Monday, November 25, 2013
There are basically 3 ways Pagan groups and events handle children. (1) No children, (2) Children are allowed if they can follow an adult standard of behavior that parents are expected to police, (3) Your kids, your problem - you want to let them run loose, great, if not, you figure out how to keep them under control. There are a very few places that offer some sort of childcare, and when they do, it's usually organized by a parent.
Festival wise, I have a hard time justifying spending several hundred dollars to attend a weekend festival where I'll be lucky to participate in more than 2-3 scheduled events. If my husband and I each take a shift with both children so the other one can have a child free shift, and then we each take a shift with each of the children to do something fun with them independently, that's 4 shifts, and by the time you add in meals and a super early bedtime for Acorn, and that's probably most of the day.
Additionally, it's not like my children are old enough for me to leave them in a tent asleep while my husband and I do something fun after dark, so evening things are basically out, unless we each take a night solo (and really....what's the fun in that?).
This even boils over into teaching - because if I use one of my slots of time with no children to teach, then I really have very limited time to enjoy the rest of the event.
Even with childcare...we're probably still in that sort of spot, though Acorn could probably manage childcare if they were prepared for him (though given the difficulties finding him a babysitter, I'm guessing that most places still wouldn't keep him). Some places assume a more laissez faire, free range sort of child policy, and my kids are just not safe that way at this point - I desperately wish that they were, but to practice free range parenting your child has to be able (and willing) to consider the best course of action, and Acorn is not there yet - and Leaf is too young to expect that.
For local ritual groups, the same situation would apply either I have to find someone to babysit, or I have to find a way to convince my children to be still and quiet at all times, and to only act appropriately....and let's just say we're not there yet.
I wish more Pagan groups would get on with realizing that parents can still be active members with the right support, and that children aren't an annoyance to put in the closet.
I strongly suggest that you read Don't Leave Your Friends Behind, which is a book about parenting and social justice movements if you're interested in other ideas for how we could do better for families. (that's an affiliate link, by the way).
Friday, November 15, 2013
While those groups that those new families find first are useful...I feel lately like I'm putting far more into them than I'm getting out of them. There are so many things we have done...and the things that are new to us are generally not things that families who are new to this special needs life really are going to know about.
It's not likely that we'll ever be a completely typical family - some of the kids' needs are going to continue indefinitely. But I'm thinking it's time to take a break from many of the groups I've been a part of for the last few years. Maybe I'll go back sometime.
Friday, November 8, 2013
I'm thankful that my children are alive. Many go through less and are not so lucky. Many do not get to see their children grow up.
I'm thankful my children can walk. Many never do, or lose the ability to.
I'm thankful my children can eat. Even when I'm annoyed by the what and how....there are children who never develop the necessary skills to do so, and children for whom most or all foods are unsafe.
I'm thankful my children can make sounds. I'm not always thankful for the volume or pitch of those sounds, but we went so long without hearing either one's voice that I will never wish they should just shut up. Many parents I know tell me that some day I'll wish they stop talking, but I can't imagine that ever being possible. There are parents who will never hear their children's voices, and parents whose children have passed who will never hear their voices again.
I'm thankful that my children communicate at all. It has been a struggle, and we're all often frustrated, but there are others for whom communication is not so easy.
I'm thankful my children can breathe. Sometimes that's a little sketchy, but for something we all do continually, I've seen what happens when they don't breathe, and it makes me all the more aware of how lucky we are.
I'm thankful for diapers - though I'll be more thankful for potty training - their bodies work they way they should on this front, and that makes life much less complicated. Not everyone has that benefit.
I'm thankful for my children's health. I know they're not as healthy as some, and there will likely always be issues on that front, but things could be so much worse.
I'm thankful for a job that provides insurance that provides for their needs, even when I don't really feel like it meets my needs.
I'm thankful for a spouse who is involved in my children's care. I'm thankful for friends and family who accept my children as they are.
I'm thankful for loving and competent care givers - nurses, teachers, aides, and more - who make working and sleeping a little more possible.
But mostly, I'm thankful for smiles and hugs and tickle fights and bicycle rides. I'm thankful for morning snuggles and bedtime snuggles and singing and laughing.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about their families' policies on screen time.
More than most families, technology is a central facet of our lives.
Machines that breathe when they can't.
Machines to suck out the mucous when a child can't blow their nose or cough it up.
Pumps to feed children through tubes in their bellies.
Machines to keep track of oxygen saturations and heart rate.
Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (list will be updated throughout the day on October 8):
- Has Technology Taken Away Childhood? — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama worries that technology is intruding on the basic premise of childhood - active play in all forms! Join her as she takes a brief look at how play has changed as technology becomes more integrated into the daily lives of our children.
- Fostering a Healthy Relationship with Technology — Jenn at Adventures Down Under describes her children's love of screen time and how her family implements their philosophy and policies on technology.
- Kids Chores for Tech Privileges — Crunchy Con Mommy shares how tying chore completion to iPad privileges worked in her house to limit screen time and inspire voluntary room cleaning!
- Screens — Without the benefit of her own experience, sustainablemum explains her family's use of technology in their home.
- Screen Time - The Battle of Ideologies — Laura from Laura's Blog explains why she is a mom who prioritizes outdoor natural play for her kids but also lets them have ample screen time.
- The Day My iPhone Died — Revolution Momma at Raising a Revolution questions the role technology plays in her life when she is devastated after losing her phone's picture collection from her daughter's first year.
- Finding our Technological Balance — Meegs at A New Day talks about how she finds balance between wanting her daughter to enjoy all the amazing technology available to her, without it overwhelming the natural parenting she's striving for.
- Raising kids who love TV — Lauren at Hobo Mama sometimes fears what children who love screentime will grow up to be … until she realizes they'll be just like her.
- No Limits on Screen Time? Is that Natural? — Susan at Together Walking shares misconceptions and benefits of having no limits on technology and screen time in their home.
- Screen Time — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares what is currently working (and what hasn't) regarding screen time in her household.
- Positive Use of Technology with Kids — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about her family's experiences with early technology, shares helpful resources from around the blogosphere, and speculates on what she'd do as a parent with young children today.
- why i will never quit you, TV — How Emma of Your Fonder Heart came to terms with the fact that screen time is happening, and what balance looks like between real and virtual life for both her toddler AND herself.
- Technology Speaks — Janet at Our Little Acorn finds many uses for technology - including giving her child a voice.
- 5 Ways to Extend Children's Screen Time into Creative Learning Opportunities — Looking for a way to balance screen time with other fun learning experiences? Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares 5 fun ways to take your child's love of favorite shows or video games and turn them into creative educational activities.
- What parents can learn about technology from teachers — Douglas Blane at Friendly Encounters discusses how technology in schools enhances children's learning, and where to find out more.
- 5 Tips for a Peaceful Home — Megan of the Boho Mama and author at Natural Parents Network shares her favorite 5 tips for creating a peaceful home environment.
- Technology and Natural Learning — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling writes about the importance of technology as a tool for natural, self-directed learning.
- Babies and Technology — Jana Falls shares how her family has coped, changed their use of, relied on, and stopped using various forms of technology since their little man arrived on the scene
- Kids and Technology — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about the benefits of using technology with her preschooler, and includes a few of their favorite resources.
- Using Technology to Your Advantage: Helping Children Find Balance — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy discusses how technology can be used or abused and gives a few tips to help children learn balance.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Monday, September 2, 2013
We know too much.
We know that every surgery has risks, and we know people who've seen them first hand.
We know that surgery is sometimes (more often than we'd like) our only option.
We know that an ominous silence after someone posts "heading to the hospital" isn't good.
We know when a friend says they're taking their child to the emergency room whether it's likely to be a short stay or not, based on the issues presented.
We know, because we know them and their child, whether that stay might mean not coming home at all.
We know that those blog posts with cryptic titles usually mean nothing good.
We know which ER to go to in our area, based on what we need and what doctor our children need to see.
We know that as a group, moms and dads of children with medical issues are often smarter than doctors.
We know more than the EMTs who come when we call 911.
We know that the nurses who work in our homes are a blessing and a curse.
We know that hospital nurses likely don't know much about some of the things that are our daily lives.
We know what many diseases entail, even if our children don't have them, and we weep with friends when their children are diagnosed, because we know how the story will end.
We know that doctors are people too - they're not gods, they make mistakes, and they don't know everything.
Friday, August 16, 2013
Have I mentioned how hard it is to keep anything and everything "weird" picked up and out of sight?
We fail at that regularly - I know, because one of our new nurses is Pagan, and we know because she decided to ask based on a few things left out here and there.
I mean...it's really really really nice to have a Pagan nurse.
Really nice. A relief.
For the first time ever, we went to Pagan Pride Day as a family (and boy did we need the extra set of hands!) - something we've never attempted before, because we were afraid to ask any of our obviously Christian nurses to go. We don't have to watch every word out of our mouths. And she's a really good nurse. Maybe not as experienced as some (she's younger than I am), but smart, on her toes, picks up after herself (a big pet peeve here of late), pays attention to Leaf's subtle signals, and has managed to gain Leaf's trust in only 5 shifts - that's a big deal.
And it's a nice thing for her too. If you can imagine working for families all the time who honestly believe that anyone who believes what you do is evil, you can guess how some of these have gone for her, even without her coming out of the broom closet.
Of course, we also know that the agency (and many current and former nurses) think we're odd. I think we're odd, at least compared to most people I know, so it's not a shock, but if that's what they think based on our carefully cleaned up home.....goodness knows what they'd think if we didn't.
Our favorite nurse is out on medical leave. We've oriented 3 new nurses in the last 6 weeks and we still have open shifts. More new nurses to come....more opportunities to scare people away.