Sunday, January 29, 2006

Don't Doubt D'Amy, Dang It

Today I'm going to relay something that happened this week in the most basic of terms. The details aren't important, only the outcome.

Somebody asked me to do something for them. I did. They loved it. REALLY loved it. Loved it so much that the person told other people about it. Important people. And then more the next day. Wow!

I was thrilled! Very happy that what I had done pleased somebody so much. That made me feel very good.

But talk about too much of a good thing.... the more I was praised for what I had done, the less I felt that the person requesting the task of me had any confidence that I'd do a good job in the first place. It must have been thought that I was really going to screw this up big time. But I didn't. Imagine that - I'm not as big a dope as I may appear to be.

It was kind of like this - but, granted - thankfully - to a much lesser degree when my husband and I announced I was pregnant. Again, I won't say who, but a few specific people were known to A) humor us in the "planning" stages of pregnancy/parenthood, and then B) question my physical abilities, the babies potential health problems, how I'd be able to care for an infant, etc., etc., etc. when the pregnancy announcement was finally made.

The humoring beforehand came in many forms. In "going along with" our search for a 3 bedroom home to move into - "so we could have our room, then there'd be 1 room each for the 2 kids we want to have." In not really saying much, or saying "It'll happen if it's meant to be" whenever I discussed my wanting children. And in never initiating any discussion themselves of our wanting children, even though they knew it was a priority on our list to make this happen.

Then, when we were blessed enough to finally become pregnant, most people, I confess, were simply thrilled for us and so excited for our addition to the family. But a very select few (thank goodness) did have their concerns and doubts that they weren't shy about letting us know. How was I going to physically get though a pregnancy alright? What, if any, damage could permanently be done to my body as a result of a pregnancy? What danger were we putting our unborn child in, risking him or her own birth defect? And how on earth did I expect to care for an infant when I couldn't carry one around on my own?

It took a decent amount of convincing on our part and the help of some very supportive friends and family to make the doubters understand that my husband and I did do a considerable amount of pre-conception research, discussion, and doctor visits before we finally felt prepared and secure in the adventure we were about to embark on. Sure, our future was still filled with many questions about how my body would react and such, but we were confident that we were taking every preventative measure possible to insure both my own pregnancy survival and the healthy delivery of a healthy baby. Of course, we were a bit scared of the unknown events that could possibly go wrong. But we were mostly over-the-moon-excited for our little one on the way.

And you know what? Sweetie arrived just fine. I made it through the pregnancy with flying colors. I had a relatively easy labor and delivery. And I manage(d) to care for my baby to the very best of my abilities using just a wee bit of adjustment to the "norm" and some really great help from friends and family.

As for those doubters? Well, they're all totally in love with Sweetie and can't imagine a world without her. And they're also incredibly proud of me for all that I've been able to accomplish with her. They see the great growth and self-confidence I've gained in my role as "mom" and they think I'm doing a pretty terrific job with her.

All this just goes to show you - don't underestimate the power of d'Amy - dang it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Further Adventures of International Sweetie

I don't have anything thrilling to write about tonight, so I'll just give you a couple links to Sweetie's two favorite songs - the first one - Romanian, the second - French:

"Mommy, can I watch the funny eyebrow guy song?"

Origional version (with subtitles) and parodies here?

"Mommy, I want to listen to the Ella song."

(Okay, you got me. Sweetie's real name is Ella. I sang a softer, much more soothing version of this song's chorus to her when she was an infant. But now she likes this "poppier" version. She thinks it's pretty cool to have her name in a song - even if it doesn't translate into English as such).

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sweetie - International Girl of Mystery

Sweetie has now completed her 1st two weeks of "school" (remember, that really only means a total of 4 half days, but whatever). And, thankfully, she's loving it.

Last Monday I reminded her that the next day was a school day. "A school day?!" she said. "I'm so excitic!" (a giddy state of euphoria half way between "excited" and "ecstatic", I suppose).

However, her new school routine is creating a bit of a mystery girl in our Sweetie - both in our eyes and those of her teachers.

Case in point #1: As we arrived for her first day of "school" we introduced her to one of her teachers, who was busily settling her small charges for a breakfast of "O's" and bananas. Sweetie told her point blank that she didn't want any. I told "Miss Kathleen” that, "She's not really a big eater. I'd like you to try, but don't expect her to eat much."

Cut to pick-up time on Thursday afternoon when we got our 1st weekly progress report of how and what Sweetie's doing. Among all the encouraging words about how well Sweetie is settling in, my husband and I read the shocking statement "what a good eater!"

What? Are you talking about my Sweetie? The same child whom it practically takes professional negotiators to convince to nibble 3 small bites of dinner every night? Certainly you can't be serious.

I chock it up to good ol' fashioned peer pressure. All the other kids are sitting down to eat, so she might as well too. Hmmph. Whatever works.

Case in point # 2: Another notation on Sweetie's 1st progress report was that she "loves to dance to the Wiggles". Okay, this makes sense. She does enjoy watching, singing and dancing along with those Aussie toddler icons at home and at Nana's house. I bet she does like it when dance time at school includes a Wiggles song or two.

But then week #2 passed by. This week included a Totercise class that she was able to join in on for the day (a 12- week class at about $70 a term that my husband and I aren't interested in enrolling her in. Unbeknownst to the parent, though, the first class - that you're not even made aware of that she'll be attending - is free. "That's nice." I said to my husband. Then I thought, "Wait a minute! That's not nice, that's evil! Of course your kid is gonna love the class and beg you to go to more!" Which Sweetie did, of course. So, guess what, we're signing her up. That's just what they want, isn't it? Yup.

So, apparently, she's at the Totercise class and loving it. Playing with a big parachute, dancing around, and whatever other relatively organized form of exercise you can get a group of 3 year olds to follow. I guess they "exercised" to all sorts of fun music, including the Wiggles. Great! Sweetie loves the Wiggles.

Well, maybe not. According to her latest report, "(Sweetie) attended Totercise today... she loved it. (Sweetie) really doesn't like the Wiggles music, though. :)"

What's up with that?! I guess she really freaked out when she heard her supposedly-beloved friends from Down Under. What, does she have a love/hate relationship going on with these colorful guys? We asked Sweetie why she didn't like the song this time and all she said was "It was the crocodile song." Oh! Of course. The crocodile song. Well, then, I can definitely see why you freaked out so much over that. Thanks for the explanation. Whatever.

Then there's her minute-to-minute changing attitude toward arriving to school every day. She's always excited when we pull up and park the car, but instantly becomes shy-girl upon entering her classroom. She hasn't yet cried about our leaving her there (knock on wood) but she's fervently tried to get us to sit down with her and stay for a bit longer than we're able to. The rest of her time there, I've been reassured, goes just fine, though, and she acted "like she's always been" there after her first hour on her first day.

That's good news. I'm glad she's learning to socialize with others her age, listen to authority figures other than Mommy, Daddy and Nana, and eat a decent meal.

It will be interesting to see if the friendly peer pressure helps her with potty training in the coming months. Here's hopin'!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Thanks and Stuff

Hi Everyone! I thought I'd grace you all with my presence both today and tomorrow. Yep, it's bonus blog time!

Actually, I'm just feeling a little inspired to share a couple different stories with you. So why not do 2 blogs this weekend?

First off, I wanted to thank everyone who lurked on by (sorry - I'm so out of it. I basically just learned this term - bopping around to other blogs - and so I thought I'd toss it in) my site and said hi. It's so great to hear from you! You really helped recharge my energies.

Secondly, I thought I'd share a quick story about some time I got to spend away from home one evening last week. You see, I joined my local Mother's Club a few months ago and I finally made it to one of the events this past Thursday.

Within the larger group is a sub-club for Working Moms, and every 3rd Thursday of the month these women get together over dinner. So this time, I went. It helped a lot that a friend of mine just joined the Club as well and we went to the dinner together. If left on my own, it probably would have been just one more great opportunity I let slip through my fingers.

At any rate, the 2 of us went and joined 5 other Working Moms for a great dinner at one of my favorite restaurants - The Olive Garden. Actually, the way it worked out, we were split up at 2 different booths (back to back), just because it got us seated that much sooner. We would have had to wait another 1/2 hour for one large table for all of us.

So, my friend and I sat with one other relatively new member, and the other 4 sat at the next booth over.

We had a great time! We really enjoyed the company of the mom we sat with. We had a lot to talk about and many mommy experiences to share.

One thing I asked our new friend was what, at 18 months old, was her little boy doing developmentally these days. She talked of babbling and his separation anxiety troubles and his sleep habits, among other typical things. Then she asked me what my 3 year old was doing.

I said "Well, she's talking a lot!" Instantly, I thought, and said a loud too, "Well, of course she is. She's 3 years old - she should be talking by now!"

I just felt really silly for making this comment. That's one of my problems - I talk before I think, sometimes.

So I just went on and explained what I really meant was the great, imaginative stories she comes up with now. She tells us all about her "stories" (dreams) and what she wants to do when she "gets big", and so many other fun, cute things.

All this made me think in more detail about the cute way she communicates with us.

If she tries on an article of clothing that's too small - or too big - she'll say, "Yes, this fits me, but not quitely!"

If she wants "up" then she'll say to her Daddy "pick me up, Daddy, so I can see much better."

The other day she told me she wanted an "item".
"An item?" I asked. "What kind of item?"
"A Winnie the Pooh item.”
"Oh! You want a Winnie the Pooh vitamin!"
"Yes, a Winnie the Pooh vitamin." (like, duh, mommy, isn't that exactly what I just said?)

She's always telling us what we "want" to do. "Mommy, we want to play Candyland now." Oh we do, do we? Thanks for telling me, Sweetie, I had no idea!

We live in "Noki's House". Noki is one of our cats. I don't know why she thinks we live in Noki's house and not our other cat Spoon!'s house. Or why not Noki and Spoon!'s house? I don't know, but she's referred to our home like this ever since she could talk.

I found her sitting in the darkened living room the other morning.
"What are you doing, Sweetie?"
"Watching Noki watch my horse." (her horse-on-a-stick riding toy)
"It's so nice, Mommy. It's nice to share my horse with Noki."
"Yeah. It is nice to share, isn't it?

Yeah, sharing is nice. Hope you enjoyed reading what I had to share with you today.

See y'all tomorrow!

Addendum: I just thought of one more cute "communication" story to tell you about.

Last Monday, a Mommy and Sweetie day off from work, I was busily doing something at the computer as Sweetie played with her train and other assorted toys. Soon she got weary of said toys and started hounding me that she wanted to "sit on your lap, Mommy, so I can spell my name." (her latest computer-related fun-time activity). I told her "Okay, in a minute. I have to finish something first."

Well, she kept up her persistant pleas until I finally said "Yes! In a minute. Hold your horses!" to which she stopped, thought for half a second, then silently went to her (afore-mentioned) horse-on-a-stick riding toy and, you guessed it, held him. With no complaint, no question of why on earth was I telling her to do this, nothing. I can only imagine that she must have wondered what good this was going to do, though.

Well, there she stood, holding her horse until I told her a little while later that I was all set now, "you can stop holding your horse."

"Okay." she answered, as she gently dropped him to come sit with me and do her all-important typing.

Kids are so funny.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I'm So Lonely...

... Oh, so lonely.

I can't for the life of me find any other disabled moms who blog.

Furthermore, I can't find any specific mom blogs that I just absolutely LOVE. I'd really like to add a ton of blogs and websites to my sidebar - but I haven't happened upon that many that scream to me "take me, I'm yours!".

I'm also feeling sad that, of the few bloggers I do have in my blogroll, not everyone posts very often. Where are you guys?

And nobody ever comments on my blog :(

Oh, my brother commented recently (thanks Rob - love to hear from you!) and that's great. And I do get the occasional email from interested readers. But no one ever says a quick "hi" right here. Is anybody out there?

Sorry - just feeling frustrated, saddened and dismayed at the deafening silence coming from disabled parents everywhere. I know I'm not the only one. But where are you all?

I also recognize and appreciate the need to carefully balance between being "the disabled parent" and "just mom" (or dad, as the case may be). On the one hand, you want to get your voice heard as a parent with special needs. But at the same time you want to present just how ordinary and everyday your life can be. That's why I so often find myself writing general "Sweetie" stories that don't really have much, if anything, to do with my spina bifida. It doesn't really matter that I'm disabled, to Sweetie, anyway. I'm just "Mommy". And that's important.

Nonetheless, I'm still feeling lonely.

Faithful readers - disabled, able-bodied, everyone - I hereby challenge you to speak up, start your own blogs, make some noise, and make a difference!

And, please, I'd love to hear from you. Comment anytime, anywhere.

Oh, and if you've got some great blogs and/or websites to recommend to me - please, by all means, pass them along!

Help me fill this vast horizon with useful, witty, funny, inspiring and randomly common acts of everyday adventures.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

They're My Obsessions

Okay, so this is going to be another totally random post. But hopefully it's one that is fun and a bit informative as well.

Lately I've been really into playing Scrabble. My mom and her siblings are huge Scrabble fans (well, her older sister doesn't love it so much, but she humors them and plays along anyway). My maternal grandparents loved to play the game as well when they were alive.

Therefore, I've grown up around the game. So you'd think, what with my love of writing, reading and all things linguistic, that I'd be a total Scrabble Head as well. But until recently, I have not. In fact, I hated the game. Strongly disliked, anyway.

I think it must have been because my family is so good at it - I thought I had to be too. I was always so self-conscious about using my "s" appropriately, putting my high scoring letters on extra point squares, and so forth, that I couldn't just relax and have fun. Especially as I got older and truly developed my love of writing. Heck, I was an English major! I should have not only loved playing Scrabble, but I should have been darn good at it, too! Too much pressure!

Anyway, my aunt and uncle from GA came up to visit at Thanksgiving time this year. This meant an even more intense tournament of Scrabble games to either watch or participate in. So, not wanting to sit around and be bored watching others play, I half-heartedly joined in on some of the games, all the while proclaiming my dislike of the situation.

But guess what happened? I actually did pretty well! And up against my mom, aunts and uncle, that's saying something! Hey, this game isn't so bad after all!

Ever since, I've been challenging my husband to almost nightly games of Scrabble. Sweetie will even "allow" us to play during weekend days, joining us at the table playing with her Play doh. She can happily sit with us for the typical 1 1/2 hour game play, busily smooshing "doh" through her Fun Factory shape maker.

My husband and I are pretty equally matched. I've won games in a row, and then he takes his turn at a winning streak. We do like to play a nine-tile game, though (instead of the typical 7-tile version), as it makes the play go that much quicker. And we do let each other look words up in the Scrabble Dictionary beforehand. I know, I know, this is TOTALLY against the rules of the avid player, but we feel we need that added assistance to play a decent game. And, the more and more we play, the less and less we're turning to the dictionary for help. Just building our vocabulary for when we play with the Big Boys (and Girls), that's all.

So, that's that. I'm addicted to Scrabble. It could be worse.

Like shopping! Yes, I've become a bit of a shopping addict. On-line shopping, that is. And for me, someone who really couldn't care less about going out to the malls and spending money on myself, this is totally insane.

But, you see, I've found a little something called Club Mom. It's an on-line organization, co-founded by Meredith Vieira of T.V'.s "The View". The site features all sorts of great mom-and-doctor approved parenting tips, advice, stories and more.

And shopping.

Club Mom has set up this shopping point system for its registered members (registration is quick, easy and FREE!). Whenever you purchase something from one of their gazillion affiliated retailers, you earn points. Points per dollar can range anywhere from 1 to 15 or more, so they can add up very quickly. Then, you can ultimately take your points and trade them in at the Club Mom Rewards Catalog. For instance, 1000 points will get you a $5 gift certificate to anywhere from Aunt Annie’s Pretzels, to Applebee’s, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and others.

Okay, so $5. to any particular store isn't much to write home about. But just you wait! Keep buying things through Club Mom's website and you'll keep earning points! The most extravagant item in their Rewards Catalogue is a Family Theme Park Package for a mere 750,000 points.

So, you don't want to get only $5. to a given store, and you don't have the patience to wait and earn all 750,000 points for the Theme Park Package. But don't worry, there are hundreds of mid-ranged prizes to choose from along the way. Day spa visits, restaurant gift certificates of a more substantial amount, clothing, electronics, etc. There's even a way you can register all the items you like on your own wish list. That way, as you earn more and more points, you'll receive emails telling you what you now qualify to trade them in for. Cool.

The problem for me, though, is that I'm finding myself wanting to buy as much as I can through the Club Mom website. For instance, I have 2 relative's birthdays coming up, but they're not people I typically buy presents for. This year, though, I'm thinking, "Wouldn't it be nice to find them a little something?". Then there's my niece's 1st birthday coming up very soon. I will definitely be buying her something, but instead of my typical stance of finding the best bargain anywhere, this time I feel totally willing to spend as much as need be for that perfect gift.

Obsessed, I tell ya! I plan to buy all the gifts I need on line through this site and I've told my husband to do the same. He has an L.L. Bean gift certificate to spend - "shop on line!", I tell him. Anything you need, see if Club Mom is affiliated with the store in question.

This is crazy! I hate to spend money. But, hey, THIS money will actually get me a bonus in the end - so it's okay, right? That's what I keep telling myself, anyway. Spend more money now, and get free stuff later. Plus, I don't have to leave my house to shop. No more finding a sitter for Sweetie or dealing with her shenanigans if she comes along.

It all works out in the end, right? And everybody wins.

Win? Yeah, I can do that. Anybody up for another round of Scrabble?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


My next article for Audacity Magazine, to be published in February's issue, is due very soon. And until today, I wasn't sure what I wanted to focus on this time. But then I came up with the idea of finding what's available in terms of written resources for the disabled parent. To my pleasant surprise, I did find a pretty decent sized listing of published works at the Disabled Parents Network website - an organization based out of London, England.

Listed are a collection of more than 20 published works written for, by and/or about disabled parents. Some pieces focus on pre-conception questions and issues, some discuss society's and/or legislation's views on the disabled adult as parent, some focus on the adaptive needs of the disabled parent to properly raise a child into adulthood, and a few are even written with the child's needs in mind, helping him or her to understand the disabled parent's needs and viewpoints.

Like I said, I was very pleased to come across this collection of resources. And I'm excited to delve deeper, not only into these specific publications, but also into a search for even more! I hope to take what I find and use the information in my Audacity article as a resource guide for other disabled parents.

In the mean time, I thought I'd publish this quick link to one specific resource, The Disabled Woman's Guide to Pregnancy and Birth - by Judith Rogers, OTR. Published recently - in June, 2005 - and written by a researcher (and disabled mom) at the San Francisco based organization Through The Looking Glass, this book is thoroughly researched, thoroughly accessible and thoroughly interesting. It's pages uncover the results of interviews with 90 disabled parents. From great experiences, to horrible ones, and everything in between, this book covers it all!

I read through the book's published sample chapter and found the information very easy to understand, complete and non-biased. It really seems like a wonderful resource that would be very helpful to a disabled adult considering, or living through, parenthood.

I only wish it was written a few years back, when I was considering pregnancy and searching for answers to many disability-specific questions.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Testing, Testing

Maybe I shouldn't have declared success with Sweetie's new nighttime ritual quite so fast. I think I may have jinxed us by writing about it so soon.

Since I've last written, 2 out of 3 times Sweetie has tested us by getting out of bed shortly after tucking her in. Probably because I crept away so soon after leaving her room and she heard the floorboards creak under my feet in our 100+ year old house's upstairs hallway.

So, pretty quickly, my husband and I had to come up with a new plan. And so far, it's working quite well.

As soon as we hear her get out of bed, my husband rushes to scoop her up and tuck her back in bed - all without saying a word to her. The first night he had to do this 2, maybe 3 times before she gave up and just cried herself to sleep. The second night, she stayed in bed, albeit crying for "Daddy" and "up" all the while, for a good 1/2- hour or so before she finally ventured out. After plunking her down that time, though, it wasn't even 5 minutes before she stopped crying and fell asleep.

Last night I thought we'd be up against another fight, as she adamantly did not want to go to bed. But she stopped her crying within 10 seconds of the lights turning off and she fell asleep shortly thereafter. Perhaps her not getting a nap yesterday also aided in her quick trip to dreamland.

Anyway, we'll see how tonight goes - also a no-nap day.

I'm thankful that my husband and I were so quick to come up with this new plan. His help with this is really crucial, I think, because he is physically able to both quickly get to her and quickly and quietly scoop her up and put her back to bed. If I had to continue to deal with her on my own, I would have no choice but to talk to her and get her cooperation in walking her back to bed - the last place she wants to be at these times.

I really feel the not talking to her portion of this plan - and my initial routine with her - is key. The more you tell a child "no" and the more you verbally fight with him or her, the more fuel the child has to verbally fight back. Both parties get more and more riled up and nobody settles down very quickly at all.

If the parent doesn't initiate any dialogue, though, then the child has nothing to fight against and will settle down much more quickly. That's been our experience, anyway.

I'm curious to see how Monday night goes too, as my husband is away at a class during her bedtime. Hopefully tonight will go well and she'll be back on track toward success. If I have to go out of the ordinary routine to settle her on Monday, then I fear it will just set her back a few steps towards her independence in this matter.

Wish us luck. I'll keep you posted - but maybe not until I'm SURE things are regularly working well. Wouldn't want to jinx anything more than I already have.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Now, That Wasn't So Difficult...

I have an announcement to make. Drum roll, please...

Ahem... Sweetie is finally falling asleep completely on her own! (You thought I was going to say something else, didn't you?)

Yah, well, it may not be big news to all of you, but to me, this is HUGE!

And once again, I owe my success to the inspired teachings of T.V.'s "The Super Nanny" (she helped my husband and I earlier this summer when Sweetie decided to make a jailbreak from her crib).

This time around, I again adapted the Nanny's thoughts on how to keep your little one from escaping the warmth and comfort of her own bed. But, really, the process for me all started kind of by accident.

It was the Wednesday before Christmas, I think, when I was doing what I usually do - sitting in the dark on a small stool next to Sweetie's bed, waiting until she fell asleep before I crept out of the room. Many of the times as I sit there, I drape my arm around her, "holding her", at her request. Such was the case on this particular night. But this time was different. She was not settling AT ALL, tossing and turning, alternately asking me to hold her and not hold her. Finally, I got fed up and told her I was not going to hold her, I was just going to sit next to her until she fell asleep. She ended up crying herself to sleep that night as I sat in the dark listening to her wail.

Actually, no. As I recall, I ultimately got tired of listening to her cry and told her if she didn't stop, then I was just going to leave. She didn't stop. I left. She got out of bed - but not passed the closed door in the room next to her bedroom. About 20 minutes later, I went up to guide my still-crying, VERY sleepy little girl back to her bed. Within 5 minutes, she was snoring and I left the room.

So, that evening's fight to the finish happened purely by "accident". But it made me think about a plan for the next night.

The next afternoon I told Sweetie that, at bedtime tonight, when I turned out her light I was going to sit on the floor by her bed. I told her that once the light was out, I couldn't talk to her, I couldn't "sleep around of" her, and I couldn't hold her. Who would have thunk it, but she went for it! Oh, I think I did have to say some very brief words to her once the lights were out, but all relaxed, comforting and quick. Within about 10 or so minutes I crept out of her room and she stayed put. I'm sure she didn't even realize I left.

Each successive afternoon I've told her ahead of time what the plan was for that night - each night I would sit just a bit further away from her, and not talk to, sleep around of or hold her. On a few nights she wanted stories told to her in the dark, which was fine. But as I got further away, she had to understand that if she wanted a story, it had to be before the lights went out when I could still sit next to her bedside for a few minutes. In all of these cases, she's miraculously opted for lights out instead of the story.

So, for the last 3 nights I've shown her ahead of time where I'm sitting now - on a pillow on the floor just around the corner from her room. I thought for sure that she'd "test" me at least one of these times to see that I was really there, but she hasn't. Tonight I stood outside her room and waited about 1-2 minutes before I went downstairs to join my husband.

The whole process has taken about 2 weeks, but it has been totally worth it. It really was a very painless exercise, as each night I was able to sneak out within 5 or so minutes of turning out the light. The reasoning being that, she knows I'm not going to talk to her once the light is out anyway, so how is she to know if I'm really still in the room or not?

Now the question is - do I continue to tell her that I'm still sitting on that pillow outside her room each night, with the possibility that one of these times she may in fact get out of bed to test me on my word? Or do I continue to tell her that I'm sitting progressively further and further away? I don't know - I'll probably off-handedly mention that I'm sitting further and further away, but not make the big deal that I have in the last 2 weeks about showing her precisely where I was going to sit. This way, if she ever does get out of bed, she doesn't have an exact place I've promised to position myself to be found.

Goal 1 of improved nighttime ritual - complete.

Goal 2 of potty training - next on board. I've already started to get her interested in rewards of M&M's and stickers for using the potty. Now she just has to work at earning those rewards. All in time, all in time.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Helping Hands

Happy New Year, everyone! May 2006 bring you much love, happiness and laughter.

As my husband and I waited to quietly ring in the new year together last night, we turned on the T.V. so we could see Dick Clark's return to New York's annual celebration. But what really caught our attention was the heart-warming story on the local 11:00 news.

The story of baby Noor al-Zahra, a 3- month old with spina bifida found by U.S. soldiers during a routine raid of the infant's parents' Iraqi home in Baghdad.

The soldiers worked with several American charities to devise the plan to get baby Noor to the U.S. for immediate medical attention, accompanied by her grandmother and father.

The plan worked! The 3 family members arrived in Atlanta, GA just yesterday. Noor will now spend several weeks, maybe months, in the hospital so she can receive proper medical evaluation and care. She'll have her back closure surgery ASAP.

Here's a link to several articles on Baby Noor's journey, from discovery, to arriving in the United States, to prognosis for her future. I couldn't pick just one article to cover all the facts, so I thought this link would help you all research the story as much as you'd like.