Sunday, July 31, 2011

Spanking - for or against?

This blog post was inspired by a status going around about the parental right to spank.

Ever since I was young, hitting anyone, especially a child made me cringe. My parents spanked my brother and sister. I hated it and could not understand this irrational behavior. It made me not respect my parents position. I felt they were being bullies. Today they don't agree with spanking either especially with so many other discipline options.

I see spanking as more of an anger release for parents. Spanking teaches children nothing except parents are hypocritical. Parents often say "don't hit " then go and hit their children for misbehaving. How does that help a child learn?

Laura can have very bad behaviors. Hitting her is the last thing I'd do. I take things away, take activities away, time out and talk. I think taking away things and abilities have more of an affect then hitting someone.

Is it ok to hit others when they misbehave? No. Why in the world is it ok to spank a child who isn't even allowed to fight back???

Laura is still an awesome child even without being hit. She knows her boundaries and knows her consequence. She has respect for me and others.

I also feel that hitting children can lead to domestic violence, in some cases. I have met several people who were hit and now have anger/respect issues. if you are steadfast on hitting for discipline, I hope you try to exhaust all other options.

Respect of our human bodies start at home. Think before you spank. Are you doing it for them really or too lazy to be creative in discipline?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Technology for people with cerebral palsy

Here is a list of technology that I feel improves my life:

1. Apple Mac Mini MC815LL/A Desktop (NEWEST VERSION)
- All my life I was a PC user until my fiancee at the time brought me a Mac Mini for Christmas. No more crashes and I can do everything plus more that I did on my PC.

2. Apple iPod touch 8 GB (4th Generation) NEWEST MODELMP3 Players)
- I didn't think that I could use either of them. To my surprise, I could use them great. I set them on my lap sideways and type with my thumb. Many people have said that I text better than someone without CP. I can check emails and do mostly anything on it.

3. Verizon remote app - I have a difficult time using the TV remote because you need to aim it just right. With the Verizon app, I can use it right from my iphone and it's free.

4. Apple iPad (first generation) MB292LL/A Tablet (16GB, Wifi)Tablet Computers)
- As you can tell, we like Apple. I also was skeptical of myself using the IPad but now I love it. I can type articles, blogs etc in the comfort of anywhere. They also make key guards for that but haven't tried it yet.

5. Kindle, Wi-Fi, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology
- The Kindle has brought back the joy of reading. I love how I can just read a book without any effort.

6. HP Officejet Pro 8500A Wireless e-All-in-One (CM755A#B1H)Office Inkjet Printers)

- This is my wireless printer. I can print from my Iphone and Ipad. It's quiet and great quality.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Laura's life plan at four

For some reason, ever since Laura was about two and a half, she decided she wants to live close to me. She has told relatives that her and her husband plus kids will live in my house. She'll sleep on her bed and they can sleep on the floor. However, now she said they will build an apartment in the basement.

Today Laura came up with a plan. She told me that after she's a grown up, she'll move into the neighbors house (after they die), work for me as my personal care attendant and I can help raise her kids. Then she thought about a car and explained that since the neighbors will be dead - they won't need a car so she will drive theirs.

Honestly,the idea sounds wonderful (except our neighbors dying, of course. ) I do encourage her to go to college. She wants to be a veterinarian and a Mommy. :)

Too much cancer

Our week has been going pretty smoothly. We have had some sad news about a family friend having cancer. Plus there are some local children dealing with this horrible disease. Cancer is hard enough for adults to deal with, let alone a child.

One little girl lives very close to us and is only months older than Laura. She was diagnosed with brain cancer just after Memorial Day. Our community has taken a huge interest in helping her and her family. Her family blogs about their struggles at http://getwellgabby.org .

I feel such a strong connection to them and pray for them daily. Laura knows that Gabby is sick but I didn't explain the technicalities to her. Even though Laura has an amazing grasp of death, it is still my duty to protect her.

All this talk about possible death, always brings me back to the time of Israel. Shortly after his death, I dreaded the day after the funeral. That is usually when you're most alone and your brain quiets from planning. Mourning is horrible to deal with.

Many called me strong. I could never figure that out. Did I have a choice? A baby was depending on me plus my family and friends. I think we're all strong and we just need to tap into it and lean on God as needed.

After I tucked Laura in tonight, she asked me if she could meet Gabby. I said hopefully soon. We need to keep hope and strength to get through this crazy life.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lion King week

Laura hasn't been home between Monday afternoon and Thursday afternoon. Jeff's parents took her to go see The Lion King on Broadway. While they were there, they took in the sights of New York City.

It was also a very hot week. I refuse to complain because I really don't enjoy cold weather. I also have central air in the house so that certainly makes it comfortable.

When Laura was gone, I tried to work on the house. My attendant and I cleaned out my living room closet, worked on scrapbooks, finished Laura's baby book, shopped and hung out with my nephew.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Attendants - not an easy balance

As many people with disabilities know, personal care attendants become as crucial as your right arm. Depending on your needs, they do several things for you. In the process, friendships develop and often make being a boss challenging.

I can get along with most anyone. Usually when I hire an attendant they stay for awhile. I either need to fire someone, lay them off or they need to move on for financial reasons or personal reasons. Right now, I have two attendants who have been working for me for over three years. The longest attendant I've had was about five years.

Last Sunday, I had the painful task of firing a full time attendant who worked here almost a year and a half. To make a long story short, she was good except unreliable and pretty much set her own hours with little flexibility. She took the news fairly well. I think I put more energy into worrying about it then she did taking the news.

The person who replaced her has been my weekend attendant since January 2008. She lives an hour away but has been reliable, dependable and flexible. We discussed the distance because I always try to hire somebody close by. However, she has been successfully driving to my house over the last several years with no problem.

This is her second week working full time. Working with her has been easier than training a new employee. I still need to remember that I'm her boss and we need to keep business in check.

People don't realize, I believe, how challenging it is to have a personal care attendant. Everyday you're the boss and co worker. There are no breaks from living (eating, going to the bathroom etc.) You can't expect an attendant to be a robot or perfect. However, they can't expect you to be there counselor, life coach etc.

It's not an easy balance but I want to thank all the attendants out there for your dedication and respect.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Interesting day


This happened a few weeks ago but forgot to post.

Yesterday was an interesting day. Jeff had to work. He has normally had Fridays off but since he has vacation, he had to work. My ankle has been hurting for about 2 weeks but I managed to re injure it Thursday night. So, I was in a lot of pain.

My regular attendant couldn't come in for me so my dad offered to take Laura to camp. Well he forgot and after a few tears, I decided to take Laura for a long walk. We went to a park and she played. She likes the slide the best. By the time we got home, my attendant, Grace, was coming.

I decided to walk to the doctor. Laura walked with me and was excited for the adventure. She said, "here we go again " and giggled.

The doctor said I hurt my tendons and since I move a lot, it's not healing. So she put an ace bandage and prescribed a muscle relaxer. I'm also supposed to see a foot specialist. Since I spent a lot of time in my wheelchair over vacation, I thought my tendon would heal but not yet.

We walked home and sang, "doe a deer" almost the whole way. We spent the rest of the day packing for our trip. That night Laura slept over my dad's house so I could attend a disability dance.

The disability dance was a success. It was held at the freedom valley YMCA in spring valley. Later we attempted to see one of our favorite bands and drove an hour only to discover they were inaccessible. When will I learn to call ahead?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Michael - the strange beach guy

Ask anyone of my friends and they will tell you that I attract strange people or situations.

A few weeks ago, Jeff, Laura and I had a four day vacation at Atlantic City. We had fun walking the boardwalk, going on the beach, relaxing, eating at buffets and just being together. Even one day it rained, but we had fun anyway dodging in and out of stores so we didn't get completely soaked.

Everyday we all went back to the room and relaxed. Laura watched some TV or movie while Jeff and I hung out on the balcony. This helped regain our energy and avoid any meltdowns from being tired.

On the last day, Jeff was very tired (he carried me on and off the beach that day) so he took Laura back to rest. I wasn't tired so I choose to stay on the boardwalk. We agreed to meet up in an hour and a half.

I walked down the boardwalk and stopped into some shops. It's a very long walk so by the time I got to the end,I had a feeling that I might be a little late meeting them. I texted Jeff telling him I'd be a little late and we agreed to meet about eight thirty.

I went back and realized that I had a half hour to spare. So, I walked down a little further and sat by a bench looking at the ocean. I read facebook updates and my email on my phone when suddenly a guy asked,"What are you playing?" Startled, I looked up and saw a guy in his mid thirties with blonde hair sitting next to me.

We had polite conversation. Then he proceeded to ask me about my disability and how I got it. After I told him, he grew perplexed. He told me that I look too energetic and pretty to be in a wheelchair. He said I should be out playing tennis or be jogging. I said I do have a normal life happily with my partner and daughter. He was shocked and seemed annoyed again that I was taken. He said that if I were his wife, he would have me walk everyday so I can get over my cerebral palsy.

Then it turned weird and scary. He asked me if I knew of Terri Schivo (The woman whose husband had her starve to death for no good medical reason.) I said yes and he told me I should be careful because one day my husband will be angry that I have cerebral palsy and do that to me.

At this point, I had my had on my joystick and then he asked what would I do if he tried to rape me? I turned my chair on full speed and left.

I was so happy to see Jeff! Why can't I meet normal people when I'm out and about?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Total success from pull ups

Laura is an extremely smart child. I know that I'm biased but sometimes it's easy to forget she's a child. One thing is potty training has been a long and frustrating thing for us to go through.

Her mind understood what to do but her body just wasn't ready. Because she was so intelligent, I started training around two. Big mistake. I wish I waited until she was three because I think her body would be ready.

At four, we would have occasional accidents especially over laughing. I still have an accident from laughing sometimes. She also wet her bed at night.

Instead of getting upset,I just let her wear night time pull ups. This helped everyone sleep and kept a dry bed. Recently, she has been waking up with a dry pull up.

Then one night last week, Jeff and I heard her door open about two hours after we put her to bed. We looked at each other trying to decide who was going to put her back to bed. To our surprise, we heard her go use the bathroom, flush, wash hands and without any words went back to bed! We felt like we won a marathon.

Last night, at four o'clock, Laura woke up and was crying. I immediately thought a bad dream or a wet bed. By the time I opened the door,she was sitting on the toilet with a big smile.

I asked why she was crying. She explained that the hall light didn't come on right away and she was scared. Then she kissed me and said "good night,Mommy." As she put herself back to bed,I choked back tears.

Babies grow too fast. I'm thrilled that she's learning and gaining independence but I feel a longing of her needing me. Growing children are bittersweet and absolutely wonderful!

Rascal flatts

Jeff and I went to see Rascal Flatts with my friend, Caitlyn, on Saturday. It was a strange day prior. I was so tired and in slow motion.

We got off on a late start for a picnic for my power chair hockey team. Here we had the wrong address from an email. We got there just in time before Caitlyn left. She had the tickets!

Jeff and I handle stress pretty well. We actually have a good sense of humor about things. We planned on eating as socializing at the picnic. However, we didn't make it in enough time because Caitlyn wanted to leave early enough since she wasn't too sure where it was. The concert was at the Susquehanna bank center in NJ. Not too far but traffic can make it ridiculous.

Jeff and I quick picked up food at mcdonalds. I just got a milkshake and fries. I can't feed myself so it was easy to feed me on the way.

After parking, we waited for Caitlyn who had trouble finding a parking spot. As we waited, Jeff bought me a purple cowgirl hat to match my purple top. Hats have a hard time staying on my head but when it did, it looked good! I move too much so it was falling lots.

When we found Caitlyn, we went to our seats. Caitlyn got our tickets and we suggested to get the indoor seating. It was close and kept us out of the sun. Sara Evans opened and was good.

Rascal Flatts put on a show. They were nonstop and we all sang plus danced. They sang my favorite, "God Bless the Broken Road." I came down the aisle during our ceremony and the words are truly how I feel about Jeff.

When it was over, it took us almost two hours to get home due to waiting to get out of the parking lot. Jeff had to be at work by 7:45 and my aide came at 8. Laura slept at my Dad's but I still had to get up early. It was worth it!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Wash hands , please

Whenever I take Laura to the bathroom, I always have her wash her hands afterwards. Since she always needs to go to the bathroom whenever we are out, I've seen quite a few public bathrooms. I am sad to say there aren't kid friendly sinks in most.

I normally have her use my footrest as a stool. Most sinks are way to high for children until they are 8 and up. The faucets are hard to reach and the soap is almost impossible. As a mom with CP , I can't help Laura reach everything but we do the best we can. Yes, I could carry wipes and hand sanitizer but I think children have a right and responsibility to wash their hands.

If we are supposed to teach our children hygiene, please give us the proper tools. Children probably need to be clean even more than adults.

How society views people who have cerebral palsy

Have you ever had a day when you forget that you have cerebral palsy? You simply wake up, do your normal routine and don't even think ab...