The Buzzard's Bay Coalition's Discovery Center in Woods Hole is now OPEN! The Cape Cod center is free and offers a touch tank, interactive exhibits, and daily programs for visitors of all ages. It is open 7 days a week from 10am-4:30pm all summer. This is the perfect activity family activity and the kids will love it!
A mom from Granger Community Church in Indiana performed during a service Mother's Day weekend in a tribute to all mom's, singing her own rendition of "Let It Go" from the popular Disney film, "Frozen." The parody video has gone viral with over 4 million views collectively between YouTube and Vimeo.
Our favorite line in her song was about 1:30 into the video which made us stop and think:
"It's funny how such chaos comes from people oh so small, yet the joy that overwhelms me, when they learn to kick a ball."
These words really help sum parenting up, it is a constant whirlwind of trying to do the best you can which is all made worth it when they learn something. Those are the moments we love, the moments where we know we have done something right.
Let all the other stuff go and live for those moments.
By: Suzanne Golden, M.S., CCC-SLP
School is almost out and that means it is time to get ready for some summer fun! While it is important for kids to have a break from academics and recharge before the next school year, it’s also important to keep fostering their language development. Summer is a great time to expose your children to new experiences, which will naturally introduce new language and add to his/her background knowledge about the world. We are very fortunate to have some great destinations that are close by, inexpensive and great for language!
Woods Hole Science Aquarium
166 Water Street, Woods Hole, MA
Buzzards Bay Discovery Center
21 Luscombe Avenue, Woods Hole, MA
Plymouth County Farm and Petting Zoo
74 Obery Street, Plymouth, MA
Nelson Memorial Park
Nelson Street, Plymouth, MA
Butterflies of Cape Cod
26 Herring Pond Road, Bourne, MA
Ellisville Harbor State Park
State Highway 3A, Plymouth, MA 02360
Over the next few months I hope to document trips to these awesome locations with my daughter and give suggestions for including language development in your visits. In the meantime, I hope you find some time to check these out and have some summer fun while also introducing new language!
If you can think of any other locations that are great for local, low-to-no cost summer fun please comment below. I would love to hear your suggestions!
Cape Cod Mommies has teamed up with some other amazing bloggers this week to bring you a series:
Experience Cape Cod Like A Local
Local Picks from Local Bloggers
Click on the links below after reading ours and check out other local recommendations.
The Holistic Mama
Cape Cod Mommies
Nap Time is My Time
Terrell Family Fun
Modern Day Wife
As part of this series we will also be featuring a giveaway-so see below for more info!
Visit my Cape Cod blogging colleagues and read about their Top 5 Favorite things on Cape Cod
Top 5 FREE Family Friendly Outdoor Cape Cod Activities
White Cedar Swamp in Wellfleet
(recommended by Cape Cod Mom Sarah)
Experience a gorgeous hike like no other, located near Marconi Beach, that makes you feel as if you are in a land of Once Upon A Time. The hike is approximately 1.5 miles and has a lot of uphill walking. There are some paths off the Boardwalk where you can cross to the dunes and see the beach, or you can stroll the winding boardwalk and pretend you are in another world.
Tip: Bring bug Repellent
Beech Forest in Provincetown
(recommended by Cape Cod Mom Bryana)
Another great tree paradise is Beech Forest. You can stroll trails and listen to the birds as you explore nature with the kids. You can even feed the birds and the little chickadees will actually land in your palm to feed.
Fish Hatchery in Sandwich
(recommended by Cape Cod Mom Trish)
We absolutely love the Sandwich Fish Hatchery and have raved about it before (Sandwich Fish Hatchery Review). It is the perfect place to entertain the young kids. Make sure to bring some quarters to get fish pellets. Toss the pellets in and watch the frenzy! Tip: Bring a paper cup with you for all the pellets.
The Petting Zoo at the Sheriff's Department Farm Plymouth.
(recommended by Cape Cod Mom Suzy)
The have all kinds of animals - cows, chickens, goats, pigs, bunnies - and in the spring/summer they give away free food so you can feed the animals. They also have a spot that you can have a picnic. Entrance is always free of charge. Come by and visit Mary the Cow and all her friends!
Address: 74 Obery Street, Plymouth, MA 02360
Burgess Park in Marstons Mills
(recommended by Cape Cod Mom Sarah)
Burgess Park is a Disc Golf course with 18 holes set in the gorgeous shade of the woods. It is fun for all ages and can be great exercise for the whole family. Even your littles will enjoy trying to toss a disc into the basket! If you are lucky, your kids will be exhausted after this busy day!
By : Sarah R
When I first became a mom last summer, I was determined to breastfeed my child. No one can prepare you for how tough it is with a newborn and how it changes your identity as a woman and a wife or girlfriend. Plus the underwear choices out there for a nursing mother are not the most attractive – cotton nursing tanks and full coverage lycra nursing bras are my everyday attire. The detachable straps that you can quickly unhook and rehook when your baby is screaming for food are key in those early days. When I went shopping at a big chain store, I wondered why there not more stylish, and frankly, prettier options. That is why when I received my Hot Milk Eclipse nursing bra that they generously sent me, I was pleasantly surprised that not only was it fully functional for the nursing mother, but also very sexy. Sexier even than most of my pre-mommy lingerie! The black lace and jeweled decal give it just the right look to entice your significant other and also helped me to feel a whole lot better about my postpartum figure. At the same time, I am able to nurse and pump with ease, as the straps are just as easy to hook as my plain-jane full coverage nursing bra from the big chain store. I have to admit that I plan to continue using the Hot Milk bra even after I stop nursing and pumping, as it is one of the sexiest bras I own!
By Tracy Martin-Turgeon
Myths about Math:
1. If children do not get basic math concepts in early years and elementary, they will just catch up later on.
· This is false; research has shown that if a child struggles in elementary school in math, they will still struggle in middle and high school. It is important for children to grasp math at an early age.
2. Teaching children math at preschool level is not serious until middle or high school.
· Not true; children who are exposed to basic number sense early on and in Kindergarten tend to succeed and progress more in math.
3. Toddlers should not be doing math.
· This is false; although you will not be teaching your toddler multiplication, toddlers begin to learn basic math through talking, singing, using blocks, simple puzzles and nesting cups.
4. When you spend too much time on math at a young age, it takes away from other learning experiences.
· False; when children learn math, they not only learn simple concepts and number sense, they are also learning communication skills, language, literacy, and writing.
Some activities to do at home to enhance math:
· When folding clothes, have your child sort the socks and match them for you.
· Have your child set the table with dishes and the silverware for one-to-one correspondence.
· While driving in the car, count how many white, red or green cars go by.
· Have your child find numbers on buildings, buses, taxies or houses that they can add or subtract.
· Find license plates and try to read the number. TM 3689 this would read three thousand, six hundred and eighty nine. How many states did you find? Which state had the most plates on the road?
· Cooking, measuring and estimating liquids and solids when baking. How much is a half or a quarter of a cup?
· Have them count out the change you get back from a purchase or what they have saved in their piggy banks.
The most important thing you can do for your child is not to ignore math and help them to love math as they grow.
Resources: Parent and child, and Parent fun math.
B-Roll: The Children’s Museum, books on math for young children, paper plates and silverware, socks, and change.
Tracy Martin-Turgeon has been in the field of early childhood education for 22 years. She started with The Children's Workshop in September 1999 as an assistant director for and has since served as director, regional, and currently as a VP regional overseeing seven facilities throughout MA and RI. Tracy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Early Childhood education from the University of RI. In her role, Tracy enjoys most supporting and helping the staff, families, and children she works with every day. When she is not working, she enjoys gardening, cooking, and spending time with her husband and children.
By: Rebekah Thomson, Pediatric Sleep Coach
Many times after working with a family to solve their child’s sleep challenges, parents ask me for sleep tips for themselves. My training does not include adult sleep issues, but below are some excellent suggestions from Kim West that often solve the problem.
In addition to the following tips, I also highly recommend www.lowbluelights.com, who make night glasses and other products that block out blue light, thereby tricking the brain into secreting melatonin while lights are still on. In my household, we use the glasses, night-lights, iphone covers, and lightbulbs.
Here is to a great night's sleep for your entire family!
Tips for Sleeping Well Every Night by Kim West
Did you know that getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night can help you live longer, be thinner, think clearer and look younger? Despite these incredible benefits more then half of U.S. adults get less then 7-8 hours of sleep at night!
If you are one of the 75% of adults who report having a sleep problem, consider some of these helpful sleep tips to start to get the sleep you need and your body craves.
* Go to bed and wake up at around the same time every night (and while you have young children you might want to set your bedtime earlier than usual). Even on weekends, try not to modify it by more than an hour. Routines "condition" us for sleep, psychologically and physiologically, and the conditioned response then makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. This tip is essential for children's night sleep and naps too!
* Give yourself one hour before lights out to wind down, letting your body and mind become more relaxed and ready for sleep. Listen to quiet music, take a bath, or read a book. Some people find that light stretches, meditation, creative visualization, or progressive relaxation helps. The average person (adult or child) takes 15-20 minutes to put her/himself to sleep.
* If you need to catch up, rather than tinker too much with your nightly sleep schedule, take naps. But either take a short twenty- to thirty-minute nap or take a longer ninety- to hundred-minute nap so you don't wake up during a non-REM sleep cycle and feel groggy. Before I learned that, I used to set the alarm for one hour and wake up feeling lethargic and lousy, like I needed a major infusion of caffeine.
* Make sure your bed and your bedroom are sleep friendly. Your room should be quiet, dark, and secure, and your mattress, pillows, and sheets should be comfortable. Sort out any temperature-control issues with your partner or spouse!
*Avoid any "screen" time for one hour before bed. That means turn off the TV, computer and cell phone and don't bring them in to the bedroom. The light from the screen tells the body not to secrete melatonin, the drowsy making hormone, making it more difficult to go to sleep.
* Exercise at least twenty to thirty minutes three times a week, but try to do it in the morning or during the day, not in the evening. If possible, leave at least three to four hours between strenuous exercise and sleep, and you certainly don't want to work out right before you go to bed. The same goes for rough housing with your child before bed, try to keep things quiet and mellow at least an hour before bed.
* Try to get some natural light in the afternoon. Go for a walk or sit in a sunny room, and try to get out of the house or at least briefly escape your artificially lit office cubicle. This tip will help your child too!
* Eat dinner at least three hours before going to bed. This of course does not apply to babies.
* Reduce your caffeine consumption (two cups maximum), and don't have any caffeine for at least six to eight hours before bedtime because it stays in your bloodstream. Caffeine doesn't just mean coffee--it means tea, many sodas, chocolate, and some over-the-counter cold and headache remedies. We become more sensitive to caffeine as we approach our forties.
* Nicotine is a stimulant, so if you haven't stopped smoking, poor sleep is yet another incentive.
* Watch your alcohol consumption. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but more than three to five glasses, even less for some individuals, fragment our sleep. We wake up more often at night and earlier in the morning.
*See your doctor if you or your child has asthma, allergies, reflux, anxiety, depression and significant stress to make sure it is not interfering with your sleep.
Sleep is as important as a good diet! Sleep deprivation can cause depression, heart disease and weight gain...not to mention it makes you age faster. There really is such a thing as "beauty sleep.”
Make it a priority to get 7-8 hours as an adult, and remember that children need between 10-11 hours of sleep at night for the first 10 years of their lives!
Cape Cod Children’s Writers of Falmouth, led by Joan Walsh, presents parents and grandparents with three interactive picture books, Cape Cod Memory Makers Explore the Town of Falmouth, Cape Cod Memory Makers Explore the Town of Sandwich, and Cape Cod Memory Makers Explore the Town of Chatham, by Joan Walsh and Anne Sessions Barber.
Each book in the series takes children, who love to explore, write, draw, and scrapbook, to special places unique to Falmouth, Sandwich, and Chatham. Writing and scrapbooking space is provided within each book. Twins, Amy and Josh take turns sharing their adventures at every location, and they invite children to become official Memory Makers. All illustrations are original water color paintings.
Books one may be purchased at Eight Cousins Books in Falmouth, book two at Titcomb's Bookshop in Sandwich, and book three in the series may be purchased at Where the Sidewalk Ends. Each of the stores are happy to send copies if you are unable to shop in person.
Our goal is to promote the arts on Cape Cod, family travel, and towns that feature unique, independent book stores. Please peek at our Cape Cod Children’s Writers website athttp://www.capecodchildrenswriters.com
By: Amy E
A few months ago I was grocery shopping in one my my favorite local grocery stores, Windfall Market, and I cam across boxes of popcorn I had never seen or heard of before. Right from the get go I was intrigued by the delicious sounding flavors I read on the boxes. I debated on whether to purchase at first because there are only 2 bags in each box and costed approx $5 in Windfall. But after reading the box and the ingredients I decided to pick up a box of the Parmesan & Rosemary Quinn Popcorn. The idea of a organic GMO free popcorn (which is hard to come by as most of our corn crops are GMO) that tasted delicious and was all around a better alternative not just for me and my family but also the environment and small business really intrigued me further!
As soon as I got home, I opened the box and got it started. It is not your typical popcorn making process. You place a bag (which has no bad plastics and chemicals on it-yay!) into the microwave and popped away. When it was done I poured the expeller pressed sunflower oil into the bag. then I opened up the 2 additional smaller pouches and poured in the parmesan (from rBGH free milk) and rosemary. The Tiny One and I sat down to watch some Frozen (for the hundredth time) and enjoy our treat and boy were we surprised!
This popcorn is seriously out of this world awesome! I immediately knew this was money well spent! I don't think I will ever be able to go back to eating other popcorn ever again. I returned again and again to my grocery store to pick up other flavors. During the winter frequently brought them into work with me and shared with my co-workers who LOVED them! Even my parents could not get enough and every time they visit, they almost always sneak a pack from me!
Currently they have the following microwave popcorn:
And recently they added Popped popcorn (which I have not tried yet but am salivating at the thought of kale and sea salt!!!
Quinn Popcorn began as a result of the two owners, a husband and wife team named Coulter & Kristy (yay mom & dad businesses!) brought their son Quinn home from the hospital. They set out on a mission to clean up the old microwave popcorns and transform into a healthy snack that people can actually feel good about! They have removed all chemical coatings from the bag so there is no PFOA, PFCs, plastic liners, etc soaking into your bloodstream or your littles. The bag is greases proof and even compostable!
In terms of their ingredients they never use GMO corn, preservatives, or artificial ingredients. The popcorn is organic. The cheeses are rBGH-free. The maple comes from Vermont. The expeller pressed oils are high in omega-3′s.
I haven't told you the best part yet!
Knowing where your food comes from is fundamental, and it’s about time snack companies open up. At Quinn Popcorn they have decided to MAKE A STAND! You can enter your batch number of popcorn on their Farm to Bag Page to learn where each ingredient comes from.
Complete transparency. This has never been done in snacking before!
They want to bring you the best bag of microwave popcorn you have ever had and trust me when I say it really is!
After having such a great experience with Quinn Popcorn, I reached out to the company to share with them just how much I loved it. I really wanted to be able to share with others how good it was and how much better of a alternative this snack is to the regular options of popcorn there are. I asked the company if they might be willing to send me some boxes so that I could include it in a review I was already going to do so that a lucky fan could share this life changing popcorn with me! They were happy to oblige and now ehre we are. So today we are giving away 3 boxes of Quinn Popcorn: Olive Oil & Herbs, Vermont Maple & Sea Salt, and Parmesan & Rosemary! Please make sure to visit them, connect with them, support them! Quinn Popcorn is a company that is passionate about their products and they don't sell out-we really need more people like this in the world-it gives us all hope that the future will be bright!
Which flavor of Quinn Popcorn are you MOST excited to try?
Quinn Popcorn Giveaway!
Monday night, May 12th from 8-10 pm, The British Beer Company in Falmouth Heights will be hosting a Ladies Night event including several local vendors, raffles and wine tasting.
Proceeds from the evening will benefit the family of Leo Finn, a BBC employee and friend who lost his battle with cancer earlier this year. Leo left behind a wife and three children; his wife and oldest child still work for the BBC. He was also the biggest supporter of fund raising events in the company, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in his tenure with the company for great local and national groups.
Vendors at the event will include:
Cape Cakes by Kristen
Alison Wells with Mary Kay
Partylite by Annie Lee Speroni
Athenas by Katrina
Bzzyfingers handmade children's items by Melissa Oliveira
Lia Sophia with Brooke Kowalski
A fun filled night with good friends, fun vendors, great raffle prizes, and fund raising for a local Cape Cod family are what the evening is about. Tuck the littles in bed and grab your BFF for a night out! Make a night out of it by grabbing dinner or appetizers with the girls.
This is a family friendly event and is not limited to just the ladies. For more information, "like" the British Beer Company Falmouth Heights facebook page and check out the event listing!
BBC : https://www.facebook.com/BritishBeerFalmouth
By: Gary M. DellaPosta, CPA
If you are considering divorce, it is vital to plan for the dissolution of the financial partnership in your marriage. Such dissolution involves dividing financial assets accumulated during the marriage. Further, if children are involved, future financial support for the custodial parent must be planned for.
While it may not be at the top of your to-do list, taking time to prepare financially during divorce pays off in the long run. Here are some steps you can take to get started.
Take Stock Of Your Situation
Assessing your financial situation helps you in two ways:
Related Guide: For a system that makes it easy to organize and locate your records, please see the Financial Guide:DOCUMENT LOCATOR SYSTEM: A Handy Aid For Keeping Track Of Your Records
Estimate Your Post-Divorce Living Expenses
Figure out how much it will cost you to live after the divorce. This is especially important for the spouse who is planning to remain in the family home with the children; it may be determined that the estimated living expenses are not manageable.
To estimate these expenses, add up all of your monthly debts and living expenses, including rent or mortgage. Then total your after-tax monthly income from all sources. The amount left over is your disposable income.
Related Guide: Please see the Financial Guide: BUDGETING: How To Prepare A Workable Plan
Cancel All Joint Accounts
It is important to cancel all joint accounts immediately once you know you are going to obtain a divorce because creditors have the right to seek payment from either party on a joint credit card or other credit account, no matter which party actually incurred the bill. If you allow your name to remain on joint accounts with your ex-spouse, you are also responsible for the bills.
Your divorce agreement may specify which one of you pays the bills. However, as far as the creditor is concerned both you and your spouse remain responsible if joint accounts remain open. The creditor will try to collect the bill from whoever it thinks may be able to pay while at the same time reporting the late payments to credit bureaus under both names. Your credit history could be damaged because of the co-signer's irresponsibility.
Some credit contracts require that you immediately pay the outstanding balance in full if you close an account. If this is the case, then try to get the creditor to have the balance transferred to separate accounts.
If Your Spouse's Poor Credit Affects You
If your spouse's poor credit hurts your credit record, you may be able to separate yourself from the spouse's information on your credit report. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act requires a creditor to take into account any information showing that the credit history being considered does not reflect your own. If for instance, you can show that accounts you shared with your spouse were opened by him or her before your marriage, and that he or she paid the bills, you may be able to convince the creditor that the harmful information relates to your spouse's credit record, not yours.
In practice, it is difficult to prove that the credit history under consideration does not reflect your own, and you may have to be persistent.
For Women: Maintain Your Own Credit Before You Need It
If a woman divorces, and changes her name on an account, lenders may review her application or credit file to see whether her qualifications alone meet their credit standards. They may ask her to reapply even though the account remains open.
Maintaining credit in your own name is the best way to avoid this inconvenience. It also makes it easier to preserve your own, separate, credit history. Further, should you need credit in an emergency it will be available when you need it.
Do not use only your husband's name (for example, Mrs. John Wilson) for credit purposes.
Tip: Check your credit report if you have not done so recently. Make sure the accounts you share are reported in your name as well as your spouse's name. If not, and you want to use your spouse's credit history to build your own credit, write to the creditor and request that the account be reported in both names.
Also, carefully review your credit report to determine whether there is any inaccurate or incomplete information. If there is, write to the credit bureau and ask them to correct it. The credit bureau must confirm the data within a reasonable time period, and let you know when they have corrected the mistake.
Related Guide: Please see the Financial Guide: CREDIT REPORTS: What You Should Know-And Do-About Yours.
If you have been sharing your husband's accounts, building a credit history in your name should be fairly easy. Call a major credit bureau and request a copy of your report. Contact the issuers of the cards you share with your husband and ask them to report the accounts in your name as well.
If you used the accounts, but never co-signed for them, ask to be added on as jointly liable for some of the major credit cards. Once you have several accounts listed as references on your credit record, apply for a department store card, or even a Visa or MasterCard, in your own name.
If you held accounts jointly and they were opened before 1977 (in which case they may have been reported only in your husband's name), point them out and tell the creditor to consider them as your credit history also. The creditor cannot require your spouse's or former spouse's signature to access his credit file if you are using his information to qualify for credit.
Tip: If you do not have a credit history, a secured credit card is a fairly quick and easy way to get a major credit card. Secured credit cards look and are used like regular Visa or MasterCard's, but they require a savings or money market deposit of several hundred dollars that the lender holds in case you default. In most cases, the creditor will report your payment record on these accounts just like a regular bankcard, allowing you to build a good credit record if you pay your bills promptly.
Consider the Legal Issues
The best way to plan for the legal issues involved in a divorce including child custody, division of property, and alimony or support payments is to come to an agreement with your spouse. If you can reach an agreement, the time and money you will have to expend in coming up with a legal solution--either one worked out between the two attorneys or one worked out by a court--will be drastically reduced.
Here are some general tips for handling the legal aspects of a divorce:
Division of Property
The laws governing division of property between ex-spouses vary from state to state. Further, matrimonial judges have a great deal of latitude in applying those laws.
Here is a list of items you should be sure to take care of, regardless of whether you are represented by an attorney.
How To Prepare Financially For Re-Marriage When considering remarriage, it is important to plan for the following:
As for the estate planning aspects of providing for children from a previous marriage, trusts and/or life insurance are the vehicles most often used to do this.
Tip: Be sure to update your will before you remarry to ensure that your assets will be divided among your heirs after your death in the manner and proportions you desire.
Government and Non-Profit Agencies
Gary DellaPosta is a CPA and founder of the firm: Gary M DellaPosta, CPA's & Business Advisors. A graduate of Bryant University, he is a member of the American Institute of CPA's as well as the Massachusetts Society of CPA's. In addition to providing accounting, tax and advisory services to individuals and businesses, he also provides litigation support to attorneys and has been recognized as an expert in numerous Massachusetts' courts. Mr. DellaPosta serves on the Board of the Barnstable County Mutual Insurance Co., where he serves on the audit, investment and employee benefit committees. He also serves as the Treasurer of the Community Health Center of Cape Cod, is a Director at The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod and is a former director of Eastern Bank and Plymouth Savings Bank.
By: Attorney Jeni Landers, Esquire
Hi everyone! I’m very pleased to be joining Cape Cod Mommies and look forward to sharing helpful information with you. As you may have read in my bio, I’m originally from Dennis. After college I lived and worked in New York City and then in Paris. At age 30 I decided to change paths and moved back to Boston to attend law school. My husband and I were married in 2006 and I graduated from law school in 2007. Since then I’ve been practicing at Wynn & Wynn in Hyannis, a general practice. Between work, my son, helping out my parents, and volunteering for some great organizations (CCYP, Latham, WE CAN, etc) I keep busy!
Much of my practice is Family and Divorce Law, but I also handle personal injury, business and contract law, general litigation, probate, some small criminal matters, and some real estate. I want this blog to be useful so I’d like to know what subjects/areas of law interest you. I can’t answer specific questions about your particular legal matter in this forum due to confidentiality and conflict of interest rules, but I can certainly answer more general questions and gear my posts towards topics of interest to you.
Thank you to Cape Cod Mommies for welcoming me to this great group of advisors. Look for my posts on the first Thursday of every month, and please leave a comment if there’s an area of law you’d like to hear more about!
Jeni A. Landers, Esquire
Wynn & Wynn, P.C.
300 Barnstable Rd.
Hyannis, MA 02601
By: Ryan Beck
May’s blog is personal but hopefully it will create dialogue for some thought, discussion, and support.
I am a mom of two beautiful boys ages 3 and 16 months. They are the reason I get up in the morning (literally – because they are shouting at 5am that they are ready to start their day). I always knew that I would do everything and anything to make sure they stay happy and healthy. Currently, we are closing some chapters in our lives which include some significant medical issues with my youngest. The first 13.5 months of his life were the scariest moments of mine. My baby #2 was born prematurely via emergency C-section under general anesthesia due to fetal decelerations. He had to be revived and treated with oxygen immediately following delivery (something I learned after reading the delivery notes-since I wasn’t conscious for the event – and yes, having a delivery like that was traumatic). When we got home, he felt different. Since he was our second, my husband and I knew what “newborn fragile” felt like and we aren’t the type to get overwhelmed by the delicateness of a new baby, but baby #2 felt fragile, period. And he was. To make a very, very long story short, our little guy has had multiple procedures and seen teams of specialists at hospitals all over the country from Fargo ND, the Medical University of South Carolina, Boston Children’s Hospital, and finally Mayo Clinic of Rochester MN where we have decided to continue care. No penny went unspent when we needed to travel all over the country to investigate his issues. (Thankfully we sold our house one month prior and dedicated those funds to his medical treatment.)
We live 2000 miles away from any other family members. I am thankful how my husband and I have been able to deal with the chaos together as a team. We get together, share, comfort one another, and create a plan of action to move forward.
I wanted to share my “take away” advice of what I have found helpful dealing with your medically fragile child.
1. ALWAYS TRUST YOUR GUT: I can’t emphasize this point enough. Always trust your mommy/daddy instinct. I knew something wasn’t right with my little guy and I fought my way to get the answers and treatment I felt comfortable with moving forward. I was a Dragon. A certifiable B.I.T.C.H. to get what I wanted and get the appointments needed – right away. Do what you have to do. Get second, third, and sometimes fourth opinions until you feel like no stone went unturned and you got prompt cohesive care for your little one.
2. COMMUNICATE with your Spouse/Partner/Best Friend. It is totally normal to have different reactions to different information being handed to you –especially information regarding your child’s health in the future. But what is vital is taking the time and candidly sharing with your significant other your perspective and what scares you the most about the diagnoses. When emotions are honestly brought to the table, as a couple you are then able to create a supportive plan together for treatment moving forward.
3. SHARE 3 GRATITUDES DAILY. My husband and I do this and it WORKS. We take turns sharing 3 things we are thankful for each day before we go to sleep. When we have been faced with incredibly stressful days, these always had me ending my day with a smile and appreciation of the good things in life. But, I totally get it – days can get shitty. But trust me, even the simplest gratitude sharing can help reshape your mindset. (I remember once, after a very long day, I was thankful for a south facing driveway – even the small things can reshape mindset.)
4. APPRECIATE ONE ANOTHER FOR THEIR INDIVIDUAL ROLE. My husband works very long hours and he provides for the family. I own my own business so I am able to work from home. I am lucky to be able to have this time with the boys and be the one offering them support & comfort. I am usually the one on the phone, making the doctor appointments, going to the local appointments, following up, asking the questions, and creating a sense of normality for both of them. I recognize Keegan and I are two instruments in an orchestra. Although different, our roles are an integral component and vital for our family as a whole.
5. JOKE and SMILE. Make each other smile over the little things. When dealing with medical treatment for your child, everything is serious. My entire demeanor has changed since dealing with this experience. But laughing and smiling are so important. I remember there was one night where we heard something and looked at each other trying to figure out what specific alarm was going off - we had so many alarms in our house hooked up to our little man, when something went off – we weren’t sure if it was a movement alarm, high heart rate alarm, apnea alarm, low O2 sat alarm, fire alarm, or the clothes dryer. It was insane. But at moments like those where becoming overwhelmed would have been easy – it was nice to know we could have a laugh. Because it was ridiculous – we had a ton of alarms!
6. TAKE TIME FOR 1:1 TIME WITH OTHER SIBLINGS. This is really important to me and something that I try and work at every day. When my baby #2 was born, I mourned my one on one time I used to have with my first. But I also craved quiet, lazy newborn snuggles in the bed with baby #2. Neither of those things happened. Having one child with medical needs is exhausting, heart –breaking, and totally consuming. So I try really hard to make the one on one time with baby #1 because that is incredibly important to me. I also try my best to make sure he has a sense of normality with his weekly activities and social events.
7. TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF. Honestly this is something that I struggle with because our life is so incredibly busy. But the days that I do get even 30 minutes to myself to workout – I am a better mom, wife and person. If I could give myself advice – I would say – always take at least 30 minutes for yourself. Hopefully, you may get an hour. Try for an hour.
8. GET RESPITE. If there is a way that your medical insurance/state health care covers respite, get it – use them as a resource. Use them so you can get a break and some help. Talk to your doctor or state worker to see if its assistance and resources are available for your family and how you can contract hours. We are eligible and this is something I regret not taking full advantage.
9. SPEND FUN TIME TOGETHER WITH YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER. As I said before, when dealing with incredibly serious decisions, life can get pretty heavy. Remember to have fun together and enjoy each other’s company. Leaving the house for date night for us was not a reality since I didn’t trust anyone else hooking our little guy up to monitors and his oxygen before he went to sleep. But my husband and I do make time for each other. We cook homemade pizza every Friday night and watch Shark Tank or Dateline. It isn’t glamorous – but I look forward to our Friday nights together all week. Setting aside that time together is a mental reprieve from all the other stressful situations going on.
10. TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME. Stay ahead of the game, but don’t worry too much about the “what ifs”. Focus on positive things you can for yourself and your family one moment at a time and everything will work out. Things do get better. Hang in there.
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