Saturday, September 20, 2014

A New Generation

So I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and didn't know where to share it other than here.  So I'm happy to say this is what brought me back to my blog (after a 4 month hiatus).  It has to do with this whole new generation of kids we are raising and it's really pretty cool.  So I know we have become a generation that is not ok with bullies - and I love that.  But in addition to a zero bully tolerance, I really feel like we are raising kids with so much tolerance and acceptance.  It's really inspiring.  Allow me to elaborate, I have seen several examples of this in Olivia recently and it really makes my heart happy.

So the first one is really kind of silly.  We were watching Freaky Friday - the new one, not the old one.  I know the old one is much better but unfortunately not available on Netflix, and the new one has Lindsay Lohan, which I was not thrilled about, but I digress.  The point is we were watching it and it's at the part where Lindsay is playing in her hard rock band, but it's actually the mother in daughter Lindsay's body.  Does this make sense?  So the mom (in a kids body) is dancing across the stage in a very "mom" like way if you know what I mean.  So I start laughing and this exchange takes place:

Me - laughing at the scene
Liv - Why are you laughing?
Me - The way she's dancing, it's funny.
Liv - What's funny?
Me - You know, it's kind of corny.
Liv - What does corny mean?
Me - You know, kind of nerdy?
Liv - What does nerdy mean?

I was going to say dorky next, but I quickly realized that she wasn't finding this humorous because in her world, the girl was just dancing.  And that is how she danced.  And she didn't know what corny or nerdy mean, because you just don't call people that anymore.  Those words are beginning to not exist anymore.  So I quickly shut up and changed the conversation.

Then next incident happened a few days ago. I announced that Juliana's Miracle League (softball for special needs kids) was starting on Saturday.  So this happened:

Liv - So mommy, I think I want to be on Juliana's team this year.
Me - Well you kind of are.  You help when out all the time and you fill in when other kids don't show up.
Liv - I know but I want to BE ON THE TEAM.
Me - I know, but you can't really.
Liv - But why can't I?
Me - (Not wanting to say "Because you aren't disabled in any way) Well because I think you have to be a certain age or something.
Liv - No you don't, there are kids in my grade on the team!

And I just thought for a second.  How do I explain this?  "You see honey, it's just that you can walk, talk, run etc.  Basically everything is easy for you, and this team if for kids that don't have it that easy." Is it possible that she doesn't get it?  That she sees all these beautiful kids and see absolutely nothing wrong with them?  Only sees their heart and the fun they have and she wants to be a part of it.  How beautiful is that?  So I did what any person would do.  I took the cowards way out and said, "Well ok.  Ask Juliana's coach if you can join.  If it's ok with her, it's ok with me:)"

And of course she asked, and of course they said no.  I tried to smooth it over by getting her an official Miracle League Buddy shirt.  Not sure that was enough.  Love this girl.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Dinner Conversations with an Emotionally Gifted Child

Kids get it.  There is no doubt about it.  So I have to give a little background before we get to today's dinner conversation.  So about a year ago, my brother divorced.  And I didn't realize it at the time, but it was the first couple that our family was really close to that divorced.  It was odd to me that for months, Olivia never mentioned a thing.  Never asked questions, like why is my cousins mom never here, or why don't they live together.  Finally, after about 8 months, she asked if her aunt was mad at us, or why she never came around anymore.  It caught me completely off guard, so I just told her, unfortunately they both decided they couldn't be married anymore.  She asked why her aunt didn't want to see her anymore or why we couldn't visit with her.  Umm, well, she's not mad at us, it's just very difficult because it was a very sad decision and everyone needed their time.  So it was left at that and she has never brought it back up until tonight.

So here we are tonight, having dinner at a local restaurant and they are playing some kind of rodeo championship.  Liv has never been to a rodeo or seen anything so silly in her opinion.  She's watching and asking, "Why do those guys keep getting on the bulls?  Don't they know the bull will throw him off?"  So I try to explain the rodeo.  I try to explain that these people think that it's cool or brave to get on the bull and try and stay on for 8 seconds.  And she doesn't get it.  "But why is that cool?  The bull is trampling him and hitting him with his horns!"  It was getting kind of gory so I agreed.  It isn't really smart to do that.  She looked at Roger and said, "Daddy, promise me you will never do that!  I would be really sad if you ever did that."  He of course gladly obliged to never do that.  So we continued to talk about how it is really kind of "reckless" behavior because you aren't thinking about getting hurt or what can happen.  Then they showed a shot of one of the cowboy's family, a lady and baby.  So seeing that we talked about how it's really kind of "dangerous" behavior because it can affect your whole family, if the daddy gets hurt and all.

So she's processing all of this very carefully, we continue to eat, and then minutes later, what would appear to be out of the blue she says, "And promise me that you will never get a divorce like my uncle and my aunt.  Promise that will never happen to our family!"  After a few seconds of shock we both of course promised and I'm trying to figure out where this came from and suddenly it was clear.  It wasn't out of the blue.  It completely went with what we were talking about.  Divorce can be very reckless and dangerous behavior which can affect all members of the family.  It made me sad to think that this has become something she might worry about.  How long has she been thinking about that?  I am grateful that she can articulate her feelings about it all and I hope God gives me the knowledge to know the right things to say to her, to reassure her and make her know she is safe and loved.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Egg Hunts and Corneal Abrasions

Okay, so totally not the Easter weekend we were hoping for.  The plan was awesome.  Aunt Melissa was coming with the kids and Ty (Liv's bff).  They haven't been to Dallas in a year.  We were going to die eggs, have a confetti egg hunt, have a great big cook out and just enjoy being together.  And then Aunt Melissa was going to have to leave early Sunday.

So we got up early Saturday, anxiously waiting for Aunt Melissa to get there.  Of course we had to get the girls dressed because they would be mortified if the company came over and they were still in pajamas.  So in a hasty rush to get dressed (and a shirt that is clearly too tight for Juliana) daddy and his extremely dry knuckle apparently scratched the heck out of Juliana's cornea.  She didn't cry at first, just wouldn't open up the eye.  After over an hour she still wouldn't open and then she started crying.  And Juliana is not a cryer by nature.  She will whine or complain at times, but never a cryer.  This of course is right about the time that Aunt Melissa gets here.  So we hugged and welcomed our guests as Juliana and I headed to the emergency room:(

Luckily while we were there, Olivia and Ty managed to die the eggs for us and get dinner going.  We made it home around 5:15 with an official diagnosis: corneal abrasion.  And p.s. she still wouldn't open her eyes.  Like not at all.  Not even for Mickey Mouse.  She was like a little blind girl.  So needless to say it put quite a damper on our Easter celebration, since a. she was in pain and b. she wouldn't open her eye.  So we got through dinner and Juliana went to bed pretty early.

The good news is Liv and Ty still managed to play their hearts out.  They literally played until 1am (I know, terrible parents) until they both literally fell to the ground and fell asleep.  The grown ups quickly followed suit.  Lights out.

Fast forward about 7 hours when Olivia hurls into the room devastated because guess what?  The Easter Bunny didn't come.  Our baskets were empty.  Luckily I was quick on my feet and explained that since her and Ty stayed up so late, he probably came, realized there were kids awake and moved to the next house.  This of course explained the problem but didn't make her feel better.  She was so upset.  So while she was eating breakfast, I. . . . I mean the Easter Bunny left some treats out back.  Apparently when the kids stay up too late he just leaves surprises outside so no one sees him.  Sneaky little bunny.
 We strolled Juliana out to see the glorious treats, but guess what?  She still wouldn't open her eyes:(  Roger was convinced she was punishing him at this point.
 So we decided to proceed with the egg hunt sans our cousins.  And yes, I know this looks ridiculously dangerous considering she has a scratched cornea, but we figured she still has her eyes closed and she wouldn't want to miss out - #parentsoftheyear

 See - there is an almost smile!  I mean who wouldn't smile right before smacking an egg on your sister?

 Yes, even the 15 year old dog got an egg cracked on her.

 So after our hunt and sat on the porch swing and watched The Barbie Mermaid movie, as you do on Easter.  And this just made me laugh, these are Liv's yard shoes that she uses to avoid mud or poop on any good shoes.  She's a hill billy.
 And this was a pic of an amazing carrot cake that I, Kristy Brooks, made from scratch - even the icing.  It was so delicious.
 And this is my little Juj Sunday evening.  Barely opening that eye, but at least it's open!  Thank you Jesus - It's an Easter Miracle!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday Indeed

So Thursday Ms. Bustos informed us that Juliana had a great day, maybe one of her best days this school year!  Then Friday, guess what.  Juliana made a 100 on her math test!!!! A 100!!!! And guess what, Juliana HATES MATH!  She much prefers reading.  It just feels so good when the stars align and everything's in sync and you just have a perfect day!  Thank you God!

Then to top it off, Olivia got to purple today on the conduct chart.  Trust me this is good.  They have about 8 colors or something, but purple is one away from PERFECT!  So in order to celebrate Olivia decided we should have a wine party!  Her idea, so I had to oblige with our best white wine (JK - it's only water, plus I only drink reds).  Where does she come up with this stuff?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Family Fitness Night

Today was Juliana and Olivia's Family Fitness Night at school.  Each grade would be presenting a song and dance they have been working on in regards to fitness.  Olivia was of course so excited.  She had been talking about it for weeks.  I wasn't sure how Juliana felt about it.  She doesn't typically like the spot light and last years program was a total flop.  I forced her to dance while she was asleep literally during the entire performance.  So I wasn't sure how this year would go.  But as usual we try to go in fresh and see what comes.  So glad we did.  She was so excited and proud.  I wish you could see her face better.  She was actually giggling and grinning from ear to ear.  Thanks Coach Martinez for a great show!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Inside Recess

So today I got to substitute for Juliana's class.  I love getting to see Juliana in her environment at school and how the other kids interact with her.  It was really cool to see them during Daily 5 station rotations how all the girls fought over who's turn it was to read with Juliana.   Awesome to see her rocking out her word work with her aide.  But the thing I found probably most interesting was during inside recess.  So the kids go to recess directly following lunch.  Most days Juliana misses recess because I'd prefer she get enough time to eat.  Kids typically get 30 minutes for lunch, which by the time they sit down and then add in clean up time they really only get 20 minutes which is definitely not enough time for Juliana.  So I brought the kids back to class for inside recess while Juliana and her aide finished lunch.  Some kids played legos, some played computer games and some played school.  The kids that were playing school started announcing who would be the teacher, who would be the principal and then the shocker.  They were fighting over who would be Juliana and who would be Ms. Bustos (her aide).  Initially I was going to jump to "Defensive Momma Mode" and immediately go over and tell them to stop and how disrespectful that would be.  But luckily I forced myself to wait and see how this was going to play out.  And guess what, it was pretty cool.  The child that "played" Juliana did so in a very respectful way.  They did not portray her in any negative manner.  They spoke to "Juliana" in the same way they did to all the other "students" expect "Ms. Bustos physically helped "Juliana" with each activity.  They managed to represent her completely accurately.  Completely competent, completely aware and just in need of physical assistance.  It was actually quite beautiful.  I was so proud of these kids, their compassion and their understanding of my beautiful daughter.  So glad I let the kids play.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Playing Pretend

One of the best parts of having kids this age is their ability to pretend.  For Juliana, it's something we probably don't do enough with her, but she LOVES doing.  It makes perfect sense.  Because when you pretend, there are no limits.  So today, Roger and the girls were playing pretend.  I'm not sure how they got on the topic of Hawaii, but they were pretending to be on a Hawaiian island.  They had a boat (pillow) and the beach (blankets).  They had to swim ashore and laid out on the beach.  They looked up pictures on google and discovered hula girls and hula dances.  So they invented their own hula dances and what the dances were about.  I listened in and thought - How cool.  

So the next day I asked the girls about their Hawaiian adventure and I asked them if they would like to go there some time.  Of course a resounding YES!  So we made a list of all the places the they have traveled and all the places we would like to explore together.  A sort of family travel bucket list.  And it was amazing that they knew of so many places and the excitement they showed in wanting to explore the world.  So I'm not sure how far we will get on this list, or it we will ever check each place off the list, but it's a dream of ours now.  And it is prominently thumb tacked on their cork board, directly above their bed.  So they can dream of all the places we have been together and all the places we have yet to go.  And I hope to add to the list.