Why I expect My Son’s School to Provide More Than Just The Requisite Support

“We provide the requisite support.”

This is the statement that the school principal made to me when I expressed concern over Man’s participation in an upcoming school event.  Our school does a wonderful, day long, event that involves relays and egg tosses and a multitude of other team building activities that promote sportsmanship and working cooperatively.

The kids love it, they look forward to it all year.  Why wouldn’t they?  A day of no classes where they get to run around and play games all day.  Eat ice pops and laugh with their friends.  Feel part of a group and relish in the power of team work.  Sounds amazing, right?  What child wouldn’t look forward to a day like that!?

Man. Man doesn’t look forward to this day at all.

Sports and other physical activities are challenging for him.  He’s not the fastest, slickest guy on the field.  And even when he’s participating in a seemingly innocuous activity like an egg toss, his Sensory Processing Disorder makes it extraordinarily challenging.  When kids are running and screaming around him, his body gets overstimulated and basically shuts off.  He drops the egg and lets his team down.

This day, though the best day for most kids, is one of the worst days for him.

As his parent, I dress him up, give him a little pep talk and send him on his way to do his best.  I think it’s important he learns to participate and that he understand that trying his best is good enough. I also refuse to raise a quitter.  Not every activity that he is expected to participate in is going to be his favorite or something he is good at.  It’s important he understand this early on and learns to try his best to rise to the occasion.  And who knows, maybe he will get a surge of “sportiness” and help his team to victory.

As his parent, I’m also going to do whatever I can within my power to advocate for my son’s success.  That’s why I e mailed the school and asked if there was any way they could create one, “non-sports-based activity” for that day.  Just one thing that would help a “non-sporty” kid feel like he or she could contribute to his or her team in a meaningful way. I pointed out that teamwork can just as easily be promoted through LEGO tower building or some other less physical event.  I highlighted that while I valued their support of Man’s academic success, it seemed that their support of children with special needs did not to extend outside of the classroom as much as they thought it did.

Not unexpectedly, their answer was no.  “We provide the requisite support for your son.”

That statement was like a bullet to my heart.  You see, as many parents of children with special needs can attest to, “providing the requisite support” is NOT the same as promoting an environment where we let our children shine and thrive for their differences.  Today, with the statistics of children diagnosed with any number of behavioral, learning, and/or emotional disorders rising dramatically from year to year, different is the new same.

I have an expectation, and maybe it’s an unfair one, that my school go beyond just providing what is required of them by law.  I have an expectation that they encourage an environment that allows children to be celebrated for their individuality.  I have an expectation that they demonstrate how some kids might not excel in one area but might kick butt in another completely different arena.  Teaching teamwork is showing children that they all have something unique to contribute.  It’s allowing each team member to be called upon for his or her strengths and carried by others when he is weak.  It’s making sure that every member of that team feels the power of their own personal contribution to that team’s success.  It’s not creating an environment where someone feels less than all day, especially a young child.

I want all children, typical and atypical, to feel the glow of success within the walls of their school.  I want them all to be celebrated for their assets and to understand that they won’t be defined by their weaknesses.  I want schools to go above and beyond what is just legally required of them for the development, success, and benefit of every student that walks through their door.  I want them promote acceptance and understanding.

Who knows, maybe Man will toss the winning ring, or hop across the finish line just in time to win it for his team.  Maybe he will have the best day ever.  But that doesn’t mean that my expectations of his school will change.  It doesn’t mean that I will stop carrying the message and advocating for the support and celebration of his differences.

When Sensory Eating Turns Into Failure to Thrive: A Horror Story

As a student of Mental Health Counseling, I often think of a diagnosis as a tree trunk.  There is one, solid stable disorder planting its roots and from the symptoms of the disorder, a branchlike network of additional challenges and diagnoses blossom.  I have discussed Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) before (Imagine Your Child With Sensory Processing Disorder), this diagnosis has planted a giant Redwood like tree trunk in our front yard.  There are a multitude of symptoms that have allowed additional problems and disorders to branch and bloom, casting a large shadow over our entire house.  One such symptom is sensory eating, and from this symptom a tangled grid of branches has formed to develop a new and even scarier diagnosis, Failure to Thrive (FTT).

In my post, Sensory Eating and Picky Eating are NOT the Same (Picky Eating and Sensory Eating Are NOT The Same! A Guide to Improving Feeding in Sensory Eaters), I discuss the differences between a picky eater and a sensory eater.  The major difference, the most significant and frightening, is that sensory eaters would rather go hungry than eat a food that would disturb their bodies fragile peaceful state.  Man is a sensory eater.  Most people assume that that means that he can’t eat certain textures.  We all know people who can’t eat tapioca pudding or cottage cheese without having a visceral reaction.  Personally, I couldn’t eat shrimp until well into adulthood because that rubbery crunch gave my body the heebie-jeebies.  But for Man, it’s flavor intensity.  He cannot eat foods that have too much flavor.  When he was three-and-a-half he mistakenly grabbed a garlic flavored cracker off the counter and before he could even finish chewing the first bite he broke out into a cold sweat, his eyes began to water, and his entire face turned bright red.  His body was literally rejecting the flavor.  He couldn’t eat for the rest of the night.

Years of having such extremely intense bodily reactions to flavors have naturally resulted in extremely poor eating habits and dread around food and mealtime.  I mean, if every time you put food into your mouth it made your body feel pain, would you want to eat?  In our house, mealtime brings fear and anxiety, not pleasure and excitement.

You see, from day one, every bite of every meal that has gone into his mouth has been prompted by me.

“Eat, Man.”

“Take that bite, Man.”

“No, you’re not finished yet, Man.”

I can remember when he was younger, I would bring him his breakfast on a Monday morning and think, “Here we go, 21 meals and the week will be over.”

Meals can take upwards of an hour-and-a-half.  He laboriously chews each tiny little bite, bites small enough that he really won’t have to actually taste the food, while I would stand there, trying to stay calm, encouraging and supportive.  If I walked away, he would simply not eat.  I’ve tried everything, and there have been times of improvement.  He does eat some new foods, but ultimately, the quantity he eats remains the same; poor.

After many years, I decided that I did need to walk away and just let him be.  Mealtimes were causing me such stress, anger, fear, and resentment that I didn’t want to be around him at all anymore.  I forced myself to accept that he was going to eat what he was going to eat and that was going to have to be ok.  I couldn’t help him in any way if I was internally fuming and freaking out three meal times every day.

That tactic worked for a while, he wasn’t growing a lot, but it was steady growth at his own slow rate.  That was until our most recent visit, where we found out that he has begun to lose weight.  Now, a seven-year-old boy that only weighed 38 pounds, was a mere 36.5.  This has brought out the anxiety that I have tried to keep in check for all these years.

When we heard the news, it sent me into a frenzy and I yelled at him.

No, I screamed, I threatened, and basically tried to instill a fear in him that would force him to eat better, that would allow me to remain in my protective “Man eating bubble.”

I am ashamed, and it brings tears to my eyes and an ache to my heart to know that I made him cry so much about something that he really has no control over.

I vowed to get my fear in check and help him in a calm and loving way.  And that worked… for a few days.

Can you imagine what it feels like to have to remind your child to take every bite of every meal that he has ever eaten in his entire life?  It’s exhausting.

Can you feel the anxiety through the screen as I even type those words?  It’s palpable.

Like an alcoholic picking up a drink after a period of sobriety, I picked up my anxiety about his eating right where I had left it.  It has now intensified to such a severe level where every morning I’m yelling in a way that humiliations me to admit.

Every meal I look at his gaunt body across the table.  I see the dark rings of malnourishment under his eyes. I watch him pull up the pants that are sized for a child half his age as they slip down while he trudges across a room and I yell.  I yell out of fear.  Fear for his health.  Fear for his growth.  Fear for my own sanity.

Mostly, I just feel and incredible guilt every day.  This is obviously my fault because I can’t handle making sure he adequately eats each meal.  This is obviously my fault because I’m not finding the magic cure that will make this all better.  I’m obviously only making it worse by revealing my anxiety and fear to him in such a loud way and angry.

I just wish I could find a chainsaw strong enough to cut the branches of FTT off at the root, because right now, I’m terrified that this tree will fall and crush us underneath it’s weight.

FTT

Your Child is Too Smart for an IEP

“I have good new for you!  We are declassifying your son!”

This statement was recently conveyed to a friend by a member of the Special Education Department at her child’s school… and it was decidedly NOT good news.

This has been a running theme with many of my friends and fellow special needs mama warriors lately: declassification from Special Education and the removal of their child’s IEP because recent test scores show that they are “too smart for an IEP.”

It’s infuriating.  If you think about the way the ADHD brain functions this statement doesn’t even make sense!

This very concept has struck a chord of fear within me.  Am I going to walk into Man’s next meeting and fight to maintain the Special Education services that he desperately needs just because he happens to be producing grade level work?

Most children with ADHD and other behavioral and emotionally manifested disorders are, in fact, quite smart.  We had Man tested recently and, as expected, the scores show that he is NOT intellectually disabled.  They indicated that his IQ is adequate to maintain age appropriate, grade level work, if not work that even is somewhat above grade level.

However, his ADHD makes that impossible.

My incredibly smart and gifted son can program a computer yet can’t find his way out of a paper bag.

Why?

Because the ADHD brain lacks executive functioning skills.  This means he can’t organize his classwork, he doesn’t know where or when to start an assignment, or how to pace himself so his brain doesn’t fatigue a third of the way through.  He can’t remember the materials he is supposed to gather, or if he was supposed to do it in pencil or crayon.  He can’t plan each step out or problem solve if he get’s himself stuck.  Therefore, it doesn’t matter what his IQ is, he cannot use his intelligence effectively without the help of the Individualized Education Plan that creates goals and accommodations to account for his lack of Executive Functioning.

My incredibly talented and smart child has a command of math that is beyond his years, but some days he can’t add 2+2.

Why?

Because the ADHD brain lacks the ability to regulate emotions.  This means that if he is feeling too anxious, his brain might just shut down.  If he is extremely angry or sad it can affect him to the point of being unable to complete classroom work that day.  If he is tired or overwhelmed simple tasks begin to seem insurmountable and he just gives up and walks away.  Therefore, his excellent math skills don’t matter, he cannot use them effectively without the help of the Individualized Education Plan that creates goals and accommodations to help him with emotional regulation on the days when he simply cannot do it for himself.

Some days, all you see is Man’s ADHD.  It’s worn like a badge, displayed like an eye sore across his chest.  Everything he does, everything he touches, is affected by it.  Without an IEP in place every day the bad days wouldn’t just be bad, they would be disastrous.

Some days, Man’s ADHD is imperceptible.  A mere hint showing itself at random, innocuous moments, leaving him undisturbed and highly functional.  Without an IEP in place every day these great days would only be somewhat satisfactory.

The only thing consistent about ADHD is its inconsistency.  Frustratingly, its symptoms will come and go without rhyme or reason.  Some days its sufferers will be super-starts, far exceeding the expectations of those around them.  Other days, they will be deceived by their very own brains, and even the simplest of tasks will seem impossible. Therefore, the accommodations and support that an IEP provides must be a constant.  The solid steadiness of that IEP is a vital guide for grounding these fragile, ever fluctuating students and their teachers.

No parent wants their child labeled or “classified.”  If we could fix our children and make their brains function perfectly, we absolutely would.  However, you are not calling us with “good news” when you tell us that you want to eliminate the services that they rely on to manage school successfully.  You are essentially removing their lifeline to victory.

Being intelligent and being able to effectively use that intelligence are two entirely different things.  Intelligence is so much more than just being “smart.”  It’s a combination of a thousand distinctive characteristics that must all be operating in synch with one another, like a well-oiled machine.  ADHD takes a huge wrench and just gingerly tosses it into that machine.  It doesn’t matter how “smart” a child is, an IEP works as a tool to eliminate that wrench so our children can effectively use their intelligence.

I understand that a 504 is a valuable resource.  It makes sense that schools want our children to thrive in the least restrictive environment.  However, academic demands change drastically from year to year, as does a child’s social and emotional growth.  The rush to declassify, an act that is virtually impossible to reverse, prior to a child demonstrating long-term, consistent success across a few grades seems drastic and irresponsible.  We should be more cautious with our children, as even the slightest inkling of failure and struggle can have dire consequences with this population.

So no, I refuse to accept that any child is too smart for an IEP.

Child with learning difficulties

Parkland: What Am I Allowed To Feel?

Man hold up his hands like a gun and takes fake shots.  He laughs maniacally at the video he’s watching.  It’s one of those silly kid’s videos where guys are using Nerf guns to shoot each other in idiotic places.  He thinks it’s hysterical.

“Turn that off right now!” I say curtly. 

“What’s the big deal?” He asks innocently.

“You know daddy and I don’t like guns or shooting or when you watch videos of shooting!”

“It’s just a Nerf gun mom, it’s funny.”

“Well, one day it could be a real gun!” I say as I rip the iPad away from him.

He looks at me, his already giant doe eyes even larger.  “Mom, I was watching that!!”

“Well, now you’re not.” I spit back. 

I take a deep breath; my emotions are running high.  I have just read another article about the Parkland shooting and I’m sad, scared, angry, defeated…

“I have to talk to you about something, buddy.”

“Ok.”

“One of the reasons daddy and I don’t like you playing with guns or thinking they are just fun toys is because one day, it might be hard for you to tell if someone has a toy gun or a real gun.  One day, someone might start shooting and it won’t just be pretend.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Well, you know all of those lockdown drills you guys have?  It’s because someone with a real gun might come into your school and start shooting and they want to make sure you know what to do.  That happened today at a school in Florida.  Some people even got killed.”

“Stop saying that mommy, you’re scaring me.  I don’t want to hear that!!”

“I know little buddy, and I don’t want to have to tell you this, but I do.  It’s important that you know that guns are dangerous and that they are not toys and they can hurt people.”

I’m crying now, and he looks at me a little lost.  He continues to back away from the conversation, scanning the room for his iPad so he can remove himself from this discussion altogether.  He can’t handle what I am saying and, quite frankly, I can’t either. 

A million thoughts are racing through my head: “He needs to hear this stuff, it’s a matter of life and death.” “He’s only seven, I shouldn’t be scaring him like this.” “Am I doing this right, because I’m not sure how to have a conversation like this with my seven-year-old?”  “I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION WITH MY SEVEN-YEAR-OLD!!!”

This morning they read the names and descriptions of the 17 killed on NPR.  I began to cry again.

Then, just now, I read some of the text exchanges between parent’s and their children.  I began to cry again.

Then I began to feel guilty, am I allowed to cry?  Am I even allowed to feel this way?  It wasn’t my school, or my children, or even anyone I know.  My sadness cannot take away from the sadness and distraught felt by the friends and family of whose lives were taken.

My emotions are so confused and disconnected.

I don’t know what I am allowed to feel; but I do know that I am heartbroken.

I don’t know what I am allowed to feel; but I do know that I am angry.

I don’t know what I am allowed to feel; but I do know that I am helpless.

There is so much I’m feeling, but mostly, I don’t feel it is my right to have any feelings on this matter at all, not until it happens to someone I know.

And there it is… “Not until it happens to someone I know.” 

The likelihood of it happening to someone I know is significant, it’s only a matter of time. 

That fact alone gives me the right to feel!

To feel angry!

To feel that nothing, NOTHING is being done!

To feel scared because we are all just sitting around waiting for it to happen again!!!

This didn’t happen to me, it happened to every single parent and child in this country and somewhere along the way we’ve been told to accept the fact that there is nothing we can do. 

In the end, why feel at all if those feelings aren’t going to amount to anything.

If These Walls Could Talk

It’s impossible not to feel overwhelmed with sentiment and emotion as I pack up my family and ready us to move out of the first home we ever owned.  A decade ago, a young, excited engaged couple made the traditional migration from a thrilling life in the big city to settling down into quiet suburban living.  In the years that followed, we filled this home with a marriage, two children, pets, ups, downs, and in betweens- moments of love and laughter have bounced joyfully off these walls, while times of sadness and regret have seeped deeply into its cracks and crevices.  I can see the memories in every corner of every room- from smalls scuffs left on the baseboards from tiny kicking feet to art projects depicting our happy family taped lovingly to bedroom walls.

I go through the house daily, methodically emptying drawers and clearing shelves.  In this endless quest, items that were once thought to be gone forever begin to resurface.  I come across a bag containing the clothes Man wore home from the hospital- I had put it away for “safe keeping” in his closet over seven years ago and then, naturally, forgot it existed.  I inhale deeply, it has since lost its newborn baby smell, but the memories of that day come flooding back as though it were yesterday.  He was so small, a mere 5 pounds and 13 ounces, that he didn’t fit into the newborn sized onsie we had purchased for him and we had to fashion an outfit out of clothes the hospital provided.  A smile breaks out on my face and a tear streams down my cheek as I am swept up in the joy of the memory.

I move on to my bedroom closet with a broom stick in hand to help knock down items stored long ago on it’s very top shelf.  A white, pleather bowling bag falls and almost hits me in the head.  I rifle through its contents and find Madonna style 80’s lace gloves, handcuffs, edible underwear, and other kinky goodies.  Holy shit, the gag bag from my bachelorette party!  I am inundated with more memories; a bonfire on the beach, lobster dinner al fresco, and penis shaped shot glasses filled with too much tequila.  Suddenly, I feel old and tired; I’m so far removed from that young and carefree bachelorette.

All this mess, all this purging and packing, it has been an emotional roller coaster.  I am tense and exhausted.

I have spent months endlessly scavenging furniture stores and websites for new and fabulous items, vowing to fill our home with beautiful and CLEAN couches and rugs that have not been stained by children and gnawed on by pets.  Countless hours have been devoted to choosing the perfect wall colors to compliment the new and attractive “big-girl home” I am determined to have.  Walls filled with color that have not been marked up by crafting projects or dirt stained little fingers.

All this time, all this effort to create a new, improved, beautiful home, a home that is nothing like the dirty piece meal house I live in now.  I am anxious and feel undue pressure.

There has been so much time and effort dedicated to salvaging what we can still use, tossing the old and searching for the new, that the meaning of the move has been lost on me entirely.  This house, no, this home, wasn’t born out of “stuff” it was created by the people who dwell in it.  I have completely overlooked, or quite possibly just ignored, the fact these walls have seen the growth of family.  To avoid the overwhelming emotion that accompanies leaving my home, I have placed more value on the items inside of it than on the feelings, sentiment, and memories that it holds.

I became a wife in this house.  My husband and I were just three months shy of our wedding day when we moved in.  I can see us as newlyweds, glowing with love and enthusiasm, unmarred by the life that was to unfold before us.  I can feel the love that we had for each other, new and eager to please, carefree and wildly passionate.  I learned how to be a wife in this house, how to be a partner.  I learned about communication and compromise and how to come to resolutions together as a team.  I hear the fain echo of words spoken in times where we both thought we would never make it, where we were ready to give up on our marriage and go our separate ways.  I sit now in our bedroom and see the spot where he stood when we decided that we loved each other and our family far too much to give up and decided that we were worth fighting for.  I feel surrounded by the love we share now, as we have come out on the other side stronger and even better than before.

me and jord 2

Wedding day!

I became a mother in this house.  I can see the spot where I peed on the stick for the first, and second time.  I still have the same garbage can that I tossed those pregnancy tests into after they gave me the answers that I was hoping for.  I sit, right now, in the very bed that I napped together with my babies, desperate for some shut eye.  I can see the chair I sat in as I pumped my milk, praying that just one more ounce would come out.  I can feel the relief in the room where I decided to stop pumping and just feed my child formula, because I wasn’t a failure, I was just doing what I had to do.  I can picture the messes made and the floors littered with clothes that my then undiagnosed ADHD Man created in his tornado phase.  He moved swiftly and with purpose destroying much of our house.  I can sit at the table where he used to feed his little sister and speak the words, “Millie’s talkin to me!!!” I can relax on the couch where he first held her the day we brought her home.  I can return to the spot in my closet where I would hide and cry because motherhood was not what I expected and it stunned me to think that I was not as happy as I “should be.”  I can feel the warmth and the love of all the moments of laughter, triumph, fun, enjoyment, first times, and continued successes that this house has brought us.

I became a sober woman in this house, deciding once and for all that I could no longer successfully drink.  I see the spot where I crumbled in fear and desperation as the realization took hold that I needed more help that I had been willing to admit.

I became a student in this house.  After picking myself up and dusting off the remains of my unhappiness, I sit at the very computer where I filled out the applications and the wrote essays that would take me on this next journey in my life.

fam school

 

I grew up in this house, becoming a woman that I am proud to be- a happy woman, the woman I always knew I could be.

every-mom

 

We became a family in this house.

family 6

If my walls could talk, they would tell me of failures and triumphs, of sadness and successes. They would share with me the pride with which they have surrounded me and my family.  There is no new couch or new rug that matters more than the growth and the memories of the home that I have built with my family.  I will cry when we leave all these memories behind, having safely stowed them in my heart.  I will open the door to my new home with excitement and eagerness for the new memories we shall continue to forge together.

 

 

The Perfect Holiday Gifts for Your Kids… That are Really for You!

Tis the season of gift giving – that incredible time of year when you can force your children into good behavior by threatening to cancel Christmas or Hanukkah. Nothing beats a snow-covered morning at home, sipping coffee quietly while your delightful children beam like angels…because they’re scared half to death that you’re going to give all their toys away. 😉

But it’s also a challenging time of year.  All. That. Holiday. Pressure!!!!!  All that work to create the perfect holiday ambiance inside your home and spread the happ-happ-happiest holiday cheer outside the home.

I scroll through my newsfeed every evening thanking God that I was born a Jew – I would crumble into dust under the pressure that is Elf on a Shelf.  The hours of time and creativity that people put into this tiny little stuffed elf… I’m in awe, truly I am.  Someone recently told me I should purchase the Mensch on a Bench for my kids (because it’s not really a holiday until there is a socially acceptable Jewish Hallmark spinoff item) and I literally turned and ran away from the conversation as fast as my feet could carry me.  In my house, if the dog didn’t manage to grab it first and claim it as her own, that Mensch would just sit and wait patiently on his bench while his furry little brown beard turned Santa Claus white.  Eventually he would be covered by all the mounds of crap that I let pile up all over my house…until the following year, when I would find him the day after Hanukkah ended, and silently curse at myself for buying a new one after my yearlong search had failed. Stupid Mensch.  If he were smart, he would run off with the elf and they would live out the rest of their days sipping Pina Coladas on the beach.

As I was heading for my room this evening, my daughter’s latest Hanukkah gift caught my eye, a Light Bright wrapped in the same classic 70’s packaging as mine was when I was a little girl.  A little thrill filled me, “I can’t wait to play with that with her tomorrow!”  (Full disclosure, I strongly considered opening it up and playing with it right then.)  But it really got me thinking, when was the last time I was excited to play with one of my kids’ toys?  Um… never!  I’ll be honest, I find dressing and putting baby dolls to sleep mind numbingly boring.  And no matter how many times Man attempts to engage me in lively conversation about Minecraft, I really just “yes” and “uh-huh” him to the point where he could be asking me to buy him a horse and I wouldn’t even realize that I had agreed to do so. My big question is, why don’t we get our kids presents that we want to play with- that we would enjoy partaking in ourselves?  Wouldn’t that be so much better for everyone!?

I say, down with gifts that are torture to parents!!  No longer do we have to stand for painfully stepping on that random tiny LEGO piece stranded in the hallway from the Millennium Falcon that is taking your child forever to finish!  No longer do we have to follow our daughters around with the vacuum cleaning up tiny beads and glitter from our daughter’s art boxes.  I’m here to say, I will no longer pretend that Barbie is strutting the fashion runway!!!!!

Here are the perfect gifts for your child… that are really for you!!

The Easy Bake Oven:  Not only is this a classic from your childhood, but you get to enjoy the tasty treats of your efforts.  Even if baking isn’t your thing, who wouldn’t want an excuse to snack on a bite size, full fat, full gluten, full sugar, full flavor brownie?

easy bake oven

 

Nintendo DS or Atari: Yes, I say bring back Mario and Luigi in a big way!!!  Go to town with your kid while you try and save the princess and battle the Kublai Khan!  Have a blast while you achieve your lifelong dream of finally getting Frogger across the street safely!

SONY DSC

 

Tickets… to anything: Whether it’s tickets to the movies, or, if you can swing it, a show, this is the gift that keeps on giving.  I don’t know about you, but I spend most kid’s movie outings taking a quick snooze, or catching up on e mails.  If you can make it to a show, double bonus!  Now you get the pleasure of being entertained while, simultaneously watching your kids be dazzled!

 

DVD’s: Need I say more…?

 

“Spa Day”: This is a great one for the little ladies in your life.  They can get their nails polished up like a rainbow while you enjoy a pedi and a quick 10-minute back rub!

 

Mail Order Mystery: Once I convinced Man that there wouldn’t be a pirate curse descending upon us if we didn’t figure out the clues in time, this proved to be fantastically fun!  I was just as eager as he was- and my husband would likely tell you that I was even more eager- to break that code and figure out the next clue.  I go to the mailbox every day hoping to find another envelope from International Office with my, er, Man’s name on it.   https://www.mailordermystery.com/

 

A Deep Space Planetarium: Just picture it, you snuggled in bed with your kids at night while they are entertained by simply gazing at the ceiling.  That sounds like a little slice of heaven… literally.

Deep space

 

Books from your childhood: Even if your kids can read on their own, how nice would it be to sit and read Harry Potter with them?  I eagerly await the day that I can read Anne of Green Gables to Lady.  To be able to share the love of your favorite series with you kids while enjoying it again yourself, there is really no better gift!

Anne of Green Gables

In this season of giving, I say it’s ok to be a little selfish.  Go forth, and gift the gifts that YOU will enjoy as well!!