One day, after receiving a whole bunch of toys and clothes for my boys from my brother, I got up the nerve to tell him, "If you are really going to spend all this money, can you get Logan a weighted blanket next time?"
Normally, I would never say such a thing but if I was my brother then I would want to know that my sister would rather have a weighted blanket than a really cute outfit. I had been eyeing it for months and months online but never felt like I could buy it. Within one month of me blurting out my needs, Logan got himself a weighted blanket. He sleeps with it every night.
As the holiday season approaches, I sincerely hope that all your family members think of you and your child's special needs before buying gifts this year. We need different things that can not always be found in Target and Toys 'R Us. I know it is hard but I think being direct might be the easiest way to do it.
My List of Things I Can't Live Without or Want Really Badly:
1. A Good Timer: I don't know what I'd do without my timer which is just an egg timer right now but I am upgrading to the Time Timer since Logan will be able to see just how long he has before the bell goes up. I have so many uses for it: time outs, prevent languishing at dinner, quiet time (go do your own thing), and computer time(when the bell rings, it's over). Timers also keep me from burning pots.
2. Maxemail (Fax) and My Copier/Scanner: It is almost cruel how parents of special needs children need to do so much copying and sending documents. To save time and money, I got these things so that I could get send paperwork whenever I want, but from the comfort of my own home. I create files with an old Adobe PDF maker and it makes my life so much easier. More importantly, when dealing with certain agencies, you must back yourself up with fax confirmation receipts. Otherwise, you can not claim that they received it and that could backfire on you. Click here for the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Professional.
3. Wine: Yes, it's expensive and buying those big bottles doesn't really save you money because you can't drink it all before it goes bad. Sometimes all you need is one glass to deal with the afternoon as you pray they will play nicely and not hurt each other while you make dinner. We parents have to be good models, control our tempers, and praise, praise, praise them but how can you do this if you are not relaxed? Wine, in moderation, helps me for sure.
4. Acupuncture: I would go every week if I had the time and money. What I like most about it is that it forces me to lie down and relax and yet it satisfies my multi-tasking compulsion because I'm receiving treatment at the same time. Additionally, she does poke me in areas to help me relax because I really do need it. It always works and helps me with my migraines. I especially love my acupuncturist who is really cool and has even entertained Logan while I was left to lay and heal in peace. There are few people like her in this world.
5. Children's Museum and Pool Memberships: I can not live without these memberships. We need to be active constantly and these places facilitate my movement-oriented kids. Moreover, these places are good even when the weather is bad. I especially like to go there when it's humid. I want to be a nice happy good-role-model-mommy but I can't if I feel disgusting and dripping with sweat. Additionally, the pool is great because the kids get a lot of one-on-one time with us and get great sensory therapy too!
6. My Blackberry: Those of you who have followed this blog know how much this thing means to me. It carries my shopping lists, reduces the scraps of paper that I lose, gives me a place to write down a good idea before I forget it and syncs with my Outlook Calendar and contacts. I send myself reminders all the time to do just about anything, even take a deep breath and believe in myself! Additionally, for emergencies only, I let Spencer watch YouTube videos on my Blackberry while we are waiting on line. Blackberry, I love you.
7. Private Lessons: You don't have to have special needs to have a private lesson but if you have special needs, a private lesson can be so great. While it is great to gain social skills in a class, if they can't handle a class, does it mean they can't be taught the skill? If private lessons from an ADHD-friendly teacher can help then why not? As long as Santa comes and gives us a check, private lessons are okay by me until Logan can participate in a class. My private lesson wish list since he's already getting swimming is: horseback riding therapy, yoga, martial arts, and tennis. Are you hearing me Universe?
8. Choiceworks: After taking my vow of near-silence, I have found that charts are more efficient in getting Logan to organize his thoughts, reduce his anxiety, and carry out his duties without me constantly reminding/nagging him. We can organize his schedule together or I can do it for him. My favorite part is when I say, "Logan, do your chart," instead of, "Logan, go brush your teeth," and then, "Did you brush your teeth? Okay, go comb your hair." Nag, nag, nag. I even annoy myself. The Choiceworks also has other features that help children learn to wait and deal with their feelings.
9. Babysitting: The thought of having to spend $60 to go out with my husband in the evening so that we can spend another $60-$100, entertaining ourselves is really depressing. I know we really need to do it but still. I also hate sending my babysitter to go home alone at night but giving her taxi fare would also bust my wallet. There are few greater presents that can be given to me than when a family member babysits my guys.
10. Storage Organizers: At this point, I think I would rather spend more money in the Container Store than in Banana Republic. I really want to be organized and clutter-free but it does cost money to do it somewhat tastefully. I am using way too many Ziploc bags and old shoe boxes to keep things in order. Also, I truly believe that my children's behavior at home will improve if the rooms in my house looked more like the rooms in the Pottery Barn Kids or Ikea catalogs. Everything is neat and has it's own place. That is good for the ADHD mind. We are short on space here which to me means that I must spend even more on space-saving organizing ideas. Oh why can't Oprah just come visit and redo my apartment!!! Oh well, I'll just have to do things little by little but it must be done.
Other Cool Things I have or really want to buy soon:
- Weighted Blankets: The kids like them at night. We have the Minky.
- Mini Crayola Twistables: My OT says they help some children color with more precision. This is definitely true for Logan.
- Trampoline: Never goes out of style in this house. You must supervise the jumping.
- Geotrax: The kids are still not sick of it. It's also listed in Toys R Us as a toy for "Differently Abled Kids." I don't know why.
- Cube Design Set: I could never find this in a toy store! And it's so affordable. The cubes are great too- no numbers or letters! Logan loves it. I feel like it exercises his brain.
- Yoga Cards: In this city, yoga for special needs classes are outrageously priced. These cards are visual, have children as models, and obviously I don't have to be a yoga instructor to teach it to them.
- Fun Roller: I can't believe this is only $40 dollars. I haven't bought it yet and I know my husband would be so mad if I did because it takes up space but it looks like so much fun! Maybe when the weather gets better....
- Stepping Logs: This looks like a fun balance-enhancer and it's a space saver too. Look in Abilitations. The website may not have it but the catalog has it for $42.99.
- Leapster 2: We go everywhere with this thing. He wears headphones because the noise really annoys me. Some people let their children play video games as a reward. I am unfortunately not there yet. I just let him play to keep him busy.
- Svan High Chair: A couple of years ago, I bought a used Svan for $50. It was for Spencer but I found that it worked best for Logan to keep him seated. What I love most is the squarish frame that supports the tray. Even if I take off the tray, I leave on the removable frame so it discourages him from climbing out. I think it also gives him some proprioceptive input on his sides. (Note: 11/10/09- I have been advised to take the squarish bar for Logan (by school) so that he can learn to sit by himself. Argh.)
And that is my list for now. By the way, in case you were wondering, no one has paid me to include their products in this list. I know about these products because I am a hopeless eye-shopper.
Picture 1: My brother bought us a membership to the Please Touch! Museum in Philadelphia and here Spencer had his first carousel ride.
Picture 2: The Cube Design Set from Different Roads to Learning. Doesn't this just say "SMART" all over it?
Picture 3: That squarish frame is supposed to be removed by Logan's age but there is no way I'll be removing that! It helps us so so much. The crotch bar once broke and the company replaced it free!