Avery Lynn Canahuati Taught Me About SMA

8 May

I was scrolling through tweets on my phone a few weeks ago when I came across the blog setup by the father of Avery Lynn Canahuati — http://www.averycan.blogspot.com/.

I, like tens-of-thousands of folks, entered the term ‘spinal muscular atrophy’ into Google to learn about the prognosis.  ‘Spinal Muscular Atrophy’ was one of the top search terms in Google a few weeks ago.

Avery died last week, fairly unexpectedly at the age of six-months.

If we all have a purpose in life, it’s clear Avery’s was to raise awareness of SMA and inspire us to appreciate our own lives and the health of our children.

God bless Avery and her family. My family grieves with them.

Connecticut Childern’s Medical Center And Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield In Contract Talks

18 Apr

I work in the media, but I think the press is way underplaying the CCMC and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield contract dispute.

A grandmother at Reid’s playgroup asked me about it Monday. Her family is faced with the possibility of putting off a scheduled surgery in the coming weeks while the hospital and the insurance company work to hopefully settle their dispute.

My friend and former colleague Arielle Levin Becker is doing an awesome job covering the dispute for the CT Mirror  Read her latest story: Anthem, Connecticut Children’s talking, but no deal yet

Is the dispute impacting your family? Let me know. If you can talk to the Courant please message my friend and current colleague Matt Sturdevant — msturdevant @ courant.com/ @CTInsuranceNews.

Follow Arielle on Twitter @ariellelb

At Home Moms vs. Working Moms

22 Mar

As a dad, I don’t get the disconnect between working moms and at home moms. Can I call it a rivalry?

ConnecticutWorkingMoms is one of the best parenting blogs in Connecticut.

The MOMS Club, with chapters in Enfield, Manchester/East Hartford, Middletown and Wethersfield, says on its web site: “We are a support group designed just for you, the at-home mother of today!”

When my wife was home after having Reid, suffering from postpartum depression, I searched the web for a group of moms she could join in town. The Wethersfield MOMS Club came up. But she couldn’t join. She would return to work after a 16-week maternity leave.

I totally get that at home moms can have challenges with socializing with adults and how hectic their lives are.

You only have to read a ‘Day In The Life’ feature on ConnecticutWorkingMoms to appreciate how difficult it is for moms to juggle a job outside the home, child care and family life.

Truth is, my wife would love to be an at home mom. From the time we started dating in our teens, she said she’d like to not have a job outside the home when our children were  young.

In our late 20s, I supported her taking three years off from work to go to grad school full-time.

I talked to our landlord about buying the duplex in Old Wethersfield that we lived in and continuing to live upstairs while renting out the first floor apartment.  Then he rented to some less than desirable neighbors who trashed the place.  So we decided not to buy it, and bought our house.

After we found out we both carried the CF gene, we accepted we’d be spending tens-of-thousands on IVF to try and have a second child.

For better or worse, grad school paid off. My wife makes a lot more money than I do.

If life played out differently, my wife would be an at home mom. I have some guilt that I can’t see a way to make that happen for our family.

Now that we are in the toddler stage, I’d be happy being a stay at home dad — I didn’t love the infant stage. My best friend was an at home dad when his kids were younger.

We all have our story about why we do or do not work outside the home. Maybe you can help me understand the divide between working moms and at home moms. More importantly, maybe we all can help bridge that gap.


Suit Follows Suspension For 5-Year-Old Swearing

17 Mar

A father in Rogers, Ark. is suing his school district and the school principal after his 5-year-old son was suspended for dropping “The F-Bomb” at school.

Your kid being “the kid” who teaches his schoolmates some new colorful language is every parent’s fear.

Still, the suspension, and mark on the student’s permanent record, seems excessive. Suing the principal and the school district over a one-day suspension also seems equally excessive.

Certainly, threats and bullying should not be tolerated even in young children. But swearing isn’t necessarily a threat.

I also hope the father spoke to school officials and the principal to share his concerns before filing a suit.

The idea of a 5-year-old really even having a permanent record seems pretty silly. Are colleges really going to be looking at his transcript from kindergarten?

As parents, we need to hold other parents and school officials accountable for things that really matter. But we also need to cut each other some slack when young children show poor judgement.

Neither school officials or the boy’s father seem to be setting the best example in exercising reasoned judgment. The suspension and the lawsuit both are examples of the punishment not fitting the crime.

What do you think of the story?

Huggies ‘Dad Test’ Ad

16 Mar

After some social media push back, Huggies pulled it’s ‘Dad Test’ ad campaign.

I’m glad.

One ad starts out: “To prove Huggies diapers can handle anything, we put them to the ultimate test: Dads, alone with their babies, at nap time, after a very full bottle.”

I’m not sure I know any dad of babies or small children who is not comfortable changing a diaper. I’ve been alone with Reid at nap time literally over a 100 times in the last 2-and-a-half years. It’s not a big deal.

Chris Routly took up a petition against Huggies and Kimblery Clark on his dad blog, “The Daddy Doctrines” and got over 1000 signatures asking Huggies to stop running the ads.

Honestly, the ads really don’t upset me personally. But the public outcry, and Huggies’ response to pull the ads, does prove to me how quickly media and pop culture’s portrayal of dads has changed.

The dumb, uninvolved dad humor of “Everybody Loves Raymond” — and copy-cat shows like “Yes Dear” — do kind of get me upset. Unlike the fathers on those shows, I would much rather spend time with my family than play golf or hang out with my buddies.

There seems to be a couple gags in every episode where Ray whines to Debra about spending time with his family. Ray and Debra’s relationship is very much like a child and a mother who takes care of him, with a joke peppered in about how Ray wants sex.

‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ went off the air in 2005.  Now in 2012, we are petitioning to get ads taken off a company’s Facebook page.

Diapers aren’t the only thing being changed by dads in pop culture.

What do you think of the Huggies ads and ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ type sitcoms?

More reading:

Follow @jimhigley and @ChrisRoutly on Twitter

Okay, and here’s a dad changing a diaper Huggies ad that I do find pretty funny.

‘Boy Energy’ Is A Good Thing — I Think

8 Mar

Sundays at church I look around and it seems most toddlers Reid’s age are being quietly held by their parents, napping on their parent’s shoulder or silently popping Cheerios. Reid is up talking to people sitting around us, playing peek-a boo and constantly moving from the floor to the seats.

I wouldn’t say he misbehaves. He’s just busy and active.

My wife and I were talking about preschool with a good friend of ours who’s an elementary school teacher. She said it will teach him skills he needs, “like sitting still.”

Being an only child not in day care, I worry about Reid learning social skills. Like every parent,  I worry about him learning colors, letters and numbers.

I don’t really care if my two-year-old can’t sit still.

Reid is an active, curious, slightly mischievous little boy. I think that’s awesome.

I’m concerned how he’ll do in school with this personality though. I’m further concerned that my nurturing these wild ways will put me in conflict with his classroom teachers.

A friend of mine with two boys of her own, posted an article on her Facebook page from the Toronto Star about a Canadian educator’s views on “boy energy.” My friend, Kris-Ann, blogged about her decision whether public school or a Montessori education is best for her son with special needs.

I’m glad more parents and educators are looking at the unique challenges of educating young boys. It’s a struggle to harness Reid’s energy and make sure he is developing and learning new things. But I think it’s also a lot of fun as his parent.

We review letters floating in his tub many nights. Through the splashes and pouring water over his head he’ll repeat “D, makes Da sound, like dog.”

I understand things will change when Reid gets into a classroom setting. I don’t want his behavior to be a disruption. But I hope he stays active and engaged with people around him. I don’t want to screw that up.

Do you have concerns about how your son will do – is doing — in preschool? Any elementary school teachers want to weigh in?

More Links

Stuff We Probably Shouldn’t Have Taught

8 Mar

Over the course of the last couple years friends, family and I have taught Reid somethings we probably shouldn’t have.

  1. He calls sea gulls “dump chickens”
  2. He knew my first name before he could say “mom” or “mama.” At 10 months old, he’d greet me by saying “Hi, Jim” from his highchair
  3. He thinks it’s hysterical  when somebody “toots”
  4. At 2, he can work my parents’ DVD player better than they can
  5. When he talks on the phone or plays with a toy phone, he answers it by saying “What’s Up?”
  6. I often tell him: “Reid you are an awesome little kid.” Now he tells strangers: “Me awesome little kid.”
  7. He calls his butt his poop-er-a-tor
  8. We call the naked run from his bedroom to the tub “going streaking”
  9. If I pull up to a Dunkin’ Donuts drive thru, Reid asks for french fries
  10. If you ask him where his “business” is, he points to his crotch

Share what you’ve taught your kids that maybe you shouldn’t have.


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