Melatonin = Bad Parenting…??!

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Earlier this week, I jokingly stated the following on my Facebook Page: “Umm, my son has fallen asleep on the floor, wrapped up in a blanket. Anyone willing to come help me pick up my 100lbs ‘baby’, carry him up the stairs, and put him to bed? He’s in melatonin state. Anyone? Nope. Oh well, thought I would try. 🙂

Surprisingly, it sparked quite a bit of conversation back and forth. One person shared with us that she’s been called a bad mom for giving her child with Autism melatonin to help him calm down enough to sleep.

Whenever I’ve encountered that type of “feedback”, I calmly ask them how much sleep they got last night, the night before, and each night for the last week. Usually, they will say anywhere from 6 – 9 hours. I then explain to them that without melatonin, my son’s natural sleep pattern is he’ll finally fall down (and I mean literally fall down) and go to sleep around midnight (after an 8pm bedtime routine), sleep until about 2am, and then he’ll be up for the next day. Most times, it’s enough to stop them from questioning my family’s need for melatonin.

Other times, they will make the comparison between his sleep pattern and being the parent of a newborn. I will ask them how they felt when they had a newborn. Exhausted. Yes, and when did your child start sleeping through the night? Usually I get an answer of anywhere from 1 – 3 years old. I then remind them that my son is 8 years old and if it wasn’t for melatonin, he probably wouldn’t have slept more than a couple of hours per night since he was born…and without naps either. I’ve never had anyone question beyond there.

I personally always look at these types of conversations as an opportunity to raise awareness about Autism and special needs in general. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes there are conversations where I’m tempted to lose my patience/temper and tell the person off, but I don’t…unless they are stopping me from ensuring my kids are safe, then all bets are off!

I just keep reminding myself that, when I was pregnant with my kids, EVERYONE had an opinion of what was best for me during my pregnancy, until I laughed and told them I was having twins. Rarely did anyone know what to tell me other than some distant person they heard of who had a horrible multiples pregnancy and birth. I would respectfully tell them that I didn’t want to hear about worse-case scenarios because if I wanted to focus on that, all I had to do was pick up ANY book about pregnancy. That’s the ONLY information out there – doomsday information about giving birth to twins.

Then EVERYONE had an opinion about everything baby-related: cloth diapers (nope), breastfeeding (yes…for a year!), immunizations (yes), baby carrying (nope), co-sleeping (sometimes), feeding routines (yes), strict bedtime routines (yes), etc.

Then EVERYONE has an opinion about preschool and school-ages: daycare (yes), work outside the home (yes…for a while anyway for me), homeschool (nope), after school activities (yes), have assessments done for potential diagnosis (yes!!!), etc.

I’m still confused by why people believe there is only one way to raise a family…their way.  The old saying “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” is true. If your family is blessed with special needs, then you know what is best for your family; if your family is blessed without special needs, you still know what is best for your family. Why on earth would you be telling the other family how to best raise their family???

Everyone is an expert…in raising THEIR own family.

Birth Story Will Trump Child’s Rebellious Stage

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An amazing story in the news this morning and frankly, women who give birth are amazing: a lady gave birth on the side of Canada’s busiest highway…Hwy 401. So many amazing things with this brief news story. She pulled over on the side of a probably 10 lane (at least 8 lanes at that point anyway) highway, lay down a blanket and gave birth.

 

Police arrived first and they had to improvise to tie off the umbilical cord by using crime scene tape!

 

Oh, and did I mention that we’re in a cold weather alert here in Southern Ontario?  With windchill right now, we’re experiencing around -20 degrees Celsius!

 

Can you imagine what this mom will say when this daughter goes through the rebellious stage in her teens?! “I gave birth to you on the side of the highway, in -20 degrees!” I think that trumps any rebellion she might go through. 😉

 

What’s your birth story? Mine is one that people hate: I didn’t know I was in labour. Had an appointment at my obgyn that day (weekly if you get to 30 weeks with twins), she checked me, discovered I was having a contraction while she was checking me and I was already 5cm. I had no idea. Didn’t feel anything until right before “the needle” came into the room, around 8cm. There were two jacuzzis in the labour and delivery department of the hospital I gave birth in and waited while one of them was cleaned (the woman had moved to recovery) because I didn’t feel any contractions. Three other women came in, in obvious distress and were taken to other rooms. I was calm and just waited. I figured that I was giving birth to twins so I deserved a jacuzzi. 😉

 

My (then) hubby and my stepdaughter kept asking me if I was ok, if I needed anything, etc. I’m sure they were expecting me to be in a lot of pain, but I wasn’t. A few hours later, I told my (then) hubby to “go get someone because something’s happening”. That’s when I started to get uncomfortable. As it turned out, my son was crowning and they had to rush me off to the Operating Room (when you have twins, you have to give birth in an OR in case something goes wrong). Off course it was shift change in the afternoon so there was a bit of chaos. Half an hour later, my babies were here and I was blessed with being a mom to two amazing children.

My Ode to My Dishwasher

When I was married, my request for a dishwasher was always met with the same arguments: “dishwashers use too much water”, “dishwashers use too much energy”, etc. Whenever any female adult came to visit for the first time, she would always ask where my dishwasher was. Each and every time, my ex-husband thought I prepped them beforehand. I never did. Women notice these things!

My ex-husband was and is really big into scientific and math-based data so I thought I would try arguing my case with stats.  To give some context, at the time, my ex-husband and I were both working fulltime and we had preschool twins in daycare so there were lots of dishes every night. I actually timed how long I spent washing dishes in one week: 15 hours! 15 HOURS!! In one week!! I couldn’t quantify how much water and electricity that used but I was shocked it was 15 hours!

So, when the kids and I moved last month into a house that needed renos, which included redoing the kitchen, I really wanted a dishwasher. At one point, when I was working with the kitchen consultants, it looked like a dishwasher just wasn’t going to fit. My man stepped into the conversation at that point…a dishwasher HAD to be in this kitchen. He wanted me to get my 15 hours per week back. Gotta love that man!

So, I’d like to introduce my new pride and joy: MY DISHWASHER!  My man captured me “having a moment” with my newly installed and functional dishwasher.


Don’t judge me because I…

I saw this prompt on Mabel’s Labels’ Facebook page today and thought it was BRILLIANT!

TODAY Moms & REDBOOK magazine have declared today ‘No Judgement Day’. What do you think of this movement and how would you fill in the blank “Don’t judge me because I _______”?  Here’s the link for the article: “Give other moms a break — today is ‘No Judgment Day’”  

Don’t judge me because I…have twins and one has Autism.  I get judged all the time.  When I tell people I have 6 year old twins, the immediate response is “Wow. One is busy enough. I can’t imagine two!”.  Thankfully for me, my twins were my first so honestly, I know no other way.  In fact, when I hold my friends babies, I feel awkward holding only one. 

 

When I tell people my son has Autism (and honestly, I tell everyone I can; education = understanding = acceptance), I usually get the “I’m sorry” and “I don’t know how you do it”.  I don’t want your pity.  I don’t want you to apologize to me.  I’m not a supermom, I’m just a mom. 

 

Part of my reality is that I scan every new environment we enter to assess possible over-stimulus for my son.  When he has a public meltdown, I can “feel” some people are judging me and my parenting skills, and I’m glad that I’ve gotten to the stage of not caring what they think.  I’ll admit that I’m not the most polite to people (dependent upon age…I still live by the old adage of “be respectful to your elders) when they make a negative comment about what I “should” be doing, but in that very moment, that’s as much as I can manage. 

 

For example, about a year ago, my son had a huge meltdown in a store, throwing himself on the floor, kicking and screaming.  To others, these actions probably look like a regular tantrum.  If it was a tantrum, I would have just stood by him firmly asking him “Are you done this tantrum yet?” until he calms down.

 

What others don’t see is him squeezing his eyes shut, banging the back of his head on the floor, while pulling on his hair.  Those little actions tell me it’s a meltdown.  All I can do is make sure he’s safe, and talk him down from it.  I pulled my hair out of its ponytail, straddled over him to stop him kicking and flailing about so he didn’t hurt himself and others around us, covered my hair around his face trying to get rid of visual over stimulus and focusing his attention on my face.  Then I calmly repeat “everything’s ok, you’re ok, mommy’s here”. 

 

Then I hear someone say “you know, you shouldn’t be letting him stay on the floor like that. It’s dirty.” It took all my energy to NOT turn around and punch that person out.  I sat up knowing that would negate all the progress my son had made to try to calm down, looked this person right in the eyes and told him “I don’t care about dirt! I care about my son not melting down further and drawing blood. It’s Autism. Learn.” In that short amount of time, he had fully escalated again, and I went back to helping him calm down again. No idea what that man did after, and frankly, I didn’t care. I was staring into my son’s face for the next 15minutes, trying to get him to calm down.  By the end of it, I was exhausted, I was bleeding, and he was almost asleep.

 

I’m proud of my kids.  I’m proud to be their mother. You can judge me all you want but at the end of the day, I don’t care about, nor do I accept the judgment.

 

How would you finish the prompt “Don’t judge me because I…”?

30 Days About Me: Day 17 – Insecurity and Proud Of

Day 17- Your Biggest Insecurity & Something About Yourself You Are Proud Of

My biggest insecurity is doing something badly or failing at something, so I don’t try anything that I don’t think I’ll do well…that statement led to a huge argument once with my then-husband.  Not a pretty sight. 

It’s definitely something I need to get over, for fear of being a hypocrite with my kids since I want them to try everything and not give up before they try.  Ironically, I’m insecure about failing at being able to get over it so it’s a bit of a Catch-22 situation.

I’m proud of having given birth to my amazing and healthy twins, and being their mom. 

What’s your biggest insecurity?  What is something you are most proud of?