Ella’s Stinky Socks (a Dravet Syndrome Story)

Jan 25, 2016 by

Who is Ella, you ask? Ella is not a storybook character or from a child’s television show, even though she has the cutest name that would be perfect in a storybook. Ella is a beautiful six-year-old girl; the sister of my twins’ preschool friend, and the daughter of one of the funniest ladies I know. Like most girls her age, she goes to kindergarten and loves things like Barbies, Shopkins and her dog, Stanley. She is a pretty normal 6YO except for one thing: Ella suffers from a rare and life-threatening form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome and her life is in reality pretty different from that of a normal 6YO.

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The Magic Transformation of a Five Year Old

Jan 12, 2016 by

Something happened in the time between last December and this past December…it seems to have happened magically overnight one night not too long ago.

About a month ago, I tucked my children, my babies, into bed. We chatted a little bit before settling down, and both children were still talking about the things that most little preschoolers talk about: butterflies, fairies, pirates, that type of stuff… I kissed them goodnight, we did our nighttime ritual of putting the magic back into dreamcatchers that hang from the windows in their room, and I turned on the babbling brook noise machine; much like I’ve done almost every single night since they were babies.

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Ten Acts of Kindness that Don’t Require Spending Money

Dec 21, 2015 by

There is a notion that circulates year-round but picks up around the holidays – the idea of “Random Acts of Kindness.” It is a wonderful sentiment that allows someone to use their resources to provide a little extra “lift” to someone’s day by doing something nice without being prompted. One of the challenges of these acts of kindness is that they often involve paying for something; for example, sometimes, people pay for coffee/donuts for the next person in line.

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I’ll Gladly Pay You Tuesday for a Cheeseburger Today (AKA Teaching Kids the Value of Money)

Dec 9, 2015 by

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The sticker chart which is traded in for coins at the end of the week. I personally like “Nomday” – is that when we get to eat something tasty??

My parents repeat the story over and over – the one about how my answer to everything money-related when I was my kids’ age, was, “Write a check because if you go to the bank with a check, they will give you money for free.”

Free money!!! Those magic checks…

What my parents didn’t realize was that the opportunity was the PERFECT chance to teach me more about the value of money and how it works: you work hard, you earn money, you save it up in a bank, then when you have enough, you can exchange it (via a check) for something else.

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Falling on the side of Fortune

Nov 23, 2015 by

“Mom? Can we give this toy to some other kid who needs it?”

I looked up proudly, thinking that my daughter had learned the lesson that I have been trying to instill in my kids since their birth; that they are lucky to be born into our family, in our town, in one of the freest countries in the world.

“That’s really sweet. Of course we can.”

“And can you buy me an Elsa doll instead?”

[Cue trombones sounding “Parenting Fail”]

I struggle virtually every day to figure out ways to keep my children grounded and teach them that their coins fell on the side of fortune when their spirits were assigned to us as babies. I tell them frequently about other people in the world whose coins flipped to the side of a much different destiny, but as much as I tell them, it is just a story; impossibly intangible for little brains that have seen nothing other than privilege. They see the pictures of other children on TV, and for a brief moment, they feel sad for these children, but the feeling of sadness passes quickly because to them, these kids are nothing more than digital images on a screen.

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