Do you trust me?

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Okay so do you? You, that special needs mom or dad reading this right now, I need to know if you trust me just maybe a little bit? If you said only maybe 2% of me trust you Momma Oatmeal, then that’s good enough for what I’m about to say!

Give them chores to do around the house!

Let me guess your reaction right now: “What? How could you ask this of my sweet little child….with all these needs? Don’t they get a break from things that just aren’t that important? After all, they didn’t ask to be a special needs child!”

Okay, I know this right, because I also fall under the incredible guilt that comes with the thought of ever making their lives harder than it already is! But, here’s the deal and it’s a very real thing we, as special needs parents must eventually face about our kids just as every other parent must face about theirs….our kids WILL grow up one day and we have to help them prepare for the future to the best of their abilities!

Does this mean that little Johnny must cut the grass just like his big brother or that Sally will mop the floor every week? No, of course not but what it does mean, (at least for my superhero kid), Connor will feed and water his new dog, (you guys remember my birthday gift for the kids last week, right?) It also means that one night a week he will take the garbage from his small bathroom waste basket and dump it into the big kitchen garbage can, that one night a week he will wipe the kitchen table down after dinner, that one night a week he will wipe the doggie kisses off the glass door, and that one night a week he will clean his bathroom sink! Just one chore per day!

See, that one chore will help set off many things in his mind:

  • I am a big kid now and I have to help out some around the house, plus I get a reward! (Hopefully this will teach him something about hard work and getting paid for it!)
  • Mom and dad work hard to keep our home safe and nice for me and the tot! (He already picks up his own toys when he’s done playing with them!)
  • I will get older one day and I need to know how to do these things for myself! (Ah, here’s the biggie and to me the most important because the more he learns now about being independent the better his chances are when the time comes!)

If none of this still gets you motivated then let Momma Oatmeal give you some sound advise…..the day I heard “but that’s what ‘bdults’ do, not kids!” …..yes, that’s how he pronounces ‘adults’ and yes my kiddo tried this argument with me not too long ago about doing a single chore…..so guess what? I got the old chore chart out and it’s worked wonders ever since!

Guys, I leave you with this thought on chores and our kids: Start small and even if they knock every crumb in the floor wiping that table down, let them because you can pick it up when they are not looking! Praise them for the attempt and you will be surprised at how much pride they will take the next time they do it! And, give them that chance because remember …….we should always shoot our expectations higher than what the world normally gives them credit for …….Let them learn…..even the stuff us “Bdults” have to do!!!

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Doctor #3…..”Thank you, back!”

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Today was not the usual trip to the pediatrician’s office because it seemed that not one but both the kiddo’s were sick to some degree and should been seen, so when I called to make an appointment and knew their regular doctor would not be in I had to make a choice between one of three back up doctors. The first was just “no”, I thought because she argued with me over Connor once and made things more difficult which is something you never need with a child who can sometimes be very vague with his symptoms about the question “what hurts”? Anyway, the next two choices were both good back up doctors whom I trust dearly, each of them would do just fine as a primary doctor should we ever need to make a change, but for the sake of who could see the kids first I went with the 3rd choice, we’ll call her Doctor #3, and Doctor #3 is also the doctor that had seen the kids the least within this past year! So, the entire car ride to the appointment consisted of my mommy brain wondering why on earth I didn’t pick doctor #2? After all I thought, “she has seen BOTH kiddo’s recently and she already knows that Tater Tot is a foster child so no explaining the names again,” (we always have confusion with paperwork!) Tater tot would have been more fussy had I waited because it would have been during his nap time but at least she, Doctor #2, would understand “US” coming into the office, 2 sick kiddo’s one with autism and apprehensive and the other a fussy, foster baby   …..That’s what we all want for our kids right ….foster kids or biological kids ………understanding!!!

So, we get to the appointment just in time for Tater Tot to get really motivated to “own” the place, even though he was off his sleep pattern, had fever, had not eaten food for two days and had poopy diapers that would make Oscar the Grouch sick to his stomach, this child was ready to run ….everywhere! Thank goodness the lobby was almost empty and we were called within the first five minutes of Tater Tot’s romp! The nurse noticed that Connor felt much worse than the Tater Head and she was quick to love on him and get him seated in the room. Then as I began to explain what had been going on with both kids the “tot” who was now wide open with pulling drawers open and pushing chairs around until I finally pick him up and hand him my phone and his favorite “Peppa Pig” video, just so I could speak to the nurse who said “He keeps you busy doesn’t he?” To which I quickly agreed and then she left the room.

The next 45 minutes went by as slow as you can picture 45 minutes going by with one very hyper toddler and one very sickly kid! I’m sure the sounds of the slamming drawers, dropped chairs, and finally ~ a very loud Elmo playlist was nothing compared to the screaming kids all around us in other rooms….apparently Tuesday was shot day at the pediatrician because I do believe I counted 8 kids getting some type of shot ….You always know that scream ~anywhere!

So in walks Doctor #3 and I quickly remember how much better Connor has gotten about not believing every doctor is out to give him a shot, (although I’m pretty sure you’d have a hard time convincing the prior 8 children whom have just left screaming from the rooms surrounding us), he goes right up to Doctor #3 and introduces himself which is what he always does and then asks her what her name is and she tells him. He them wants a ‘diagnosis’ right away from Doctor #3 to which she asks him if she can take a look at him first and then she could tell him? Connor was more than willing to sit down and let her examine him! I watched in Awwe at how far this child has truly come over the years! Not to mention that Doctor #3 had a respectful bedside manor with Connor that I do believe He’d have just about let her prick his finger …the ultimate “no, no” to him, she was that good! But luckily we did not need a finger prick for “Connor” Doctor #3 said, “You have a sinus infection!” To which Connor said “That’s my diagnosis doctor? What’s that?” So, then she explained! When Connor was happy with his “diagnosis” she turned to the “tot” who had all but worn himself down at that point from the fun of shredding all the tissue out of the tissue box off the table! She asked me to hold him to my chest while she checked his ears to which he protested instantly! Connor did not want to see him cry and came to my side to sing to Tater tot, how sweet is that? Anyway, by the time she got to the second ear I was holding him as gently to my chest but still with enough force that she could check his other ear…..to which I hear her say to me “Thank you for loving on this child like that!” In the fidgetiness of the tot I didn’t have time to react to Doctor #3’s words, we moved on to the tot’s diagnosis ….of “it’s not his ears or nose!” Hmmm, the old fever with no eating, fussiness, terrible poops mystery huh? Must be cutting more teeth….. and she smiled! After we gathered up all other things she stood for what must have been only a few seconds right in front of me and said “Thank You” and looked at Tater tot! I caught her eyes long enough to thank her back before she turned and walked out.

The car ride home was quite, the tot was asleep and Connor was busy on his iPad and for the first time I had been “thanked” for loving a child and I was not sure just how to feel about it? I mean, I understood where she was coming from because you hear people in passing all the time say that you are a blessing to be a foster parent and such but I’ve never really viewed myself as that if that makes sense? And I’ve never had another person thank me, not a true heart felt thank me over it either ….until now. For half the ride home I reasoned that Doctor #3 felt pity that had to be it! She just thought this lady is nuts to take on a foster child with her hands so full already with a special needs child…but wait….Connor hadn’t shown her anything to make her think that! In fact, he handled his sickness and the tot’s fussiness like a pro in a true older brother fashion, even stepping in to “help” the tot to calm down! I started to think Doctor #3 really JUST wanted to thank me! So, the rest of the ride I let her thank me and it made me cry and bit because it made me remember why this “thing” I’m doing is in fact bigger than me, and even on the hard days I cannot loose sight of that!

Thank you back …Doctor #3!