Monday, January 30, 2012

A smile as Big as the Moon.

I just watched this last night, it is a movie about special needs children in 1988 (The kids range from Autistic, ADHD, Bi-Polar, to anger issues) that want to go to Space Camp after one of them brings a flier back from a planetarium. This is a movie that I was actually looking forward to, and I never look forward to a Hallmark movie.
Synopsis from Hallmark:
Mike Kersjes is the name of a real special-education teacher (and football coach), in Michigan. Mike doesn’t talk down to his “special” students. He respects them, and he believes they’re capable of achieving great things.
Mike hears about Space Camp, a competitive education program at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Even though it’s designed for gifted science students, Mike decides participating in the summer program would do wonders for the self-esteem of his young students, one especially who wants to be an astronaut.
He faced incredible obstacles in trying to make his improbable dream become an inspiring reality. At first, school administrators refused to buy in. The folks who ran the camp were less than encouraging; they’d never had a group of special ed kids apply before. Trying to raise the money to pay for the trip was a nightmare. The kids even put on a carwash!
But it was after they were finally given the green light that the real challenge began. How to get kids with Down syndrome, Tourette’s, learning disabilities and emotional problems to leave their baggage behind, to coalesce into a team, and to tackle a bunch of extremely smart students from top schools around the country?
After 9 months of rigorous training preparation the class molded itself into a working team where they turned in a performance so startling, so surprising that it will leave you breathless.
Mike Kersjes had an impossible idea. Yet he made it happen. A truly triumphant story of the power of the human spirit.
I want you to keep in mind, this is a movie about kids wanting to go to Space Camp and remember, it is set in 1988 not 2012 so the Space Camp reference is relevant. I personally never saw the appeal of Space Camp but found it inspiring in this movie. The movie stars John Corbett as Mike Kersjes the special needs teacher who, throughout the movie is the only person really pushing for these kids to go to Space Camp (other than the kids themselves). Even his teachers' aid Robin has no faith that these special needs children could ever go to Space Camp.
I know this is supposed to be a movie about the kids, and I really wanted it to be (special needs people are a big part of my life); It would have been nice to see more than thirty minutes of the kids training and learning to become a team and actually performing as one at Space Camp, especially in a two hour movie but, in fact; they were only a driving sub plot to the Teacher wanting so bad for the kids to be thought of as "normal" people and the constant struggle he faces and the obstacles he needs to overcome to get them there. There are a total of three people who really think the kids are worth the shot, a Big Dan (a Burger shop owner), Mike (the teacher), and the President of the school board who just so happens to have a child with Downs in that class. It is a movie about tolerance and belief in abilities rather than what you see on the outside at first glance and this speech from the film sums that up:
"These are basically good kids who've been dealt a bad hand. They live their lives in the margins... Outside of the classroom, not much is asked of them, nor is much expected. Can they try your patience? Yes, they can. And do they sometimes break your heart? Yes, sir, they certainly do. But sometimes, there are remarkable moments, and I've seen this with my own eyes, when more is asked and more is expected of them, and they rise to the occasion, gratefully, gladly, just to remind you of the remarkable power of the human spirit."

Despite being sappy and there really being no conflict or real struggle to get the kI ids to Space Camp, I still enjoyed the movie and it made me smile, plus it is something the entire family can watch on TV, which is very rare these days.
I fully recommend this movie as one to watch with your kids and talk to them afterward about bullys (which I will discuss soon) and kids in their school with special needs,and how they get hurt and have dreams just like everyone else.
If you missed it, the movie will air again on the hallmark channel: 2/4 8 & 10 PM and 2/5 at 2PM.
I would like to end with a quote I like:

It is a fine thing to have ability, but the ability to discover ability in others is the true test. -Elbert Hubbard.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What happened to Saturdays?

It is Saturday morning, I would wake up, grab some cereal and turn on the TV to watch my favorite Saturday morning cartoons. I would watch Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, Transformers, G.I. Joe, Bravestar, Smurfs, Snorks, Darkwing Duck, Ghostbusters, The Real Ghostbusters, TMNT, Dungeons and Dragons, MASK, He-Man, even She-Ra and Care Bears. There were way too many to mention here.
There were so many good cartoons to watch until the afternoon and I would watch them all. After watching this bountiful helping of programming  I would go outside to play. Yes, I said it, go outside and play with my friends in real life until the sun went down.
What ever happened to Saturday mornings and after school? Now it is Doodle Bops, Busy Town Mysteries, and news. There are no cartoons, nothing for our kids to watch. I want to understand why the cartoons went away and when it happened. Fox used to show them as Fox Kids and one weekend they were gone, no notice. I know this was a while ago but it is still a shame.
I am thankful for RTV because I still get to see some of what made Saturday morning great. Bravestar, He-Man, and Ghostbusters (unfortunately not The Real Ghostbusters) are on. You do need to suffer through bits of Archie and the racist Mr. Magoo show, and Gumby, but it is worth it for a taste of classic Saturday mornings.
In the age of smart phones and internet, do kids not care about cartoons anymore? Do they just watch Cartoon Network and the trash they show on there? Why did the networks give up on quality Children's programming?
I wonder, do our children even know what it is like to play outside anymore?
My kids may never know what it is like to look forward to Saturday morning cartoons ( I have seasons on DVD they can watch though), but they will know what it is like to go out and play and not stay inside all day.
I truly believe those of us born in the 70's and early 80's were the greatest TV generation.
What are your thoughts on this as children and now parents of this generation?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Did I Say That?

Since becoming a Dad it has hit me that there are things I have said and some quite recently (yesterday) that I would never have imagined I would ever say in my life. I thought it might be fun to start compiling a running list of these wonderful, amusing, and at times; very strange things I have said.
So, here they are.

  1. Its a Girl!
  2. Hey sweet little girl, Daddy loves you.
  3. Its a Boy!
  4. Hey there Son, Daddy loves you.
  5. Get that out of your nose
  6. Keep your hand out of the toilet
  7. Honey, there is a rubber duckie in the toilet
  8. She farted on my finger
  9. Did you just lick the bottom of my slippers?
  10. We do not lick the bottom of shoes.
  11. She just licked my face.
  12. Do not lick the top of my shoes. (licking has been the new thing)
  13. There is poop up her/his back.
  14. He did what? Peed in his own face??
  15. I did clean under his sack.
  16. She just puked all over me.
  17. Night night, sleep tight sweetie.
  18. It is 3AM, it is not playtime.
  19. We make our own Baby Food.
  20. Look how cute this dress is.
  21. Good job honey, that is a good booger.

Feel free to comment below with your own did I just say that and I will add them to a user submitted under this list.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Other Uses for...Baby Bowls

If you have a toddler/infant like I do then you probably have some baby bowls laying around. I have the Gerber Graduates Bowls with lids. They come in festive colors and the lid is great when you need to take your baby's food on the go, or store it in the fridge. However practical these bowls are, Ddid you ever think your child's mini baby bowls could be used for anything other than baby food? Well, I have and I have found another use for them...

Gerber Baby Bowl with Salsa for chips.
Yes, salsa bowls. They are the perfect size, come in multiple colors which is great for a party. They are more affordable than a normal salsa bowl and once again, they have the lids so you can take them to work for lunch or you can store in the fridge for later use.
What other uses can you think of for these versatile bowls? Are there other baby products you use other than intended? Let me know.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bottles; which are best for baby?

Dr. Browns Bottle with insert.
I thought I would pass along what works for me and feeding my baby while his mother is at work and I need to use stored breast milk for feeding my little one.
There are so many out there for your baby, which is the best choice?
We have tried many, but none equal the Dr. Browns Bottles in my opinion. First off, the design of the bottle insert (see the photo I took to the left, or look at the website in the link) is what really sets it apart from other bottles out there. What it does is vent air out of the milk and slowly feed it into the nipple; which is said to be more like breast feeding for your child but there are many out there that claim that title. I would however, be inclined to believe them after using it for more than a year. The claim is that this design also helps with colic and gas issues from feeding. We have noticed that it does indeed help with these issues and on top of that it seems to  help with spitting up as well.
Cleanup is also easy. You just take the insert and vent out of the bottle. Both can be cleaned with a bottle brush and the included vent brush. Use a drying rack and you are good to go for the next feeding.
I hope this was helpful to you and I want to know, do you use this bottle? Have you ever tried it, did you like it? What Bottle do you use?

Speaking of bottles, my guy is hungry so I need to get his ready.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Welcome to Daddy is Talking

I want to thank you for coming here. I just want to say that my children and my family come first and foremost in my life. Being a Dad has been the greatest and there was a time when I thought that I would not have kids, not due to a medical issue or not wanting them; because I did. I thought it wouldn't happen because I was in an unhappy marriage with someone who never wanted them, and I did, badly.
I was ready to resign myself to not having them even though it pained me. I stayed unhappy, thinking nothing would ever change, and it would not change unless I made the change. So I did, I gathered as much courage as I ever have in my life and filed for divorce. This was not easy by any means, but I knew it had to be done.
Now what to do? Divorce is final, I am in my early/mid 30's it may still be too late. Well, by chance or perhaps fate, I met the most amazing woman in Karen. Do you know the feeling where there is a piece of you missing and you just can not seem to fill the void? I had that until she came along. When I met her I knew this would be the woman I would start a family with, that piece of me that was missing came into place whenever I was around her.
Fast forward to two years later and our daughter Kylie is born. This was the happiest day of my life, next to meeting Karen. That day changed me, I was a father at 36. Did I know how to be one? What do I do? I was scared and excited all in the same moment, but most of all I was proud.
Kylie came along and a few months into her life we realize that something is wrong with her, this amazing miracle in my life. Something was wrong with her eyes. A trip to the Columbus Children's Hospital and an MRI confirmed that she has Optic Nerve Hypoplasia and Nastagmus. This beautiful child, my first and Karen's had to have this happen to her. She had to have eye surgery at 11 months old in order to try and strengthen and straighten her eyes. You parents out there can understand how scary it is to have a child put under, especially one so young. She pulled through just fine. Next came the patching to strengthen her left eye. We did not know if this would help her see or if it would work, but we were willing to try what we had to do for her. Thankfully, it is working. Kylie is 16 months old now and we found out her eyes have changed and she now has a script and is in the process of getting glasses.
Fourteen months after Kylie was born we welcomed a second blessing, our son Karter into the world.
I was a dad again at 38 years old and I can not be happier. So far, he is as perfect and happy as Kylie.
Currently, I am taking time off from work to take care of Karter since Karen had to go back to work.
I am truly a blessed and lucky person to be a father to a beautiful daughter and a handsome son, and to be with someone as amazing as Karen.

Thank you.