• My Struggles as a Mom to a Special Needs Child – How I Accepted the Unexplainable

    by Reruns blogger | May 09, 2013

    My youngest son was born with special needs in 2010. He had cataracts, hypospadias and failed his hearing test. He spent three days in the NICU to run tests and determine what happened to caused all his medical issues, but we never received any answers. A few months later, he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and had to wear a helmet to reshape his head. He is now 2 1/2 and is able to walk, can see with bifocals and hears with his hearing aids. He is delayed and speaks a few words, but is picking up sign language quickly. We are hopeful he will communicate with words soon. Does he have a disorder or disease that caused all this? Well, we may never know.

    In the past two years, he has had CT scans, genetic screenings, three genetics specialists, bone scans, blood work, DNA tests, specialty clinics and more tests than I care to remember. The verdict is always: ‘Mr. & Mrs. McDonald, we don’t know what caused your son’s problems’. For the first few years, I just could not accept that the doctors and all these tests could not figure out why my child had so many medical issues and delays. I wanted an answer. I wanted a diagnosis. I wanted to know what to expect. I wanted to know why.

    But, I may never know why our son was born with special needs and I’m going to have to be okay with that.  I would love to know, but the reality is, some things just can’t be explained.  We’ve exhausted all our resources to find an answer. Even three geneticists are completely stumped. They don’t know what tests to run or where to look for clues to make a diagnosis.

    I still struggle with not knowing, but it is getting easier. My son has excelled despite his disabilities and most days I don’t even notice he is delayed. He is just a fun loving, cute toddler who loves to play, laugh and dance.  His disabilities have kept me up crying many a night, but having him in my life has been a blessing. I have learned so much about patience, acceptance and persistence.  He has changed my life in so many ways and I am so grateful for him.  We may never know what caused all his issues, but it doesn’t matter anymore. He is my heart.

    Author: Nicole McDonald, a stay-at-home mom to three kids, age 7, 4 and 2.  She teaches coupon, meal planning, frugal fun with kids and freebies classes and blogs atwww.momsavesmoney.net. Her e-book ‘The Extraordinary Art of Couponing’ is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

  • Tiger Love

    by Reruns blogger | Feb 17, 2013

    It was nap time. Gabriella, my 24-month-old daughter, fussed in her bed — but after 5 minutes she doze off.

    An hour later, I heard her fussing again. So I crept into her room to check on her — and what I found had me running for my camera.

    Every child has those moment, those tearful “mommy, I’m so mad” moments where you can’t help but laugh at how silly they sound even when they’re upset. Well, in my daughter’s case, how she looked. These character building moments are important. I’ll explain why later.

    Gabriella sleeps with her favorite stuffed animals. On this particular day, she chose a tiger with velcro paws that stick together. She loves it when I hang the tiger near her head as she sleeps so she can keep a close eye on “tee-ger” as she calls him.

    When she woke from her slumber, she found the tiger was a little too close for her comfort. In fact, he was stuck on her — literally. Somehow one of the velcro paws attached to elastic hair ties. And, well, the photos say it all. 

    Gabi Tiger Collage

    She tried to shake him off. It didn’t work. She tried to yank him off. That didn’t work either. She pulled harder and had no luck.

    “MOMMY,” she yelled.

    “I’m here, baby.”

    “Mommy, bad tee-ger, bad,” she said.

    I annoyed her even more by taking photos of her.

    There was something so sweet, innocent, curious, yet, helpless about that moment that brought joy to my heart.

    “Oh, no, Gabi,” I said. “It looks like you got in a fight with a tiger and you’re losing.”

    She was determined to get that tiger off — and I wanted her to figure it out on her own.

    Sure, I could’ve ripped it from her hair tie, but what would that have taught her? That I’ll be there to rescue her when she needs me?

    She eventually shook that tiger off.

    Sometimes as parents we have to stop rescuing.

    Have you found yourself rescuing your kids a lot lately?

    “My son is so tired, I’ll do his homework tonight.” “My daughter is too busy, I’ll do her chores this time.”

    It’s an easy habit to get into, but if you want to raise a resilient kid, these are major parenting no-nos.

    So start by setting this rule: “We have a new house policy; No more excuses. You need to take responsibility.”

    Then abide by your rule. Simply stop rescuing. It’s one of the simplest ways to influence your child’s future.

    In Gabriella’s case, it was that mean ol’ tiger. She took care of him alright. The first moment she got, she pitched him in the trash.

    Josie Loza is a mommy blogger and the editor of Momaha.com, a site operated by the Omaha World-Herald. Momaha is an online community for moms to share ideas through blogging. Loza is a mother of two girls and a boy, and she brings her experience and quirky family adventures to the site.