“We Can Do Better”

“Let’s all learn from our mistakes, and try to be a better person than we are today.”

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Hello, friends. I want to talk about something today that is very near to my heart. It may be triggering to some, and to others, you may not even care. Today, I want to talk about bullying. Specifically, cyber bullying. Recently, a very funny man named Wade, who I regularly watch on YouTube, and who I follow on social media, made a post to his Tumblr page that tugged at my heart. In his post, Wade spoke poignantly about how we, as a generation who spends much of our lives online, treat other people on social media, and shed some light on the ever growing issue of cyber bullying. Continue reading ““We Can Do Better””

Photo Challenge | Curve

Curve.

The Daily Post Photo Challenge | Curve

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No school in session
A nice, freshly painted track
For stroller jogging.

Discover Challenge | Origin Story

The Daily Post Discover Challenge | Origin Story

I am from Fraggle Rock
from finger paints and pictures on the fridge
I am from the trailer in the middle of the woods
from carnations in the garden
and from dandelions in the front yard
which always seemed more beautiful to me.

I am from lazy Christmas mornings and a love of words
from a single mom, who worked too hard
I am from lies, bickering, and broken promises
from “Clean your room.” and “Leave me alone, I’m tired.”
I am from a religion I once believed in
from statues of the Virgin Mary that always gave me nightmares.

I am from Maine, with Europe in my blood
from snow forts and ice castles
I am from a warm kitchen
from canned soup, spicy chicken, and chocolate cake
From an addicted, homeless father
who was never there for me as a child.

I am from the footsteps
washed away with changing tides
but that left a deep impression.

Little Milestones 13-14 Months

I’m starting to not put much weight into what these charts say. I know that my son is a rock star, and is pretty on point in his development, but for him to be doing things that are supposedly moderately difficult for 17 and 18 month olds? I don’t know if I buy into that. It’s a nice thought, but really?

Hello, friends! It has been a looong time since I gave you an update on Liam’s milestones (5 months actually, holy crap!), so I figured, now that he is into his toddlerhood, it would be a good time to share with you where he is at with his development. Like the last few times, I will be using several development charts from the BabyCentre UK site. These charts are not set in stone, and of course all babies develop at their own pace, but I just wanted to share with you all a look at where my kiddo is at.

As of today, Liam is 13 months and 3 weeks old. He wears a size 7 shoe, 18/24m clothes, and a size 5 diaper. I am not sure of his exact height and weight currently, but at his 12 month exam, he was 33 inches tall, and weighed just under 24 pounds. He is a tall boy!  As he is constantly learning and doing new things, I will be showing you the charts for 13-18 month olds. He does at least a little bit from each chart!

13

One of the biggest things that bothers me about these charts, as well as many other charts on other sites, is that they all claim that my barely one year old should have been saying anywhere from 2-5 real words from the age of 12 months. Well, he doesn’t, and I honestly don’t know any babies his age that do. Heck, I know two year olds that still only say “mama” and “dada“. Liam has been saying “mama” to me for months, but as his daddy is hardly ever home, he doesn’t say “dada” very often. He can say it, he just doesn’t. He has also started saying “oh yeah” recently, and just yesterday, he said what sounded like “no” for the first time. I have also been trying to teach him “hello” and “bye bye” to go with his waving. He also freaking LOVES “peek-a-boo” and plays it with me all the time.

The rest of the chart he has mastered, and we are especially proud of his cup drinking abilities. At 12 months, we switched to a cup with a real straw, not a sippy cup, and he picked it up within two days, and has only used a straw ever since. He can also grip and tip a real cup, without the lid and straw, but I need to hold it so that he doesn’t spill.

14

This is where things get frustrating, as far as these charts go, because several of these same things were listed on earlier charts, from 8 or 9 months old. He has been finger feeding since he was 7 months old. Most babies definitely are at this point, right? He does everything in this list, except for pointing. He does not point. He does not point to things he wants, he just grabs them, and he doesn’t point to body parts. We have been trying to learn “tummy“, but he still hasn’t picked it up.

15

This is where we get into the supposedly advanced stuff for someone his age, which seems odd to me. I already covered the talking bit, and as I said before, he just used “no” for the first time ever yesterday. The rest? He’s done it all. Liam has been walking since 10.5 months old, running since 11.5 months, and going up and down steps, and walking backwards, for the last month. He loves running around at the park, or at the store. He also tried to “help” me sweep by carrying around the dust pan, and also knows how to put his toys away, and the laundry into the basket. We also started coloring at 12 months, and he can grip and use a crayon pretty well now, although he doesn’t snow much interest in it. I never would have thought that all of these things didn’t come until 15 months.

16

Another confusing chart. Aside from the talking bit, Liam does all of this. He can turn the pages of his board books when we read, he throws EPIC tantrums when he doesn’t get his way, he is obsessed with both his Scout and Froggy toys, and makes sure to let me know that he needs to bring them to the living room in the morning and after his naps, and he has developed fussy eating habits over the last month and a half. Some days, he takes two naps, but most days it is only one. He can also unzip and pull ff his coat or sweatshirt, pull off his shirt by himself, and drop his pants, but needs help stepping out of them. He can put a shirt on over his head as well. He’s been able to stack his blocks for months. He also climbs onto the couch, climbs at the park, and climbs onto his activity table. He has yet to get out of his crib, thankfully.

17

I only wanted to include this list because, once again, it contains two things that Liam has been doing for a little while now, and one thing that he is starting to do. He has a riding toy that he got for Christmas, and has been able to get on and off of it on his own for about a month now. He can also dance, and does it regularly. He also recently started being able to get about half of his shapes into their correct holes on his shape sorter. He also responds to the phrases “sit down” “give me kisses” and “come here“.

18
Now, this chart, he doesn’t do too much from, obviously. We started brushing his teeth twice a day when he got his first tooth at 10 months (he still only has 4), and I will often hand his toothbrush to him to “brush” them himself while I am changing him for bed. He also can take apart block towers, and put blocks together, and has one amazing throwing arm.

I’m starting to not put much weight into what these charts say. I know that my son is a rock star, and is pretty on point in his development, but for him to be doing things that are supposedly moderately difficult for 17 and 18 month olds? I don’t know if I buy into that. It’s a nice thought, but really? Am I not giving him enough credit, or are these charts catering more to parents of children who may have slower development? Who knows.

Anyway, there’s a look at where my kiddo is at in his development. 🙂 As far as feedings go, he is drinking about 20-24 ounces of whole milk every day, and water for the rest of the day (no juice for us). He also eats 3 pretty hefty meals, and two snacks, every day. This kid eats like a high school football player, I swear. We haven’t really had any issues with constipation either, though some days he only poops once, and strains a bit, but he does go 1-4 (sometimes 5) times a day, depending on what he ate. No allergies so far! He’s also had every possibly seasoning out there (no salt!), and has loved them all. He has started his fussy eating phase, and has all but stopped eating vegetables, unless I sneak them into something he really likes.

His current favorite foods:
Broccoli and cheese omelette/scrambled eggs
Toasted English muffin with cheese and garlic
Baked cinnamon brown sugar apple bites
Soft carrot chunks with brown sugar and butter
Elbow noodles with shredded cheese and garlic
Cinnamon apple/banana/cinnamon raisin wheat pancakes
Black olives
Mozzarella cheese cubes
Plain broccoli and butter
Banana slices rolled in crushed Cheerios or graham crackers

Okay, maybe he isn’t that fussy, but he no longer eats sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, or raisins on their own, and it has been a pain to sneak those particular foods into things!

Okay, I’m done now, haha. What do you guys think about these development charts? Are they just really loose guidelines? Did/do your little ones seemed further in their development as well?

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Random Prompt | 6th Grade

“Write about yourself in the 6th grade.”

I’ve written about this in the past, but wanted to share it again with anyone who never read those posts. The 6th grade was actually a monumental turning point in my life. Four years prior (I think?), the first Harry Potter novel had come out in the US. I was only 8 at the time, and did not really know much about it. It wasn’t until I was in the 5th grade that I heard much about the book, and it wasn’t until the 6th grade that I was able to read it. And it changed my life.

My 6th grade homeroom teacher’s name was Mr. Eder. He was also my English teacher. Mr. Eder was already very familiar (and slightly obsessed) with the world of Harry Potter, and decided to plan our entire school year around it. First, my class was divided up into the four houses: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. I was put into Slytherin, which I later learned was actually quite perfect, and I have related with being a Slytherin for the rest of my life. No joke.

Next, each group voted on who would be the Head of the house. Guess who won for Slytherin? Meee! It didn’t really mean anything though, but it was still fun. We read the book aloud in class, but I finished it on my own time within a week. I had never known that I was a fast reader before that point in my life. Each week, we had a test on what we had read thus far, and the points from each house’s tests were averaged, and the houses that scored the highest would get points. We also had fun tournaments and games, including a Quidditch game at the end of the year. I don’t mean to brag, but Slytherin won the Quidditch game, as well as most of the other challenges (my friend Travis and I carried our entire house basically). We won the House Cup at the end of the year, and got to choose a theme for a party for the class… we chose Harry Potter theme. Obviously.

Being a part of this experience not only opened my eyes to the world of Harry Potter, but also the world of books, and imagination. I started spending a lot more time at the library, and convinced my mom to buy me books whenever we went out. I read so much, that I won an award at my senior assembly for graduation as well! It also helped me with my writing, which is something that I also got really into in middle school.

I still wish I had tons of money to throw at books, but, ya know… adulthood stuff happened. Stupid bills.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Daily Prompt 2/22/2016 | Triggering Memories

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/22/2016 | Drawing a Blank

When was the last time your walked away from a discussion, only to think of The Perfect Comeback hours later? Recreate the scene for us, and use your winning line.”

A comeback? No. I just wish I had the right words to say…

I sat helplessly behind the screen of the computer that he had given me just after my 15th birthday. I could barely read the words popping up in the X-Fire chat window through my tears, let alone see the keys to formula some kind of response. Not that it would have mattered at that point anyway.

I’m sorry.
I’m tired of this.
I’m coming over.

We had been arguing. Over the course of 3 years, he had been my everything, but he had broken my heart so many times, and I always came back. I didn’t know any better, and I had no one else. But not the last time. I had chosen to move on with my life, and had found someone else to share myself with, who didn’t treat me that way. He didn’t like it. I sat there for what seemed like hours, when really, the drive from his house to mine only took a few minutes. I heard the knock on my front door, followed by footsteps coming to my bedroom.

His eyes were red, and he was shaking. He reached for my computer, and began unplugging it, taking it apart to take back to his house. Taking away my only form of communication with the outside world, and my new, long-distance boyfriend. Taking away a part of me. He was angry, and he was hurt, and I didn’t try to stop him. At least, not from taking the computer.

You can’t do this…” I said to him, grabbing his shoulders, trying to calm him down. I was bigger than him, and stronger, but he was in a bad place, “I won’t let you do this.

He ignored me, and I choked back tears, trying to stay strong. I didn’t know if he wanted me to try to stop him or not, I didn’t know what he wanted to hear. I didn’t know what to do. My mom and her friend sat in the kitchen, just outside my bedroom door, and I thought about telling them what was going on, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t even speak. So I didn’t.

I watched him dismantle my computer, get into his car, and drive away. I waited until I knew he was back home, and called him. He answered, much to my surprise.

Please, don’t do this. Can we talk about it?

No,” he choked out, he was crying.

Then I heard the pill bottle, and my heart stopped.

Stop. STOP.” I demanded, but all I heard was sobbing, and the sounds of pills scattering across his desk. He was in his room. Was his mom home? Should I call the police? I’d have to hang up the phone. I couldn’t hang up the phone.

Don’t do anything,” he said, seemingly reading my mind,his voice raw, “I’ll unplug the phone. My mom has a gun upstairs. Don’t make me do that, Janise.

I was sobbing. I had no words. I was frozen. I could hear him counting pills out loud… 1… 2… 3… I didn’t know what he was taking. Why was he doing this?

Please…” I sobbed.

Thank you,” was all he said, then, “goodbye.

Click.

I sobbed loudly. My mom had already left with her friend, and I was alone in the house. Had I lost him? Was it too late to do anything? I curled up on my bed, and I cried. My body shook, and I soaked my pillow. I never did anything. I don’t know when I fell asleep, but I woke up to my phone vibrating. The sun was up.

I reached for it, and saw his name on the called I.D. I didn’t want to answer. What if it was his mom? What if it was him? I answered.

I need you to come over. We need to talk,” came his voice from the other end of the phone. I agreed, and he hung up.

The sobbing started all over again. I had my mom drop me off, and told her that his mom would be bringing me to school. She still did not know anything about what was going on.

I didn’t knock on his door, I hadn’t done that in months. I went straight to his room, where he was sitting at his desk. He looked awful.

Are you okay? What did you do?” I demanded, “Did you tell yout mom?

He nodded slowly, and told me that he had told her everything. Everything about us. Everything he was feeling. He had taken 22 extra strength Tylenol, and 6 of his ADHD pills last night. I dropped to the floor, crying. Why wasn’t he at the hospital? Why was he here?

I needed to tell you… that I’m sorry…” his breathing was starting to sound labored, and I looked up, just in time to see him fall from his chair. I heard myself scream, and his mother and younger sister came running downstairs. He was still lucid, and he got to his feet. He swayed, and tried to run to the kitchen, with us right behind him. He fell to the kitchen floor, and I knelt beside him, placing his head in my lap, while his mom sobbed into the phone. She had called 911. The ambulance was on it’s way. The wait was terrible. His mom was crying, his sister was saying this was my fault, and I was silent.

I rode to the hospital with his mother, who had some very cruel words for me. She blamed me for this as well.

I missed the entire school day, and spent nearly 8 hours in the hospital with him. I was there when they gave him charcoal, to flush his stomach. I sat by his side, holding his hand, and talked to him about everything. About us. About what was on TV. Everything. I was so thankful that he was alright, even though he wasn’t. I didn’t know if I was helping him, or hurting him, but I got my answer later. They made him talk to a therapist, and we were asked to leave the room. The therapist also blamed me, and they all agreed that it would be best if I get out of his life. Forever.

I called my mom to come get me, unable to stand another moment with his mother, and I broke down in her car, and told her everything. She didn’t blame me.

The weeks and months that followed were some of the worst of my life. I had lost my best friend, even though he was still alive. Every single friend that we shared, had turned their backs on me, and rumors flew around the school about what really happened that night and the following day. It was absolute hell. Seeing him, every day, and not being able to say anything to him, to see how he was doing, was awful, bur that’s what he wanted. He made that abundantly clear when he switched out of the 3 classes that we shared, and glared at me whenever we passed in the halls. How could people hate me so much, when I was simply trying to move on, and make myself happy?

I never defended myself. I never gave my side of our story. I never tried to correct people when they spread blatant lies. He was fine, but a piece of me had died that night, and it still affects me to this day. Triggers me.

We have since made up, and are friends from a distance, talking every once in a while via Facebook. We have never spoken of it, and I sometimes wonder if he ever thinks about that night, and if it ever cuts into him like it still does to me, nearly 10 years later. If I had the right words to say, would it have changed the outcome of that night? Or did what little I was able to say actually keep him alive?

I wish I could say this this was the last time that I was put in this situation, but unfortunately, it happened again more recently. However, that’s a story for another time.

Thank you for reading, friends. If you, or someone you know, is thinking about suicide, please get help.

US: 1 (800) 273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week

Jan

Daily Prompt 1/15/2016 | Cake Is Not A Lie

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 1/15/2016 | Morphing

Language evolves. The meaning of a word can shift over time as we use it differently — think of “cool,” “heavy,” or even “literally.”

Today, give a word an evolutionary push: give a common word a new meaning, explain it to us, and use it in the title of your post.”

I love you like a fat kid loves cake.

Love. Cake.

Cake.

Cake is wonderful. Cake makes people happy. Seeing cake makes people smile. You may not love every kind of cake, but every kind of cake is loved. Carrot cake, chocolate cake, marble cake, ice cream cake, red velvet cake… you could even have brownie cake, or pie cake, or cookie cake, if traditional cake isn’t for you. There are even cupcakes! Everyone loves cake, in some form or another.

So, I propose that we replace the word “love“, which has become overused, abused, and has lost so much meaning in recent years, and replace it with “cake“. The cake is not a lie. You can’t lie about cake. You just can’t. And maybe cake isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. Maybe you are scared about trying cake, for fear of rejection, or possible side-effects. But fear not! Cake is perfectly healthy… well… it won’t kill you. In moderation. Just don’t go overboard on the cake, okay? One should not obsess over cake, as that leads down some very unhealthy roads.

Thanks for reading, friends. I cake you all, and I hope that you find cake for yourselves, and are surrounded by cake throughout your lives.

Jan