. That got angry, lost their temper, felt like a failure. They also knew the feeling of having their hearts engorged with so much love you’d think it exploded. They shared the excitement of first kicks, first words, first steps. You felt like apart of their family. These powerful women also poured their hearts out with a loss or tragedy to give other moms the strength to make it one more day. These “mommy bloggers” are my heroes, my muse. They helped push me to share. In hopes, I can touch someone like they did me. This is my sincerest thank you and tribute to these mommy warriors.
A story of Raising Spirited Children.
While my child was a baby I started to look for some answers as to why it all seemed so hard. I felt like I didn’t have the same experiences other new moms were having. Thanks to the internet and another mom feeling my pain, she introduced me to “high needs groups”. High needs groups are groups of women that have children with more than average needs. They don’t really fit in a textbook and it’s not necessarily medical or diagnosable, even though things like that can come with it. There’s actually other names too. A super easy baby is a “log” or a moderately easy baby is a “light high needs”. Then you have your extremes. One being a ” unicorn” opposite end being a “dragon”. I know people are thinking, “this is just crazy. It’s all about how you handle the children.” Well it’s not. There’s nature and there’s nurture. Some children just naturally have certain ways. Now, the “not high needs” children, I’m sure will grow up to be great adults and this is not to dismiss their qualities or say one is better than the other. This is to help moms see the light at the end of the tunnel when their baby dragons are spewing the smoke.
Dragons are not a curse they are a challenge. First thing that rubs me the wrong way is the peanut gallery. They come in and decided that they know best, share their unwanted opinions on how baby should act this way and we shouldn’t do it that way. My child needs more of me. Yes, some days its really hard. Yes, I don’t get things done most of the time. Yes, I have to sleep with my daughter or she won’t sleep. Yes, I get limited or no alone time. This too shall pass. One day it won’t be like this. One day she will not need me and given her fiery little independents that day will come soon enough. This is not “how to train your dragon”. Dragons are not trained they are guided. I should say that should be a number one rule with these children. Force, threats, and any other of “it’s my way or no way” tactics is not the tools you use here. They will push right back. You have to listen, communicate, and find an understanding. Which is so hard with a little human that doesn’t speak (or at least not well), has no control over their emotions, and wants change at the drop of a hat. It takes time and patience. Every day will feel like a never-ending fight. There will be growing pains. You will probably lose your shit, a lot and cry. But here’s where it gets good. As these little monster grow. They will become majestic, powerful, respectable, unstoppable forces. Guide your dragons right and they will be a force to reckon. They know what they want from a very young age and they’ll do what they have to, to get it. Knowing what you want is half the battle of finding happiness. The next, having the strength and confidence to go after it. Which they also have, as long as this quality is nurtured vs trying to battle it out of them. Don’t break their spirit. Spirit, gusto, and grit are keys. Keys not everyone is born with. Keys people can spend a lifetime trying to acquire. Your little spitfire was born possessing some, if not all of these already. Let go of the need to control. Observe, stop and try to understand what they’re doing. You won’t always be able to do this. Life’s doesn’t always give us this luxury. You will have to physically swoop up this screaming ball of fury while it fights you tooth and nail because you don’t have a choice, but this shouldn’t be the answer every time. Don’t fall for the social norm of what society paints our children to look like. Listen to your motherly instincts and listen to your child. You will learn skills and discover strengths in yourself, you never knew you had. That’s the power of a dragon. When you come to understand one another and become a team you’ll both gain strength and help each other with your weaknesses. Being a parent of a dragon will show you, we all are both students and teachers, no matter how young or old. They are a wonderful horrifying forces of nature. That reminds me magic is real and lives in my child. I can’t wait to see what mountains she will move next.
So much time and money wasted. Forgotten dreams drowned in potent drinks of different liquors. I’m sure there were life lessons learned but doesn’t change the desire to turn back time and undue destruction caused. I’m an ex-acholic. I say ex because I no longer struggle with it. I don’t miss it or have a desire. I don’t envy the people that still drink. I do pity some stuck in the loop I know personally. Most of all I apologize. To the good friendships lost because of cruel things spoken and done. The property destruction, embarrassment, false sense of security it wouldn’t happen again. Destroying their own friendships to try and defend me in my drunken stupor. The ones closest to me hurt the most. Trying to protect me from others that just “didn’t understand how she is when she’s drunk” while being attack by me as well. Trying to brush off the vindictive things said because “she didn’t mean them. She was drunk” while deep down question what it really meant. This wasn’t friendships but abuse. Abuse and feeling helpless unable to save me from myself. Significant others suffer some of the worst. They became a target. When drinking all my unhappiness, rage, and hatred was homed in on them. I blamed them. I say “them” because it was a hand full of people brave enough to get into a relationship with me. Most sticking around way longer then they should of. Some fighting their own demons. I can only assume they hoped our two negatives would make a positive only to be spit out the other side. Running for the hills. I don’t blame them. Each having their own pros and cons to a journey of self-destruction that did eventually turn into self-realization. I started drinking way too young. I used it as a security blanket. It started as a way for a normally shy girl to come out of her comfort zone. Quickly turning into a crutch on the only way to socializing. Then a way to cope with loss and abandonment and last to feel numb and escape. I also owe myself an apologie. I’m sorry that I made myself forget my dreams. I was a functioning drinker and accomplished life’s stepping stones somehow. Graduated high school got a college degree, but who knows what could have been possible if I would have been completely invested. Not hung over or waiting for the next night out. Getting enough sleep. I’m sorry for the physical damage done. I actually broke bones, but also the internal wear. The lack of self care. The times of vomiting all night and not caring for my teeth. Skipping meals because I only had enough money for booze. The relationships I could have had. The possible friends that passed me by because who would want to be a part of that mess. It was a smart move on their part, but what kind of doors did I lock because I couldn’t see past the bottle. In a town where everyone knows everyone, you build a reputation that follows you. I have lost potential opportunities simply because someone had heard of me. I did make it out the other side. How, is tricky. It took time. It wasn’t magical. A lot of bad decisions catching up. Seeing the pain it caused loved ones. Realizing I was alive, but far from living. I had to pull off the layers that were built up. It took a long time to get that bad, it was going to take a while to come back. I now have a beautiful daughter and I know myself pretty well. I’ve come to the light at the end of a dark tunnel, but I wish I could have just gone around. I have a handle full of great friends and a spouse that has been to hell and back with me. I’m not ungrateful. Just some days I still wonder what if I hadn’t chosen that path. What wonderful things did I miss while I had my drunk blinders on. So, I have made my bed and I have lied in it, but I will not stay there. This is my apology for this chapter of my life, but I will not feel guilty for moving on.