Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Good and less-good news about Halloween candy

Good news: Dentists aren't interested in preventing kids from eating Halloween candy! Chocolate isn't so bad! The less-good news: There are limits. The nice people at the the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and president Joe Castellano, D.D.S., sent some surprising reality checks about misconceptions many of us have. Trick or truth!

What parents think: It's better to spread out candy eating for weeks after Halloween, so kids don't gorge and rot their teeth.
Reality check: Let kids have their fill of candy for a few days following Halloween, then donate the rest to local buy-back programs. Prolonged exposure to added sugar and other candy goo enables bacteria to hang around, increasing risk for tooth decay. It’s best to snack on these treats over a short period of time.

What parents think: Organic candy is healthier than non-organic candy.
Reality check: Teeth don't know the difference between organic sugar and non-organic sugar—both are cavity-inducing. The more frequently teeth are exposed to sugar, the more frequently cavity-causing bacteria have the opportunity to feed on them.

What parents think: Fruit gummies are OK.
Reality check: Consider how gummy stuff sticks to your shoe when you step on it and you have a pretty good picture of what happens with gummy candy on teeth. Sour candies also have a high acidity content, which can break down enamel and leave little teeth prone to cavities.

What parents think: All chocolate candies are created equal.
Reality check: Steer kids towards dark chocolate, which is a bit easier on the teeth than milk chocolate (it contains more sugar). Dark chocolate has compounds called antioxidants that can inhibit bacteria from sticking to teeth, helping to fight decay and gum infection, too.

What parents think: Toothbrushing undoes candy damage.
Reality check: Toothbrushing is critical for preventing cavities, but it's ideally done within 20 minutes after eating candy. Otherwise, particles can get stuck in teeth. The next best thing: drinking plenty of water right after candy is eaten to help dislodge those particles. To keep in the holiday spirit, decorate a Halloween-themed reusable water bottle for kids to guzzle from as they trick-or-treat.

What parents think: Granola bars and Goldfish are good candy alternatives.
Reality check: In a recent survey by the AAPD of 1003 parents, 39 percent thought granola bars were good for kids’ teeth, and 28 percent thought Goldfish were. In reality, Goldfish and granola bars get stuck in children’s teeth quite easily, increasing chances for tooth decay.

Happpppppppy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

One way to deal with hate: feel the love

Nineteen years ago, on the day before I got married, the wooden bar in my closet broke and my clothes tumbled to the floor. Someone recommended a handyman who showed up at my apartment wearing a cowboy hat, not a common sight in Hoboken, NJ. He fixed the bar. As he was leaving he said, "The funny thing about Jewish people is they pay people to fix things even if they don't like to spend money!" I laughed nervously, unsure how to respond, and paid him. Afterward, I felt sickened by his remark. I'd never before had an anti-Semitic comment directed at me. In the months that followed I spotted him a couple of times in town, with that cowboy hat on, but never confronted him.

I grew up in Brooklyn, New York and went to school in Boston, both areas with a good number of Jewish people. Other than the above incident, I've been lucky to have never faced prejudice, at least not that I know of. I can't say the same for Max. After I had him, I found out just how intolerant people can be of those with disabilities. It was a shock. It left me distraught and angry, as intolerance tends to do. I learned to confront it, speak out against it and try to change it as much as I could.

I feel far more hopeless about the hate that drove a man to gun down eleven people at the Tree of Life * Or L'Simcha congregation in Pittsburgh on Saturday. My friend Wendy and I were talking about it yesterday, and what could be done to prevent future violence. Do we need more gun control, including tighter sales regulation? Yes, we most certainly do, but what's going to contain the massive amount of guns already out there? Do we need more security at places of worship on an ongoing basis, not just after a violent incident? Yes, we do—but that might not prevent someone (or a group) intent on doing harm. Do parents need to teach children tolerance? Oh yes, they do, but if you've got racism in you, you are going to pass it down to your kids. And so our conversation went, as hopeless as they come.

I took Ben to the park in the afternoon. Sometimes I sit on a bench and catch up on emails as he plays but yesterday I put my phone in my bag and watched him scamper around the jungle gym. He started climbing up a slide and I ran over to the other side and waited for him and then his little head popped up through an opening and he said "Hi, Mommy!" with the biggest grin and I felt this tremendous rush of love. "I love you," I said. Then he did it again and this time, when his little face reappeared he said "Love you!" and I said "Love you!" and he skittered away and we did it again and again.

As I stood there on a chilly day, warmed by my little boy, I thought about how the opposite of hate is love. The loss of lives and the hatred and the weapons and the senselessness make me despair, as always happens when yet another gun massacre occurs. But when I savor the love—of my family, of a concerned friend, of the parent community on social media—and give love and do my best to raise children who are loving and accepting and tolerant, it helps temper the despair.

Love is not the answer. If only. But it is one potent antidote to hate, and the grief and hopelessness it brings. Martin Luther King, Jr., said it best: "Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it."

Max, Sabrina and Dave walked in last night after running errands. Sabrina ran upstairs. I was in the living room on my computer, and Max walked over to me.

"How are you?" he asked. He is one of the few people I know who really means it when he asks.

"I'm good!" I said.

"Are you tired?" he wanted to know.

"No, I got good sleep last night I feel great!" I said.

"Yay!" he said, and I laughed and I felt the love.

I hope that the victims' loved ones are taking some comfort in knowing that people are beaming so much love at them.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The blessings the murdered Pittsburgh brothers leave behind

Like so many, I grieved this weekend for the massacre of 11 innocents at the Tree of Life * Or L'Simcha congregation in Pittsburgh. Sunday morning, when the names of the victims were released, I pored over the newspaper articles. A married couple. Two brothers. A 97-year-old woman. Last night, as I sat in the dark in Ben's room waiting for him to fall asleep, I discovered that the brothers—David Rosenthal, 54, and Cecil Rosenthal, 59—had intellectual disabilities because of Fragile X syndrome. I had to know more about them and googled some more.

The two shared an apartment in the area through ACHIEVA, a center that provides support for adults with disabilities. David has worked at Goodwill, and Cecil was due to start working with a cousin, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Every Saturday, they faithfully sat in the back of the temple and greeted people. David kept prayer books in order and handed them out. Cecil would carry the Torah around. They've been described as "inseparable" brothers who were warm, good and kind people who respected others. Cecil had an infectious laugh. David was quieter, with a gentle spirit. "They had a love for life and those around them," a statement from ACHIEVA noted.

Then I read a longtime congregant's words about them in The New York Times. Jeffrey Solomon grew up with David and Cecil. "Today we talk about inclusion, but they were just part of the community and I didn't think anything about it," he said. "It was my introduction to the fact that there are people like that and they are just like the rest of us." He noted that everyone in the Pittsburgh Jewish community knew them, and that he was not exaggerating. 

Ben had fallen asleep. I walked downstairs, told Dave about them and cried. I felt a connection with these brothers because of Max, who I believe has changed perceptions of people in our circle about those with disabilities. He has enabled people to see that while having disabilities can pose challenges, it doesn't make you any less of a human being—and that in fact, like anyone, people with disabilities bring their own unique gifts to the world.

Every single person who died in that temple on Saturday left behind countless blessings: Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; Rose Mallinger, 97; Bernice and Sylvan Simon, 84 and 86; Daniel Stein, 71; Joyce Feinberg, 75; Richard Gottfried, 65; Melvin Wax, 68; Irving Younger, 69. The good they did will live on in their families, their community, their workplaces and every aspect of life they touched.

David and Cecil Rosenthal's blessings will live on, too, although one of them may be less obvious than some. A lot of news stations and sites are paying tribute to the brothers without mentioning their disabilities. That's inclusion. And yet, because of their disabilities the brothers left behind a certain legacy. They enabled people who knew them to better understand and respect people with intellectual disability—not just because of their mere presence but because they played an active role in making their temple a welcoming place, a true Tree of Life. "They were like the ambassadors because they were always there," congregant Suzan Hauptman told CNN. "And they will always be there in our hearts."

When Jewish people offer condolences about the deceased, they say "May their memory be a blessing." What David and Cecil left behind in their community is a blessing all its own. 

Contributions in memory of David and Cecil Rosenthal may be sent to: Tree of Life * Or L'Simcha Congregation, 5898 Wilkins Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217 (online here) or ACHIEVA, 711 Bingham Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203 (online here).

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Disability Blogger Weekend Link-up: your reading roundup

What to do if you're new  

This is a place to share a recent favorite post you've written, or read. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post. Where it says "Your name" put the name of the blog followed by the title of the post you want to share (or just the name of the post, if there's no room—you get 80 characters).

Like this: Special needs moms be like...

Where it says "Your URL" put the direct link to the post.

Click "Enter." Leave a comment if you want to say more. Go check out some great posts.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Dancing on wheels and every which way

Five years ago, the D.R.E.A.M. Project (Dancers Realize Excellence Through Arts and Movement) began holding workshops at The National Dance Institute in Harlem, New York. Today, the program is held twice a year, in February and in August, for children ages 8 to 14 with and without disabilities, culminating in a performance.

Alexa, a 13-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy, travels close to four hours round-trip to participate in D.R.E.A.M. She does so with her two siblings, her mother, an adapted van, a power wheelchair, a suctioning apparatus and a nurse. "She may have limitations motorically but not in personality!" says physical therapist Agnes McConlogue Ferro, D.R.E.A.M.'s co-founder. "She has cajoled this seasoned, un-cojolable pediatric physical therapist to do things that are not on the agenda and not the easiest logistically, and yet I find myself happily obliging."

"In the rehearsal room, we teach children that embracing difference and including everyone's unique way of expressing themselves through dance is both valued and beautiful," says Kay Gayner, NDI Associate Artistic Director and cofounder of D.R.E.A.M. "In partnerships, they co-create choreography more inventive than anything I could ever come up with, and send a new message to audiences, challenging them to reconsider what dance 'should' look like."

The program also helps kids grow comfortable interacting with those who have disabilities. "At the very start of the most recent DREAM project, a boy turned to me and asked, 'Is it OK if I help Shira take her sweater off?'" Agnes recalls. He was talking about a 12-year-old girl who has cerebral palsy. "I asked Shira if that was OK and after getting a smile that lit up the room, I showed him how to help her. For the rest of the week the partnership that developed between these two was nothing short of unforgettable. It has happened time and time again: the gift of witnessing children accepting one another for who they are, not for what they can or can’t do. Awareness leads to acceptance. Acceptance leads to participation. Participation leads to community. This is our hope. This is our dream."

The program's reach continues long after dancers are off-stage. "Alexa has gone back to her sister’s local community dance school, shown the teacher videos of her dancing at D.R.E.A.M. and has subsequently joined and been in their wonderful recitals," says Agnes. "She is not done, none of these participants are!" Adds Kay, "We want children—all children—to see extraordinary things in each other, and also to see extraordinary things in themselves."

If you have a child who'd like to participate in D.R.E.A.M., contact NDI's Senior Director of Education and Outreach Aileen Barry at

Photo source: NDI

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Otherwise known as the Diaper Dash champ

Jack-Jack's Diaper Dash is one of my favorite activities on a Disney Cruise. Basically, staffers lay down a padded mat with lanes in the lobby of the ship, parents sign up their tots and plop them down, and then babies crawl to the finish line. There were enough toddlers on hand to do a race of their own on our cruise the other week.

Ben loves to run, but he can be a bit shy around other people. Sure enough, when the toddler race was set to begin and we walked over to the starting point, he immediately put his fingers into his mouth. That's what he does when he's unsure of his surroundings.

There aren't many rules for this race. Kids have to be in diapers. You can't hold your kids hand, although you can coach them along as they run. I didn't have any expectations—I was just excited to have a little kid participating, amidst all the cuteness. I told Ben to run to me, then I headed to the other side. A crowd gathered around the race course and on the floor up above.

The MC announced each child and their state, and told the kids to take their places. When the race started Ben stood there, uncertainly, as the other kids dashed off. Sabrina was next to me and motioned him to head on over. And he did.

You can hear the roar of the crowd right at the end of the video. Ben was pretty blasé about winning, until he got a cute Mickey medal. For the rest of the cruise, kids and adults alike would pass us by and say "Didn't he win the Diaper Dash?" It was like being with a celebrity.

I have watched this video a kajillion times. I love it because it captures the adorable way Ben runs, his arms flapping side to side. I love it because he unexpectedly won. I love it because this is such a precious time in his life. By the time we go on another cruise, he'll be too big for the Diaper Dash. For now, though, meet the toddler Diaper Dash champ of the cruise.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Monday, October 22, 2018

The 450-mile pizza delivery and other inspiring homework

Every Sunday night, for the past several years, Max has worked on a current events report for school. Usually, we visit DOGO News or, more recently, news websites for Orlando (where Max would like to move). Last night, he didn't see anything he liked on either. So we hit CNN, where Max was into an article involving pizza. It was an incredible story you may have heard about.

Julie and Rich Morgan, of Indianapolis, used to live in Battle Creek, Michigan, where they were fond of Steve's Pizza. They decided to take a trip to Steve's in honor of Julie's birthday, but in early October they found out that Rich's cancer had grown and he didn't have long to live. Julie's dad called Steve's, hoping they would text Rich to say sorry he couldn't make it. 

The 18-year-old grandson of the founder of the pizzeria, Dalton Shaffer, took the call. He asked what kind of pizza the couple liked. Then he drove 225 miles to deliver two pies and returned right home. Julie wrote a note of gratitude on her Facebook page. CNN's article had a sad update: Rich Morgan died on Saturday, after a two-year battle with cancer. 

It used to be that I'd read the stories to Max, summarizing to help him understand them. Every Sunday night, I'd get anxious about his comprehension. Now, though, he asks questions and we have discussions. "Where is Michigan?" he asked, and I showed him on a map. We talked about how nice it was for the guy to drive all that way to make someone happy. We agreed that many people love pizza (including Max). And then, we talked a bit about death and what it means. Max noted it can happen if you're really sick.

Current events isn't just homework lately—well, to me, anyway. It's heartening to see Max's interest and curiosity expanding. It makes me aware that he may be approaching sixteen—sixteen!!!—but he's got a whole lot of progress left in him. Articles about pizza and people doing good in this world sure help.

Photo: Flickr/Jenn Durfey

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Disability Blogger Weekend Link-up is here to host your posts

What to do if you're new  

This is a place to share a recent favorite post you've written, or read. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post. Where it says "Your name" put the name of the blog followed by the title of the post you want to share (or just the name of the post, if there's no room—you get 80 characters).

Like this: Nike gives runner with cerebral palsy a contract: 5 things the viral video doesn't tell you

Where it says "Your URL" put the direct link to the post.

Click "Enter." Leave a comment if you want to say more. Go check out some great posts.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Need more silliness in your life? Here ya go

Last night, Sabrina had homework to do and it was getting near bedtime for Ben. So I did what any good parent would do: for 15 minutes, I had them to recite "I'm a chubby bunny" so I could record them for all posterity. You've probably heard of the game—stuff marshmallows into your mouth then repeatedly say, "chubby bunny." Except it's also fun when you just smoosh your cheeks together. This is just one of many useful talents Sabrina picked up at camp this summer, and she's taught it to Ben. Her version goes: "I'm a chubby bunny, I like to eat marshmallows and I give big kiss, mmmwah!"

At times, life has felt intense lately—Ben's getting surgery in a few weeks to remove a congenital cyst in his neck and I'm having pre-op freakouts although I know he'll be in top-notch hands, there was a crime in our area involving a home invasion, a dad I knew died from a stroke and a young mother committed suicide, we're starting to figure out Sabrina's plans for high school, the industry I love and adore (magazines) is going through changes. But then, how do you feel stressed or sad when there's chubby bunny?

When Max was a little guy and I was a walking ball of anxiety, one of the only things that would cheer me up was to dress him in this navy velvet sailor suit a friend got for him and take photos. He look ridiculously adorable. For a little while, I wasn't thinking about his development or what the future held. I was giggling and relishing Max's yumminess.

It's impossible not to be in the moment when you're being silly, as Ben regularly reminds me. We have silly conversations, like this:

Ben: "You no go to work today! I go to work today!"
Me: "But Ben, you're going to school!"
Ben: "No! I go to work! You go to school!"
Me: "But Ben, I'm too big to go to school!"
Ben: "No, you little!"

We play silly games, including not-hide and seek in which he hides and announces "I hiding behind the couch!" and then I walk into the living room and stand right in front of him and pretend not to see him.

Sometimes, he likes to grab stuff—my phone, a magazine I'm reading, the mail—and dash off and do laps around our first floor, and I'll chase him a bit then go the other way and surprise him and we both laugh so hard. 

Silly therapy: It's the best. Wishing you some chubby bunniness today. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Disney Cruise Magic for all

My family was super excited about our cruise on the Disney Magic. We couldn't wait to see Ben meet Mickey and the gang. I was looking forward to it, too, but I had one big concern. Max has loved the kids club on cruises, and staffers have been wonderfully accommodating. Now, though, he'd go to the teen club. I wasn't sure if he'd be OK with that, or how the logistics would pan out given that at times Max needs a helping hand. For our last cruise, we'd done an Autism On The Seas program. Would Max be engaged and occupied this time around? If not, there would be no smooth sailing for our family.

The cruise left from New York City, where I grew up. Passing under The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge I've driven over countless times: cool.

In the lobby.

Before families get on the ship, staffers announce their name. Max got his wish: "Please welcome aboard Fireman Max!" They greeted the rest of us separately. 

The Sailing Away party. Max used to be scared of it, but there he was, dancing onstage. 

At first, Ben was completely enchanted/starstruck/pinch-me-I'm-dreaming when he met a character.

Cinderella? Tee hee!

He warmed up to Minnie Mouse....

...and Chip and Dale, who he insisted were squirrels. 

Max was as happy as ever to hang with Goofy. Dave, too.

Nothing like seeing an old BFF

Even the most sophisticated teens cannot resist the lure of a princess.

The ship had a wide variety of activities, with bonus Halloween fun. We watched fireworks on Pirate Night, went trick-or-treating in the lobby, played Wheel of Fortune in the lounge, enjoyed evening shows including Twice Charmed and one with a ventriloquist, met up with other tots at Toddler Time (Ben), got a manicure at the spa (Sabrina), saw Incredibles 2 twice (Max),  hid from the family and read a book in the adults-only area (me). 

There was the magic of Mickey Pops...

...and a sunrise somewhere over the North Atlantic...

...and an equally glorious sunset...

...and date night...

....and a stop in Bermuda, the NY cruises's maiden voyage there...

...and watching Disney movies on the big screen on the top deck...

...and lounging in a porthole...

...and showing your little brother around the ship...

...and coming back to your cabin at night to a towel-animal creation...

...and chilling in the Splash Zone...

...and exploring the Kids' Club.

I'd brought an ID bracelet for Max to wear just in case (Road ID's are the best). Turns out I had no reason to worry: After Max hit the teen club, Vibe, on his first day, he only wanted to be there. I'd found out in advance that there is usually at least one counselor present, and that he or she could call us on our ship phone if Max needed to leave or chat with us. We knew that the club could not guarantee one-on-one attention. But it's always been our experience that they are able to offer that, to some extent. Sure enough, there was the wonderful Kathryn from Australia. She unhesitatingly agreed to alert us when Max needed a hand with the restroom. Our trusty waiter had meals delivered to Vibe, and she helped set Max up. We barely got Max off the ship when we docked in Bermuda. 

With Kathryn

Max played virtual bowling. He watched movies. He did crafts and made a drawing of the Dream—the next cruise he wants to go on—with help from Alejandra from Mexico. He downed copious amounts of mac 'n cheese. He didn't go in the pool once or do any activities outside of Vibe, and he couldn't have been happier. It was his kind of magic. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Unhappy birthday to you

I knew thing were not headed in a good direction when Max kept insisting that Friday wasn't Ben's birthday, even though he knew full well it was. I wasn't sure what was up, but it was all revealed that night, when we went out for dinner.

Ben had decided he wanted rice and beans for his birthday meal, so we headed to a cute little Mexican restaurant. Max hesitated to go in. Then he said that he didn't want us to sing Happy Birthday to Ben. I figured he just didn't want to deal with the noise level. He's gotten past a lot of his sensory issues, yet not completely. We sat down. Max insisted on sitting at the next table over with Dave. OK, then. I just wanted to keep the peace.

The birthday boy ate chips and a strawberry smoothie for dinner. He was quite happy. Then the nice server found out it was his birthday and soon, she and several staffers approached our table with a piece of cake and a candle. And of course, they started to sing "Happy Birthday."

Max erupted into howls, screeches and tears. "Noooooo!" he yelled. He said something about the Disney Cruise, and I realized he was pointing out that we had already sung Happy Birthday to Ben during dinner when we were on vacation last week. Ah.

Dave took Max outside to calm down as Ben blew out his candle and enjoyed his cake. I paid the bill. When we left, I told Max that it was not nice to behave that way on Ben's birthday. "You wouldn't like it if Ben yelled on your birthday, would you?" I asked. He didn't answer. I said I didn't think he should go to the dance at school that night because of his behavior. He roared some more.

Later, Dave and I agreed he could go—Max doesn't have many opportunities to socialize with friends from school—as long as he sincerely apologized to Ben. "I'm sorry!" Max told Ben, and broke into tears. He seemed genuinely contrite. "It's OK, Max!" Ben said.

It was a side of Max I hadn't really seen before: jealousy. Ben's had parties for his first and second birthdays, but this time around got to Max—who's certainly had his fair share of attention over the years. I felt awful for Ben, but he didn't seem fazed by what happened. Nothing that years of therapy down the road won't cure!

Ben's party for his little friends, at a gym, is coming up in early November. We'll be having plenty of discussions with Max before then about letting Ben enjoy his special day.

Max: a work in progress.

Parenting: a work in progress.

Our family: a work in progress.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Nike gives runner with cerebral palsy a contract: 5 things the viral video doesn't tell you

Over the last few days, people kept sending me links to the story of Justin Gallegos. As you may know by now, he is a junior at Oregon University and a cross-country runner in the track club who has cerebral palsy. On October 6th, World Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day, a Nike representative was waiting for him when he finished a race to present him with a three-year pro athlete contract. People around the country have been bawling over the video ever since. Me, too. Gallegos' sense of accomplishment was so palpable.


A few things people wouldn't know from watching this video:

• Justin Gallegos deserves a contract not because he is a person with disability who is "trying" to run but because he's got real athletic cred. A respectable time for running a half marathon (13 miles) is two hours; Justin ran his first one in April, at 2:03:49. He aspires to run a full marathon, and to become a Paralympian. Let's hope that Nike continues to give contracts to athletes with disabilities.

• Justin started running as a high school freshman. Like every other outstanding athlete, he got where he is with a whole lot of practice—or as he noted on Instagram, "Hundreds of miles, blood, sweat and tears has lead me here, along with a few permanent scars!"  

• Justin does not "suffer" from cerebral palsy, as the video notes. That word implies he has a reduced quality of life because of his condition or that he is a victim of his disability—hardly the case. You can have a good life and have CP, as I know from raising Max. As Justin told CNN back in May, "You are not defined by your body—you are defined only by your mind."

• Justin is the first pro athlete Nike's appointed with CP. Yes, it's about time—Nike has hundreds of athletes under contract—yet Nike is once again leading the way. Six years ago, the company customized basketball sneakers for a young man with CP who was having trouble tying his laces. A few years later, it came out with FlyEase, sneakers with a wraparound zipper around the heel that make it so much easier to put them. Max has a pair, and they're awesome. 

• Justin's said, "I was once a kid in leg braces who could barely put one foot in front of the other." Cerebral palsy affects everyone differently. Some people walk or run; some get around using wheelchairs and walkers. Some people do not have intellectual disability; some do. Some people have spasticity in one arm or leg; some have it in all four limbs. Max has spastic four-quad CP, which means he has tightness in all limbs. He used to be a kid in a walker taking things one step at a time. He is also full of determination. Early one morning, during our recent cruise, I watched him dash around on the deck. He was running for the pure joy of it and I felt so happy, too.

Images: Elevation Om video screenshots/YouTube

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Disability Blogger Weekend Link-up: just do it

What to do if you're new here

This is a place to share a recent favorite post you've written, or read. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post. Where it says "Your name" put the name of the blog followed by the title of the post you want to share (or just the name of the post, if there's no room—you get 80 characters).

Like this: Love That Max: I don't care what you think about my parenting. Mostly.

Where it says "Your URL" put the direct link to the post.

Click "Enter." Leave a comment if you want to say more. Go check out some great posts.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

This is three

"It's a sunny day!" These are the words I wake up to most mornings. Ben's sleeping in our bed, and while his tossing, turning and kicking mess up my sleep, his a.m. announcements make up for it. My heart will ache when he stops saying this.

Ben turns three tomorrow. Three! Friends ask how that can be. I'm not totally sure; it doesn't seem like that long ago when I was holding him in my arms in the delivery room. And yet, I have two teens, and I know all too well how fast time zooms by. I am savoring every bit of his little-ness: His sweet little voice, those little dimpled hands, the little teeth, the little nose, the little toes, the wispy little curls that crop up when it's humid outside, the little-man collared shirts, the little sighs he makes when he sleeps, his little lips OMG his lips.

His presence, however, is big—so much so that it can shift our entire family dynamic. When Max is having a hissy fit or Sabrina is out of sorts about something or Dave and I are arguing, just a few words from Ben can make us crack up. "I need chocolate now!" he'll announce. "I have doodie!" usually brings the house down. (We are an easy audience.)

His bossiness is equally impressive: "I no do that!" he likes to say about everything from eating lunch to getting in the car. Recently, I was on the deck cleaning up and he was down on the lawn. I heard funny noises and peeked over to see him jumping off the lounge chair. "Ben! Be careful!" I said. "You go clean!" he commanded, pointing me away in the hopes that I wouldn't see what he was up to.

Boyfriend is sharp, too. We were hanging in a new play area recently, and there was a big slide. Usually, he's into slides but this one intimidated him. "It's not scary, it's fun!" I told him, encouraging him to climb up. "You go!" he said. "I'm not going down, I'm too big," I told him. "It's not scary!" he informed me. And so, yep, I went down first.

Baby Boss, as we like to call him, is fond of saying no for the sake of saying no or arguing just for fun. This morning, as I was leaving for work, I said: "Ben! Do you know what tomorrow is?"

"Friday!" he said.

"And is it your birthday?" I asked.

"No! It's Max's birthday!" he said, grinning.

I can't wait to see what three brings. Love you, little guy.

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