I'm not an expert on the Mom subject, but I do have a unique situation. And within that unique situation, I have found out what works and what doesn't.
In a nutshell (as you probably know), I am a single mom of a child with Down syndrome living in Copper Harbor.
I have been asked by multiple people, "How do you live in Copper Harbor through the winter like that?"
I'll tell you how.
I am crazy.
No really. "We're all here cuz we're not all there," is a quote on a shirt at the Gas Lite general store.
I love living in Copper Harbor. And while maybe it wasn't the smartest thing for me to do by myself while Braeden was in emergency mode four years ago, I still did it because something in me just wants to be here. I haven't felt at home like this anywhere else.
But with that choice comes survival techniques. A person certainly can go crazy up here, and you don't need to be in my situation for that to happen. Just take a look around!
So I wanted to share with you a few of the tricks that really work for momming it here at the end of the earth. Because without them, both of us would be crazy.
1) Change the Scene
Preschool is very helpful. It's 7 1/2 hours a week of liberation for me and Brady P. -- from each other. He sees Mr. North, who he adores, and he sees his friends. He sees other books, toys, games, people, chairs, lights and everything. It just needs to happen. Switch it up.
Also, I have finally created a place for Brady P. in the basement. No, I don't lock him up down there. I go there with him, so he can play in a different environment with different toys. While in the basement, he is mesmerized with his race car track. Two cars go around and around about 18 feet of track. The coolest part is that he watches them and purposely makes obstacles for the cars, so he can rescue them. What a guy.
He also has several modes of gross motor physical therapy to play on while improving his balance, strength and coordination. I love it.
2) Music All Day Long
Now, I don't know why I used to think this was a bad thing. Brady P. looooooooooves music. He absolutely adores music. Especially music about animals.
So, I kid you not, from the moment he wakes up, he turns on the speaker, so I can play music. Usually Bounce Patrol to starts things off. Then we cycle through animal sounds and Old MacDonald and even my songs for a bit, so we can have a dance party or two.
The difference I see in him when the music is either in the background or the main event throughout the day* is simply amazing. I see improvements in his speech as he sings songs and says the animal names, and I see improvement in his focus and over all demeanor as it soothes him.
*We do take music breaks during the day. When we eat or I have to make a phone call or we FaceTime family. Then, when we're done, he tells me, "Music!"
3) Ask for Help
The other day I woke up to a leaking roof. Well, I'm not bringing Brady P. on the roof with me while I shovel. "Hey, friends: Help!" and help came. Bless their hearts.
After the storms I needed to snow blow. I'm not going to set Brady P. out in the banks for him to bruise his ears from my noisy beast and get covered in flying powder! "Help, friends!" and help came.
I am so lucky and grateful for the people in this community that come to our rescue when life hands us more than we can do on our own. I honestly could not live in this town if it wasn't for them (you know who you are!).
So thank you, Copper Harbor for wanting to keep us around.
Those are the main tips I have for our harbor living. Maybe you can or can't use them in your own life, but I find it interesting that there are a few things that just need to happen for the survival of our wits.
Here's another tidbit for you.
I don't often think about this because he is a little rock star, but Brady P. just had his four year anniversary of his patched up heart.
That's right! Four years with his new heart -- a heart of gold, as I like to think of it -- and he is doing amazing. I hardly notice the scars on his chest, and I rarely hear him breathing too hard.
Brady P. He is my little angel boy.
Here's my favorite picture of him as a fragile little nugget just after he was born. He even needed to be on oxygen at the beginning.
My fragile little nugget
Yup, those were the days of living on pins and needles. Luckily, today we just live on EIEIO.