Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Monthly Survey: February

Please help us improve the CCAKidsBlog! Each month we'll post a survey with three or fewer questions. 

We want your feedback!

Click here to take the short survey!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"Plants aren't children..." and other great advice

The most well-meaning, but for me, useless, piece of advice I got while Shierry was a newborn was to "cherish every moment, it goes by so fast." I was grateful time was going fast. I don't really understand what "the speed of light" is, but with a completely helpless, confusing newborn in my care, I wished time was faster than that. I found the constant doctors’ appointments actually easier to deal with than a crying, inconsistent baby. At least at the doctor, I knew exactly what to do. 

Now that she’s an utterly adorable and charming eight month old, that advice makes a bit more sense. But of even more relevance to me at the moment are two adages of my grandmother. “Plants aren't children, you can throw them out” and “Who cares, as long as they’re potty-trained by kindergarten.”

Literally, if your kid is being fussy or being hilarious and you forget about watering your plant for, say, five weeks, throw it out and feel that sense of relief. It’s alright, you can get a new one. Or not. It doesn't matter. Maybe you’ll find that you no longer care about plants or, if you’re like me, that not only do you no longer care about plants, but that you only ever cared about plants because you wanted people who came to your house to think you cared about plants. This mantra can be extended to other aspects of your home. The dishes aren't children, they can stay dirty in the sink for an extra day. The laundry isn't a child, it can stay abandoned, out of sight for however long it takes you to run out of clothes. 

As our babies turn into toddlers, they’re supposed to acquire all these new skills on a roughly predictable timeline. However, we were super late starting solids because, with her complete palate cleft, it took us so long to even find a bottle that fed her formula efficiently. Without a natural barrier, even the completely pureed foods go right up to her nose and out her nostrils. She sometimes panics when the food backs up in her nose and she can’t breathe. Then, the meal is over. I don’t know this for a fact, but it seems like her crawling is a bit delayed, and I can’t help but feel that it’s partially due to all the time she has spent in the hospital at pivotal developmental moments. As for her speech, she tries, she babbles constantly, but the sounds are not the syllables and mimicking of the other kids. But, whenever I fret, I remember my grandmother’s words. “As long as they’re potty-trained by kindergarten” to me means, don’t worry about whatever other supposedly normal and perfect children are doing when. When she’s able to and interested in doing something, she’ll do it. We can’t will anything to happen. All we can do is help her along. The only thing we can force her to do on time is get to her specialist appointments. 


Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Remix: Stella Young

Today's Friday Remix features Stella Young, activist and writer. Her article from The Sydney Morning Herald may strike a chord with you on this day celebrating love and relationships. Check out the full article here

Don't look past my disabled body -- love it
Stella Young

The notion of “looking past” disability to somehow see “the real person” is one I have come to find deeply offensive. I spent my teenage years thinking that I needed to find someone who could ignore my physical body and see my “attributes” - my intelligence and humour, my mad knitting skillz. I thought that the only logical way for someone to find me attractive would be for them to ignore what I look like. It didn't occur to me until years later that my body is also an attribute.

I realised that I didn’t want that kind of relationship. I didn’t want someone to ignore my body. I wanted someone who’d look directly at it and love it, wonky bits and all.

Read more:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dating Advice: Erica

Continuing our February series on advice, I recorded a short video post discussing my top tip for dating with a difference. Let me know what you think in the comments ... I'm trying something new!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dating Advice: Stephen

An often requested topic for the blog is "Dating." In honor of Valentine's Day, this week we'll feature three posts about dating, relationships, and loving ourselves. 
Widen the Net
I recently asked a close friend of mine’s new wife what the secret was for him finding her after so many months of searching.  She said “Everything changed for him when he widened the net!”  Look at the big picture and broaden your horizons.   I have personally known people who found their Valentine 6000 miles away.  Now that is a wide Net!

What is Love?
The definition of Love that I aspire to is a quote from M. Scott Peck : “Love is any act that encourages the spiritual growth of another person.”  Before saying or doing something,  we can ask that question to determine if what do will make the other person better off than when we found them.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Media Monday: Pinterest Valentine's Ideas

It's Valentine's week! And if you're scrambling to come up with ideas for your kiddos' Valentine's-themed parties, I've included some of my favorites curated from Pinterest. So get out your Elmer's and spend some time with the ones you love most making these fun no-candy goodies!


BONUS POINTS: It's also Random Acts of Kindness week, so even if you're older and out of school, these little love notes could be used to brighten anyone's day, from your favorite barista to your grumpy receptionist!

I don't have a source for this one, but it's genius!

MommyGAGA crafted up this cute & super-fun glow stick card.

Easy, cheap, and hilarious! Another great no-candy idea from Little Lovables.

This bracelet idea is a bit time-intensive, but I could spend hours making these! Thanks, Dandee & Abby.

Get crafty,

Friday, February 7, 2014

Stephen's Work Advice

In January, we blogged about work. In February, we're talking advice. Today's post from Stephen is the perfect transition as he shares his top tips for succeeding at work. 

The best advice about work I ever got is:

  • Be on time.  Try to get work 10 minutes early each day…that way if you are late…you are still on time.
  • Learn how to work as part of a team to meet team goals.  Although it is hard to put one’s personal wants aside, it is a good skill to have and it gives you a good feeling at the end of the day.
  • Set small personal job related goals to strive for each day.  By meeting small incremental goals, the work will get done and it makes it more interesting.  Compete with yourself to get better and better.
  • Always have something to look forward to in your life.  This will help you to get through the ups and downs of each day.
  • Set aside part of your pay from day one for retirement.  Time is as valuable as money and by setting aside small amounts of money early on…the time is there for the money to grow.  The old adage is “It is the job of the young man to take care of the old man he will one day become.”
  • See if you can team up with a mentor, someone who has been where you want to go.  They can act as a guide for you along the journey.  Of course you still need to do the work, but they can help when obstacles present themselves.
  • Try to have a work/life balance.  Life isn’t all about work…try to have a hobby that you can relax with and enjoy on weekends or during any time off.
  • Try things that make you feel challenged at work.  Don’t be afraid to try and fail.  This is a good way to grow. There are lessons in failing…one can learn what to change in the next attempt.  Learning how to try again is a skill in and of itself.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Media Monday: Natalie Merlo

Natalie Merlo, a young woman with Crouzon syndrome, has been featured on the CCAKidsBlog before. Today, we're happy to post another update about Natalie from Seattle Children's Hospital.
You can read the entire post here.

Natalie finds confidence in her family of doctors

Natalie found comfort and gained confidence partly through the help of her doctor at Children’s. It all started when she met with her pediatrician, Michael Cunningham, MD, PhD, medical director of Children’s Craniofacial Center, who she has seen since age 4. Cunningham showed interest not only in her facial structure but also in her pre-k life.
Natalie found that every member of her care team treated her with the same respect while showing genuine interest in her life. As a young girl on a 14-year path to a life-changing surgery, it was just what she needed.

“Some people have great relationships with teachers or coaches— I have that with my doctors,” said Natalie. “They know me better than any of my instructors ever did and I can joke with them and talk about life. They really feel more like uncles than doctors.”
Natalie’s close relationship with her doctors transcended from the doctor’s office and into the operating room. Early on, Natalie’s parents handled most of her medical decisions. Then as she got older, she became more involved in these life-changing choices that would affect her future. By age 16, Natalie began preparing for a major surgery with her surgeon Richard Hopper, MD. Hopper told Natalie her options, told her what he recommended and then left the decision up to her. 
“After a lot of thinking, I decided to take Dr. Hopper’s recommendation and do the surgery that took the longest, but had the best outcome for life after surgery,” said Natalie.
Check out Seattle Children's blog, On the Pulse, for more news and articles. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Grateful Sunday: Grandparents & Pizza

Shierry & Her Grandparents
I am grateful for grandparents and pizza. The evening before each of Shierry's surgeries, all four of her grandparents come to our house for a pizza party. Shierry will have to overcome many hardships, but, in so many ways, she is the luckiest girl in the world to have them in her life. Also, pizza is delicious and eventually she will know that.

-- Rachel