Friday, October 24, 2014

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Moving day

It's official. Undiagnosed but Okay is moving. Please visit us in our new digs. There are no dust bunnies yet. Though Boo is exhausted from the move.

Please visit our new home at: 

TBT--I was an idiot

It's Throw-back Thursday.  This post was originally published on 06-SEP-2012 after a wonderful week of company. But then   I became an idiot. Instead of being warrior mom I was one who judged. A person I wasn't too proud to be.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

31 for 21

I have been blogging for about four years now. In my first year my friend Michelle at Big Blueberry Eyes began hosting the 31 for 21 challenge. Although Boo doesn't have Down Syndrome she has a lot of friends that do.  I have participated for the past three years and will do so again this year. 

And this year I am starting on time, so bonus points!

Monday, September 29, 2014

My Challenge: Mardra

I would like to introduce you to Madrathe mother of a wonderful man who has Down Syndrome. I believe every parent of a child with special needs has the same challenge. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

TBT-where would I live?

Today's Throw-back Thursday post is actually a post from a Finish that Sentence Friday Prompt I answered on April 11, 2013. The prompt was: If I could live anywhere I would live..."


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Time Traveling

If I could go back in time...I wouldn't. I just wouldn't. First of all you could not pay me enough to relive my youth. Or my high school years. In fact I think my mom would pay YOU not to make her relive my high school years.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Last night when I was up with Boo, I thought to myself...I love this. I absolutely love just holding her and laying on the couch until she calms down and falls back asleep. I love that she can sense when I lay her back into her bed. I love that she is so small and petite (okay short) that carrying her isn't a problem.

Monday, September 22, 2014

My Challenge: Allie

I "met" Allie through the world of the Blog. I am not quite sure how we stumbled on one another but she continues to crack me up with the escapades of her four children, husband and life in general. On top of it all, Allie is an autism activist, an author and a woman with a sense of humor similar to my own.

Her challenge: Organization.

When Allie first sent it to me she wasn't sure if it was the type of post I had in mind for the Challenge series. After reading her words I was nodding my head and I think you will too.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

This week

Today I am very thankful. So thankful I am participating in the Ten Things of Thankful hosted by Lizzi

1. I am thankful for the friends who got what I was trying to say when I spewed venom earlier this week. That I would not trade Boo for the world but once in a while life becomes too much.

2. For Walt Disney & Company, I understand not one more parent wants to hear Let it Go but to see Boo's face as she watched the Ice Show? Magic. Pure Magic.

3. For sisterly love.

4. That more people got the humor of Helicopter parent than were offended. Come on people lighten up, life is too short!

5. The I Run 4 group for their dedication and willingness to provide emotional support for families.

6. For M&M's. Lame, maybe. But they are important to my state of mind. The fact that I can just eat three and provide amusement to others is an added bonus.

7. For older sisters willingly giving up their toys to their younger siblings.

8. For the friend that took Abby for a weekend of one-on-one attention. 

9. For this video right here that shows Abby is not the only sibling who loves unconditionally. 

10. And lastly, for this moment. This moment right here when Boo was a just a little girl in love with princesses and castles. 

The fact that she just tells us to OME ERE and look at the castle and not really play with it doesn't matter. That she just holds the three punsel (Rapunzel) Barbies stolen from her sister, meaningless. What I see here is a little girl who loves Princesses just like her older sister did. That she made Abby bring this up from the basement and place it just so in her room. That Boo WANTED this castle, relayed it to her sister and made it happen. 

Some Milestones are different than others. This one is pretty freaking cool to me. That Abby grabbed my phone to capture it, amazing and so grateful my girl is so wonderful. 

Both of them.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Dear Helicopter Parents, Snap out of it

Life is too short for me to be a helicopter parent. I'm involved. I'm on the PTA. I badger Abby over her homework, her flute practice and cleaning her room.  I communicate with Boo's team (which is another type of parenting, not helicopter).  At a PTA event before school started the new Principal asked me if I was happy with Abby's placement for the next year. I replied, I have no idea. In all honesty I didn't even know that Abby would have two teachers this year. 

I do not place my child in the preferred teacher's classroom. I do not say she has to have XYZ in her class. When Abby is 15 she will not be able to pick her boss. I think learning in primary school that you have to work for whatever teacher you get is a good lesson. Let her learn now at a young age how to debate, negotiate and comply with the person entrusted to educate her. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014


**Warning Rant Ahead**

Some times....I hate this life. I hate that as much as I love Abby I fear those teenage years. I hate that one day she will go through a period of her life where we will not understand one another.

But I accept that. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Knowledge is just as important as inclusion

Boo is in an integrated preschool. A school where for every child that has a disability there is one typical child. The disabilities range from autism to ADHD to Down Syndrome to Cerebral Palsy to Boo. At a quick glance at the class you might not be able to tell which child is typical and which child is brilliant.

Which is the whole point of the program.

Monday, September 15, 2014

My Challenge: Stacey

You know when you graduate high school you know, just know, that you will never forget those who shared those torturous four years with? Then you grow up and move on. One of the wonders of Facebook is reconnecting with friends long forgotten. Lucky for me an old friend, Stacey and I found one another recently.   

I am so thankful she is willing to share her challenge today.

Friday, September 12, 2014

She's smarter than her father

The other night I had a PTA meeting (yes, I still haven't quite escaped). I pulled into the driveway at 9:15 pm. As I walked up the house steps I noticed David was asleep on the love seat. 

Abby was awake laying on the couch.

Me: Um...dear? Your bedtime is 8pm. 
Abby: Well Daddy didn't put me to bed.

Me: What were you watching?
Abby: Buying Hawaii, it's actually pretty interesting.

Me: .......
Abby: I knew if I changed the station Daddy would wake up

I wasn't quite sure if I should punish her (or her father) for staying up past her bedtime or admire that she was smart enough how to accomplish it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


When 9/11 happened I remember turning to someone and saying in 10 years I do not want anyone to forget this moment when we were brought to our knees and then stood tall together.

Man, woman and child. 

Christian, Atheist, Jew and Muslim. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Getting dirty and finding myself

This weekend I ran in the Mudderella Boston Event. There were a couple of hiccups. The run was supposed to be in Mass and ended up in Maine. This meant I had a 4 hour drive to run in the mud.  A lot of people were upset and decided not to go. 

They made a mistake. They missed out on something I have never experienced in a race before. I've done quite a few of the obstacle races and more than a few 5k races. Mudderella wasn't a race is an experience.

If you let it, it can be life changing.

Monday, September 8, 2014

My Challenge: Sylvia

I am so happy to introduce you to my friend, Sylvia. I met Sylvia through the World of the Blog a few years ago. She is the mother of nine, that is NINE, beautiful children. All of whom were home schooled and home birthed.  I am in awe of her patience and so touched that she is sharing her challenge with us today. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

It's the end of summer

At the end of each summer, I always feel YES! THEY ARE GOING BACK TO SCHOOL! There is usually a happy dance that quickly follows. Sometimes there is singing. This summer for some very weird reason is different. 

This summer was freaking fantastic. 

You are not alone

A year ago, Kelli Stapeleton failed to kill herself and her daughter. Issy recovered from her injuries and Kelli went to jail awaiting trial. Yesterday it is reported she plead guilty. Before you judge her and her situation, I ask that you read today's Throw Back Thursday Post: Remember the Parent. Remember to offer to help before you offer to judge. Talk to that woman in the elevator. Offer support, a shoulder or empathy before offering judgement of a life you know nothing about. 

More importantly to the mom who is facing a situation like Kelli, remember you are not alone. I'm here. I'm listening. Reach out now before it is too late. There are ways to get your village of support. There are people who understand. If you are desperate, know that you are not alone. You just have to call. You might not think so, you might be in such a dark place that you think you are alone that no one understands. You are wrong, so wrong.

The Good Smaratians  1-877-870-4673 or the National Suicide Prevention  24/7 hotline for assistance: 1-877-273-TALK Or please utilize the Autism Speaks Crisis Intervention to find more avenues of support. 

Or contact me, Kerri at  I might not be able to help but I can listen. I can be there. I can help you find support.

Just know that you are not alone.

The post below was originally posted 23-SEP-2013

I've been really hesitant to write this post. First, I hate to jump on a bandwagon. I also hate being late to a party, even a pity one. Mostly, though, I do not ever want to come across as ungrateful or one that complains.

Truthfully, I have absolutely nothing to complain about. I am beyond lucky. I acknowledge that my situation is as wonderful as it is rare. I have a terrific village who supports my sanity. When life gets overwhelming I have some one within a text, an e-mail, a call or a walk to lean on. I get date nights with my husband and girls night in.

Not everyone is this lucky. They are isolated. They stay at home with their child, change how they go to Worship, do not attend family events, cannot find a babysitter and not even think about getting a pedicure. Moms like Kelli try to do everything right. They think that it is less disruptive for their child to stay home. They feel family gatherings are too hard to keep everything together and peaceful.

I do not know Kelli and only know about her circumstance from JulieJill and Kristi's blogs. But I do know that not every child is like Boo. Some children with special needs are violent. They hurt themselves and those who love them the most.

When Kelli tried to kill herself and her daughter there was a lot of condemnation.  People have a difficult time understanding suicide. Let alone a mom who tries to harm her child.

The sad truth is, Kelli is not the only one out there. Statistically children in the US with special needs account for almost 10% of those who are abused. And they are abused by their caregivers. This is not just the US. World-wide disabled children are harmed more often than typical.

This is just supposition on my part, but I believe the abuse and the killings and the suicides happen because the parent has little or no support. We are very lucky where we live. Our Boo has a terrific school, after school therapies and other support. But those therapists and teachers deal with our children hitting, spitting and hurting them. Yet they love our kids. They want our children to succeed.

Parents and caregivers are becoming the walking wounded, suffering from post-traumatic stress of living and working with a child who punches, kicks, sets fire to the house and destroys relationships. We love our children. We hate what their disability makes them do.

There is a difference.

There is also a reason why persons who work with children and adults with special needs have an extremely high burnout rate.

While our children in the US have a tremendous amount of government support available (if you know where to ask) for them, there is zero support for the caregiver. I am not talking about financial. I am talking about emotional support. That shoulder that you need to lean on.

Since I have that support I know full well what those of you without it must be feeling. Know that you are not alone but you have to let us know you need it. My friends know because I go to them. I break with Boo's therapists and vent to her aides. Sure a few will reach out, but the responsibility is mine to say I cannot do it on my own.

So I implore you, the Kelli's out there, to know you are not alone. But you need to scream and raise the white flag.

And if you know a parent out there with a child who has special needs reach out. Stop by their house tonight with a pizza and a bottle of wine. Stop by and check in on them. Keep inviting them to events, even if they have to say no. Remember that e-mail is great, but you can hide there. Call, speak to them. Make sure they know you are available to listen without judgment.

Let what happened to Kelli be a lesson to all of us to reach out before there is no one there to catch.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

When they are not perfect

I recently received a panicked text from a good friend of mine. Her son had just been "maybe" diagnosed with Asperger's. My friend didn't understand why she was so upset. She had long suspected something was off (?) with her son. He was certainly different in social situations than her other children. (One of whom is a diva extraordinaire) She had questioned doctors before and always been told "no". But she kept asking because in her heart she worried.

When she got the report she knew what it could contain. So why was she breaking in the supermarket parking lot?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I wish

Dear Abby,

Today you started fifth grade. I'm amazed by you. You still retain the little girl I love as you grow into a preteen. You are not perfect, but neither am I. Although I wish you were not such a picky eater I know that, like me, you will one day eat a meal without me saying JUST TRY IT.

Monday, September 1, 2014

My Challenge: Echo

Today's My Challenge is from Echo a mom blogger who writes about the joys and tears of home schooling two children, one with autism and one with a diva issue. 


Friday, August 29, 2014

Boo rocks

A few months ago Boo began serious toe-walking. She could be a contender for the Boston Ballet. It was concerning because this is also a serious sign that her spinal cord had retethered. The neurourologist (yes there is such a thing) and the neurologist told me to call the neurosurgeon ASAP.

Like today.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


It's Thursday so it's a throw-back day. This post was originally published on 19-APR-2013 as part of the 5-minute series. Where you are given a word and just write, unedited, for five minutes straight.

The prompt: JUMP

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Land that the Internet Forgot

You might have noticed I've been, ahem, quiet the past week or so. I had a very good reason. I visited a place where the internet hasn't been invented yet. It's the best vacation ever. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

My Challenge: Lisa

I am so happy to introduce you, officially, to Lisa aka Tia aka my BFF aka the person who has known me before mall bangs were popular and we wore our jeans up to our armpits. That one person who knows where the body is buried because she probably helped you put it there.

Lisa is mom to Owen. A boy who makes her play Lego's, X-Box and Laser Tag. He also keeps her on her toes with his challenge. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

TBT--Dear Ann

It's Throw-back Thursday. A day to revisit an older blog post. This one is from when I a was a tad, um, infuriated with a celebrity.

Monday, August 18, 2014

My Challenge -- Lizzi

Today I would like to introduce Lizzi the author of Considerings where she actively tries to find the good in life. A blog that is sometimes fiction so good you think it is true, some days full of humor and some days despair. It's a wonderful mix of writing and feelings. No matter what Lizzi faces each week she is determined to end on a high note with her Ten Things of Thankful post. A wrap up each Saturday where she sees the light in all of her clouds.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

TBT--Just deal

Throw-back Thursday, this post was originally published on 10-OCT-2012. It's about the time Abby became Boo's advocate. For real. As in stand up for her sister to adults. This was probably one of the first times I realized that Abby was a warrior sister.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sometimes Mom is wrong

About a year ago I decided to take up running. Not to be running from a serial killer but in an attempt to gain some better looking legs and mental clarity. While I have not gained either, I had really begun to enjoy running. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ice Bucket Challenge

Anyone on Facebook  has seen the Ice Bucket Challenge. For those lucky enough not to have a Facebook addiction, a "friend" challenges you to douse yourself with a bucket of ice and water OR give money to a charity. Most that I have seen are for ALS

I was tagged to either donate $100 to the ALS foundation or pour a bucket of ice water over my head.

I am not playing.

Monday, August 11, 2014

My Challenge: Bron

My friend Bron is sharing her Challenge today. Bron is a fantastic blogging friend. She writes about her families travel adventures. Let me say that I am in awe of her courage and sense of adventure!

Friday, August 8, 2014

The most amazing thing my body has done is....

When you think about your body, I bet you see the flaws. Okay I see the flaws (of my body, not yours). I avoid the mirror after a shower better than a deer avoids hunting season. I would rather talk or write about anything other than my body.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Throw back Thursday--a year ago

Welcome to my version of Throw-Back Thursday, blog style. I'm taking Thursdays to revisit some older posts. Posts from before anyone read my blog. I hope you enjoy the trip back in time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sorry I don't have a process.

My first ever for-real blogging friend Kristi recently tagged me in a post for me to explain my writing process. I thought it was cool she thought I had one. Kristi is not even in the same stratosphere that I am in when it comes to the blogging world. But she pretends even though she started blogging three months after me and then became wicked famous we are on the same planet.

Monday, August 4, 2014

My Challenge: Janine

My Challenge: Trying to do it all during summer vacation

Sometimes in the blogosphere, you get to know other bloggers and mothers through their compassionate and inspirational writing.
This happened to me, when I got the chance last year to check out Kerri's blog.  I was hooked from the first post, I met and try my best to read and keep up with each of her blog posts about her life with both of her daughters.
As a fellow mom to girls, many times I can relate on some level or another. Other times, Kerri leaves me feeling truly humbled by all she has been through with being the mom to her extraordinary daughter, Bridget (Boo) and how far she has gotten Boo to come in her short life so far.  I have no doubt Kerri will keep on pushing the limits to help Boo overcome her undiagnosed diagnosis to become the absolute best Boo that she can possibly be.
For that alone, I feel like a bit of a fraud to complain and share my challenge here today, because for the most part I consider myself truly lucky to have all I have in my life with my husband, my two girls and a thriving blog and design company, too online.
That's right I work from home and for the most part it is just crazy here on any given day, but we just took the craziness to a new level by now being on summer vacation.  That is right I have two little girls 16 months apart under the age of 5 (my oldest doesn't turn 5 until July 17th).
Plus, as if that wasn't enough to keep my days jam packed full, we just got a brand spanking new golden retriever puppy only 2 weeks ago.
To say, my days are insane these past few weeks would be an understatement.  Not going to lie and sugarcoat it, I have found myself many days just in over my head.  I am just doing all I can to stay afloat.  
Somehow, I have gotten to all my recent requests, but will tell you I haven't sought out any new opportunities, as I am just trying to make sure all I have committed myself to indeed gets done.
My Challenge
Janine with her new pup
So, if I had to name one challenge right now, I would have to respond and say that it is working from home on summer vacation with my two daughters home with a new puppy to train, as well.
Yup, fun times here and definitely not quiet nor easy by any means, but still it is my life and just do the best I can right now.
Like many moms out there, Janine is trying to do it all. Going from being a teacher to a stay at home mom is challenging enough. But then starting an at-home business? Let alone trying to run your business from your home during summer vacation? And write a daily blog. YIKES. Thank you, Janine for your kind words and for letting other moms out there know we all struggle with trying to do it all. You can read more from Janine at Janine's Confessions of a Mommyholic and if you need assistance with website design visit her at J9 Designs

What's your challenge is a series that was inspired by a program I created at Abby's school. I am amazed at how honest and hopeful the challenges have been. Thank you to all who have contributed. To submit your challenge, please e-mail me at

Friday, August 1, 2014

When did that happen?

Last weekend I went to a bridal shower. The bride to be is gorgeous, happy and in love. Her groom to be is perfect for her. Together they make the perfect team. Yet as I sat at the shower I realized something.

Something that had nothing to do with love or weddings or the cake.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

TBT--Out of the Mouths of Babes

Welcome to Throw Back Thursday, blog style. 

(Originally posted 18-JUL-2012)

Abby is taking some summer help in math at a local school. This morning when I dropped Abby off she was telling me about the kids in her class. Some were from her current class and others she didn't know. Abby said that there was only one other girl, a bunch of boys and one weird boy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I am the Dr. Jeckyll and Mrs. Hyde of Parenting

Unless you are the parent of an only child, most of us will admit to parenting our children differently. You naturally parent a boy-child one way and a girl-child another. You could be the helicopter parent of the first-born (don't touch the stove!) and the seasoned professional of your youngest (touch the stove, that will teach you).

This weekend I realized that I am the Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde of Parenting. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

My Challenge: K

Today's Challenge is from my friend "K" who prefers to remain anonymous. She is a young woman who one day soon will change the world with her writing, her heart, her well just awesomeness. K was a contributor to the Challenge program at Abby's school. Allowing us to use her essay, The Little Dancer, that had such an impact on the Junior High students. 

"K" has Cerebral Palsy. She is one of the reasons the What's Your Challenge? program at Abby's school was so important to me. I wanted people to stop looking just at a disability and see the person first. I thought for sure I knew what her challenge would be. Of course, per usual, she surprised the heck out of me. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

TBT--The Perfect Day

Welcome to my version of Throw-Back Thursday, blog style. I'm taking Thursdays to revisit some older posts.  I hope you enjoy the trip back in time.

(Originally published 24-JUL-2012)

Yesterday I took the day off. Completely off. No work, no housework, nothing but spending the day with Abby. 

First we dropped Boo off at her school. Then....

We went to Dunkin Donuts and discovered the joy of the new Oreo donut. We went shopping. When offered the choice between doing our nails or going to a playground she chose the playground. We went to lunch, her choice where she could make our own pizza.

I was told I was the best mom ever (I am writing it down to remember when she is 16). I was told that we 'have the most fun together' (I am saving this for the college years). 

Then I was told something was missing. I'm biting my tongue to not tell her to be selfish when she says:

The only thing missing was Boo.

So we went to get Boo from school and finished the perfect day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Challenges related to a disability

Last week I was late and well, I'm still technically a week behind the postings. This week's prompt in the Summer Blog Hop Challenge: Talking Raw, Talking Real: Challenges Related to a Disability. 

I kind of wish Boo could write this post. Or Abby. I bet they would say, Challenge? What Challenge?

The truth is, though, loving a child with a disability doesn't mean you do not see their challenges. They are pretty out there. If you see Boo you might say her challenge is communication. Or motor planning (then you didn't see her climb on the counter and remove all knives from the strainer to get her Sophia cup). 

As I am unsure how Boo would perceive her challenge, I will explain how being a parent of a child with a disability presents a unique situation. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I need crowd control

Recently Abby started swim lessons. Yes, I know we are a tad late to getting her skills up. Especially as we are surrounded by water. But well, we've been busy. As I was sitting at her lesson recently I realized that just across the pool was a windowed room that gave you a view of the pool.

The room was filled with stationary bikes. In a moment of AHA I thought why am I sitting here when I could be exercising. No I wasn't hit on the head. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

My Challenge: Jessica

I introduced you to my friend "J" about two years ago. She was Boo's Yogi before life got too crazy to keep up with it. I am happy to officially introduce Jessica, the mother of four beautiful daughters. She practices and teaches Yoga for the Special Child. In her "spare" time she organizes The South Shore Buddy Walk  and Co-Founded a non-profit Heart Beats for Down Syndrome

Her challenge?

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Welcome to Throw Back Thursday, the Blog edition. A walk back in time to before any one read Undiagnosed but Okay. I hope you enjoy the trip!

(Originally posted 12-JUL-2012)

Our friends have a house at the beach. Every year we go and freeload for a couple of days. Abby is always excited to go and so am I. Who doesn't love a beach house? Cocktails, sun, sand, surf and a clean bathroom you don't have to share with strangers.

Boo would rather be in occupational therapy. She hates the beach! The past couple of years have been torture for her. Last year was probably the aha moment where I realized that Boo not only had sensory issues but that they could and would be paralyzing.

This year was much easier for Boo. During low tide, as far from the water as possible. She stood on the hard-pack sand!

All Abby wanted to do was surf. Even crazy puppy got in on the action (Boo was no where near the water, preferring to stay at a safe distance!). As the tide came in, Boo felt that it was safer back at the house, so she stole Allie's board...

But Boo spent the day at the beach and was content to go home and relax with her pup.  We are going back this weekend. We hope to get Boo a little closer to the water!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A letter to myself

I'm semi-participating in a Summer Blog Hop Challenge meant to show others how the life with a disability, or with a child who has a disability, is a journey. A never ending one, for sure. But a journey filled with triumphs and some tears. Of course per my usual stick-to-break-the-rules reputation instead of starting in week 1 it is now week 3. So today we are starting the journey half-way through with a letter to myself. Even though that was week 2's prompt

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lessons Learned

I read a fantastic post from Eli at Coach Daddy the other day. So wonderful I decided to steal  ahem, borrow  ahem, use it for inspiration. Lessons he learned from the most valuable source ever: his children. It made me think, as much as I have tried to teach my girls, the lessons I have learned from them are immeasurable.

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Challenge: Eric

I consider myself very lucky today. I have read a lot about autism from the perspective of the parent, the teacher, the doctor, etc...but today I want to introduce you to Eric. A young man who recently graduated high school and entered the work force. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Who Runs 4 You?

I am now at number 1302 on my quest to find a buddy to run dedicate my runs. If you are looking for a pick-me up for you or your child please consider signing up! There is NEVER a cost to join. You can register at Who I Run 4

Thursday, July 10, 2014

TBT--That Parenting Manual needs updating

Welcome to my version of Throw-Back Thursday, blog style. I'm taking Thursdays to revisit some older posts.  I hope you enjoy the trip back in time.

Originally posted 23-AUG-2013

You know how before you give birth some one gave you a What to Expect book? You also probably did a birth class. None of which prepares you for life with an actual child.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

They don’t go to Harvard wearing diapers

A friend of mine is battling toilet training. She asked my advice and all I could offer her was good luck. There is nothing more difficult as a parent than toilet training a toddler. You can deal with sleepless nights, but eventually a child will sleep. They will either learn that they can cry themselves to sleep or they will learn if they cry long enough they can sleep with you. Either scenario, a child will learn to go to bed. You and/or your child become sleep trained.

You can teach your child to count by rote, learn their letters and dress themselves. But potty training? Exactly how do you explain to a child who has almost no language skills how to work their bladder system?  They can barely feed themselves without issue. How exactly do you let them know what a full bladder feels like? To even describe the sensation, there are no words. It is not something you can model. You cannot play/act it out. You cannot say “watch mommy” because while they see you sitting on the toilet they cannot see the inner workings of how it happens.

It is easier to teach your child algebra than it is to teach them how to use a toilet.

When my oldest daughter was young she was in a Montessori daycare that only went to age 2.9. After that she would need to transition to another school. One that required all children, upon admittance, to be toilet trained. It still amuses me that the Montessori school philosophy of “let the child lead” includes everything but potty training.

About six months prior to “graduation” I began to panic. My daughter showed absolutely no interest in the “potty”. During Spring break I was determined; we would succeed by eliminating diapers and putting on her big girl panties. Here was my brilliant if misguided plan:

Put on panties
Wait for her to tell me she had to go the bathroom
Run like hell to the bathroom

Here is what happened:
                Put on panties
                Walk to the living room
                She peed and said, “WHAT HAPPENED”

All over the hardwood floors, with a dog ready to mark his territory. As I am a slow learner, it took the rest of the day to realize this wasn’t going to work. I tried to reason with a two-year old. “Honey, you know that feeling you get right before you pee all over Mommy’s floor? That means you have to go to the bathroom”.

I tried, in vain, to explain how it works. I tried to make her pay attention to her body. I tried bribery. I gave her an M&M every time she was successful. I ate most of them.

After a few days of complete potty failure I was tired of doing laundry, cleaning the floor and keeping the dog at bay. I lit on what I think of is a brilliant plan. I went and purchased the pull-up. Realizing it was a diaper and she wouldn’t get the feeling of being wet, I put her underwear on UNDER the pull-up. Now when she messed, it was contained but she felt it. I thought this was the perfect solution. Surely now it would only take a few days for her to understand what it ‘felt’ like to need the bathroom. But I was mistaken. It took forever and she really didn’t mind being wet.

Finally a week before she was due to graduate daycare I realized that while no child graduates Harvard in a diaper, my kid might not make it into Montessori Pre-K. I did what any reasonable, mature mother would do.

I lied.

I walked her into her first day of pre-K, with a change of clothes “just in case”. I handed her off to the unsuspecting teacher, waved goodbye and on the way out of the parking lot I thought to myself:

I snuck her into pre-K I wonder if I can sneak her into Harvard?

Monday, July 7, 2014

My Challenge: Kara

This is my friend, Kara. She is the best teacher in the whole wide world according to Abby and her friends. Kara is also the mom to Robbie, the best dressed almost 2 year old I have ever seen. Seriously, he is gorgeous. Except when facing a challenge all parents face.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth of July!

To all the Veteran's who make our country free.

To all the women before who gave me my independence.

To all the therapists who work with Boo to make her strong, stubborn but independent.

I thank you.

Happy Fourth of July!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Throw Back Thursday--Independence

Welcome to my version of Throw-Back Thursday, blog style. I'm taking Thursdays to revisit some older posts. Posts from before anyone read my blog. I hope you enjoy the trip back in time.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Being okay doesn't mean being satisfied

A few months ago I wrote a post titled Paging Dr. House. One of the most fantastic benefits of blogging is when a reader might not comment but instead send you a lifeline. To protect her privacy, "T" wrote to me shortly after that post and encouraged me not to give up. Not to despair. But more than a pat on the shoulder "T" gave me the  name of a doctor who might be willing to review Boo's history. She may have found our Dr. House.

So last week we took a little 20 hour road trip hoping to find an answer to what is Boo.

Monday, June 30, 2014

My Challenge: Julie

I would like you to introduce you to my friend Julie. Other than Julie being addicted to scrap-booking and crafts I never notice anything different about her. Julie has the best personality.One of those people you think must be faking it because she is always happy. She has a gorgeous smile, a quick laugh and an awesome sense of humor. 

On top of it all she is beautiful. The kind of beauty that radiates from the inside out. This is why I was beyond surprised at her challenge.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bear with me...

This is kind of a Jen Kehl type of post but I hope everyone bears with me. I listen to Pandora at work. This means music goes from Eminem to the Drop Kick Murphys to the Glee Soundtrack.  The other day right after I heard a song by Eminem the music transitioned to Christina Perry's A Thousand Years (theme from Twilight). 

It was the instrumental version so I did not have the singer's voice, just the one in my head. It occurred to me that the song while about true love, to me is about parenthood. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Throw back Thursday--On Display

Welcome to my version of Throw-Back Thursday, blog style. I'm taking Thursdays to revisit some older posts.  I hope you enjoy the trip back in time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

School's out for summer! (Oh crap)

Today is the official end of the school year for the girls. Seriously I don't know why they even had to go today. I mean really, a Tuesday and it's a half-day. If the school God's loved us school would be year-round.

Apparently the kids bribe better than the adults. Because here is what I get to look forward to for the next 70 days. That is SEVENTY days and nights of

Monday, June 23, 2014

My Challenge: Laura

Today's challenge comes from a fellow warrior mom: Laura. Her son is gorgeous. Like a mini-Elvis gorgeous. You know before he got old. Laura is an incredible photographer, gorgeous inside and out. Her smile lights up a room. Like many of us, she has a challenge that I am so thankful she is willing to share. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Thank you

While I have so much to be thankful for this week, I am only going to focus on one person who made a difference in Boo's life.

Friday, June 20, 2014

It hasn't happened yet

Yesterday was preschool graduation. For the third year in a row I did not attend. As I was leaving another mom said, oh are you too upset to stay? 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Throw back Thursday--Summer

Welcome to my version of Throw-Back Thursday, blog style. I'm taking Thursdays to revisit some older posts.  I hope you enjoy the trip back in time.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Actions matter

It happens, a lot. A child will see a person/child different from them and in the loudest outdoor voice possible they will ask:

"Why is that person black"

"Why are those two girls kissing" 

"Where are his legs"

"What is that thing in that boy's throat"

As parents we think we are doing the right thing by saying "don't look" or distracting the child. But it's wrong. When you redirect the child, when you do not answer their questions instead of teaching empathy you are teaching them that there is something wrong with the other person.

You are teaching them that person is not to be looked at, to be approached and most hurtful to be friends with.

Monday, June 16, 2014

My Challenge: Kerri

Today's challenge is brought to you by the letter Y. Okay not really. This is my challenge.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Thank you...

”TenThere is a lot to be thankful for, if you don't obsess about the pain in the assness that is life. This weekend is Father's Day. As the oldest child woke us up at 2 am this morning I turned to my husband and said, well you wouldn't be able to celebrate Father's Day without her.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

It's funny. I do not call you dad. I call you Joe. It feels right, to both of us. You met my mom well after I was grown. You gave a woman who is so deserving a new start on life. A better life, for both of you. My mom deserved happiness and security. I am so thankful you were there to provide it. You scared the crap out of her (and us) when you had a heart attack. Made her (and us) smile again when you were able to ride the carousel. 

You did not walk me down the aisle when I married. That wasn't our relationship at the time. But you stood proudly as I made this so important step. When David and built our house, when I went back to college, when we visit one another our relationship evolves into more than friendship. More than respect. A relationship based on trust and love. More father/daughter than step dad/ step monster. That you got to avoid my teenage years is my gift to you this Father's Day.

Although it wasn't until Abby was born that our relationship truly began.

I will never forget the day I brought Abby home from the hospital. You took her into your arms and the connection was forged. From that moment on you were no longer standing by in our lives but living the important moments with us. You stopped asking mom if it was okay to go into my refrigerator. You realized you were no longer company but family.

That is when you transitioned from my mom's husband to my dad. You became Abby's number one when you both accepted one another as is. She deals with your falling asleep in movies. You deal with her needing your endless attention. You suffer through her planning a Princess Birthday party for you. She suffers you trying to teach her Latin and math concepts. Plus you ate the cake she made so bonus points.

You are not Grandpa but Jampa. Even though she can actually pronounce Grandpa she is quick to correct anyone who dares call you Grandpa. While she might not understand why you are a Joe and not a dad to me, she understands unwavering love. In fact she taught us that lesson early on.

Abby and her #1 Jampa Joe

When Boo was born Abby hoped she would get your eyes. Not understanding that, well you being Asian and us being of Irish descent made that kind of impossible. 

You show the same patience with Boo. Involving her in your endless games of Memory with Abby. Even though she cheats (Boo, that is *wink **wink).

Boo might not have ended up with your eyes, but we all win with you as our number one. 
Recently at school she showed off a picture of you. She didn't understand why people were surprised that you were her grandfather. Abby retorted to the teacher: Of course he is, don't you see how we look alike?

As you are a man who exudes and respects traditions we appreciate your sacrifice to our chaotic, crazy and no way traditional family.

Happy Day from Boo. Happy Jampa Day from Abby who will never see you as anything other than her Jampa. And last but not least, Happy Father's day from a woman who considers herself lucky to have her Joe.


Finish the Sentence Friday

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Throw Back Thursday--Friendships

Welcome to my version of Throw-Back Thursday, blog style. I'm taking Thursdays to revisit some older posts.  I hope you enjoy the trip back in time.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who donated to our Bridget's Brigade in the Walk for Boston Children's Hospital. Our team raised almost $3,000 for the hospital that saved Bridget's life just five short years ago.

We know, in our souls, that she would not have survived without their care. 

Thank you, to everyone who walked. To everyone who donated. To everyone who cares so much for our little girl.

Monday, June 9, 2014

My Challenge: Missy

It is my pleasure to introduce my friend Missy. Missy is a true warrior mom. She coaches, brings her daughter to cheer leading, gymnastics and any event featuring Sofia the First. In addition to keeping her princess happy, Missy has two sons that keep her on her toes with (pick any sport) practice.

Missy's challenge? Anxiety

Truthfully her challenge should be that she is a Peyton Manning fan, but we are friends anyway. Missy doesn't let anxiety stop her from being awesome at her job, working with children like Boo every day. She channels her anxiety into showing her charges that just because they have more challenges than most, with hard work and dedication they can defy expectations.

Anxiety is tough. It is a silent challenge. One that many are afraid to share for fear of misjudgment. Yet an estimated 40 MILLION Americans are challenged with a form of anxiety. Sadly, only one-third is estimated to seek assistance. Thank you, Missy for sharing your Challenge. I am especially thankful for the care you show Boo every day. For more information and resources on anxiety please visit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

What's your challenge is a series that was inspired by a program I created at Abby's school. To submit your challenge, please e-mail me at

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Throw back Thursday--Inclusion

Welcome to my version of Throw-Back Thursday, blog style. I'm taking Thursdays to revisit some older posts.  I hope you enjoy the trip back in time.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

To the Class of 2014

Dear Graduates,

I know you are getting a lot of advice as you transition from High School to College or from College to the "real world". Everyone is telling you to enjoy this, the "best time of your life". As my brother pointed out to me, this isn't quite true. You see the best time of your life has already happened. At the same time you are no where near the best time of your life.

The best time of your life was your first step. Your first day of school. Your first crush. Your first kiss. Your first bike ride.

The best time of your life was the moment you received your license. The day you pitched your first no-hitter. The day you scored the winning goal or you starred in the school play. The night of your first sleep over.

The best time of your life was finding your best friend, for real. 

The best time of your life was your first dance, your first homecoming, your prom, your graduation day. 

The best time of your life will be your first apartment, your first love, your first 'real' job. The day you started exploring the world without a chaperone. The day you realized you can still call home.

The best time of your life will be taking trips with friends, experiencing the world at 18, 28, 38 and beyond. You will laugh and cry and say remember when you talk about those trips in the not so distant future. 

The best time of your life will be finding your true love, the person who makes you whole. Your new life together, starting your family. 

The best time of your life will be when your child comes into your life, when you explore the world through their eyes.

The best time of your life will be after the children are grown and you are still holding hands with your mate.

You will have many best times of your life. Don't focus on this fleeting moment, don't squander or yearn for this time in your life. Live each moment as it should be lived.

That moment will become the best time of your life. Enjoy it.