"Playing at Pebble Beach" -- Including special kids

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jack and Ollie at Pebble Beach - two of Jack's favorites meeting for the first time

Before having kids, I dreamed about the perks of parenthood and looked forward to two highlights:

1)  Introducing them to my favorites.  I couldn't wait to chase them around on Zuma Beach, to present them with their first slice of pizza, to snuggle together reading Little House on the Prairie and especially to watch them hug and kiss their grandparents.

2)  Reliving childhood through their eyes.  Experiencing again the simplicity and wonder of life as they do.  It would be like toward the end of You've Got Mail, where Kathleen Kelly flashes back to her mother twirling her around and around, with the music serenading them -- the simple girlish joy of spinning around in a big skirt with your mom.  That was going to be my Caroline with me, twirling away.


Unfortunately, when Caro was born, those perks seemed liked they'd have to wait.   It seems like that to many parents because it's an echo of the message we get from society:  special needs child = normal, happy life no more.

I will acknowledge that it's hard continuing with a normal life when you have special-needs children.  Here's why:

1. Often they're medically fragile. 

2. It's hard for them to communicate. 

3. Your unique family draws attention from lookie-loos when in public.  This can be uncomfortable.  (When this happens, I remind myself that people just aren't familiar with seeing kids like Caroline, so by us being out, it helps raise their comfort level and acceptance).

4. Finally, the energy you expend including them seems to exceed what they get out the experience. 

Wait! That's not the last word.  We've found that you can introduce them to favorites and relive childhood with them if you have:

-  some strong, positive parental will (Bryce and Jack are especially talented here.  They make sure Caro and Ollie are in the action!)

-  support from family and friends -- people who understand and try to help with the points above

-  and an understanding of your child's true self (see Made Manifest)

Don't get me wrong.  If you have the above, it's still a challenge.  However...

Including your special child will bring peace and help you learn about yourself and your child.  You'll build a stronger bond with your little one. 

It's impossible to include them sometimes and other times your tank is too empty to handle the 'hard' side effects.  Do what you can, when you can.  Pray.  Try again.

Or at least that's what has worked with Caroline so far.  And now that Ollie has joined the family (see Meet Caroline under "About Caroline's Chromosomal Disorder" for more about Oliver), we watch my brother and sister-in-law being able to do this as well.  I know you can too.

Enjoy some inclusion highlights below:

Caroline's 1st Trip to the Movies

Caro likes walks.  This is us on one after I ran.  Yes, I am one of those people who gets red-faced following a workout.
Ollie visiting the Easter Bunny.  Just like many a baby before him, he's less than thrilled.
See, normally he's very happy boy.  Here he's included with the stockings.
Bryce pulls Caroline up on the couch to read to her - beautiful.

Dressing Caroline up for Halloween is a blast.  This picture makes me laugh.  Caroline looks like she's distracted by her manicure, and Ivy is protesting with a little crumple.

Caroline as one of the angels in last year's nativity

It's a dark one, but Caroline is smiling while Daddy helps her open birthday presents.

More birthday present opening.  We had a family party last year.

One year, C's bday fell on a Sunday.  If she could've, like any other kid, she'd have publicized that fact. So I made a button to share the good news.

Caroline greeting her guests at her 4th birthday party - we brought people to us that year!

C leading others in cupcake decorating.


  1. Beautiful. I love to see the way you and Jack bring Caro and Ollie into the family activities. You are all amazing parents! xoxoxo

  2. Aw, Ollie made the blog! I love all the pictures of Caroline on her adventures. You and Bryce are great examples to us. When Ollie was born we talked about making sure we took him out to do as much as possible. It has been so worth it knowing that he is experiencing new things and he loves adventures.


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