Tuesday, December 27, 2011

This Is How I Do It: Debbie of Finding Normal

This is the second guest post in the "This Is How I Do It" series, which features amazing bloggers who have kids with special needs. They're sharing some of their secrets to special needs parenting.

Blogger: Debbie of Finding Normal

Her kids: Noah, 6, and Addison, 5, who has trisomy 9

My three biggest secrets to sanity are...

My amazing husband, friends, and chocolate. Being a parent is hard work. Being a parent of a child with additional needs is really really hard work. There is never a dull moment, and just when you get in a groove...something else will happen to throw it all off. A runny nose can quickly turn nasty. I have learned that I can't do it all, and having an awesome husband who truly carries his half of this load keeps me sane. I'm still not great about asking friends for help, but some just KNOW. And I love that I have a couple of really good friends who I can say anything to, and know there is no judgement. And chocolate? Need I say more?

I keep track of my child’s therapy and medical appointments by...

Keeping multiple calendars. I have one on the side of the fridge, a planner, and one on my phone. They are usually fairly synced and FULL! I would say the one we use the most is on the side of the fridge, and I love that we all access it so often!

One way I relax (actually really, really relax) is...

Reading. I have always been a reader, and I love escaping in a good book. I spend hours picking out ebooks from the library's website, loading up my wish list, tracking them all on goodreads, and talking to friends about books. I try to read every day, even if it's just for a few minutes before bed.

When I get bummed out about something related to my child, one thing that gives me a lift is...

Looking at her baby pictures and think how far she has come. I try not to think about what she CAN'T do, but focus instead on all the things she IS doing, things I thought might never happen. And if all else fails, I ask her for a hug or a kiss. That's usually all it takes!

If it weren’t for [fill in the blank], I am not sure I would be able to get through the day

The way my husband and I split up responsibilities for caring for our child is unique. Shawn does all overnight hospital stays. We decided when she was born that it was important to us to keep our son's life as normal as possible. He wasn't yet 2 when she was born, and it was important that he have me home each night to tuck him in. The appointments and therapy sessions depend largely on our work schedules. My husband has the flexibility to work from pretty much anywhere, whereas I teach elementary school and have a fairly rigid schedule. We are both very active in caring for her, and I can't imagine doing it all without his support!

The way I deal if strangers stare at my kid or say things is...

I just smile, talk to her like a "Normal" child, and sometimes tell her to say hi. I tend to overcompensate so as to appear super happy, and I have learned to just tune some of the staring out.

One great site I’ve found lots of good ideas on is...

Pinterest. I'm hopelessly addicted, and it's the reason I don't blog much these days. It is essentially an online bulletin board, where you can "pin" ideas, recipes, decorating ideas, teaching ideas, funny things...the list is never-ending! It is constantly changing, so there is no way to ever be done pinning!

I rock because...

I have two happy kids. Before I had kids, one of my friends told me, "I can't make my kids healthy. I can't make them smart. But I can work hard to make them happy." That has been my approach with my kids. There are so many factors I can't control in our lives, but as long as my kids are happy, I'm happy.


  1. Great post - and I totally agree - I am happy if my kids are happy!

  2. Love this, especially the last part - there's so much we can't change or control but trying to be happy ourselves and make others happy is something we can do every day!

  3. I miss your blog!!! Hope you will post again soon, I always relate to what you write:-)

  4. I miss your blog, too!

  5. It's unanimous!! We all miss your blog!!!

  6. That is beautiful with great tips. You understand your child is a gift and painful though it may be, you are learning from it. My daughter has special needs and I've certainly learned to be more patient and compassionate. Special Needs people have very sweet spirits. Sarah teaches me a lot. She has a very strong spirit. Thank you for your post. You may want to read my post on my Special Needs daughter: http://kindergartenbasics.blogspot.com/2011/11/guest-post-and-giveaway-by-susan-case.html

  7. I miss your blog too! Great post!

  8. Absolutely agree with the Pinterest idea, I've found so many great ideas there and the idea to look back and see how far our kids have come. It truly is amazing to watch them progress.

  9. You're friend is very wise Debbie if only all parents looked at parenting like you do.


Thanks for sharing!

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