Misadventures of a 20-Something Mom: March 2013   

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Finding the Extraordinary, in the Seemingly Ordinary: Spotlight on CF

Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of my little blogging venture.

What began as an outlet, the simple rantings and ravings of a first-time mom, has since "blossomed" into something more tangible. A network of like-minded parents. A safe haven for mommy group dropouts. A supportive community willing to embrace the laughable moments  in parenthood and to shun modern ideals of what is "perfect" or "beautiful."

And with a growing readership, this blog can also occasionally be a platform.

I knew I wanted the "anniversary edition" of my blog to be about something special. Something Extraordinary even.

This is Scotty. And he is that something extraordinary.

One could argue that in many ways, Scotty is just like any other (almost) 3 year old. He is a fun-loving,  Pooh Blanket toting, self-proclaimed mama's boy. Habitual giggler. Lover of all things Mickey. A bubble fanatic and a serial napper. Scotty loves snuggling, coloring, and stockpiling his toys way out of his baby brother's reach! He is the quintessential toddler.

But there's also something really extraordinary about him. An aura of awareness. The way his eyes don't just look at you...they pierce through you. Scotty's gaze is permeated by a seasoned understanding and a maturity far beyond his years. This is perhaps, in part, because Scotty has a disease known as Cystic Fibrosis.

For those of you who aren't familiar, "Cystic fibrosis is a devastating genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States. The disease causes the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and stops the body from breaking down/absorbing food," (Courtesy of Cff.org).

Scotty was diagnosed at just 2 weeks old, and has since endured a number of life-saving medical interventions. Though he looks and acts much like an "ordinary" toddler, his days are filled with many extraordinary measures to help keep him healthy.

Scotty's 5th Hospitalization
In order to break up the mucous in his lungs, Scotty has to wear a specialized vest and utilize a nebulizer at least twice a day. In addition, he takes numerous specialty vitamins and enzymes to assist his digestive tract. Because Scotty still has a difficult time maintaining a healthy weight, he is also given appetite stimulants, antibiotics (as necessary), Prilosec, saline, and formula through a feeding tube in his stomach. 
Undergoing Nebulizer/Compression Vest Treatment

Despite this strict regimen, and being perpetually monitored by vigilant parents and a slew of specialists, there are still times that the disease catches up with him, and Scotty has to be hospitalized.
To say that this disease has taken a toll on Scotty and his family would be the understatement of the century. The emotional, financial, and physical stresses associated with this chronic illness are clear. Despite their difficulties, Scotty and his family remain positive and even serve as ambassadors for the Cystic Fibrosis community. Their mission is to raise awareness about the disease, and to raise money to help fund a cure.

However, Scotty and his family are in a race against time. Even with medical advances, most children with Cystic Fibrosis will never see their 40th birthday. The current treatments focus on symptom alleviation, but they do not cure the disease.

There are many promising medical developments, but research takes money. That's where you lovely readers come in! In order to eradicate this disease, and ensure that Scotty lives a LONG and happy life, he needs YOU to make a donation.

I know that for most families right now, money is really tight. But Scotty's not asking you for a mortgage payment. Any donation, no matter how small, goes to help find a cure. Scotty, and all of the other individuals touched by this disease, appreciate every penny.

Since this is the special anniversary edition of my blog, I implore you guys to man up and make a donation. Hopefully, this blog has given you a year of candor and laughter. Or perpetual fodder and confidence that you are a way better parent than some of us nut jobs! Either way, I gave you all of the aforementioned: For free!

 I promise to keep sharing my parental exploits and misadventures, if y'all promise to go and DONATE some money! Come on, you can part with five measly bucks. That's not even enough for a coffee, or good wine. Go! Now! Donate! (please and thank you)

Monday, March 4, 2013

(Every Other) Mother Knows Best

I have a bone to pick with Mommyland.

Somewhere along the line, one of us yahoos decided it was socially acceptable to push our own personal child rearing agenda onto everyone else.

I'm not talking about Great Aunt Bertha sharing her time honored wisdom, or close friends who offer tidbits from the motherhood trenches. I'm referring to individuals like your acquaintance from Kindermusic, the friend of a friend who always manages to comment on your facebook posts, or the stranger at Target who rips you a new one for feeding your kid Gluten-full goldfish crackers in the checkout line.

To those (hopefully) well meaning mothers I say, "thanks, but no thanks, for your lectures and tirades." Call me crazy, but I kind of miss the good ole' days when we would all quietly judge those who raised their children differently from us. If one felt particularly daring, he or she could even secretly gab about said parental atrocities with some friends. Sadly, those days of closeted judgment are over. Now, moms walk right up to you, with a smile plastered on their face, and an outline of the five million ways you are irrevocably screwing up your child.

Like this job isn't hard enough. Like each of us doesn't already harbor seemingly endless feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and "mommy guilt."  

We are all on our own personal quest for parental perfection and maternal nirvana. But what is "perfect" for one family, might be imperfect in another. What is blissful for some, could be beastly to others. Somewhere along the line, we forgot that these differences are in fact.... entirely acceptable.
Instead of appreciating the diversity and supporting one another however we can, there are those among us who actively belittle, chastise, and disparage fellow moms.

I cannot even begin to count the number of times I have been "corrected" or "schooled" by another mom.
               "That seat should still be rear-facing."
                "Those shoes are terrible for his developing spine."
                "He shouldn't be watching television at this age."
                "You need to put him on a sleep schedule."
                "Why aren't those berries organic?"

It's one thing if I beseech someone for their input, its another thing entirely when I am beaten about the face and neck with unsolicited critiques. 

Fortunately, my son already has two more than capable parents, and we are not currently interviewing for a third. We might not always get everything right, but we try and make informed and educated decisions based on what is best for our family. It might be a lot different from what goes on in your home, or it could be nearly identical, but it's what works for us.

For example, in our house, I am still breastfeeding my nearly 20 month old. This is absolutely outrageous in some circles, and totally acceptable in others. Either way, you won't ever find me going door to door to try and "convert" other moms. You'd also be hard pressed to catch me cringing at the mere sight of formula or sighing dramatically when I hear that another mom had to stop breastfeeding. I don't do any of these things because, besides being ridiculous, it's not my place to. The choices another mom makes for her and her family are hers alone. Who am I to say that my way is superior? Who am I to try and make someone conform?

But clearly, not everyone values personal choice as much as I do. And to those individuals I say, "It's awesome that your motherly instincts are just overflowing like that...but maybe, just maybe, you could swallow your derogatory comments and "helpful" remarks, and utilize that parental prowess on your own kid."

 (Because if you keep hating on these gluten-full goldfish I'm liable to throat chop you.)