When It Comes to Your Children

Children are unique beings. You can even look at your children and pick out some of their differences from their siblings. You may even find that your children are complete opposites of one another. This is the exact place that my boys are in. For instance, my oldest is this sweet and patient child. He was always curious, but very timid. He was calm and rarely found himself in trouble. Even now, he is a child that is well-regarded by every adult who meets him. And how can they not? He is very polite around them and speaks articulately to them as if he is a little adult. In fact, he may very well be an adult stuck in a very small teenager’s body. (I still cannot believe that I have to refer to him as a teenager.)

My youngest, on the other hand, makes other people tired just watching him. He is the definition of “trouble”. He’s curious, adventurous, and very, very willful. He is definitely not calm and he is nowhere near patient. Still, much like his brother, every adult that meets him falls instantly in love with him. He’s not a bad kid. He just requires a little bit more love and attention than other kids. In his 4 years on this planet, I have gone through situations I had never been through before. He needed surgery at 9 months old to remedy a birth defect. He was the first child to require special services at home, with a speech pathologist and a developmental specialist. I have to deal with IEP meetings and teacher conferences. This is the important point to this post.

In 2 weeks, we will have a meeting for his IEP, transition to Kindergarten, and if he stays in the program. We will also talk about his recent evaluation which revealed George to have a sensory integration disorder, something that sounds a lot worse than it actually is, and how the schools need to adjust to his needs. We will find out if he still gets speech therapy in grade school. We will find out if he still has an IEP. These are important things to know because with things like the IDEA act in question right now (who knows what is going to happen especially with plans to get rid of the department that is responsible for enforcing this act). Will my child continue to get the help that he needs?

Without the help that he has received, which fortunately I never had to fight for, will he thrive as well as he has? He’s a bright 4 year old that may still be behind on his speech but he can read. He is exactly the type of kid that would have once been left behind by the school system because he’s different. Realistically, he is a child that would have just been tossed in a special needs classroom in the past and forgotten. Which is a shame because he is a very bright child that if they could just get him to focus and settle down, he could go on to do great things in the future.

What is the point of this whole statement? There are a lot of things that charter schools and private schools do well, but when it comes to children like mine they are not the best places for them. These are schools that are best for children that fit in a specific mold and are not different. There is a place for public schools and there are a lot of great public school districts (like mine, for instance) that are going to suffer if they start losing money. Some districts need help to change to become better schools but that should be something to focus on rather than punishing the school districts who are thriving. When you start to take money from the schools that offer services to children in need (such as IEP students), there is a strong chance that these kids will lose these services. These children will be forgotten again. This is what I’m afraid of. When it comes to our children, sometimes we are the only ones who are willing to fight so we need to be their biggest advocates and put on the gloves.

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When You Don’t Agree

Things seem to only be getting worse these days. Rather than reasonable discussions, if someone doesn’t automatically agree with another person they are labeled terms like “Libtard” or some other term that really should not be in existence. Being a liberal does not make you an idiot automatically, much like being a Republican does not make you a racist. There are idiots and racists on both sides; I assure you this is a fact. There are a lot of idiots everywhere and political affiliation has nothing to do with that. There are a lot of smart and talented people who are Republican as there are Democrats and Independents.

With the weather, the blog was delayed for a week but it turns out there is nothing new. America is growing even more divided and facts are few and far between. All there is right now is speculation, conspiracy theories, and mudslinging that everyone should be ashamed of. A person thinks that if you feel that instead of cutting free lunch programs (much like my school system offers, though they also offer free breakfast), that maybe the president should take less weekend trips to his Florida estate. Another person says that person is a liberal idiot who doesn’t know anything. Who is right? One could argue that the person who spells out facts and numbers would be right and the one who automatically turns to insulting the other is wrong. But it doesn’t matter.

Maybe this is done on purpose. Maybe the political parties want us to be divided and disagree so fervently that they can more easily control us. They each have their own media that brainwashes the masses, telling them that they cannot trust any other news source. If you turn to Fox News, you’re just a dumb conservative that follows blindly. Watching MSNBC? You are nothing more than a lemming. There has to be a reason for this and I will resign to there being some grand conspiracy that is going on. Maybe that television show “Braindead” had it right.

If that is the case, we are quickly falling into the hands of the people that want to control through a level of anarchy and discord that can only be achieved by not condemning this stubbornness to have a rational discussion among adults. I was always taught that people turn to insults in arguments because they have no valid point or because they are wrong and want to distract you from that.

We are better than this. We are the country that once stood proud and tall and those days are sadly no longer. We are being ruined from within and we are just sitting idly by while it happens. Don’t let anyone take the facts away from you. We are still a free country and you should do your research to decide things for yourself. The minute you let anyone else tell you what to believe, you have given in.

All About Healthcare

There are very serious questions that we should be asking. As a resident of Massachusetts, I haven’t experienced any negative impacts on my daily life from ACA. I notice that I don’t have co-pays anymore for visits and no, I’m not on a Medicaid program. We pay for our insurance through my husband’s work. Our premiums have not skyrocketed to a point where we can’t afford it. Maybe it is because Massachusetts along with ACA that makes healthcare something that I don’t really have to worry about. But I do have questions that should be answered.

  1. Currently under Obamacare, health insurance companies are required to provide dental insurance to minors. Does this stay with Trump care? This is a question that should be answered because there are families that cannot afford separate dental insurance. I am fortunate enough because we also get dental insurance through my husband’s work but this still makes things easier on us. For instance when my oldest son needed more sealants, we were going to have to pay $200 after our dental insurance. However, that money was paid for by the dental insurance through our health insurance. That extra money matters when you are in that middle class limbo where you don’t get free things or extra tax breaks.
  2. Can we safely assume that birth control is no longer free? There are some people who actually require this for health purposes. If you are going to close down Planned Parenthood which offers affordable options and don’t have plans to make these medications more affordable, then this is a problem that needs to be addressed.
  3. What happens if you lose your job? Instead of a mandate for those who refuse to buy insurance, they are going to to punish people who lapse in insurance. The problem is what happens if you lose your job and you lose your insurance along with it? You have no job so you can’t buy private insurance and they are really going to make it more difficult to get Medicaid. Then when you finally do get a job, you’ll have to pay 30% more for it. This seems like a tax on the less fortunate population.
  4. What about co-pays? Right now you don’t have to pay co-pays for preventative care. This means that you are not going to pay $25 a pop for your physicals which may give some the incentive to actually go. I know I go to my regular checkups more that I don’t have to worry about paying for it. This means a healthier population. I do believe this also counts for pregnancy, saving women at least $200 that they will not have to worry about when it comes time for their hospital stay that will cost in the $10,000s.

These are only a few of the questions that I have about this new plan that no one seems interested in mentioning. There is a big problem with healthcare that no one seems to want to directly address: the costs. I have no heard any plan that says “yes, paying $200 for a pill of Ambien while you are in the hospital is ridiculous”. What about the big mess with insulin meds or the Epi-Pen? Maybe we should mistrust politicians since they don’t want to fix the problem because then they won’t get their payoffs for helping these big companies profit off of the people who can least afford it.

A Love of Facts

That is really what is missing in the world today: facts. With outrageous “news” organizations like InfoWars, BreitBart, Occupy Democrats, and the many other so-called news organizations out there, people don’t bother with facts. When I read a headline that strikes my interest on any topic, I immediate Google the information and search to see if any other reputable news sites have any information on the topic. If not, I assume it was just a fictitious story that was created for the sole purpose of pandering to their masses or to incite some fake outrage. If I do find that the story is something that is real, I read several different websites (CNN, Fox News, local news websites, etc.) to find out everything about it. I’m smart; I know each of these organizations are going to toss me an angle rather than the whole story, purposely omitting something to twist it to match their own agenda. Then I decide for myself, as a free-thinking individual what is likely the facts because I don’t trust anyone to just tell me what facts are. Everyone has an agenda.

When the whole thing erupted with Hillary, I was skeptical of the timing and wondered if it was more political than facts. Then the facts came out and you think, “well, that was dumb of her” and “how is she able to run for president after doing something that sketchy”. I like facts. Facts proved that she did do something wrong, whether it was in the gray area or fully illegal, she definitely did something wrong.

If you are going to rattle off any type of accusation, you better have proof. You cannot just say something like “Obama wiretapped me, Breitbart said so” and have that be a fact. You can however say, “I was wiretapped, as president I have definitive proof right here”, then show us the results of the wiretapping. Isn’t it as easy as that? Unless there is no wiretapping and he is just trying to divert the attention from the mess that is going on right now. If there are facts, they need to be released to the public so they can actually be outraged and then address how to handle what happened by legal action.

I have a big mistrust for people who just rattle off information for the purpose of outrage without backing it up with anything. Facts are everything and every day, facts are becoming less important to our daily lives. People just follow along like sheep, not caring about those pesky little details other people call “facts” (or alternative facts, as some will point out). The reason this still goes on is because we allow it to. Don’t just follow; educate yourself. Read as much news from the more reputable of websites as possible and please, please do not just read one website and call yourself educated. Opinion pieces are often masked by “reporting the news” rather than straight up facts. That is why it is so important to read everything.

Politics Making You Sad? Me Too…

The political atmosphere of your location should never get to a point where you feel defeated. It should inspire you to be the change that you want to see, in a peaceful and respectful manner of course. But, it is just making me sad and I almost feel like there is no point in fighting for what I believe in. I do feel defeated and I feel a little angry about that. But before you start judging me and berating me, hear me out.

I said it the minute the president was elected. I told my son “You can agree with his politics or not, but he is the president and that commands respect.” He looked at me, “But they never really respected Obama.” I nodded and I replied, “It is your job to be better than that.” As much as I feel angry about some of the things going on (among the biggest gripe, our Secretary of Education), I still stand by that. The title of president does command respect and there is a respectful way of disagreeing with him that does not include rioting, refusing to acknowledge him during a congressional speech (or maybe not even showing up) or trauma levels of therapy. Those things take away from the problems going on, causing people to focus on “babies” rather than the real issues that people have concerns about.

So why am I sad? The biggest reason is because there is no real place for political discussion today. People immediately ignore the other side because they are steadfast in their beliefs and you can either accept that the relationship is over. Whatever happened to the ability to debate using facts and logic to point out sides and then shaking hands afterwards? The answer is people are brainwashed by mainstream media on both sides and choose to just follow along rather than educate themselves. This causes misplaced passions and a “It’s me or them” mentality that is actually going to ruin our country. In fact, we are already going down this slippery slope and as much as you want to blame one side for it both share an equal amount of blame in this matter. You should be pissed off about this because this tells them that you are idiots that they can turn into their little puppets. We are not puppets; we are Americans.

Civil disobedience has been a staple in our history for decades. This is how change happens. Without this, the Civil Rights movement would have never succeeded and women would not be able to vote still. Now anyone who practices any level of civil disobedience respectfully is referred to as a “snowflake” or a “liberal”. Since when did your political affiliation become a slur rather just your political leaning? Sure, there are a lot of people who are not being respectful about it and they should be called out for it. But those who are doing it right, with marches to raise awareness for their causes or running rallies and raising money for charities that they believe in, why are they getting slammed for that?

This is exactly what is supposed to make America great: diversity. Everyone is supposed to be able to have their own belief system and that should be okay to have. But these days, people are judged unfairly because of what they believe in. If you think everyone should have the right to get married, you are a bleeding heart liberal. If you are worried about losing your healthcare or your public schools, you are a whiny snowflake. Rather than hearing each other out, everyone is dismissed because Fox News/MSNBC/CNN told me that you were wrong so you’re just wrong without showing you facts about how you’re wrong. And if someone dares shows actual facts? Fake news.

That can make a person not want to fight anymore. How can you fight if you are just going to be dismissed as an idiot or a wuss because you don’t accept your fate? Fate is not set in stone and we can change the outcome. But for now, are country is being torn apart because no one wants to admit that both sides have very deep flaws that really need to be discussed openly and without judgement or anger.

Growing Up

A conversation happened where I said “well, if my husband doesn’t put the cube storage together soon I’m just going to do it.” I received a response that I found to be a little bit shocking: “But, you’re a girl. You’re not supposed to do that.” Well, I’m not supposed to do a lot of things I guess but I end up doing what I want anyways.

I was very fortunate growing up. Sure, I was taught all of the “girl things” that I was supposed to learn. I can hem and patch clothing, I can do embroidery. I have a great eye for color and design. I’m also a pretty awesome cook. I say this because people actually genuinely enjoy my food so I use that as evidence of that. I love doing laundry and the only stain I have not been able to defeat was a marker that I sat on. I was able to get both blood and fruit juice off of a white shirt, so I’ll take that win. I may not be the best housekeeper, but we’re not at hoarder level of disaster. I am only human, of course.

However, I was also taught to do most of the things my brothers were taught to do. I may not be able to mow a lawn but I am pretty confident that between YouTube and common sense that is something I could easily figure out. My dad never once said the phrase “you’re a girl, you’re not supposed to do that.” In fact, I have always been convinced that my father wanted to teach me a lot of those “man things” because he did not want me to be stuck with someone forever because I needed someone to take care of me. So he taught me all about tools, what to use them for. He let me help and showed me how to do things around the house from what he could do. Yes, I even learned how to change out sockets myself but I’m too clumsy to even want to attempt it.

So the idea of “you’re a girl” was never something I have ever considered. I let my son play “daddy” with his stuffed animals and both of them cook with me in the kitchen. As soon as my oldest son was able to carry a laundry basket, I taught him to do his own laundry. Why? Because I will be damned if he’s 32 and single and I’m still doing this stuff for him. Also, why should his wife be his slave? Why can’t he pitch in around the house? If I had a girl, I would expect her to learn all of the same things I did: everything I could about everything. We should be teaching our girls independence and strength. We should not be training them to just be one thing. She can be a housewife and stay-at-home mom if she wants to but she can also be a badass that puts together a bookshelf so she doesn’t have to call her dad or wait for her husband to get home.

The same applies to our boys. We should be raising them to be independent and kind individuals that can do the same things girls do. There is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to do all of the things girls are traditionally supposed to do. Why can’t a man patch his own clothing or cook a meal for his family?

We are the ones responsible for raising the next generation and its our job to ensure that this generation is better than the ones in the past. They need to be raised to work hard, do amazing things, and be themselves without worrying about what society tells them they should be. They need to be taught to be kind to their neighbors, whether they are poor, of a different race/religion/sexual orientation, or if they are rude to them. (Because fueling unkindness with more unkindness never gets you anywhere). If we don’t, we fail the future.

It’s All About the Bathrooms

There is a hot topic that revolves around bathrooms. No, it has nothing to do with which preference you have when it comes to how you put the toilet paper on the roll or the age-long argument about placing a new roll of toilet paper rather than just putting it on the empty one. First off all, in my house my husband has a preference whereas I just put the roll on any way I feel like because it doesn’t matter (scandalous). Secondly, my husband knows better and will put the nearly empty roll on top of the new one that he just put on the roll. There is no debate about this in our household.

The bathroom controversy that I am speaking about is where transgender people are concerned. Some people feel as though for the safety of everyone, people must use the bathroom according to their birth gender. So a transgender female in a dress using a urinal is not going to cause any problems, such as slurs and potential assaults in the bathroom. However, that same person in the ladies room would be likely to abuse a female child easier with lax rules on this topic? Do I get the argument?

If someone wants to assault a child in a bathroom, they already do it. Strict laws prohibiting people who are not “born female” are not going to stop it from happening. It’s really the same logic that is applied to gun control. Why should there be any gun control if the person is going to find another way to obtain the gun to cause harm? The fact is that there are some bad people out there and they are going to do what they want regardless of any laws out there. (Spoiler alert: I’m pretty sure there are laws that prohibit anyone from sexually assaulting another person.) That is a sad reality of the world we live in. Bad people are just going to do bad things and laws do not prevent this. Stricter punishments do. Though we all know how harshly rapists are punished: 2 months probation and gets to go to the college of their dreams without their lives being destroyed as they destroyed their victims lives.

I have a great idea. How about we make transgender bathrooms that are both separate but equal to the “normal people” bathrooms? That has worked out so well for us in the past, why wouldn’t it work now? (Since sarcasm doesn’t always translate well in text, I will clearly state that this statement was dripping in sarcasm.) You are not going to know if a transgender person is in the stall next to you. They just want to go to the bathroom, hopefully wash their hands, and leave just like you do. They are not stalking you in the bathroom, hoping to catch a glimpse of you. If someone is, they are a sexual predator and they should be arrested. For instance, Ben Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in the ladies room and he is not a transgender female. If you want a scary fact, look at the high numbers of the transgender community that have been sexually assaulted (and even murdered afterwards). Again, bad people are just going to do bad things.

The transgender community is the new minority that people need to fight for. People do not understand this community and let’s face it: people are afraid of things that they don’t understand. I cannot stand by and watch a community of people have to struggle for the basic freedoms that everyone else has. Did we not learn anything from the Civil Rights movements of the 50’s and 60’s? Why do we always have to fight for these things? I am a proud ally and others should stand up for those who can’t. We cannot let an entire community struggle with the rights that they were born with as an American citizen and to allow that to happen is truly wrong. Everyone had to deal with this struggle in their history, so we should know better by now.