A sassy, crafty mama bird from Los Angeles
raising a very sweet little girl with Autism
and a new baby boy in the Midwest... and other stuff, too.

Friday, May 25, 2012

*This Moment*

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. -SouleMama

Friday, May 18, 2012

Can you help my friend?

"Me too"

The most powerful words ever spoken. Knowing we're not alone in something is by far the most comforting feeling. Those two words are like a huge, tight hug. It's important to share our stories and experiences with the world so we can be comforted by those who have paved the way before us, but also to be there for those who are going to travel down the same path in the future. 

So, I'm putting out this plea. A beautiful friend of mine has a sweet little boy who's just seven years old and had a brain tumor removed yesterday. The doctors think they got it all, but it looks like Medulloblastoma. That's the most common malignant central nervous tumor in children, so I'm guessing someone out there has experienced this or knows someone who has. 

I'd really like to find someone out there who could share experience, strength, and HOPE with my friend. So, please share this, ask around, and feel free to reach out to me at TheRealDaniG (at) gmail (dot) com. 

Thank you!!!

*This Moment*

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. -SouleMama

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Great Bike Giveaway


Down to the wire in the Great Bike Giveaway from Friendship Circle of Michigan. Voting ends Friday May 18th at 4pm EST. Fifteen kids with special needs will win adaptive bikes made just for them to ride like the wind!!

Go check out the entries and then vote to be a part of making a huge difference in the life of a kiddo with special needs!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rocking her tutu

Tonight my daughter has a ballet recital. She's got a cute little costume and is meant to dance to a song from Beauty and the Beast. I am keeping my expectations low since my heart sank last year when all the little girls came out to dance to the number she was supposed to be in, but instead she melted down backstage. Never even made it onto the stage. I stood up, ran out of the auditorium and to my girl. Still, I saw the look from the other parents. If you're a parent of a kid like mine, you know the look. It socks you in the stomach. Tonight I won't expect her to go on stage and perform, but I'll be very pleasantly surprised if that happens. The performance isn't why I paid the $100+ for the class or the $30 for the costume or the $17 for the shoes. I did that for the thrill she has after each dance class when she runs up to me and brags, "Mommy! I wore a tutu!" It's seriously cute stuff. I did it because she loves dance class and because she deserves a dance class.

And I did it because this is her chance to take a real dance class with her typically developing peers. This class is offered at her school with the full inclusion program. I don't know of any other place where she could take a dance class with "normal" kids. The private studios tell me that they can't provide support and it could be too distracting to the other kids. Tough stuff. But whether she dances tonight or not, I will know that she loved the class, loved the music and the girl can rock a tutu!

Stay tuned for the update on whether you-know-who made it on stage.


She did it. It was awesome. She came out with the other girls and I turned to my friend Staci and we both smiled as I said, "she came out!" She had a little help from Casey, her awesome advocate/shadow and she followed along with the other little girls. When it was over, I exhaled and tears streamed down my face. I went backstage and found a few other people in tears as well. It's pretty awesome to be surrounded by people who love my girl!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Get Closer

"Pro Infirmis conducts an experiment: there are many people who have empathy for those with disabilities. Nevertheless, the passenger seat in the public bus next to Fabian often stays empty. Disabled people are a regular part of our society."

Monday, May 14, 2012

Don't be an asshole

Note: there's an update at the bottom. Scroll, baby, scroll!

Really, people? You're still using the term RETARD in a joking manner? I mean, really? What is wrong with you people? This is not okay in so many ways. 

I was shopping for a greeting card recently and found a funny one, so I picked it up to buy, then proceeded to read others by the same company, Bald Guy Greetings

Needless to say, I put the card back and then talked to the store management, who were disappointed to find they had this on their floor. On BaldGuyGreetings.com there's a little "contact us" tab, so you can let them know how you feel about them making money off making fun of Mental Retardation. You can go right ahead and email Ian Kalman at ian@baldguygreetings.com 

 If you know me, know my daughter, or know anyone affected by a developmental disability, then I'm pretty sure you can see why this isn't funny. It's mean.

A few days ago, a physician in the area where I live shared this photo on FB where he got a bunch of "likes" and comments like, "thanks, really needed that laugh!" :

When you post things, publish things, share things like this, 
it doesn't make you funny. 
It makes you an asshole. 

Here's one more picture:

This is my little girl. She has a developmental disability and is preparing to enter a cognitively impaired classroom in the fall. Cognitively Impaired.  Do you know what that means? Would you look at her, point, and call her retarded? Would you post a picture of her on FB and make a joke?

Don't be a dick.


I just heard back from the head Bald Guy at Bald Guy Greetings, Ian. Here's the email he sent me:

Hi there Dani,

It's Ian from Bald Guy Greetings. I'm actually the guy that wrote the card and I apologize for offending you.

And yes, I understand your concern with using a word like that. In fact, when I first wrote it, I ran it by both family and friends. I thought there is no way I can print this card.

You see, I have a cousin with down syndrome. I grew up very close to him and remain close with him to this day. I ran it by his brother, his mother (my aunt) and several of our other family members. None of them saw a problem with it. In fact, they thought the opposite. They thought I was being to soft because it was my cousin and he wouldn't want to be treated any different. We make fun of people getting older, being dumb, self-centered, and a number of other things in our greeting cards. We make fun of many things. "Why baby him?" They said. So we printed the card.

When stores ask me to pick out the top 24 or 36 or 48 cards, I always run that card by them. I won't just include it without their approval. And 99% of the time, I'm shocked that they say to include it. You'd think I wouldn't be shocked by now. If you read the card closely, It never infers that being retarded is a bad thing. It's just something that exists in our world. If we ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist, that only adds to the problem. Treat everyone the same and they will be the same.

Trust me, I don't wish to offend you. I'm sure you realize that.

So while I do apologize that you were hurt by the card and disappointed with Bald Guy Greetings, I hope you understand the lengths I went to before haphazardly printing the card. We promise we're nice guys over here.

I hope that helps clear it up. I understand if you don't want to buy our cards. They're not for everyone.

Take care and again, we sincerely apologize.

Alright, so it turns out Ian at BaldGuyGreetings.com isn't such a bad guy. I really do appreciate him getting back to me. I don't understand how he could feel uncomfortable about a product he puts out, though. So, I guess, we could buy his cards... just not that one.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Why I Won't Be on Facebook this Sunday

Ongoing/chronic grief. That's what my therapist calls it. It comes in waves. Raising a child like Little Bird can be incredibly rewarding. I take nothing for granted. There are rarely little things, and they're always appreciated. A few days ago, I had the step stool out in the kitchen (because I'm short, yo) and I watched her push the stool over to the fridge so she could reach the iPad that was on top. There's so much that goes into that planning. I see it and celebrate it all. When I say it's time to leave the library and she runs away from me, I remember a doctor's words, "she might never walk." When she shouts rap lyrics in public, I remember how silent she was until she was about 3. Nothing has ever come easily to her- well, nothing except for cuteness. It's kind of a fact.

I am very proud of her and very proud of the mother that she's taught me to become. Still, I know that I'll continue to be hit with these waves, especially as life goes on. The waves will crash when Little Bird's typically developing peers get ready for their bar/bat mitzvahs, get driver's licenses, prepare to move out, go to college, get married, start careers, have families of their own, etc. I can go on and on (and I often do around 3am!). 

There are a few times of year that my heart breaks and I really ride those waves of chronic grief. Mothers Day is always a rough one for me. It's so hard to hear about the wonderful things the normies do for their moms to celebrate Mothers Day, and to hear the moms who have the parenting experience I wanted so badly share how wonderful it is for them. As a member of the "moms of kiddos with special needs" club, I suffer from what-the-f?-this-isn't-the-kind-of-motherhood-I-signed-up-for-ism. Like I really need another day of the year to be reminded of that one! 

So, why torture myself? I'll just stay far, far away from Facebook this Sunday. It's like a thousand postcards showing up from Italy while I'm stuck in Holland. Luckily, the mail doesn't show up on Sundays so I can't get distracted from that sweet, funny, beautiful little tulip of mine.  

Hey Girl

Friday, May 4, 2012

*This Moment*

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. -SouleMama

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