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Pediatric Stroke Clinic – 4 Years Old

Two Thursdays ago, I took the morning off from work to take Mia to the pediatric stroke clinic. It was our fourth visit to the stroke clinic. We went when she was two months old, fourteen months old, two years old, and here we were again at four years old.

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Two years ago, when she was two years old, I agreed that she could be part of the International Pediatric Stroke Study. That means visits every two years until she turns ten.

Mia dozed in the car on the drive into Boston. As we descended into the parking garage, going around and around and down, she awoke and told me, “Park over there, Mommy.” She pointed to the left and the signs were telling me to go right. When I parked, she got upset, not quite understanding my explanation about why I couldn’t park where she wanted me to park. She recovered after a few minutes and noticed the numbers on the wall in front of us. Pointing, she said, “That one has two ‘5’s. And, that one has one ‘5’ and that one over there has one ‘5’ too. That one has a ‘6’ like Zoe. And, that one has a ‘4’ like me!” The numbers were 504, 505, 506. Zoe is six years old. Mia is four. Just a few months ago, Mia’s preschool teacher told me that Mia was not yet recognizing numbers.

As we walked through the garage to the elevator, she told me, “When I was a baby and toddler and you took me to the doctor, you used a stroller.” I said, “That’s right.” She continued, “Now I’m big and don’t need a stroller.” We haven’t used a stroller for more than a year. I find it fascinating to see what she remembers. I find it interesting to see what I remember. Summer visits to the hospital complex where she was in the NICU are tinged with post traumatic stress for me. The heat and humidity take me back to my early days finding my way around.

The stroke clinic is in the outpatient building on the eighth floor. We were on the sixth floor for Mia’s appointment with her neurologist just a month ago.

We stopped in the café on the ground floor for some snacks and to use up some of the time we had to wait. On the elevator, Mia asked me to show her the ‘8’ so she could push the button to get us up to the eighth floor.

The stroke clinic is run out of an office shared by hematology and oncology doctors. The toys are nicer. The atmosphere is quieter than the sixth floor wing shared by neurology and gastroenterology doctors. There seem to be more signs warning to wear masks if you are coughing. I started thinking of cancer patients with compromised immune systems. We walked past the resource center for cancer. Prayer flags, decorated to honor patients are strung along the sunlit hallway.

As we checked in, the administrator took special care to make Mia a patient wristband with stickers on it. Mia chose rainbows, one for the wristband and one for the back of her hand.

A huge bin of giant coloring books was on the floor with an inviting sign urging kids to take one. Mia chose a Noah’s Ark coloring book. She got busy playing with the toys and then spent some time looking at the fish in the giant tank.

We went back to use the bathroom and Mia was a little confused because it wasn’t in the same location as the one from a month ago. I reminded her that we’re on the eighth floor now, not the sixth.

The nurse weighed Mia, measured her height, took her blood pressure.

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We returned to the waiting area and Mia asked to use the iPad. She continued to play on it after we were taken back to our exam room.

They all came in together, two neurologists, a hematologist and four young women observers, at least thirty minutes after our scheduled appointment. One of them commented about the iPad, “It’s kind of distracting.” I managed to persuade Mia to turn it off. She did so spontaneously with her right index finger. Mia became alternately goofy and shy, leaning onto me and burying her head in my chest. She wouldn’t talk much. She did eventually finish eating her yogurt and used her right hand to bring the spoon to her mouth when they asked her to do that. She was eager to show them videos on my phone of herself riding her bike, swinging from the monkey bars, doing skin-the-cat. I answered their questions and tried to direct their attention to things I notice. I told them about the conversations while parking, about 504, 505, 506. One of the neurologists said, “It must take a long time to get out of the car.” I asked if they are familiar with Dr. Karen Pape and her work. I told them about her recent recognition of Mia as an outlier. I found the video of Mia doing skin-the-cat. They seemed rushed. Mia was eager to get to the part where they ask her to run up and down the hallway. She also got to hop on one leg down the hallway. All eight adults watched as she dashed back and forth.

Back in the room, one of the neurologists said, “Even though she’s doing great, we think you should go back for a neuropsych exam next year when she’s five, before kindergarten.” I said, “We went when she was three and the neuropsychologist wants to see her when she is six, before first grade.” They conceded, “Oh, she’s the expert.” Meanwhile, Mia grabbed both of my hands, and climbed up my front to flip over. One of the doctors got a tear in his eye as he remembered his younger daughter doing the same.

They asked us to come back in two years after the neuropsych exam and they mentioned that the administrator could help coordinate the scheduling. That’s another difference from the regular neurology office. There, I have to remember when to schedule the appointments. Back in the lobby, the friendly administrator asked for the plan and wrote some notes to contact me in March of 2015 to schedule the neuropsych appointment that June so the stroke clinic appointment can be in August after the report is available from the neuropsychologist.

While it’s a huge relief to not have to go back for two years, I find myself frustrated with the kind of disconnect that we experienced. It’s so stark in contrast to the validation from Karen Pape. It’s stark in contrast to the Feldenkrais lesson Mia received this morning. I understand that the standard time slots allotted even for clinic appointments don’t allow time for real observation or connection. But, it saddens me that their questions didn’t go deeper, that they didn’t take more of an interest in a kid doing as well as Mia. I left them with the address of this blog, unsure if anyone will take the time to learn more about our struggles and triumphs.

This morning, we went to see Matty Wilkinson and Jennifer Lee for a Feldenkrais lesson. Jennifer was visiting from California and mentoring Matty. Their approach was so gentle, and even when Mia resisted Jennifer’s touch at times, we three adults danced together in a way that gave Mia support for a full forty-five minutes to sense and feel herself in movement.

Reflections on Outliers Post by Dr. Karen Pape

This bench is in the Ithaca Children’s Garden which we visited last weekend. The image seems fitting here. Just as my girls are attempting to match their hands to hands in the bench, parents of all sorts are doing their best by their kids.

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Karen Pape, a remarkable physician focused on helping children with early neurological injury reach their fullest potential, recently wrote a post about Mia as an outlier, an outlier in the best possible sense as she’s doing more than expected. I feel deeply honored to be recognized by Karen Pape in this way. How can we get more children on track to reach their full potential?

I want to share the link here so others who may learn something or draw inspiration can find it if they happen to find their way here first. And, I also have some thoughts to share as the mom of Mia and Zoe. Parenting young children is relentlessly hard work. Parenting a child with special needs, specifically Mia who had a perinatal stroke, is a series of decisions, a lot of worry, educated guesses, trial-and-error, and a whole lot of wondering if those choices are right or wrong, too much or too little. In the early days, weeks, and months, darker worries and fears were more prominent for me.

Each of Mia’s birthdays has been another opportunity to see how much she has accomplished with support from me, Zoe, and many others whose help we have enlisted. Mia’s own accomplishments and her pride in tackling and mastering new challenges continues to be the greatest affirmation that some of those choices have served her well. My experience in a four-year Feldenkrais Method professional training prior to having children was the best possible education I could have had to parent Mia in recovering from her stroke. It taught me how to observe, to sense and feel, to give Mia the space and time to discover for herself how to do things. And, from the beginning, when Mia was first diagnosed, I understood that Feldenkrais lessons could be a key component in her development.

In starting this blog in May to support Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month, I have discovered my voice as an advocate and educator. That was not my intention, another welcome surprise on this parenting journey. I’m hearing from parents around the world that Mia’s story has inspired them. Some are even asking for specific suggestions about their children’s developmental needs.

I’m certain that there will be many more parenting decisions that challenge me with both of my girls. And, I’m sure that I will make many more mistakes. But, I no longer wonder if my overall approach to meeting Mia’s early developmental needs is appropriate. Mia has confirmed that over and over. Zoe continues to lead the way in modeling things that Mia can do. And, this recent validation from Karen Pape has motivated me to continue to share more details about how I have supported Mia’s development in this critical period of early childhood when brains are most plastic. Specifically, I have two more case study posts in mind using words, video, and still images. One will show Mia’s early locomotion from rolling and reaching to commando crawling to crawling on hands and knees and walking. The other will show Mia’s process in learning to ride a bicycle, starting with a balance bike and progressing to a two-wheeler, skipping training wheels.

Mirror Neurons – Who is the Mirror?

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We’ve been traveling a lot. This picture is from this past weekend when Zoe and Mia spent a lot of time hunting butterflies in Vermont.

Modern neuroscience is fueled by brain imaging and many new theories about how we learn what we learn. One such concept is that of mirror neurons, that by watching someone else do something, one can gain neural activity in the corresponding neurons.

Another is that “Cells that fire together, wire together.” This theory is attributed to Donald Hebb but popularized by Norman Doidge in The Brain That Changes Itself, worth reading for anyone interested in better understanding neuroplasticity.

A friend shared a short TED Talk with me that I include below. It’s an honest emotional account by first time parents of a young stroke survivor who is a year-and-a-half younger than Mia. Much of it resonates with me. While I was not a first-time parent, I was taking a leap in having a second child as a single mother about to turn forty. When Mia was a full-term healthy baby weighing 9 pounds 5 ounces with excellent Apgar scores, I was relieved and so happy. I too was not ready for the sudden hospital transfer when Mia was two days old, the news after many tests that she had had a stroke. I also asked impossible questions. Why me? What will she be like? What can I do to make her better? Mia wasn’t part of a Mirror Neuron Pilot but she has piloted her share of therapies and approaches. She has definitely taught me more than I’ve taught her, and she is an incredible gift. As the parents in the TED Talk conclude, “Consider what you have as a gift, what you miss as an opportunity.”

When Mia was about two months old, a wise friend gave me sound advice to love her as a whole child, not less than because of her stroke. There’s been an active discussion within the community of parents of pediatric stroke survivors about the risk of treating the affected arm or leg at the expense of the child’s sense of wholeness. Many of these kids face challenges with anxiety as older kids, teenagers, and young adults. And, their parents find themselves wondering once again if they chose the right therapies to do and not do.

I embrace the approach of the parents in this TED Talk. Shower all children with love, and show them what you know and love. The world is an incredible mirror. They will find their way.

Neurologist Visit – 4 Years Old

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Mia and I went to see her neurologist yesterday afternoon. It took most of the afternoon. She was nearly asleep when we arrived at the hospital in Boston which made her kind of cranky for the wait, compounded by her accidentally spilling her orange juice and then requesting another one. I said no. A young resident came out to tell us it would be another 15 minutes after it was already 15 minutes past our scheduled appointment time. I later learned that the resident is an adult neurology resident on her mandatory 3-month stint in pediatric neurology.

When the nurse came to take Mia’s vitals, Mia did not want to get on the scale. I said she weighs almost 40 pounds. She just had her physical. I don’t want to fight with her about this as it’s not really relevant to her appointment today. Mia then cooperated to get her height measured and to have her blood pressure taken, also both not particularly relevant.

When the resident did finally call us into the room, she asked me some questions that were annoying and not particularly useful, like, “So I was reading her chart, and it looks like everything’s been fine since she was 3 months old?” Yeah, I guess, if you define fine as no seizure medications needed since then. I simply said yes. I continued to answer her questions. She tried to engage Mia and Mia decided not to talk but to giggle instead. She asked Mia to touch her finger and then to touch her own nose. She asked her to do it with the other hand. Mia did. She asked her to jump up and down on one foot, and the other. She tried to test her reflexes. It wasn’t clear she got the response she was seeking.

After about 10 minutes, the resident went to get the attending physician. Another wait. Mia asked for my iPhone and I gave it to her. So when the attending came in, he had to persuade her to look at pictures in books instead of at the pictures and movies that she was trying to show him of her great skills in skin-the-cat, the monkey bars, bicycling, and others. He asked me more relevant questions, did a cursory neurological exam, had her name various objects and animals in a book and talk about their categories and functions. She sailed through all of this. He said she’s doing great.

The resident asked the attending if we should come back in a year. The attending paused to have a conversation with me. I questioned the value of hearing him say that she’s doing great. I know that. I explained that we go to the stroke clinic next month and will continue with that every two years until Mia is 10. In the end, we agreed that the resident would write “as needed” on the form, I will call the attending to discuss Mia’s progress in a year, and maybe he’ll see her in three years when she’s seven, if he hasn’t retired by then!

A year ago, I was really disappointed that he told me to bring Mia back again in a year.

So, I’m relieved now that he and I were essentially on the same page. These appointments are hugely time consuming and must provide more value than the one yesterday to justify the time. I’m grateful to have had high-quality care from this neurologist since Mia’s arrival in the NICU when she was two days old, but we’re well past that point. If any new issues arise, I won’t hesitate to seek care, and three years is a long time. It’s very hard for me to say whether I will think it’s worth it to try to go see him again then, and to deal with whatever resident is on rotation at the time.

There’s one other thing that bothers me about taking Mia to all these appointments, now at age four. She has to suffer through them too and I think it has an impact, hearing me answer all these questions, hearing me talk to the doctors. I’m totally comfortable explaining everything to Mia but I’d like to reduce the need for Mia to spend hours in waiting rooms and exam rooms, time when she would be better served playing at home or school, further mastering her world.

Rainy Walk in the Woods

Last Thursday afternoon, Zoe and I set off for New Hampshire. We had hoped to climb a big mountain on Friday with our friends, Trish, Alex, and Sage. But, the weather thwarted that plan. We considered canceling or postponing the trip but decided to go anyway as I had already arranged overnight care for Mia, and Zoe had been really looking forward to the adventure, so disappointing as it was to not be able to climb a mountain, it would have been even more disappointing to cancel the whole trip.

About five minutes into our drive, Zoe started to miss Mia. Mia also missed Zoe but she did well on her first sleepover with our beloved former nanny Payson. And, I managed my first night of separation from Mia too since those early NICU days when I was parenting Zoe by night at home, and Mia by day at the NICU. In some real sense, finding a way to give Zoe 1-on-1 time for a whole day or even an overnight is an important part of healing for all of us from those early separations.

Zoe looks up to Alex and Sage a great deal and it was really fun to spend time with them again on what turned into an extended play date.

We did go for a walk in the rain on Greeley Ponds Trail, about 2 flat miles. Trish wrote in more detail about a hike they took along Greeley Ponds Trail to Goodrich Rock last summer, and still early this summer we saw much devastation from Tropical Storm Irene. Part of the trail remains closed. The pictures below are from our walk.

Zoe is still eager to climb her first 4K in the White Mountains so we’ll be looking for another opportunity to climb later in the season.

Alex, Zoe, and Sage all suited up for the rain.

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Sad faces as the trail is closed beyond this point.
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Everyone is wet, and my camera has a smear too.
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Mia is 4, Zoe Finished Kindergarten

It’s now officially summer around here. Mia turned four on June 19. Zoe had a moving up ceremony today to celebrate the end of her kindergarten year. Below are pictures of each of them, Mia on her birthday, Zoe waiting at the bus stop this morning on her last day of school.

I’m a bit sentimental.

I’ve been collecting pictures and video clips for a longer post on Mia’s latest feat which is that she’s taught herself to do “skin the cat” on a hanging triple trapeze swing, the kind with 2 rings and a bar. She taught herself the day before and day of her party which was the weekend before her birthday.

Zoe and her classmates sang several songs for us in Spanish today. She attends a bilingual school and the combination of having 80% of her school day in Spanish with having an au pair speak with her in Spanish at home has made her quite fluent. This week, she made a video invitation in English and Spanish for her teacher to invite her over for a tea party. I was the videographer. She shared a preview of the sweet tea set from my mother that has nursery rhymes on each plate and tea cup and tea pot.

We have a big adventure planned at the end of this week, a special sleepover for Mia with a former sitter, an overnight outing and hike for Zoe and Mara. I’ll report back when I can.

For now, I am grateful to have made it through this first year of having two girls in different schools, transitioning Zoe into elementary school, seeing her Spanish blossom, and readying Mia for pre-K in the fall. Zoe met her first grade teacher and classmates today so she’s excited for next year’s adventures in learning too. In the meantime, we have a full summer planned and I hope to share some of our adventures as they unfold.

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Hanging the New Climbing Rope

More than a year ago, I bought twenty-five feet of 2″ diameter untreated manila rope from Knot & Rope Supply, as recommended by another mom with a stroke survivor daughter. That mom and her husband have built all kinds of outdoor and indoor structures for their daughter’s therapy and rehabilitation. I had tips, pictures, inspiration, just not enough time to ever sit down to splice the rope to itself which was my planned next step.

Over the past few months I’ve been decluttering at home and the box of rope was just taking up space until I contacted our excellent arborist, John Platt. Over the past decade or more, I’ve had John help with thinning overgrown trees, removing a tree, and hanging a more traditional swing. He’s quite versatile and I was sure he could help with this project.

We set a time for 5 pm one weekday afternoon in early June and that evening’s entertainment was  top notch. You can click on any of these pictures in this post or others to see a larger image. I’ll let the pictures tell most of the story.

John arrived with a huge ladder and gear. The girls were entranced. He looked at the tree, we talked about whether the rope would be mostly a swinging rope or a climbing rope. I think it’s more for climbing though a little swinging may happen. There isn’t a huge space for a big swinging rope. Eventually, John helped us pick just the right spot.

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We had an interesting conversation about knots. I have a lot of sailing experience from my youth and still can tie many different knots. John had to get creative with the knot tying to get the big rope up into the tree and to keep it there. He attached his green rope to the big rope.

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He hauled the big rope up into the tree and tied it to a branch with a fancy knot that used minimal length as we didn’t have much extra rope to spare, based on the hanging branch he’d chosen as optimal. I think when I decided to order 25′ of rope, I was thinking of using a lower branch that John rejected as not strong enough.

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Zoe was captivated, watching him climb the tree.

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The girls continued to watch from a higher perch.

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John climbed down the rope to test it out and to tighten his knots up high. He even bounced to make sure it would hold him. He came all the way down and then managed to climb back up again too. No small feat. Remember this kind of rope in gym class? We talked about how these kinds of ropes are probably not in gym classes anymore. Zoe confirmed that.

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Zoe got a try!

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Mia too. You can see how her two hands are positioned differently on the rope. One of the ideas of this rope is that it’s so big that as she grows and gains strength to climb and swing, she’ll reach up high with both hands to get a nice grip like she’s already able to do with her left hand but not quite doing with her right.

We’re very much looking forward to sharing our new climbing rope with friends this weekend as we prepare to host Mia’s fourth birthday party.

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For those interested in this kind of project, the cost of the rope was $92.25 including shipping, and the cost of John’s labor and expertise was $95. So for $187.25, we have an awesome new addition to our back yard!

 

Mia Learning to do a Headstand

Last weekend, Mia had another pair of Feldenkrais lessons with Matty Wilkinson. On Sunday, Matty was working with Mia on her back and Mia was hanging out playing the harmonica. Then, Mia started to get a bit restless with being on the table and so she was hanging her whole body off as in the third picture below. She did this a few times. Matty used some of his playful strategies to get her back on the table but she had decided that she wanted to practice doing headstands with Matty and she told him that.

Thankfully, Matty embraced Mia’s new direction for the lesson, and supported her in many different attempts at headstands, even a couple tries at a handstand, and he introduced Judo rolls to get her into and out of the headstand position.

We had to move the table out of the way, bring in a padded rug, and use the wall for support. Zoe was there too and enjoyed watching and even helped take some pictures.

Mia was focused, driven to learn, and joyful. I’ll let the pictures show some of that progression.

At the end of the lesson, Matty said that he now has a better sense of what Mia is like when she decides she wants to learn something. Her drive and persistence are contagious.

All week, Mia has continued to practice her headstands and tumbling with new skill in all aspects of the movements.

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Reflecting on My Writing Streak

This is my final post in my daily streak in May to raise awareness about pediatric stroke and to raise funds for Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association. As of now, with MathWorks anticipated match, I have raised $4470. I’ve been blown away by the generosity of friends, coworkers, and family members. I’ll still accept donations through Monday. It’s within reach that we’ll get to $5000. Thanks to all who have helped and if you haven’t yet, please donate if you are able to do so.

In March and April, I became intrigued about doing a streak for pediatric stroke. I was reading posts about other parents of stroke survivors as they announced their streaks and I knew that I had a lot to say and if I were to do a streak (31 days in a row of something), it’d be through blogging. I had notions of sharing 31 vignettes of Mia’s struggles and triumphs. I made lists of possible topics. I decided to do it. Then, I decided not to do it. The Boston Marathon tragedy shook me profoundly and delayed my plans to set up my blog in April. Zoe was having nightmares about the limited bits of news that she had heard from me and at school. And then May arrived and I started to dabble in streaking for pediatric stroke by posting tidbits on my personal Facebook page. I wanted to share more and so I dove in and have written nightly on this blog ever since.

The main cost has been lost sleep since I mostly write after the girls are in bed which often is not until 9 pm, sometimes later. My girls seem to do fine on 10 hours a night which doesn’t leave me much time to myself in the evening. Sleep is a big deal around here. If I get enough, I’m much more patient, able to parent in the ways I intend, and able to weather the inevitable storms that arise with young children. I’m constantly juggling a lot, too much really. With enough sleep, I make better choices, enjoy my girls more, and am more productive at work.

It’s been worth it to lose some sleep over this project though as there have been many benefits. I’ll summarize some of them here to wrap up this month of blogging every day to streak for Mia and pediatric stroke awareness.

Perspective

My perspective has shifted. Mia will turn four in June. So, for the whole month, I have have been reflecting on the past four years in an integrative and new way that is different from the day-to-day thoughts that come and go. This month, she has mastered riding her bike and learned to do the monkey bars, and because I was blogging, I had the opportunity to share those milestones in the full context of how remarkable they seem to me, given all the fear and uncertainty I carried through her early months and years. The more that Mia is able to do, the easier it gets to accept, acknowledge and embrace the whole story which includes both the joys and the challenges.

Writing

I love writing. That may be obvious. It’s been a longstanding hobby and coping mechanism. I keep lists and records of everything and use writing to make sense of my life and my experiences. I’ve had an itch for some time to write for a broader audience. Last Thursday, I finished my six-week writing course in creative nonfiction at Grub Street in Boston. Getting feedback through that writing class and from my blog readers has been a great boost to my confidence and only makes me want to do more. The daily pace is not sustainable so I aim to shift to something closer to posting once a week. I also plan to take advantage of some writing opportunities that arose from this streak. Specifically, I’ve been invited to guest blog on the Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association site, chasa.org. Also, Dr. Karen Pape wants to point other parents to my blog and to feature excerpts from my Monkey Mia post on hers. And, I plan to edit one of my essays to submit to a magazine for publication. I have grander ideas too but it feels really good to be taking these baby steps and getting positive feedback along the way. That will help me to keep making time for writing which feeds my soul. Writing is something I do for myself, time I carve out when I am not caring for my children or working my day job.

Stroke Awareness

Over the past four years, I have learned a great deal about parenting a stroke survivor. I have muddled through parenting decisions for both Zoe and Mia, and I know a lot about what has worked for us. I care most passionately about making sure that my two girls have the best start in life that they can. And, it feels really good to realize that some of what I’ve figured out is helpful and inspiring to others. Having an opportunity to share more of what I have learned with the community of families that seek support through Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association feels important and meaningful. Carving out time for this is my elusive challenge.

Connection

Perhaps the most meaningful aspect of blogging daily through the month of May has been the human connections that I have elicited. As people have read and been moved by our story, they have reached out to tell me that, in person, by e-mail, through comments, and through donations more generous than I would have imagined. More than one coworker has said that they had no idea what was going on behind the scenes of my life. By sharing some of my vulnerable moments out here in public on this blog, I’ve made it okay to talk about things that are often not discussed. The resulting conversations are deeper, more meaningful, and as a result it feels like my village is growing both virtually online and in real life. Thanks for reading.

Zoe drew this picture tonight and asked me to share it with you. It’s a clown and a dog. I am not sure how this clown connects to anything I wrote tonight. Let me know if you figure it out. In the meantime, enjoy the picture!

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Bikes and Kite

Continuing my Streak for Mia to raise awareness about pediatric stroke and funds for Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association.

I’m deviating here from some of my recent posts about the labor of parenting two to celebrate the joys this Memorial Day weekend. We’re on Cape Cod. It’s probably more work to travel than to stay home with little ones but it’s definitely worth it and getting easier as they get a bit older.

This morning, it was very rainy at home and we had some errands to do before hitting the road. We made it to Welfleet by 2 pm, checked into our hotel, and got settled a bit before our big afternoon adventure.

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We brought our bikes – Zoe’s 20″ bike, my old bike with a trail-a-bike behind for Mia. The northern end of Cape Cod Rail Trail is only about five minutes drive from where we are staying so we parked there and got the bikes off the rack and connected the trail-a-bike to my bike. At home, they stay connected in our shed for quick trips to the playground which we’ve been doing on nice evenings this spring. But, this was our first longer ride as a biking trio. The last time I biked with them on the Cape was two years ago and they were both in a bike trailer so it was a lot of work for me.

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We probably rode five miles total, a stretch along the rail trail, then we turned on the road toward Marconi Beach. Sadly, the beach access was washed out by winter storms so we looked wistfully at the Atlantic Ocean.

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We had picked up a new kite this morning and the plan for this afternoon was actually Zoe’s idea. She said she wanted to bike to the beach and fly the kite. We couldn’t fly it on the beach but the parking lot was empty so we had fun with the kite anyway.

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On the ride back to the car, it was windy and misty so we stopped to put on rain pants and jackets. We drove back to town. The girls and I had a nice dinner and everyone will sleep well after the biking adventure.

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We are meeting up with another family tomorrow, a friend and her two girls (6 and 2 years old). We’ll try the bay side tomorrow and Monday as we think there will be sure beach access for kite flying and shell seeking and knowing my kids some splashing too even if it’s still 60 degrees.