Wednesday's Child: Markus

Every Wednesday I feature a child recently highlighted by a local Wednesday's Child newscast to share the stories of children from around the country who are waiting for a family. My hope is that this can broaden exposure for the children highlighted, but also serve as a reminder that these children represent thousands of children currently in the foster-care system. Perhaps their stories will inspire you to consider opening your home to a child needing a family. For more information and to learn about other waiting children, visit AdoptUsKids.






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Let's talk about sex! And how we talk to kids about it.

Last week I kicked off a video series with Leslie Dixon - a sex educator with a passion for helping parents empower their kids to make good choices when it comes to puberty, peers, and sex. We are chatting again today, specifically talking on the issue of how to start the sex talk with younger kids. Come join us! We will also try to answer your questions.





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Mothers: masters at multi-tasking

This post is sponsored by Clorox

No one knows how to multi-task quite like a mother. Even if it wasn't a skill on our resume before having kids, it's something each of us will master out of necessity. Whether it's learning how to change a diaper with one hand while bottle-feeding with another, or taking a work call while supervising a kid at the park, we've all got stories of making it work and doing two (or three) things at once. 

I've been in that situation more times I can count, but one that sticks out in my mind was last year when I was trying to buy Adele tickets. I had planned my morning out strategically. Tickets went on sale at 9am, and my kids had a choir concert at school at 10am. I figured I would log in early, snag the tickets right at 9, and then head over. 



Except . . . 9am came and went, and I was still logged into the "waiting room" at ticketmaster, waiting for my turn to buy. Then 9:15, then 9:30. Finally, at 9:45, I realized I was going to have to choose - Adele or my kids. If I left my laptop, I would lose my place. Until I had the bright idea to pair my laptop to my phone. I carried the laptop, open so it wouldn't go to sleep, from my car into the concert and sat in the back. In the end, I snagged the tickets right before my child's class took the stage. As it turns out, you can have it all!

(No, you can't. But sometimes it works out.)

Over on facebook, I asked for some of your best multi-tasking tales. Here are some of the funniest and most relatable:

Sarah: I work for an online school. I had to teach a live online class of students that other teachers were also logged into to watch me model the teaching. They didn't know I had to sit on the back patio with one hand holding the sliding glass door shut as my daughter screamed and peed down her leg inside.

Alyson: I remember nursing my baby while helping my 2 year old daughter potty while my 4 year old son was asking me detailed questions about bugs.

Kristen: A few weeks ago I was wearing my infant daughter who fell asleep before dinner time. I didn't want to risk waking her by putting her down and also didn't want to wait to eat since I was starving (breastfeed means constant hunger, right?) My solution: napkin over her head to catch anything I might spill while enjoying my salad. That salad was delicious!

Carissa: On at least a couple of occasions, I sat in the shower in the bathroom with the door locked because it was the farthest I could get from my angry toddler while I was on a conference call. 

Cory: Vomiting from morning sickness with my one year old on my hip.

Heidi: I take my teens on coffee dates where I bribe them to do my grading while I work on lesson planning...or where I will occasionally surf the web for relaxation. No shame.

Jenn: Once I was talking in the phone (cradling it between my ear and shoulder), while nursing an infant and wiping my newly-potty trained daughter's bum at the same time. I am both embarrassed and proud of my skills at that moment.

Victoria: Holding a sick bag for one daughter to throw up in whilst throwing up in one myself on a plane and commenting on 2nd daughter's drawing 'that's lovely darling'...


Most parents know that anything they can do to save time AND simplify their ever-growing “to-do” list is a winning strategy in the parenting playbook. And in additional to multi-tasking being a necessity, it is also a sanity-saver . . . because when you save time, you free up more me-time later.



Clorox’s latest product, Scentiva, is a true multi-tasker as it cleans, disinfects and deodorizes all at once. It comes in both disinfecting wipes and a spray in two different scents; Hawaiian Sunshine (think tropical paradise with key lime, citrus, mango, pineapple and hibiscus petals) and Tuscan Lavender & Jasmine (a rich mixture of jasmine, rose, hyacinth and lavender with a touch of juicy peach white sandalwood and vanilla).


Keeping your home smelling great and germ-free doesn’t have to be a multi-step process. Clorox wants to lighten parents’ to-do lists by helping them keep their homes clean, disinfected and smelling great – using one product to do it all. Whether it’s playing a game with the kids or getting a chance to zone out on facebook, shaving a little time off of your cleaning routine can pay off in satisfying ways.



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What I want you to know: I will never give up on you

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post was submitted by Abigail.

Although he may never read it…..

Dear Marcus,

Being adopted must have been the hardest struggle for you. Harder than I can imagine. How could you know how to handle that at age 17? After having been in the system for 4 years, in and out of placements, “forever” must have seemed like a foreign concept. I want you to know that it is ok that you were scared.

We got to know you over the last year and a half through visits on the weekends or vacation. You told us so many times that you didn’t need anyone, you didn’t need to be adopted. Sometimes you wanted to be with us and sometimes you didn’t. It must have been hurtful that your 3 siblings were placed with us before you were. I’m glad that you decided to try to live with us even if it only lasted for 2 months.

I want you to know the things I loved about having you here. I will always remember the way you played Legos with your younger siblings. Every time I look out the window I can see the landscaping you completed in the back yard. I loved to spend time with you at your horseback riding lessons. I loved to see you show affection and care with that donkey named “Mr. Pickles.” I will always remember you starting to open up around the horses. That was when I saw you genuinely happy.

I was so excited to watch you playing football. I couldn’t wait to cheer you on at games. I was looking forward to your junior prom and your graduation. I never realized how much pressure this must have put on you to have a “normal” high school experience.

It must have been scary to have family dinners instead of meetings with your parole officer. It must have been weird to be hiking around in the woods instead of walking the streets with your friends.

I want you to know that as angry as you are right now, you are probably more frightened than anything. Fear is what causes your intense rages. Fear of getting close to us. Fear of being looked up to by your younger siblings. Fear of hurting one of the family during your violent cycles. Fear of getting close to yet another mom.

I know that you are mad at me for trying to take your birth mom’s place. It must have felt so disloyal to her to let me in. We were so different she and I. She gave you alcohol and taught you to fist fight. She left you alone to jump off of buildings and stay out all night. Sometimes when you are mad at me, you are really mad at her. I gave you hugs and you hated it. I’d have dinner ready for you every night and I expected you to be there. You don’t understand why I wanted to see you every day. You didn’t understand why I didn’t want you out all night or jumping from buildings.

You flinch from hugs and snarl at compliments. You think it’s deranged that our family says things like “I love you.” It’s scary because you haven’t had that. It must feel like we are all so close it hurts. I’m deeply sorry if I pushed you too much with kindness. I realize now that you didn’t know how to handle it. Your most intense rages were always after a fun family trip or a compliment or hug.

The day you left it felt like I was having a limb ripped off. I uttered the 3 words that sealed our fate when I said, “Sweetheart, come upstairs.” The social worker was there about the adoption agreement. Sometimes I think that you sabatoged that day because deep down you don’t believe you can ever really be a part of a family. You don’t believe in love. That day I remained calm while you shouted, swore at me, kicked me and threw things. You slammed doors around and showed your anger. Maybe you wanted the social worker to see your anger and stop the process.

I never reacted negatively to your rages. I always reassured you that I still cared. I offered you comfort when all you were feeling was pain and fear. It angered you that I wasn’t mad and yelling. You must have felt like the only one in the family with unresolved issues. Although that isn’t true it must have hurt you to believe it. I’m sorry that I let you believe this about yourself.

I want you to know that it’s ok for you to hate me right now. It’s ok for you to choose to live elsewhere. It’s ok that sometimes you broke things or threatened your younger siblings. I don’t blame you. I blame your past. I wish you could have hung in there and worked through it with the family.

I also want you to know that it wasn’t safe for us when you had rages. It wasn’t even safe for you. I realize this but I just didn’t want to give you up. In a way I’m glad you were the one to walk away because, as a mother, I’m not sure I could have ever given up. The cost to our family was great but the cost to you was far greater.

I want you to know that I will never give up on you. I still hope that one day you will change your mind and try to have contact with us, or at least with your siblings. I am grieving you. I am also relieved that it is over. I’m sick with guilt about it but the truth is this family was hurting you. We were hurting, too. I am relieved the drama and hatred I felt from you is gone. I am not and will never be relieved that we don’t have you.

Please try and accept help in the future. Listen to your therapist. Just try and let them in a little bit. Please take your medication. Please finish high school. Please try not to get arrested again.

No matter what happens my heart and my front door will always be open to you. Please take care of my boy. I know you tried. I tried, too.

Love Always,

Mom

**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.



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That's what SHE said: one dad's mad Photoshopping skills, the dangers of too much screen time for kids, a stockpile of cheat sheets to use in the kitchen and much, much more...


Here are some things I read this week that made me think. (These are just snippets - click on the title to read the whole thing.)


This dad Photoshops his baby into hilariously unsafe situations. from Orli with Someecards Parenting

Stephen Crowley is a designer in Dublin with a very dark, very Dad sense of humor. On his Instagram, Crowley has Photoshopped a series of photos of his adorable daughter in scary situations. They're so well edited, they'll give you a heart attack.



Seven things I wish I'd known before my divorce: an optimistic guide to the future by Ariel with The Guardian

Lesson #1. Trip out on grief – it’s a hallucinogen

"Regardless of how your marriage ends, it’s a death. Maybe it’s a loving euthanasia that you both agree on, maybe it’s a violent one-sided decision that only one of you sees coming, but it’s a death regardless. This means both of you will go through grief – a powerful mind-altering substance.

In the darkest of my days, I felt like I was on a low dose of LSD at all times – time was weird, my vision was odd, I threw up for no reason, my emotions were out of control. Even eating was an intellectual exercise (chew, chew … swallow? Is that what you do next?). I generally felt like I was tripping.

This state of mind was profoundly uncomfortable, but also weirdly educational. Never a big crier, I received a crash course in what tear-induced catharsis felt like – and holy wow, it felt good. Like many mind-altering substances, there are lessons there if you want to learn them."



"A major turning point in the Tobacco Control movement was the discovery that second-hand smoke —the experience of non-smokers being in a closed space with smokers — was harmful. We are starting to notice that environments can also be polluted by others’ screens.

Research is starting to come out that any laptop use in a college class hurts academic performance for the whole class. Even those who themselves are not using laptops are distracted by those sitting near them.

When a screen is in view of children and parents, parents spend less time engaged in important learning activities such as reading and hands-on play with their children."


"Proof that cooking a little healthier can be pretty simple and damn tasty.

Turns out you’re not supposed to use olive oil for everything ever. Who knew? If you want a bit more information on why/how to use olive oil properly, read this."

For understanding how to choose which oil would actually work best for that thing you want to make.



“Your days are probably spent navigating the throes of keeping restless kids’ voices down and hands to themselves, while attempting to implement new, creative ideas to keep them engaged in learning. If you are a middle school or high school teacher, your challenges rise to the resistance of attitudes, peer pressure, and fierce independence with no accountability or respect.

I can only imagine how hard it is for you.

You may not see that the end is near over the mountains of work left to do...

But it is.

And I want to tell you that I am aware of what you do, and I am grateful for it all. What you manage on a day-to-day basis is no easy feat. Your role in my children’s lives has been profoundly important to their growth and education. You have fueled their desire to learn and inspired them to do their best. My children are better people for knowing you.”


Strengthening Sibling Relationships: An Easy Idea for Summer Vacation from Gabrielle at Design Mom

"A few years ago, as summer was approaching, I was concerned with some of the one-on-one relationships my children had with each other. I’m a mother of four and my biggest concern was that my oldest (8 going on 9 at the time) and my five-year-old had NO friendship. They often bickered and fought.

So I came up with a plan based on the well-known thought “you love those you serve” and created a schedule for my children to serve each other. It worked so well we have done it every summer since."


"It’s kind of irritating because we spend our hard earned money for her to stay in this sport. And I’m not going to keep her in something if she doesn’t like it. But she does like it, she just has her moments when “going to gymnastics” seems like a chore. And I can relate. Most times when I think about working out, I don’t want to do it. But once I do exercise, I feel fantastic afterward.

I’m not a pushy mom. I just know she’s a kid and often doesn’t want to do things. It’s my job as her mother to give her butt a little nudge in the right direction."



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