My Amelia Rose

My Amelia Rose

Friday, December 21, 2012

Letting Amelia be herself

For Christmas I wanted to get something special for Ms. Rachel, Amelia’s trainer at LearningRx.  After conferring with my friend who owns Too Dark Motorsports, we came up with an idea.  She made an ornament that said “Ms. Rachel-Thank you for being you and letting me be me”.  Amelia wrote her name on the back and we presented it to Ms. Rachel along with a gift card.

You see, when I was considering putting Amelia into the LearningRx program one of my fears was that she would lose that big personality.  Sometimes that big personality can make me crazy, the drama from that child wears me out.  But her personality is what makes her.  The blunt comments, funny things she says, her big imagination and doing the voices of Mickey Mouse and all of his friends—I love that so much!  There have been a few embarrassing things said and done, but what child doesn’t do that to their parents?

Someone once told me that we all have to conform…OUCH!  That one gets me, I’ve never been one to really conform.  I can get along with most anyone and can smooze the best of them, but conform I do not.  While sometimes it can be painful, I would be so miserable conforming to what people seem to want me to be.  I want Amelia to be strong and true to herself as well, so anything I can do to let her be herself I encourage.

That’s one reason I love Ms. Rachel; not only does she let Amelia be Amelia but she loves exactly who she is!  She just giggles at Amelia’s nuances, she will usually call Ms. Ali into the room so she can hear what Amelia did.  Ms. Ali is the person that assigns the trainers to students and she’s become quite fond of Amelia as well.  They both do so much for my heart, to hear them say they love being with Amelia and how they tell friends and family of her latest silliness. 

I know that once Amelia starts kindergarten at school things may not be as easy but for now having these ladies be part of our lives is a blessing. 

Thank you Ms. Rachel and Ms. Ali for bringing a smile to my face and joy to Amelia every week!

Monday, December 17, 2012

A teacher we all want for our kids

As I read all of the stories from Connecticut and the horrible shooting at an elementary school, one thing comes to mind:  I pray so hard for Amelia to have incredible teachers like some of these kids had.

From my first post you can see that I’ve seen some of the “bad apples” of teachers, I’ve heard of those that always complain about Amelia not being still, talking too much, but then I hear about a teacher protecting her class from a murderous monster telling them “I need you to know that I love you”.  Wow!  In what had to be the most terrifying moment she knew the words that would comfort those babies.  She became a parental figure when their parents couldn’t be there and gave them the utmost love and respect, disregarding her own welfare.

That’s the teacher that I want for Amelia, I know they are out there.  Sure, we all have bad days and working with all of those kids has to be the hardest and most unrewarding job there is, I know I couldn’t do it.  But Kaitlin Roig chose this career path and gives it all she can, she loves “her kids” and teaches them the most important lesson we can hope for:  love.

I am saddened by the loss of those sweet children and wonderful staff and I hope that Ms. Roig can go back to teaching, she gives us parents hope.  Hope that in the worst of circumstances when we can’t be there to hold them that they are loved.

Thank you to those teachers for that hope.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A little bit of freedom

Sometimes as a Mom it’s tough to let go, to let your child do something without you, especially when they are fussing about it.  But the last few weeks had been pretty tough at LearningRx, she wanted me in the room with her and just wouldn’t behave.  I needed a break and to read a book or something while she was in her class but there was none of that.  So after speaking with her teacher Rachel and the director Donesa, we decided that I needed to leave her there.  I would tell her I was going to the store and would bring back an Icee for her, it would give them a little more control and give me a break.  It was not going over well with her when we told her, she said I couldn’t leave but I did and walked to the store.  When I came back I watched her on the video camera and she was having a blast, doing exactly what Ms. Rachel told her and learning!  The last few sessions I’ve done this over again and it’s only gotten better, Wednesday was her best session yet. I may have to buy stock in Icee though.

I’ve learned that I have to break OUR separation anxiety and she can grow more, I know she’s in good hands and if I have any question there’s a video camera to check.  I’ve said it before, LearningRx is teaching Amelia skills to deal with life and is teaching me how to be a better Mom.

Now, if I could just bring myself to leave her with a babysitter again… 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Learning how to parent

We all know that parenting doesn’t come with a handbook and it’s tough to know what to do sometimes (well, most of the time). I feel like a lot of times I over-compensate with Amelia because I’m terrible at working on stopping poor behavior. Sure, there are typical kid things but we have to teach our kids how to function in society and how Amelia talks to me is really something I have to work on.
Well today I had my 6 week evaluation with LearningRx and I am so excited with some of the tips that Donesa gave me. First, can you believe it’s already been 6 weeks??!! And Amelia is doing so well, they are very happy with her progress. But I still have to work on her rhythm which is interesting for me. But more on to the tips. Donesa has really given me some great advice, including taking the “The 5 languages of Love” quiz for kids, it will help me learn how to reward her best. She also helped me come up with some great ideas for a reward system; while my treasure chest is great, kids get bored easily and it needs to be switched up sometimes. One idea she gave me, that I will be using, is the Chuck E. Cheese reward system. Now you know I’m not a fan of the place but Amelia is so I’m going to get a Chuck E. Cheese bank and some of their coins, when it gets filled to a certain point she will get to go or perhaps we’ll go once a month and whatever coins she has earned she will get to us. No coins? No trip!
Donesa suggested that I give some to them to give LearningRx and perhaps pre-school as well, when she doesn’t go in time out there then she gets to bring home a coin for her bank. I think I’m going to let LearningRx keep going on the current reward system because she’s pretty excited about earning things there but I’ll talk to her teacher more about it tonight.
I will also be doing a chart for what I expect from Amelia, no more than 3 things can be on the chart and they must be clearly defined. I have to learn to limit choices, it shows Amelia that I’m the authoritarian, she still gets her own choice but she knows that I’m in charge.
Once a reward system starts losing its effectiveness then I’ll change it to another one. I still have to take this all in and hope that I’m doing it right but I’ll get there. I do love that Amelia isn’t losing her spunk with this program, she can still be as fun as ever but is learning things that will make it easier for her in school.
Another great tip that Donesa gave me to help Amelia with her fine motor skills:
Get some small fish tank rocks (the tiny ones so that if she, or hopefully the cats, swallow one it goes straight through), some tweezers and some cups and let her sort the colors of the rocks. Right now she’s still learning how to hold her pencil so this should help greatly. I can’t wait to try this!
I have a lot of homework this week for myself but I see a great relationship with my daughter coming from it!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Maybe it's time for Mom to learn some things

We've had a couple of short weeks at LearningRx due to Amelia being sick and some other events going on but she is still doing well. 

So far Amelia is already holding her pencil better and is doing great at her directions (left, right, up, down).  She does write pretty big and we are trying to teach her to control that but it will come.  Oh and she's even doing better on her rhythm!  Now that's pretty awesome!  Probably the biggest thing is her inability to focus on one thing too long. 

Ms. Rachel has been so patient not only with Amelia but with me as well.  She is teaching me that we don't have to sit at the kitchen table for an hour to do homework but I can incorporate it into every day things.  I thought I was doing it before but now I can really help "train her brain". 

Amelia likes to count so when we are going places she counts until we get there, I'm proud to say that the other day she counted to 109!!  I was amazed.  I did have to help her a little but for 4 years old I was amazed.

On another note, the other day I was talking to someone about Amelia and why I have her in LearningRx.  They told me about their God-daughter who was having trouble and that my blog really was such a close description to her.  I encourage every parent to fight for their children, those big personalities are a gift and will take them far in life.

Part of the reason I want to do this now is after doing an article on parents who home schooled their children I realized that could be my child.  I realize that teachers have their hands full but I want Amelia to never feel left out in school and to not get the best she can there.

So while it's a lot of extra for me right now, I am so proud of all that my girl is doing, she is amazing!

And now a bragging moment:

Amelia's daycare is raising money for MDA.  On the way home from school I was explaining to her that the money raised is for sick children and she said that she could take money from her jug and put it in the box for the sick kids.  Talk about a proud mommy moment!  When we got home she was so excited, first she wanted to put in "a hundred" (coins) and then decided to put them all in.

I know I'm not such a bad Mom now, I can help her grow into the amazing adult she will be!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

But I don't want to do homework!

The second week of training at LearningRx went great, Amelia was so excited to go see Ms. Rachel and stayed an hour and a half both nights!  She is loving it and has a great time learning.

Last week was a little rough.  On Wednesday I decided to go run errands while she was in class, telling her was probably a bad idea though.  Ms. Rachel had to call me because Amelia was acting up so I headed back.  After a bit of convincing she ended up doing about an hour and 15 minutes and did okay.

After that we went to Chick-Fil-A as her reward but I noticed something was wrong, turns out she had a fever and in the end was diagnosed with Croup.  So we missed Thursdays class and the big Carnival they were doing on Friday.  She's better now so we are both looking forward to class tomorrow night.

So, here's the thing...I never liked homework.  I didn't like it when it was mine and I don't like it when it's hers BUT it's part of the deal, it's in the agreement that I signed.  Now obviously a 4 year olds work isn't hard but working 2 jobs, classes 3 nights a week and then homework is tough. 

Fortunately Ms. Rachel is great at working with me too!  She explained that they don't expect us to sit down for an hour at night and do homework but to be creative.  So we do directions in the car, write "letters" to help her learn to hold her pencil and are learning rhythm with her stuffed "friends".  Rhythm is a bit of a challenge to me, I'm not know to be the most coordinated person but it turns out funny.

So while I don't enjoy homework of any sort, the fact is that I need to get used to it because she'll be going to kindergarten soon and at least for now, this is fun.  And I'll do anything to help my child succeed, which is why I'm doing LearningRx, do it now and she'll benefit for life!

Monday, October 1, 2012

A great week!

Last week was a pretty awesome week.  We started training at LearningRx and I'll share how that went in a little bit but I want to tell you about everything else first.

Amelia has been getting in trouble a lot at school, we're talking time out multiple times a day and it was really wearing on me.  So I told her if she made it a whole week without going in time out that I would get her this movie she had been wanting.  The first week was a fail but last week was much better. 

One day when I picked her up the teacher stopped to tell me about something that happened.  The teacher had told all of the kids to pick up the books and none did, except...AMELIA!  I was so proud of my baby.  So she made it the whole week and on Friday was a very happy little girl!

As I mentioned in last weeks update she started her classes at LearningRx last week.  I told you about how the first night was okay but a little rough, well night 2 went much better!  Her Dad stayed with her and when I didn't hear I called to check and he said she was still in class--she stayed a little over an hour!  I was one proud Mom! 

We received her homework and it's been a little rough but I got in about 20 minutes tonight.  She does get frustrated but I'm grateful that LearningRx is so patient with the kids and knows that it takes time.

On another note, if you remember when I first started this blog I shared about the judgements that I felt from a Grandmother.  Well, we've been in another gymnastics class with one of her friends from dance class and her Grandmother brings her.  She knows a little about Amelia taking classes and such and this past Friday leaned over and told me that she was praying for me because I wasn't alone.  When her son was young she would be lucky if he slept 3 hours a night. 

It meant more to me than she'll ever know and that I can put into words.  It just takes one show of support to counter the negative. 

I'm learning that positive reinforcement and rewarding hard work is okay, it's even recommended by her pediatrician.  She knows that she has to earn those rewards and they can be very small and inexpensive things.  She loves earning "gold doubloons" to get something out of the "treasure chest" and rubber duckies and and stickers are her favorites. 

I know every week may not be this awesome but every small step counts.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

And the classes begin...

Well tonight was our first class at LearningRx and we made it a whole 35 minutes! 

Amelia was so excited to see Ms. Rachel that when we got there she kept asking everyone if they were Rachel. 

They went to the back and things were going well.  They were going over colors and writing "A".  After a bit Amelia got a little bit wild and Rachel told her to write the "a" in the block and Amelia said that was it, she was done.  They came out front and Amelia told me it was "too much".  Thankfully Ms. Donesa (the director) came out and said 35 minutes is good for 4 years old and tomorrow we'll go for 45. 

Of course, Amelia told me that she didn't want to go back but she does want to win her prize so I think we'll get her back once she gets a good nights sleep.

When we got home things went downhill.  I couldn't sit with her because, as usual, I came home to chaos and had to handle all of that.  Finally she started kicking, hitting and screaming at me so I had to put her to bed.  We had a Supernanny time where I kept having to put her back in bed..again, and again, and again times 10!

I was thinking maybe she's upset that I couldn't sit with her, maybe it's because she didn't sleep well last night.  Then as I was venting on Facebook my friend posted this:

"my wise sister told me when youngsters exercise their brains(milestone type growth)- behavior regresses. Aka Her class tonight made a breakthrough so she's gonna give mommy hell ._."

Maybe she's right, and if so then the next few weeks will be a lot of hell but if it's for the greater good of helping Amelia grow into the amazing person that I know she can be, then it's worth it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Little girl with a BIG personality

One of the great things about Amelia is her ability to make people laugh.  She is funny and sweet and very outgoing.

When we go into a place she announces "I'm Amelia Kennedy and this is my Mom!".  It makes everyone giggle.

This morning I had a meeting at Chick-Fil-A so I took Amelia to play in the play area while I had my meeting.  There was a young couple there with their daughter who was probably around a year old.  They went in the playroom where Amelia was and I saw her talking to them, so I poked my head in and told her to not talk their ear off, that they weren't there for her.  They started laughing and said she wasn't bothering them at all, the young man looked at me and said "She has a BIG personality".  It just kind of melted my heart.  They were really enjoying her and that reminded me of how lucky I am to have such an amazing little girl.

She chatted them up the entire time and when they were leaving they said "Amelia offered to babysit".  Apparently she told them they could leave their little girl in the play area.  LOL, they were laughing the entire way out. 

Thanks to that young couple, sometimes I get so tired that I forget that Amelia is truly a blessing and I wouldn't want her any other way, I love that BIG personality!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Update on LearningRx

On another note...I'll be going to parent training next week, I'm anxious to get everything started.  Amelia will be starting her training at the end of this month and I am just praying she will cooperate.  I'm grateful for my friend who agreed to watch Amelia while I'm at parent training and am hoping she's still  my friend afterwards : /

I've been asked why I'm going with LearningRx, if you ever meet Donesa you will understand why.  She runs the centers and hearing her speak about the program you can tell that she believes in it and will do everything she can for the students.  The entire staff is so nice and patient, it means a lot and I can't wait to work with them.

It's hard being a parent

I always heard "parenting doesn't come with a handbook" and boy is that right!  Sometimes I do wish that Supernanny would come pay us a visit though.

Today Amelia got in trouble at school for scratching one of the other kids--unprovoked.  Nothing like having to sign THE form when you get to school.  I certainly don't want my kid to be THAT kid.

A while back the daycare director told me that there was no need to get onto her when I pick her up because they do it at school and she really doesn't remember what happened or why.  But I feel like I should be reprimanding her for doing that. 

Then there's the trying to figure out why she's acting out.  Was something said?  Is she tired?  She had been up since 3:30am but that's just not excuse enough to me.  Has something different happened this week?  I just don't know.  Maybe it is just a bad week, I know that I have them.

Someone told me a few days ago that 4 is the ferocious 4's, it's a test for the teen years.  I am so not ready for this!

I have noticed that she doesn't do one on one play well around me, though she seems to do good at school.  Well, normally.  Maybe it's the only child syndrome.

Until I find that handbook it will just have to be a guessing game and I'll do the best I can.  But please if you see us out, know that it's not easy and I'm just tying  to love my girl as best I can.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Tonight I'm tired, the kind of tired that I'm not sure I can sleep but crawling UNDER the bed and crying sounds like what I should be doing.

It started at 3am, Amelia fell out of the bed and of course, was startled.  She started crawling saying she couldn't get up.  I held her and comforted her and once I got her back to bed realized her nose had been bleeding and I was covered in blood.  Then I started the worrying Mom thing, I went to check on her, aggravated her and finally went back to bed...only to toss and turn.

After a long day of work we had a meeting.  This is the thing I had been telling you that was my plan, we are working with LearningRx to get Amelia in "brain training".  I'm excited about this, I really believe this can help her.  We had her tested a few weeks back and I believe they saw what I did, the lack of ability to focus.  Amazingly her math skills were high, I'm not sure where that came from, certainly not me.

I'll tell you more about that as we start classes, it will be a few weeks but I'm excited about how this can help our family.

Of course, when it was time to head home Amelia had a complete meltdown, I think they may charge me triple now : /  I had to carry her out kicking and screaming.  We had to come straight home.

She finally settled down but then it was time to go to bed and all hell broke loose again.  Sorry for the language but there is no better description.  I hate nothing worse than putting my baby girl to bed and ending the night in a fight.  I always sneak in to kiss her after she goes to sleep.

So why am I overwhelmed?  Besides all of the above.  To get Amelia in this program we will have to do 6 hours a week, 3 at the center and 3 at home.  This is a lot for a Mom that works two jobs full-time.  So Monday-Wednesday evenings we'll have LearningRx, Fridays gymnastics and that is in addition to regular life.

It's a lot, I know that I'm going to be exhausted but in the end I know that I'm doing what's right for Amelia.  If I can get her in the class now then I believe in the future she will be unstoppable.

I will sacrafice this time for the next few weeks, after all, taking care of her is what my job is.  I can't wait to share our experience with you but hope that you will send out prayers and positive energy for me and Amelia.

And now I'm going to cry, tomorrow is another day with a bright future but for now it's time to let it all out...and then get some sleep!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

And then there was the birthday party...

Our newest adventures that have started happening as Amelia is getting older, getting invited to lots of birthday parties.  My best friend warned me about these and I never fully understood but now that we have tons of invites and tons of "what about MY gift" from Amelia, I get it!

It all started as a good day, we got up, went to breakfast and then got Amelia a little hair trim.  She was so excited about this party, all I heard was "we have to hurry and get ready!".  It was at Build-a-Bear at the Boardwalk so in usual fashion I got there early to do a little shopping and walk around with Amelia.  Apparently it was too much for the princess, she told me so at one point.

So we got to the party about 15 minutes early and all was good until it was time for the actual party.  She wouldn't sit in the circle and thought she would throw the little hearts like the lady did at the beginning, she was kicking, screaming, talking back to me, it was truly horrific (for me).  I'm sure quite entertaining to others though.  I finally took her to the bathroom and gave her the come to God talk, she came back crying and I was the bad Mom.  She still wouldn't cooperate but it was a bit better.  She didn't want a stuffed animal, she didn't want the outfit, she said we were there too long and she wanted to leave...all very, very loudly.  I'm not sure I can portray the horror I was dealing with though it probably will be the talk of many for a while.

Finally we got our stuff and headed over to Bass Pro for the cake and dinner at Sonic, she seemed to calm down quite a bit on the walk--maybe the store was too much for her.  After getting to Sonic she was settling down but really wanted cake.  At one point she walked away and went and sat in the corner, I truly didn't care and needed a break.  She ate and the acting up started again.  She started not so graciously digging around her privates, modesty is not her gift.  I begged, pleaded for her to stop, there was some giggling going on around the table.  After the second come to God talk I put her in time out where she sobbed, somehow I became the bad Mom there.  As we got ready to leave she dropped her soda which was the final I thought.  She then started jumping in it, I snapped.  My friend patted my back...had she forgotten the spawn of Satan's behaviour?  Or maybe as a Mom she sees this as normal.  Goodness if I know, I just know at that point total humiliation is all I felt.

Amazingly as we start going to the car this angel comes back, the one that I know and I swear is there.  I told her how disappointed I was and she started crying that she wanted me to be happy and she was just having fun.  She was a totally different child in the car and at home, why couldn't anyone get to see this??

I've learned a couple of things, first is that no nap=no party, period, no giving in even if I hurt a friends feeling and have a sobbing child.  Second, bring medicine, she said she didn't feel good, her allergies we're bad so maybe I should have known. 

But my question is:  do I take her and leave when she acts this way?  It's not like it's at a friends house, it was a party they paid for by the number of kids plus it seems that would be even more of a  spectacle.  I want her to have fun and hate the thought of doing that but is not doing it "giving into her"?

I do know this, my incessant desire to get places early does not work for my baby girl, I'm just going to have to be right on time or a little late, otherwise I'm asking too much.  That's a change I have to work on for me and boy will it hurt!

Monday, August 13, 2012

How it all got started

As I started putting together this blog I was wondering how this all got started, how it came about that I realized that Amelia was very busy and made me one exhausted Mom.  I finally got the answer and here it is:

A couple of years back my husband was out of town and Amelia and I were supposed to be going to a friend of his wedding.  As I was trying to get ready and get her ready I just about lost it.  I finally snapped and said "CAN YOU BE STILL FOR JUST ONE WHOLE MINUTE??!!".  I don't remember her reaction but I do know that she couldn't, she just never stopped.

It's progressively just gotten "worse and worse", I say that in quotations because is the fact that she can't be still or stop going really a bad thing?  Sure, it's tiring for an almost 40 year old Mom but she's 4 and she's full of energy, the alternative could be much worse.

So what has me wanting to share my story on a blog?  It's the judgments, the pain from people giving you that look like your a terrible parent for not controlling your kid, the one that says "if my kid ever acted that way".  There have been times that I've been brought to tears.

One of the triggers for me has been in her gymnastics class, she is scared of being upside down and turning flips.  I just don't understand, yes, I feel that way about being upside down and have my fears but how does she have them?  One week she just sobbed because they "flipped" her, I mean a hysterical breakdown.

All of the parents laugh at Amelia at gymnastics, she's the rock star of the group, other kids may be shy or nervous but Amelia's right there cheering for everyone.  The teachers can't keep her focused but they are such great ladies and so patient.

Here was my final breaking point and I must say that I'm being a little risky here and may offend but I've decided to do this for my daughter and offending others just may happen, so if you are judgmental, stop reading here.

One of Amelia's best friends was going to the gymnastics with us, I could always sense her Grandmothers disapproval of Amelia always running, being loud and when I tried to control her talking back to me.  It always bothered me but then one week she looked at me while I was trying to calm Amelia down before class and said "you better get control of that or teachers like me will have to deal with it when she gets to school".  OUCH! 

It' hurt really badly, I had to do everything I could to hide my tears.  When we got home I really took it out on Amelia, I yelled at her and told her she can't embarrass me like that.  The look on her face I will never forget.  You see, Amelia can't help it, she has ADHD tendencies (per her pediatrician, not self  diagnosed) and she doesn't really have any impulse control.  I hurt my baby because I let someone else judge our family and my baby.  I was wrong, in no way should I have done that.

It was right then that I decided that I wouldn't let someone else make me and in turn make my baby girl feel that way.  What right did they have?  Amelia is perfect!  Yes, she can make you crazy and by the time gymnastics class starts I'm usually sweating from chasing her around.  But she is wonderful the way she is and I'll take that "bad" child any day.  She entertains everyone with her joyous spirit and she doesn't follow the rest--that's someone who can change the world!

Now I'm not stupid and know that I must do something to help her focus and pay attention in school and other places that she needs to learn.  Coming soon I'll tell you my plan and how I came to it.

I hope you'll follow along so we can all learn from each other and know that us Moms with "spirited" kids are not alone.