18 April 2015

Michael Bublé....#beautifulbumblog

Well, I decided to go there. This has been all over my newsfeed for the past few days. When I first saw the picture, I giggled and liked the post. I always love Michael's hashtags and get a good chuckle out of his sense of humour. #‎myhumps‬ ‪#‎babygotback‬ ‪#‎hungryshorts‬ ‪#‎onlyinmiami‬ ‪#‎picoftheday‬ ‪#‎beautifulbum‬

The world went crazy!

Yesterday, Michael shared a personal statement regarding the previous post:
"Anybody who knows me would never misinterpret the message of the photo my wife took in Miami that seems to have caused unexpected rage by some people. I do not court controversy. But I realize that a photo that was meant to be complimentary and lighthearted has turned into a questionable issue. For the record, it hurts me deeply that anyone would think that I would disrespect women or be insulting to any human being.. I was not brought up that way and it is not in my character. I regret that there are people out there who found the photo offensive. That was not and is not my intention. Women are to be celebrated, loved, respected, honored and revered. I’ve spent my life believing that and will continue to do so."

I read some of the comments and felt that so many people took it a bit too seriously and their words were hurtful, unkind and offensive. They personally attacked Michael and expressed their disgust and shame towards the singer. "Not cool. This is mean and degrading; even if you meant it as a compliment, I really wouldn't want to be put in her place right now. I'd also like to point out that those who have commented with victim-blaming statements (if she didn't want people to notice, she shouldn't have dressed like that!) are men. Stuff like this really shouldn't be posted, especially by someone with a fan base."

"Funny, a friend of mine last night was trying to convince me that Buble is "not a good guy to women" (her words) and I defended him say he seemed pretty decent in the media. This picture totally changed my opinion.
Mind your own damn business Michael, I wonder if you'd be smiling if someone else took this picture mocking your wife or kid?"

I read through several of the comments and began to understand where others were coming from. I have a great sense of humour. I'm fairly relaxed and truly, I am a huge Michael Bublé fan, having spent obscene amounts of money just to see him in concert. I am open-minded and 'try' to respect others' points of view.
After reading through comments, my views changed slightly. I felt disgusted by those who attacked the girl, saying that her butt is ugly, she needs to workout, she should be ashamed of herself, she is asking to be raped, she is gross and repulsive, she is asking for pictures to be taken and for negative comments to be made, because her ass is hanging out.

Would I ever wear shorts like that in or out of the house? No. If I decided to buy myself a pair from the local Wal-Mart, do I deserve to be ridiculed? No. Do I deserve to have my picture taken and posted for millions to see? No.
I understand that her back is turned and that truly, he wasn't shaming her or making fun of her outfit. He actually complimented her and pointed out that she has a #beautifulbum.
Does this make it ok? I'm not really too sure. I guess maybe, if she was asked and gave him permission to share with his 7 million fans, it would have made it ok, totally acceptable. Sharing a picture with that many followers, that's kind of a big deal.

Yesterday, I went to the CTV studios to record a segment for Alberta Primetime regarding Adele's picture being stolen by an ignorant and disgusting Facebook page.

The interview gave me the opportunity to discuss the emotions and heartache that this brought to our family, friends and community. It gave me the opportunity to share with others that shaming, mocking and making fun of others, is not acceptable. Having Adele's picture unlawfully taken was hurtful and it showed so many of us, that there are heartless, ignorant and cruel people in the world.
We live in a world where we all want to take the perfect picture to share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We want others to respond and strike up a conversation. We want people to laugh and find humour in our posts. We no longer take pictures for our family, we take them to get a response from our hundreds of 'friends' on social media.

After the incident with Adele, I am more cautious of what I post. I am more aware of what I post and make sure that when I share pictures, I place the watermark high up, so that it is touching her face. It took one incident to make me realize that people think that it is fair game when others post on social media sites, they can take, comment and spew out vulgar and revolting comments because they are sitting behind a computer screen and there are no consequences behind their actions.

So, this is the thing.....the girl in Michael's picture, she did not given consent, although many people feel that she didn't need to give permission to have her picture taken. Although Michael did not  intentionally shame her or ridicule her, many took it upon themselves to do so.
Many compared her picture to the Wal-Mart photos that we all find hilarious and trashy and pointed out that they did not give the 'photographers' permission to exploit them, so it's fair game.

I see fault on both sides here, the fans and Michael. I see an overly sensitive world, but I also see a world who is defending a young girl whose picture was taken and shared with millions without consent. I see people getting cruel and vulgar and shaming either Michael or the young girl. I would have thought that Michael would have removed his post, not because he needs to admit that he was wrong, but instead, to show the world that the attacks on #beautifulbum is not acceptable or that he is condoning their comments and harsh words.
Michael is a public figure and millions look up to him, follow his journey and is a role model to so many young children. It's imperative to think before posting. It's imperative to put yourself in the other person's shoes and think about how this will affect them. It's a fine line between being a funny, good guy just looking for a laugh and an asshole. (I'm not calling him one....it's ok)

I am a bit overly sensitive when it comes to matters like this. I have been on a journey with Adele, where I want to protect my child as much as I can but not shelter her and isolate her from the world.  I will not let others destroy our beautiful family by shaming, using her picture, mocking her and her friends because they are ignorant and uneducated.

In conclusion...yes, I am a teacher and I need to sum this up....
1) Michael should have asked her, that's the right thing to do.
2) Don't bring his singing talents into the arguments. You make yourself look bad.
3) The post should be removed, not to admit defeat, but out of respect for the girl.
4) Does she have every right to wear those shorts without criticism? Yes.
5) If you don't like her shorts, don't buy them.
6) Don't unlike Michael's page because you disagree with him posting the picture, although, you will miss him and return.
7) Don't say that she deserves to be shamed, raped and that she was asking for ridicule.
8) Don't point out how you would have liked it if your butt was hashtagged. You sound silly.
9) Do I think any less of Michael because of this incident? No, because I am an adult.
10) Let's move on.


12 April 2015

You Know You're A Parent When....

I'm A Parent.....

1) During the first year, you smell like barf, even after you use a wet wipe.
2) You get shit under your fingernails at least once a week. Is it just me?
3) You nod and smile at least 100 times a day because you have no idea what your kid is saying.
4) You never go to the bathroom alone. You lock the door, you turn the lights off, they know where you are. They will find you. They will yell and bang on the door. They will stick their hands under the door and yell "MOM! MOM! MOM! MA! MA! MOMMY! MOMMY! MOM! MOM!!
5) Your children go down for naps and you still watch Treehouse for over an hour.
6) You step on Lego and swear. You step on a Hot Wheels car and swear. Giving birth to your children was less painful.
7) You lick your finger and wipe food off your child's face.
8) You lick your finger to fix your child's hair.
9) You lick your finger and wipe off your friends' faces.
10) You stand in line waiting to pay for diapers and cereal puffs and you sway back and forth, back and forth, but you are all alone.

11) You know ALL of the words to ALL of the Frozen songs but you change them to rap songs because you think you are funny.
12) You fart in public and blame your child.
13) Make out sessions with your spouse......what are make out sessions?
14) You go out for dinner with friends, dig through your purse to find your wallet, but all you come up with is a pack of fruit snacks, diapers, wipes, a half eaten sucker and a rattle.
15) You wake up feeling hung-over at least once a week, but you haven't touched a drop of alcohol.
16) Your favourite search engines are; How to be a better parent in a week. How to keep your patience when you have none. How to compete with the 'other' moms. How to lose twenty pounds in a week. How to stop eating your kids' leftover food.
17) Your junk folder is filled with diaper coupons instead of Viagra and vibrator links.
18) Your backseat is filled with juice boxes, crumbs and toys.
19) Your cell phone sits on the table when you go out for dinner with friends because you left the children with dad.
20) You say "just a minute" fifty times a day.

21) Your 'extra' money goes into education funds and not on tropical vacations.
22) You spell out swear words to your friends.
23) You carry Smarties in your purse just in case you need to bribe your offspring.
24) Your back always hurts and your biceps are beautiful from lugging around children.
25) You offer to wipe another child's bum. This is never ok.
26) You use your children as an excuse so that you don't have to go out.
27) Grocery shopping on your own is like going on a vacation.
28) You've thought about how much fun it would be to party with Anna and Elsa.
29) You've heated up your coffee five times in an hour.
30) You can sniff out a dirty diaper like nobody's business.

31) You wipe boogers with your bare hands.
32) You catch another child's puke in your hands.
33) You hope that it was a raisin that your child just ate, but you aren't too concerned, they need to build up their immune system.
34) You drive around the community for an extra hour because your children are napping. There is peace.
35) You say "because I said so" and you don't care.
36) You hear your mother in your own voice and realize that it's not so bad.
37) You allow your toddler to wear pyjama bottoms, a rain coat and a crown because you want to avoid a full blown meltdown.
38) There's a Happy Meal toy in your purse.
39) You threaten your child again and again but never follow through.
40) You don't even flinch when you tell your child that they need to keep their clothes on in church.

41) You've put your cell phone in the crisper.
42) You stuff a chocolate bar in your mouth without even enjoying it, but you are so tired of sharing with the leeches.
43) You say "oopsie daisy" and you aren't even embarrassed.
44) You over analyze cartoons. You wonder if Max and Ruby actually have a mom and dad.
45) You need to plan out when you can shave your legs.
46) You know 'Goodnight Moon' off by heart.
47) Three second rule...that's a bunch of crap.
48) Quiet children = a whole lot of trouble!
49) You cut your spouse's food into bite sized pieces.
50) You have never felt a love so overwhelming and beautiful and perfect.


6 April 2015

The Beauty of Down Syndrome

Recently, I decided to completely clear off my personal Facebook page.
I read a blog post not too long ago; it talked about how important Facebook is to stay connected to groups, friends and family. It talked about how the special needs' community relies on Facebook groups for support, guidance and reassurance.

In the beginning of this journey with Adele, I searched out the groups on Facebook, I added myself to medical groups, I liked page after page, to stay connected. Part of me relied on these groups to take me through the ups and downs of having a special needs' child. They are communities filled with love, pride and way too many opinions. Some of the groups offer medical advice, shame parents for not doing things the 'right' way and criticize others for their thoughts and beliefs.

I was scrolling through my newsfeed one day and came across a post. 
"When did your child start crawling? My little girl is a year old and she has no desire to crawl."
 I stared blankly at the post for some time, wondering if I would comment. I wrote a comment, I deleted it. I rewrote it and deleted it again. I scrolled through all of the comments and realized that most of the children were crawling by 15 months.
I commented on the post and proudly said that my daughter is a healthy 20 month old and she isn't crawling yet. I talked about how we have begun to focus our attention elsewhere, on making sure that we encourage speech and verbal development. My comment received the most likes. I didn't really care if it had one like, I was clear that we were content with Adele's development.

In the beginning, I was focused on milestones and when my children should reach each one. How many words. When they should crawl. When they should walk. The charts, the diagrams the curves, the way it should be.

I was a part of all of these Down syndrome groups on Facebook, groups that should be celebrating achievements, yet so many parents were drawn to these charts and milestones. We live in a competitive world where we ask our friends and neighbours when their children achieved certain milestones and then grumble and show disappointment that our child is developing at their own pace. What's wrong with this? Celebrate each milestone and achievement, instead of focusing on when they should be reached. Relish in the beauty of each moment that makes your heart swell with pride instead of the disappointment that it was achieved months later then expected.

I have decided to take a huge step back. My 20 month old is not crawling yet. My 20 month old isn't close to walking. My 20 month old is behind according to the checklists. I have come to the realization that I am so incredibly blessed that we have a very healthy child. We are thankful that she has a healthy heart and that she looks at us with loving and beautiful eyes. Adele is very verbal; this is where we like to focus a lot of our attention. We love the sounds that she makes and how she laughs with all her might and how she plays so lovingly with her sister. We no longer focus on that she is not crawling. We focus on helping her build up muscle strength and teach her how to achieve these wonderful milestones. She will absolutely get to where she needs to be, in her own time. I used to get frustrated when people would say "oh, she'll get there." It was annoying. I don't need to hear from a mom of a typical child that my child with Down syndrome will get there in her own time. Actually, I still don't want to hear it.  HA! HA!!! Let's move on. :)

I look back at the past 20 months and truly, if I could tell myself one thing, it would be to relax. I feel like I have missed out on some beautiful moments because I was worried. I missed out some beautiful moments because I was so focused on charts and how things would take so much longer with Adele. I forgot to sit and savour the baby moments. I looked at the calendar and planned out vision appointments, hearing appointments, cardiology appointments, respiratory appointments and therapy appointments. I looked into the future with angst and worry instead of watching my baby develop into this amazing and beautiful child.

I am no longer asking others when their child started to crawl. I am no longer focused on when your little one started to walk. I am focused on my child. I am focused on working with Adele to take her to a place where she needs to be. I am working on staying in the moment and being receptive to what my child needs. I am being the best mom that I can be for my children. Adele is this wondrous and remarkable miracle that has shown us that we need to take a step back, take time during the day to breathe and relax and savour these moments. Time goes by so quickly and I am no longer going to let worry and fear take up my day.

Adele will do it all, in her own time. This is the beauty of Down syndrome.