Monday, July 29, 2013

Postal History Foundation Educational Freebies

A local friend was kind enough to let me know about a free program that the Postal History Foundation runs. This program allows educators, whether public school teachers or homeschooling families, to order supplies that include stamps and activity sheets for educational purposes. The lessons serve children from preschool ages to high school. They take donations as well, so feel free to support this fabulous educational program. I included pictures below of the items I requested. There is also a link below for anyone interested in this service.

Postal History Foundation

Topics include composers, authors, geography, alphabet study, and more.

My youngest was the only child who wanted a picture of his work. They all the had fun, though.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Sense of Touch, Bonding, and My Sensory Child

 Today my husband went to pick up his dinner. He frequents fast food restaurants, if you can call them restaurants, so this is fairly normal. I cook for myself and the children and he gets food "from out".

My son said goodbye to hubby, then went to play while my husband was away. When hubby returned, my son threw his toys in the air like a graduation cap, and then ran to me screaming. "Dad is home! Give me a hug!", he said. My son then proceeded to hug me with all his might and ask for a kiss as well. I asked why he did not get a "daddy hug". He said it was because he does not like for other people to touch him.

My son was exploring during a science club nature walk.

As you can tell from the above story, my three year old son does not always feel comfortable hugging his father. He has always had trouble bonding with others. He does well with me, but perhaps that is because I was his food source from the beginning, before his sensory issues came into play. Truth be told, there have been times when he would not accept comfort from me either. As he has grown, those times have lessened.

Sometimes I feel sad because of this, but really it is not something I can force. If I forced him to hug or hold hands with someone he was not comfortable around, it would cause regression and his sensory issues would probably get worse. I am very thankful that I found peaceful and attachment parenting. Child-led development is best.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Absence of a No: Body Autonomy Goes Beyond the Foreskin

Many of my friends and family members agree that children's bodies should stay intact, especially their genitals, unless there is a medical issue that cannot be solved in any other way. This makes sense. After all, who should be in charge of your body, you or someone else?

I want to remind people that we ALL judge. Some of us are more vocal about our summations than others, but we all judge. It is a normal human instinct to size up your environment and gauge safety for yourself and others. It is not normal to insult. It is normal to be honest. If someone gives  information or an opinion, it is not "bashing". Bashing is calling someone names or making threats. By the way, I will be the first to admit that I am often blunt. It is not because I dislike someone, but rather because I am not one to beat around the bush.

Recently I noticed a great many of posts online as well as blog shares that discuss haircuts and children. Sometimes they are cute posts and blogs because the child asked for a haircut and style. Sometimes they are sad because a hairdresser was not professional or a parent forced a child to get the haircut and it turned combative. These posts and blogs got me thinking. Why is it that so many young children are getting haircuts?

Stop and think about it. Did the child ask for a haircut? Even if the child seems happy to sit for a haircut, was there an opportunity to say no? Did the child ask for the cut, and then say "stop"?

I do tend to be an attachment/peaceful parent. If my child asks for a haircut, then changes his mind, I stop. I do not care if the style he wants takes more than one try or sitting. It is better to honor my child's worries, anxiety, and need for safety than to push that child further into his anxiety. We have come too far with his SPD to have regression because I forced something unnecessary on him. He needs to know that he is in charge of his body. My son needs to know that I will make sure no one encroaches on that right. He needs to know that the words "no" and "stop" are valid and honored. This teaches him about his rights and the rights of others.

If a child is forced, for example by being restrained, to have a haircut it can make that child regress. I have also seen restraining go wrong and children get hurt. The only time I have the right to restrain is when a child would otherwise be harmed. For example, if a child runs toward the road I stay close by and use my words. I pick the child up only if using my words does not work.

It amazes me the lengths we will go to defend something we do. Oh, but it is hot. Oh, she hates tangles. He will not sit still. She was screaming. Oh, but he has a special need. She asked for it, but now is not so sure so we will do it anyway.

None of these reasons matters. I still have no right to cut a child's hair without permission. The absence of a no does not equal yes. I realize that this term is used in other types of discussions, but it applies to haircuts as well.

I hope that rather than feeling judged, people stop and re-assess. I do this fairly often as well. I figure that a good parent spends most of the time re-assessing anyway. Certainly no one is perfect and I have made many choices I would change if I ever have to make them again. 

Much love and peace to you all! :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

PSA My Posts Are About Me

Sometimes I forget that people who post threads, tweets, and blogs are not talking about me. Sometimes I feel emotional about a vent or information. I suppose that is just how humans are wired. My point is that I make a conscious effort to step away from my feelings as often as possible, process why I feel that way about what someone else has written, and then move on.  I have to remember that your tweets, blogs, and threads are about you and mine are about me.

Usually a vent is only a vent and information is only information.We all judge instinctively, our ancestors used this skill in order to survive, which may be why we sometimes feel poorly even when we have done nothing wrong or harmful. It is when the judging or venting goes to a place of name calling or general rudeness that we have an issue. I try not to go there. I am honest and blunt, though. (Just an FYI for those who do not know me in real life. That IS the way I am wired.) Also, I am at a place in my life where I don't care much about what others think of me.

I hope you all realize that my posts are about me, not you. If something hits you in your core please take time to figure out why. Chances are I am not concerned with you at all, but rather letting off steam so I can let go of my stress and move on with life. This is one way I am able to be a better mom, wife, and employee.

Much love to you all!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Making Progress

My youngest child is living with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder). He has many obsessions, "odd" behaviors, and sometimes makes choices that baffle me. I used to dwell on his negative behaviors and feel depressed. Now I try to dwell more on the positive behaviors that come to light. After all, it has been months since the last time he head banged in order to hurt himself on purpose, though he still sometimes tries to throw himself down stairs or onto a hard floor. Small steps and large ones are all a celebration for us at this point.

It used to be that my son woke up screaming regardless of the time of day or for how long he slept. He could be beside me or on his own. It didn't matter, he woke up screaming. Yesterday was a WONDERFUL surprise. Not only did he wake up in a good mood, but he chose to stay in his room and play instead of come to me for "ba milk" and cuddles. He proceeded to play on his own, though I said hello and asked if he needed anything, for over an hour.

He might wake up screaming again today, tomorrow, or the next day. He might zone out and not speak all afternoon. However, I am still thankful that he is making progress and working through things. I look forward to many more positive steps forward in the future!

I want for other parents to know that positive changes do happen. It may seem frustrating or sad, but eventually things can look up. Seek support when you need it or when your child needs it. It can get better. :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Rigor Fad In Education

There is a new fad in public school education. This fad is being driven by No Child Left Behind, The Common Core, and standardized testing. Most often the term used to describe this new fad is "rigor". We, teachers and parents, are being told that our students NEED rigorous teaching in order to learn. We are being told that without rigor, students will never learn or keep up with other countries in the modern day work place. (Perhaps in another post I will have the patience to discuss the people and companies that are making money off of this fad as this has become a very lucrative business opportunity for many.)

I am here to tell you that none of this is true. Humans are wired to learn. From birth we learn to eat, sleep, move, and make noises that communicate our needs. As we live, we learn more and more about our world. Yes, even children who are living with special needs will learn. A child may need more modeling and practice in one subject than another. Also, some children will be better at one subject than others. This is normal. After all, if you are great at repairing cars you do not have to be great at gardening. We are each unique so that we, as a species, can survive.

When I looked up the word "rigor" on the Merriam-Webster Dictionary website, I found the following information.

1 a (1) : harsh inflexibility in opinion, temper, or judgment : severity (2) : the quality of being unyielding or inflexible : strictness (3) : severity of life : austerity
b : an act or instance of strictness, severity, or cruelty
2: a tremor caused by a chill
3: a condition that makes life difficult, challenging, or uncomfortable; especially : extremity of cold
4: strict precision : exactness <logical rigor>
5 a obsolete : rigidity, stiffness

b : rigidness or torpor of organs or tissue that prevents response to stimuli

adversity, asperity, hardness, hardship, difficult
I ask you, do you want your children to go to school and be faced with adversity and hardship in EVERYTHING they do? This is what is being suggested by "scholars". Well, let me be clear, some scholars who are not experts in developmentally appropriate practices will suggest rigor as a course of action in education. After all, we need to force children to learn, right?

I suggest a different approach. Talk with children, model for them, read in front of them, read with them, explore nature, cook together, build projects together, have fun together. If we pay attention, our children will lead us through their own developmentally appropriate learning pathways. They will stumble at times and we will help them. Again, this is normal human behavior. There is no need for rigor. There is a need for patience, modeling, compassion, opportunities and action.