Monday, June 30, 2014

Hobby Lobby Doesn't Care About Children

I know that the headline above sounds somewhat salacious but in reality, it's true. Hobby Lobby today did something that will put more children into harm's way...all so they could save a few bucks. Shame on you!

Hobby Lobby sued the Federal Government (and won) because it believed that forcing companies' insurance to cover birth control was anti-Christian. Putting the whole "separation of church and state" argument aside, the Christian thing would really be to help struggling families, not to pay them minimum wage and then deny them basic healthcare coverage.

Not to mention, this decision just puts more kids at risk; at risk of abuse, neglect, hunger and even death. People who can't afford or don't want children should not be having children and denying them birth control does that.

But Hobby Lobby is Christian and they love children. Really? Well let's just examine some statistics showing how much our Christian population really cares (or doesn't care) about the children in our country.

Today alone...
  • Four children will die from abuse or neglect. Source
  • 16 million children will go to bed without enough food in their bellies. 16 million! Source
  • 397,000 children will suffer through the fear and insecurity of foster care Source
  • The US ranks dead last among developed countries in providing paid parental maternity leave Source
Those are some seriously sobering statistics. You would think the conservative, Christian Hobby Lobby would be doing something to put a stop to abuse and neglect. But they are not.

That said, why aren't the Christians at Hobby Lobby helping feed the nearly 400,000 kids nationwide who don't have enough food? Because they really don't care.

Why aren't the the Christians at Hobby Lobby fostering children so they don't age out of the foster care system? Because they really don't care.

Why aren't the Christians at Hobby Lobby providing safe haven to children so they aren't hurt or killed by their parents? Because they really don't care.

Why aren't the Christians at Hobby Lobby paying their employees above minimum wage so they can afford to have children? Because they don't want to spend the money.

Why don't the Christians at Hobby Lobby provide paid parental maternity leave? Because they don't want to spend the money.

You get the gist.

Let's face it. Hobby Lobby doesn't really care about children. They care about money. It costs money to provide employees with affordable health insurance benefits and they want to cut costs wherever they can. What better way to do this than to say that they care about children and to rally the Christian cause behind them? Christians will jump on the band wagon and meanwhile the children of our country will suffer even more. Wonderful.

If they really believed in children over money, then they wouldn't allow their 401K plan to invest in contraception manufacturers. But they do.  

Letting children suffer abuse, neglect, pain and even death has got to be the least Christian thing I know of and yet that is what Hobby Lobby supports. If Hobby Lobby really was a Christian organization, they would be out there protecting children....not just thinking of ways to line their pockets with more money. Shameful.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

There's a Kindergarten Graduate In The House!

Today was the last day of school and great news...Christopher graduated Kindergarten. He will be going to First Grade next fall. Hooray!

It hasn't always been an easy year but I have to say that the school, the teachers and the after-school program have (mostly) been great. He has received excellent medical care and therapeutic services as well. All of this has worked together to make my kiddo the Kindergarten success that he is.

Christopher started off the school year with a diagnosis of ADHD and Learning Disability NOS (not otherwise specified) from Boston Children's Hospital. He tested at the Borderline Retarded level for some areas. I was really concerned.

So we start with medication for the ADHD and miraculously, the learning starts to go through the roof. Christopher wasn't suffering from a learning disability or mental retardation. His brain was just going way too fast and he needed something to help slow it down so he could learn. That is where the stimulant medication came in. He takes it in the morning before heading off to school and he's able to pay attention and focus now on school work long enough to learn. It's amazing.

Christopher can read, write and perform simple math. In his report card, he received mostly "Satisfactory's" and his teacher wrote that his understanding of topics is at grade level. That's a testament to great medication and hard work and patience from his teachers but let's also give Christopher some of the credit. He worked hard this year! I am very proud of my little man.

On his report card, there were a few instances of "Progressing" that still requires some work. Christopher's less mature than other children in his class and that's due to his trauma history. When he gets frustrated he will often start crying...sometimes very loudly. I still get the occasional temper tantrum. It's a little weird to see these behaviors of a toddler coming out of a child of nearly 7 years old but he's got a lot of early childhood trauma to work through. He also has ADHD and that presents some challenges as well. But he's in good hands I believe so I think he'll get there.

So congratulations Christopher! Now let's have a great summer.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's (and Single Mothers) Day!

I'd like to give a great big shout out to all those parents out there playing the role of dad in any way possible. That includes fathers, grandfathers, foster dads, dad-like role models and of course...the single mom who is both the mom and dad to her kids. Yeah...I'm patting myself on the back here.

Sometimes I worry that my kiddo is missing out because I'm a single mom and he doesn't have a dad in his life. Then I remember that he did once have a father in his life who beat his birth mother, got arrested and then abandoned his child. He knew his child was put into foster care and did absolutely nothing about it, all the while Christopher suffered. This "father" let his child suffer so much that the little guy has PTSD now because of it. Shame on you "dad".

One of the things I have had to struggle with on Christopher is his propensity to hit when he's angry or frustrated. We've been working on it a lot and he's become tons better. Last summer, he would eat something with sugar and artificial dye in it (Yoplait Gogurts and slushies were the worst), pick up a stick and in a zombie-like trance, start hitting any child within his reach. It was really creepy to watch actually and got him into lots of trouble. His nanny and he were escorted out of the Easton Children's Museum by an armed guard once because of this behavior. A therapist afterwards told me that the sugar/artificial dye combo were hitting his young, not-fully-developed brain in such a way as to trigger subconscious memories and he was just reliving behavior he had witnessed as a very young child. Armed with that scary information, I changed his diet the very next day. No more artificial way. It has made a huge difference.

I've also removed gluten and processed foods (ie anything that can break down into simple sugars), had him evaluated and treated by a behavioral pediatrician at Boston Children's Hospital and he continues to receive therapy through my advocating at school. I make sure my kid gets the help he needs to be happy and successful in life.

Lastly, I've started giving Christopher an allowance for doing chores around the house. He gets a dollar every Sunday if he picks up his toys, puts his dishes into the sink after each meal and puts his dirty clothes into the laundry basket. He will also lose 5 cents per episode whenever he hits his mama. Last week was a bit rough and he only got 45 cents but this week he did much better and he is going to receive his full dollar. I actually see him thinking about hitting before he does it and that's exactly what I'm trying to get him to do. He is learning to control himself now and that is a good thing.

If Christopher had stayed with his birth parents, he would have absolutely grown up to be an abuser of women. I have no doubt about that. But because he was removed from that environment at an early age and has received the appropriate guidance he needs, he will grow up to respect women.

So all that said, I don't feel at all guilty that Christopher doesn't have a dad here. His supposed father failed him so badly and this single mom has had to be the one to pick up the pieces. He's a happy kid now and that's what really matters.

Anyone can be a Father but it takes a very special person to be a daddy.

So Happy Father's Day to all you special daddies out there. Hope you all have a great day!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The ADHD Mom and Children's Parties: No Fun!

As many of my readers know, my son was diagnosed last September with ADHD and we've had a great deal of success using a multi-pronged approach of diet, structure and medication to treat it. Our normal day to day lives are so much easier now because of that approach. And that's a very very good thing.

What are you supposed to do when you can't follow your normal routine though? Do you keep your child from going to parties that would be fun for him but a nightmare for you? Or do you say let's let him have this one day of fun and you just suck it up because you want to give your kid a "normal" life?

Case in point: Friday night starting at 6pm, Christopher's school had the end of the school year "Spring Fling". It was an ice cream party (no real food) with lots of sugar and artificial dye, loud music and crazy loud little kids running around screaming. Describing the evening as "chaotic" would be an accurate assessment.

I was nervous about the event and also tired from a long week of being a hard working career-building single mom. But how could I say no to Christopher going when all his friends would be there? He'd cry on Monday if he missed this opportunity.

I will say though that the event as well as the next 24 hours were no fun for me. First of all, the party was at the end of a long week and Christopher was tired. It's a lot harder to control yourself if you're tired. Also, his meds had long since worn off so he didn't even have that going for him. The party was SO loud and so Christopher was completely over-stimulated. Not to mention, Christopher ate so much sugar...for dinner. This kid is normally on a gluten free, dye free, processing free diet so for him to eat all this crap with nothing healthy in his stomach was basically like giving him crack as a snack and letting him loose on society. He was a whirling dervish of chaos waiting to happen.

As much as I hate the idea of being a helicopter parent, I had to shadow Christopher the entire party to ensure he didn't hurt himself or the other kids. To make it even more "fun", the school provided these blow up beach toys in the shape of ice cream cones and the sun. This picture below isn't the exact toy but it's similar. They're made out of the same material as a blow-up beach ball and Christopher and the other high energy boys spent the evening pummeling each other with them. I had to pull another kid off him multiple times, his best friend was so wound up he was literally jumping off of furniture with them and Christopher kept whacking kids to the point that I was afraid he'd hurt someone.

Fun right???

We finally left after 2 hours and went home. I walked the dog, gave Christopher some real food, got him a bath and let him unwind for a bit watching the Kindle. By the time he got into bed, it was 10pm, which is a full hour past his normal bed time. He was exhausted. So was I.

The real fun began on Saturday after Christopher woke up at 5:30am with only 8.5 hours of sleep. He was off schedule, off diet and now didn't have enough sleep and we had to go to soccer at 8:30. Normally he is an amazing little soccer player but this day he was whiny, sluggish and cranky. I was tired and cranky too, so that was not a great combo; even worse considering I'm the coach of the team. I had to send him into a time out at the other end of the field at one point, screaming and crying, leaving my team behind. Thank goodness I have an assistant coach who could take over for me. Sometimes, I really wonder what the parents of the other kids think about us.

After the soccer debacle, I canceled plans for the rest of the day and took Christopher home. I was hoping he'd nap but no, he was just all sorts of cranky all afternoon. Considering I had also been awake since 5:30, I was pretty cranky too. Ugh.

Nothing made me happier than putting Christopher to bed at his normal 9pm bedtime last night. I went to bed soon thereafter and we both woke up in much better spirits today. Thankfully it's still the weekend and we have another nice day to enjoy outside.

Meanwhile, tomorrow (Monday), one of Christopher's friends has a birthday party starting at 5pm. I'm like, are you kidding? A party for 6 and 7 year olds on a Monday night? Initially I had RSVP'd yes for the party but I think after the weekend's festivities, I've changed my mind and will RSVP no. It's one thing to have a party and then have the weekend to recover. It's a whole other story to do this on a Monday and then have to go to school (and work) all tired and cranky for the next four days. No thank you.

But now it's time to get outside and enjoy this great weather. Happy Sunday to all.