Parenting

Am I Crazy?

The other day, we had a big family lunch at my mother’s house. My older brother and mother were casually talking about a distant relative who just graduated university.

Bro: I can’t believe how attached he is to his parents. Every time I see him he is either out with them in a coffee shop or out to dinner .. with his parents.

Mom: I find it cute. Not like you when you were his age.

Bro: Oh when I was his age I couldn’t wait to get away from you .. haha. I just wanted to go out with my friends and explore everything.

Mom: Oh don’t remind me! At that time, there were no mobile phones or anything. I had to look for you from one place to the other just to check that you were safe and ok. See these grey hairs? You’re responsible for more than half of them.

Then I started to think. And the more time I spent thinking, the more I panicked. What am I going to do when my son wants to go and “explore everything”?!

My husband also went through crazy teen years. What if its a gene? OH GOD my son must of got the strong gene from both my bro and DH! Yes now they are responsible adults but not when they were 17 .. Noooo they were anything but responsible. Oh God what am I going to do!

We reached home and DH could see there was something troubling me. He asked me what’s wrong and I told him. He looked at me like a crazy person.

DH: You do realize our son is 5 1/2 years old.

Me: Yes I do. Don’t look at me like that. My concerns are legit.

DH: (laughing) Don’t worry, I don’t think there are any drug dealers in the 1st grade.

Me: (thinking of “Bid Daddy” scene where Sandler was questioning kids in the playground)

DH: So forget about it, we will deal with it when the time comes.

But I couldn’t forget about it.

The next day, my son saw me lying down on the couch as I wasn’t feeling very well. He covered me with my favorite blanket and sat on my lap and asked: Are you ok, my love? (yes my 5 year old son melts my heart and calls me his love).

Me: Yes as long as you’re with me I’m ok.

DS: I will always be with you mama don’t worry.

Me: Always remember that. Even when you’re older and have your drivers license ..

I can see my husband staring at me like a crazy person but I ignored ..

Me: and you go out with your friends .. when you see me calling please pick up your phone and just let me know you’re ok and having fun.

DS: Of course mama! If you want me I will tell my friends to go home and take you out to a restaurant instead.

Me: (wishing that statement will still be true when he is 17) I love you so much .. you’re the best boy in the world!

My husband then hands me his phone with a Google search open. It has the numbers of all psychologists and psychiatrists in the region.

I’m not crazy .. Am I?

Parenting · Pregnancy

Summer is Over

Hallelujah!

Some of the moms in our mommy group actually don’t want summer to be over (gasp!) They complain about school drop offs and homework and afterschool activities .. Ohhh not me!

I couldn’t wait till the summer was done … I mean I love spending time with my kids and everything but being their main source of entertainment 24/7 was exhausting…

And that’s another main theme of this summer in particular: exhaustion!

What did I do you might ask?

I did not write one blog post all summer (hi .. miss me?) .. I didn’t read one sentence of any book let alone finish a page. I didn’t even go out on dinner dates with my husband because I was exhausted all the time!

I did though successfully entertain my kids (most of the time) .. stopped them from killing each other (they fight about every single thing) .. took them to swimming lessons (they can both dive in the deep now .. yay!) .. went to morning summer camp, rock climbing, indoor sky diving, a staycation, and so many other things I hope they cherish forever.

But again I was always tired .. all the time. Not normal tired, like hit by a bus tired. So I decided to do a blood test .. maybe my iron levels are low.

Results are in: congratulations! Your iron level is very good .. oh and your pregnant!

Wait .. what?!

How can I be pregnant? I am breastfeeding and I am on the mini pill. I didn’t skip a day and try to take it everyday at the same time. I didn’t even get my period since I gave birth.. how can I be pregnant?

Went to my gyno, she was laughing at how chocked I was. Apparently I was on antibiotics before summer starts and that makes the pill less effective.. especially if it’s the mini pill.

Wait .. come again? I was on antibiotics before summer started.

Yup, you guessed it. I was already 12 weeks pregnant. How can I not know!! It’s not like this is my first. I should’ve known. And I was taking the mini pill the entire time during my baby’s first trimester.. not folic acid, not multivitamins .. the mini pill.

I feel like the worst mom ever! Hope it doesn’t affect my baby. Now I have to wrap my head around having a newborn soon, while my one year old is still sleeping in my bed.

 

Wish me luck .. this is going to be a long year!

Life · Parenting

The Gift of Health

My son was sick for an entire month.

 He had a stubborn fever that would not go away. At the beginning, he had a bit of a cough and runny nose, but after that, he didn’t show any other symptom except for the fever.

 After the second course of antibiotics, the fever came back and his pediatrician said we should do a blood test just to make sure, so we can rule out the “big and bad” diseases.

 After the torture of taking blood from a child and tears from both of us, we went to the Doc’s office to double check everything. Throat, ears are ok .. chest ok .. bodily functions ok .. no rashes .. no inflamed nodes.

“So, Doc, why this fever without any symptoms?”

“Well, the symptoms can be inside and we can’t see them. That’s why we did a blood test so it can tell us if there is anything going on that we can’t see.”

“What are these ‘big and bad’ diseases we want to rule out?”

I regretted asking the question the moment he started to answer. After hearing a couple of big names thrown around, I felt like the room was spinning.

The Doc seeing me like that said: You know his chances of getting these things are just like any other healthy kid walking around so don’t worry.

Nope, didn’t really help. I still felt like I wanted to throw up. I think he felt sorry for me and told me to wait here for a sec he will run down to the lab and grab the first numbers, they will give us a better picture.

After what seemed like an eternity, he came back and said: I have good news. His blood count is in the normal range, white blood cells good, no sign of inflammation or bacterial infection. He’s fine, looks like it’s just a stubborn virus. The rest of the results will take at least 3 – 4 hours to come out. You can go home now and I will let you know the rest of the results later. But till now, all the results I can see are great!

I felt like a huge rock was lifted from my chest and I could finally breathe. At that second, I thought about the moms who were in my place and didn’t get the results they wanted to hear. Those moms who couldn’t breathe a sigh of relief and I prayed for them. I still pray for them every day.

I hugged my son so tight and left the hospital.

 Sometimes we forget the important things in life. We worry about grades and homework, money and bills, work and so on and we forget the one most important blessing God gave us: good health.

So thank you God for giving me three healthy babies. Thank you for giving me the strength to raise them. Thank you God for giving me the chance of watching them grow. And thank you God, a million thank you, for making it just a virus and nothing else. You have blessed me with so much already, and I am forever grateful for you love, kindness, and generosity.

I’ll just end this with a prayer to all mom’s out there. Hope whatever is worrying you is just the never ending laundry baskets and bills, and nothing else.

God bless.

Parenting · School

I refuse to Force him to Write between the Lines

I don’t get it.

My son is 5 years old. He is an energetic, inquisitive, happy boy in kindergarten.

Why does he have to write exactly between the lines .. I just don’t get.

Do you remember kindergarten back in the days? A time of making friends and learning how to play, a time full of outdoors adventure and laughter, a time to get acquainted with school and start your education journey on the right foot: with a passion full of wonder and fondness of school.

Yeah, these days, not so much.

Kindergarten open house, I got a huge fat packet full of guidelines, assessment criteria, and a long list of sight words. Turns out, they not only need to recognize those words, they also have to know how to write them. As in spell them, in their weekly dictation.

I looked around, are you sure this is the kindergarten open house? Not grade 1? And why aren’t the other moms as shocked as I am?

Before going on, you have to know something about my son, he is the most amazing boy ever (of course I believe that I am his mom). The first time he was assessed, he got a stomach ache and they called me to pick him up. I quickly figured out there is nothing wrong so I asked, “What’s wrong sweetie? Is your tummy ok now?”

DS: “If I tell you the truth will you send me back?”

Me: “No don’t worry, we are already close to home. What’s wrong, is everything ok?”

DS: “My tummy is ok now, but I wasn’t ok in school.”

Me: “Why? Did you want to go to the toilet and didn’t?”

DS: No. Ms. S. was asking us about all the letters and their sounds and I forgot some and I got so scared then my tummy started to hurt.”

What kind of pressure is my baby under that he has a stomach ache because of being stressed out?!!

Me: “It’s ok baby. You shouldn’t be worried or scared. Everyone makes mistakes. That’s how you learn. Even your mom and dad make mistakes. It’ ok.”

DS: “Only you say that mom. But Ms. S. won’t.”

Me: “Of course she will! Do you want me to ask her tomorrow?”

DS: “Yes please! Can you mom?”

Of course I went home and sent Ms. S. a long email expressing, not very shyly, my honest concerns about their ways and how stressful the environment is. I took my son next day and she explained that it was absolutely ok to make mistakes. He was happy, I wasn’t.

I found myself in a very difficult situation, trying to balance the school’s requirement, with what I felt appropriate for my son. I wanted him to love learning and education. I wanted him to love reading and exploring. I didn’t want him to hate school and didn’t want homework to be a daily battle.

So we practiced phonics playing I spy. We practiced reading CVC words playing the frog in the pond game. And we practiced recognizing sight words by hanging a word on the fridge and making it the ‘passcode’ for opening the fridge. I tried the best I can to make it fun for him.

The day came to attend the parent-teacher conference. They will discuss his performance so far. I was worried and was ready for a heated conversation. Then she said:

“Your boy is very special. He has a sense of maturity that I don’t see in the grade 2 and grade 3 boys. He is very polite, eager to learn, and gets along with everyone. But… “

I didn’t really care what came after the ‘but’. I almost cried there in front of everyone. I did it! I always knew my son was amazing but lets face it, every mom thinks that of their child. Hearing it from his teacher, even when I knew academically he wasn’t on par with his fellow students, gave me the validation that I needed. My hard work and sacrifice has all been worth it. Even through my many mistakes and self doubt, I didn’t fail him and helped mold him into an amazing boy.

“But … he still doesn’t know a lot of the sight words and can’t spell most of them. He also has trouble spelling phonetically and constructing sentences. And he needs lots of work on his handwriting.”

I don’t really care. My boy is everything I hoped and wished him to be, even when I am not around to watch. That, I am so very proud of, and is harder to teach than any sight word or phonic.

Me: “Does he do the work assigned to him in class and listen properly?”

Ms. S.: Yes.

Me: “Do you believe he is doing his best?”

Ms. S.: Yes.

Me: Do you see any improvements since last month?”

Ms. S.: Yes. But the assessment criteria…

Me: I don’t really care what it says. I don’t compare him with what they say he should be doing or even with his classmates. My benchmark is his work the month before and if I see an improvement and feel he is doing his best, I am happy. I think you should do the same.”

The parent teacher conference was in December. He now knows most of his sight words, knows how to spell some, can construct a sentence though still has a bit of trouble spelling phonetically. He can read CVC words easily, except for the e and u sounds he takes his time with.

Yes I am proud of all his work and what he has done so far. I am also proud of what he will do till the end of the year. But I am mostly proud that together, we created a fun learning experience and I am happy to say he loves school, and he and his sister fight over who will do homework with me first.

DS: “Mom, I’m going to grade one next year.”

Me: “Yes you are! That’s so exciting! New playground, new classes, and maybe even new friends. I’m sure you will have so much fun!”

DS: “Can you please ask my grade 1 teacher if its ok to make mistakes, just like you asked Ms. S?”

This boy … his wife will be the luckiest girl in the world!

Parenting

Why I don’t Read Parenting Books

My eldest was born in 2009. I was terrified. But I was determined to not fail my baby. I prepared myself mentally for the sleep deprivation, constant crying, and even lack of outings.

 What I wasn’t prepared for though was the constant judgement and what I like to call “bullying using fear.”

After going through a scary emergency C-section (my baby’s heartrate went dangerously down), trying to work through the guilt of that, and having hormones all over the place, I wasn’t ready at all to face these constant criticisms. And they started straight away.

  • Why isn’t she latching properly? Are you sure you are holding her right?
  • She lost a lot of weight, are you sure she is getting enough?
  • She is choking! The milk is coming out of her nose! You are not burping her correctly. You should hold her upright after a feed.
  • Don’t leave her in her crib by herself, you won’t know when it will happen again, and she won’t be able to breathe.
  • Don’t hold her long while she sleeps, her bones will grow out crooked.
  • Don’t pick her up every time she cries, she is just manipulating you and you’ll give her the wrong message.
  • She is one year old and still not walking?
  • OMG, you taught her how to suck her thumb?
  • Are you sure you want to keep breastfeeding your daughter while pregnant? You do realize that all the nutrients will go to your milk, and none will be left for your unborn child?
  • Don’t you think it’s gross that your breastfeeding your daughter and she can walk and talk? Will you do that to your son also? Don’t you think he will remember? And forever have an unhealthy relationship with breasts, or women in general?

And it goes on and on and on. It’s like every decision I made was not only second guessed, but I was told, unintentionally (I hope), that I am doomed to mess up my kids forever.

So here is my story.

My dear daughter (DD) did not latch for the first three weeks. I was devastated! I had a lot of milk but I can’t even give it to my own baby. I must be a terrible mom! I pumped and gave it to her in a bottle. Before every bottle, I would try unsuccessfully to latch her onto my breast. I HATED pumping (still do and cringe every time I see a pump). After three very long weeks, and no sleep at all, I gave up. I sent my dear husband (DH) to buy formula. He quickly came back with the wrong one. DH, it clearly says stage 2 on the front how can you not see that?! But before he went to return it, by the grace of God, DD finally latched. And we didn’t stop until she was 2 ½ years old.

The reason I love breastfeeding (you’d think I will say because of its nutrients and all these things) is that it is easy for me. Personal preference as I am a germ freak when it comes to my newborns and always scared things are not clean enough. No washing bottles, no sterilizing, no heating water, no waiting for the right temperature, no fumbling with measuring spoons and cups in the middle of the night. It was always there, always sterile, always the right temperature.

Now if a mom chose not to breastfeed, if she chose bottle instead, who am I to judge?

 I hate crying. I can’t stand to listen to it (funny coming from a mom of 3). Do you know how people cringe when someone runs their nails on a blackboard? Yeah that’s exactly how I feel about crying. Maybe that’s why I snap at my older kids and ask them as nice as I can to use their words and not their tears. That is the exact reason why I could not and did not use the cry it out method. The economist in me will say there is always an opportunity cost to every decision. You have to decide: sleep deprivation vs. baby crying. I choose sleep deprivation.

 But if a mom chooses to use the cry it out method or any baby sleeping methods for many a reason, who am I to judge?

never judge

I like routine, a flexible one. I can’t follow a rigid schedule or timeframe for the life of me. The other day I had to attend a function at my DS’ school at 10 a.m. sharp, I was already in full panic mode at 8 a.m. so I can’t really follow a strict hourly routine with my kids. We do have a normal flow to our day, though we mostly go with the flow.

But if a mom chooses to have a neat schedule for herself and her kids, who am I to judge?

I never gave my kids pacifiers, mainly because of my germ phobia. I don’t know if its clean enough or how many times I have to sterilize it. But if a mom uses pacifiers, even at an “unacceptable pacifier age”, who am I to judge?

Who are you to judge? Or Mr. Fancy Doctor? Or Ms. Parenting Expert? Or Mr. Parenting Author? Who are you all to judge?

 Moms, I can only say this now because I have three kids and heard it all.

Breastfeeding? Congratulations! Here is a study that proves breastfeeding increases intelligence. Both breast and bottle? Congratulations! Here is a study that shows breastfed babies need a bottle of formula for the vitamin D. Formula? Congratulations! Here is a study showing that the benefits of breastfeeding are exaggerated.

stats

 Co-sleeping? Congratulations! Here is a study that shows co-sleeping reduces stress and anxiety, and increases quiet sleep. Choose not to co sleep? Congratulations! Here is a study that suggests the dangers of co-sleeping.

 Sleep training? Congratulations! Here is a study that proves it is safe and effective, improves baby’s sleep, and reduces maternal depression. Not sleep training? Congratulations! Any book on attachment parenting will show you are on the right track.

And just like the list of mommy criticisms can go on and on, so can the list of scientific studies that prove one point is correct, or the other.

So moms, it doesn’t matter what the parenting book you read is saying. It doesn’t matter what the “put together mom” on social media is doing. It doesn’t matter what your best friend or sister are doing. What really matters is you, your baby, and your family.

You are the only one who knows your mental state and your needs. You are the only one who knows your husband/partner’s needs and schedule. You are the only one who knows your baby and your other kid’s needs if you have any. And YOU are the only one who can best balance all these needs. No one else knows the entire picture.

 Even if it feels like a juggling act, even if a ball or two slips from time to time, trust your judgement, trust your heart, and confidently move forward.

 And always remember to “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” We are all trying our best. And at the end of the day, who are we to judge?

Parenting

Everyday I’m Hoverin’…

Am I a helicopter parent? Are you?

I stumbled on a very funny video the other day on YouTube by the Holderness Family: a parody using the Party Rock Anthem (the picture above is of their beautiful daughter). And I cant seem to stop singing it ever since.

Everyday I’m hoverin’…

Son! Don’t run too far away I need to see you.

Everyday I’m hoverin’…

I’m sorry daughter, I will never let you go on a slumber party, even if I know the parents really well.

Everyday I’m hoverin’…

Do not kick the ball around the baby!

Everyday I’m hoverin’…

Hello there, my name is mom. And I may be guilty of being a full on ‘copter parent. So I researched the term and this is the information I got:

helicopter-parents 4

What is Helicopter Parenting?

  • The term was made up in 1969 by Dr. Haim Ginott
  • It is when parents “hover” over their kids like helicopters
  • “Style of parents who are over focused on their children. They typically take too much responsibility for their children’s experiences and, specifically, their successes or failures.” – Carolyn Daitch, Phd
  •   “It means being involved in a child’s life in a way that is over controlling, overprotecting, and over perfecting, in a way that is in excess of responsible parenting.” – Dr. Dunnewold

Why Do Parents Resort to Helicopter Parenting?

  • Fear of dire consequences (bad grade, no job, economic status…)
  • Feelings of anxiety (“worry can drive parents to take control in the beliefe that they can keep their child from ever being hurt or disappointed.” – Dr. Daitch
  • Overcompensation (parents try to give their kids what they didn’t have or get)
  • Peer pressure from other parents

helicopter

How Does Helicopter Parenting Affect Kids:

Some research suggests that “emotional over involvement,” such as helicopter parenting, “and criticism often go hand in hand.” – Chris Segrin, University of Arizona. This can breed narcissism and poor coping skills, and amplifies anxiety and stress. This type of parenting can also cause:

  • Decreased confidence and self-esteem
  • Undeveloped coping skills
  • Increased anxiety
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Undeveloped life skills

What Do I think?

I am definitely not a scholar and didn’t spend years studying this topic, but hear me out for a second. To me, the term “helicopter parenting” is misunderstood. Almost all the research and articles I read about this term concerns ADULTS (or soon to be adults) in an academic environment.

For example, a father called his son’s professor to dispute his son’s exam grade. His son got a C and he was sure his son deserved a B. The son apologized to his professor and felt greatly undermined. Of course he would! The boy must be 17 or 18, if not older!

Another example is a mom installed a nanny-cam in their son’s dorm room, and an electronic transmitter in his car!! To me, that just is plain mistrust between the parents and the child.

Moms please please please understand that you are the only advocates for your kids. Don’t be quiet just because you’re worried you will come across as a helicopter mom. As you can see in this article, there are many reasons for you to intervene in your kid’s life. Actually, it is your duty to do so, especially when they can’t fight the fight themselves.

This mom did not intervene when her daughter was being bullied in school by a teacher, even though all her mommy instincts were pushing her to, until her daughter came home in tears saying, “I want to kill myself.”

My son used to have a very bad stutter (his stutter is much better and you can read all about it here). I scheduled a meeting with the principal and sent emails to the teachers explaining that no one can ever make any remarks about his stutter. You’d be surprised how adults think it’s funny to laugh about it. And only adults notice and laugh, the kids (kindergarteners) never do.

This year I scheduled meetings with the teachers early on. I explained to them that my son has a bit of a stutter and that he was a bit behind academically but I am looking forward to working with them to catch up on all the work. I told them, without sugar coating it, that they are not allowed to compare my kid with the other kids, not allowed to remark in front of everyone that he is behind, or that he didn’t finish his work on time. They are not allowed to make him feel any different, or make him feel in any way that he is lower than his classmates. They were shocked to say the least. I also told them that they can send home any unfinished work, or any extra work they think he needs.  And I am happy and more than proud to say that now, he is not trailing behind, but catching up quick to the students at the forefront of the class.

Untitled

So Am I a Helicopter Mom?

Wanted to have a bit of fun with this so I took online quizzes. Both Babble’s quiz and Cafemom’s quiz says that I am not a helicopter parent. But to be honest, I don’t really care what I am or what label I fit under. I think every mom knows what’s best for her kids based on her kid’s needs and environments. And I don’t think it’s really fair to bully a mom into accepting one parenting style or another by saying her kids will turn out to be narcissistic entitled brats or worse. I don’t think most parents will go to the extreme of installing a nanny cam in their kid’s dorm rooms but I don’t think it’s fair to judge a mom who is involved in her kid’s school or education because you don’t really know what fight she is fighting. I think we should all cut ourselves and other mom’s some slack. We are all trying our best.  

I am far from perfect, and I might be winging it as I go but honestly, I refuse to let a psychologist, psychiatrist, or parenting expert tell me how to best raise my kids. Even if the world wants to call me a ‘copter mom, I will always be my children’s voice when it’s hard for them to find it, I will always be their support system, I will always be their cheering squad, and I will always be their number one advocate in life. And I will not apologize for it 🙂

 

Are you a helicopter mom? What do you think?

Parenting

Stuttering: A Mom’s Heartache .. A Child’s Unbelievable Courage

“Mom, it’s so hard for me to talk today.”

And my heart shattered into millions of pieces.

Was it my fault?

Is he being bullied in school? Did anyone bother him in class? Was it my fault?

Is it because his father is away? Is it because we moved? Was it my fault?

Is there anything I missed? Being so sick with this pregnancy there must be something I missed. It definitely is my fault.

This happened exactly a year ago, and even though DS’ stutter is much better, it still brings tears to my eyes writing this. All the websites, research, and our trusted pediatrician say it’s not my fault, I still felt like a failure. I failed to protect him. And the worst part is, I don’t even know how I can help him, or if I can.

He is only 4 years old. He doesn’t understand what is happening to him. Why could he speak so clearly and fluently just a couple of days ago and now suddenly, the words are all tangled and messed up? I didn’t understand. How can I expect a 4 year old to? And from that day I was on a mission. I think I must’ve read all there is about stuttering on the internet.

Definition of Stuttering:

“Stuttering is a speech disorder characterized by repetition of sounds, syllables, or words; prolongation of sounds; and interruptions in speech known as blocks. An individual who stutters exactly knows what he or she would like to say but has trouble producing a normal flow of speech. These speech disruptions may be accompanied by struggle behaviors, such as rapid eye blinks or tremors of the lips.”

– National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorder (NIDCD)

What causes stuttering:

The causes of stuttering are still not understood but there are some factors that might increase the chances of a person developing this disorder:

  1. Genetics: studies have shown that approximately 60% of people who stutter have a relative that stutters as well.
  2. Gender: Boys are 2-3 times more likely to develop a stutter than girls.
  3. Age: Although stuttering affects people of all ages, it most often occurs in children between the ages of 2 – 6.

Children who stutter:

Around 5-10% of all children stutter at one point in their development. Almost 75% of these children outgrow their stutter.

It is also very important to realize these points:

  • Stuttering does not affect intelligence.
  • Anxiety and stress do not cause stuttering.
  • A stutter can be treated

How do you know if a child stutters:

There are different types of stutters:

  1. Repetition of a sound: C-c-c-c-can I have chocolate?
  2. Repetition of a word: She – She – She – did it.
  3. Repetition of a phrase: I want – I want – I want to go to the mall.
  4. Prolongations: (extending or stretching a sound in a word) Caaaaaaaaaan I get water?
  5. Blocking: not able to say produce any sound.

How can I help my child?

Every child has a different experience with stuttering so every child needs a different approach. You can find more information from the links below: (note: all the information above have been gathered from the websites below).

National Institute on Deafness & Other Communication Disorders

Web MD: Stuttering

The Stuttering Foundation

The British Stammering Association

Chatterbox Speech Pathology (Australia)

Our Story:

Out of the five types of stutters, my son experiences all of them with varying severity depending on the day. I was very worried and devastated. How can I protect him? How can I help him?

 I took him to our pediatrician whom I love. It took him awhile to calm me down. He stayed a good 5-10 minutes talking to him. And even though DS has a stutter, he is not shy and spoke his mind.

Diagnosis: He is fine. He will learn how to get over it. He is not shy and has an amazing vocabulary. I don’t have to take him to a speech therapist. If he stays like this till he is 7 years old, then yes take him to a speech therapist. But most probably, he will get over it before then.

 

So the first thing that every mom of a child who begins to show signs of stuttering should do is: GET A PROFESSIONAL OPINION.

 

The thing our doc stressed though is we must never ever make him feel like there is something wrong with him. It is of course ok to acknowledge the stutter, especially if he wants to talk about it, but never make him feel like he’s different or needs ‘fixing.’

 I was determined that we will get through this. No matter the outcome, no matter whether he does get over his stutter or not, we will be ok.

There was this one day that his stutter was really really bad. I can see that sometimes he doesn’t talk even if he has something to say because of his stutter. My DD said, in front of all of us: Mom why does he talk like this now? (the tone she used wasn’t of trying to make fun of him, it was a real question).

I can see my DS freeze.

I said: its ok, this happens to a lot of people. Sometimes when you speak some words or letters are harder to say than others.

DD: But why?

Me: No one really knows. Maybe it’s because your brain is learning so much stuff. But it is completely normal. It happened to me too when I was young. (not really but I wanted him to feel better in any way I could).

DS: Really??

Me: Yes of course! But you know what? You are much braver than I am. I would just stay quiet instead of talk. You never shy away in a situation even if it’s a struggle at first, you always say what you want to say. I am so proud of you!

DD: Are you proud of me too?

Me: Of course I am!

My second advice to moms of kids who stutter is: Tell them it’s ok. They will be ok. There is nothing wrong with them. And tell them again and again how proud you are of them, and how much you love them. Don’t cringe when they stutter. Don’t try to finish off a sentence for them. Be patient. Let them do it by themselves and show them that you will wait patiently till they do.

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Mother’s day last year. Kindergarten at the kids school always invite the mom’s over and do something very sweet and cute. I knew he has was in one of his rough weeks. And I knew they will stand in front of all the moms and talk. I was getting nervous. And there I was in his class, sitting on the small tiny chair looking at the entire class standing in the front, singing a mothers day song.

The teacher then said that the kids have something special to say. Then one by one, each child took a step forward, said why they loved their mom, everyone clapped, and they stood back in line. As my son’s turn got close, I can feel my heart beating faster and faster. I couldn’t even hear what the other kids were saying, I was focused on him. He seemed ok. Then it was his turn. He took a step forward:

“I love my mom because Sh-Sh-Sh-

I can’t really describe what I felt in words. I didn’t want any of my emotions to show on my face and I tried so hard. My heart pounding so hard, my hands so sweaty, I felt like I was going to faint. DS pulled on his shirt collar as he was trying to get the word out. After three or four tugs of his collar, he said:

Sheeeeeee hugs me.”

Everyone clapped. He stepped back. He was proud. I was proud. I was fighting back tears, and fighting back tears now while writing this. But he did it! He didn’t run away. There were kids who ran to their mom as soon as they saw them and didn’t want to participate, there were kids who cried, and there were kids who looked up, down, or sideways when talking. And they didn’t have a stutter. My strong, unbelievably brave child stood his ground, and finished the entire performance. He then ran to me, gave me the tightest hug in the world, and we stayed taking selfies. I was, and still am so proud of him! At that moment, I knew we were going to be ok.

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Now, one year later, his stutter is much better. I wont say he is completely over it. He sometimes has days or weeks of perfect fluency. And he still has some bad days (especially when he has a cough). He still sometimes stretches his word when he is excited. But you know what? His friends don’t care that he stutters sometimes. His sister doesn’t care that he stutters sometimes. And the most important thing is, HE doesn’t care that he stutters sometimes.

 As for me, I can not be any prouder. He overcame an obstacle with such courage, that I am sure he will one day be on the list of famous stutterers, along with Emily Blunt, Elvis Presley, and Winston Churchill.