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A Christmas wish to all NICU families. Thank you, Peekaboo ICU.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, in the neonatal intensive care,
all the babies were sleeping, while sounds of alarms filled the air.
The nurses making rounds, double-checking their meds,
while tucking the little babies, snug deep in their beds.
The stethoscopes were hung, by the preemies with care,
in hopes that they would all soon, be breathing room air.
When out in the hall, there arose such a clatter,
the parents came running, to see what was the matter.
Up from the desk, jumped all of the staff,
to make sure all was well, in each baby’s Giraffe.
The respiratory therapist arrived on the double,
but the babies were all okay, on their oxygen and bubble.
The nurse practitioner was baffled, and exclaimed in a tiff,
“Is this really happening tonight? And on my THIRD shift?”
When what to their wondering eyes should appear?
But a man in a suit, who loved the babies so dear.
With a clipboard in hand, and a velvet satchel too,
they knew at that moment; he must be St. NICU.
He was dressed in red scrubs, from his tip to his toe,
and wearing surgical gloves, so the germs would not grow!
He was a jolly old fellow, with a few extra pounds,
but that didn’t stop him, from making his rounds.
He saw babies in boxes, with tubes and with wires,
preemies and term infants, and their parent’s desires-
To hold and to rock, to kiss and kangaroo;
they all had Christmas wishes, but only these few.
Snuggling the little one, he wrapped him so tight,
he handed the baby, to his mom with delight.
A smile arose from her mouth, with great joy,
for this was the moment, she dreamed of having, with her boy.
Visiting each baby, and their concerned parents too,
He knew right away, there was something special about the NICU.
Placing his hands, on each little head,
kissing their foreheads, he winked, and he said:
“Tiny babies so strong, with determination and might,
so this is where you come, to live and to fight.”
“To breathe and to grow, and to learn how to eat,
what a difficult journey, but such an amazing feat.”
He had a sparkle in his eye, and a hop in his step,
as he approached the incubators, and whispered secrets he’d kept:
“Precious little babies, you are loved, so dear,
by your parents, your nurses, and ALL the staff here.”
“Keep fighting the fight, and showing your power,
and you will grow stronger, with each passing hour.”
Decorating the hallways, with ribbon and tape,
he strung lights on the warmers, the ventilators, and drapes.
He smiled and waved, as he passed by the cribs,
and left presents of pacifiers, and cute little bibs.
His mission was simple, to bring joy where there’s sorrow,
and to remind all of the parents, of a brighter tomorrow.
This Christmas may be spent, behind the walls of the NICU,
but there’s love to be found here, and precious miracles too!
He brought hope to the families, and smiles to the nurses,
as he flew by the monitors, and placed Purell in their purses.
And with a twinkle and a twirl, he disappeared out of sight,
But not before he exclaimed, “Merry Christmas to all” and “keep up the fight!”
© 2014-2016 Peekaboo ICU, LLC
My girls and I have been going to local playgrounds since they were newborns. Wood chip ground cover was a nuisance when it came to getting around with my double stroller. I remember wondering how parents in wheelchairs managed.
I used to leave one twin at a time in the stroller while I held the other in my lap. We slid down the slide to the sounds of peals of baby laughter. As soon as they were walking at about 12 months old (10 months corrected), my daughters toddled out onto the wood chips. Twin B was a little suspicious of this stuff under her feet. Twin A dived into it with gusto.
My major frustration with the wood chips that lined nearly all the playgrounds near us was that my daughters liked to chew on them. Other children, though, find wood chips to be an impassable obstacle. It keeps them from being able to access the equipment at all.
Marissa‘s son A has a variety of special needs. He has already overcome every expectation doctors set for him. They didn’t think he’d survive. When he proved them wrong, they didn’t think he’d be mobile. Untiring parents, committed therapists, and A’s will of steel keep showing us that the sky is the limit. A uses a walker to get around.
When it comes to playgrounds, the edge of the wood chip ground cover marks the limits of where A can get around easily. Cement playgrounds aren’t ideal, but they are walker and wheelchair accessible. Wood chips catch on A’s walker, and he recently suffered injuries from a park fall.
Here in the Austin area, the Play for All Park in Rabb Park is an accessible playground that is designed with kids like A in mind. It has a swing for wheelchair-users and ramps onto the playscape, tactile surfaces for blind kids, and the ground is covered with a firm but yielding foam-like surface. There are a few areas with wood chips, but much of the playground equipment is accessible.
Unfortunately, nothing like this is (yet) available where Marissa and A live.
Today, the Americans with Disabilities Act is 26 years old. If you can, please contact your local parks and recreation department and ask them to consider playground accessibility. Even paving part of a park would make it more accessible to kids like A. It’s a quick call for you, but a world of inclusion for A and children like him.
If you have any photos or videos of a friend or family member trying to navigate wood chips, please email them to Marissa at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will be using them to advocate for accessible playgrounds in Utah.
Happy New Year to everyone in the HDYDI community! Have you made New Year resolutions?
(Please forgive this post being one day late for the new year. I was making lunch for my girls on New Year’s Eve while working from home. The knife slipped and I ended up needed some minor sutures. The Urgent Care doc banned me from manual tasks, including typing, for a couple of days. I’m glad to report that I’m altogether free of pain now, except for the pain of embarrassment.)
I don’t generally make New Year’s resolutions. My commitment to a two-week balance of my priorities has generally kept me in a place where I’m deeply joyful with the state of my life. I haven’t had a need to make a major life shift at my entry into the new year. Instead, I adjust as I go, regardless of the date on the calendar.
However, I started a new job in August, just as my daughters were starting fourth grade. My dear friend Jen offered to watch my girls after school. I took on the leadership of our Girl Scout troop and joined the leadership of our school district’s parent council for Gifted and Talented services. In the midst of all this change, I didn’t take the time to realign my priorities.
I finally get the point of New Year’s Resolutions. January 1 serves as a reminder to rethink the balance.
So now, here’s my newly ordered priority list. Each item on the list will need some time and focus, if not daily, at least every 2 weeks.
- The kids’ immediate well-being.
- Intellectual stimulation.
- Social stimulation.
- The kids’ long-term well-being. Are they on a path to being healthy, happy, wholesome, productive adults?
- School performance and enjoyment.
- Spiritual nourishment and church.
- Maintaining positive relationships.
- Socially appropriate interactions.
- My job and my immediate co-workers and customers
- My mental and physical health (including getting sleep)
- Housekeeping and home maintenance
- Community leadership
- Girl Scouts
- How Do You Do It?
- Multiples of America
- Gifted and Talented council
- Community participation
- How Do You Do It?
I know this system works for me. Starting at the inception of 2016, I resolve to get back to it, with my priorities where they need to be at this moment in our family’s development. I’m going to return to balance.
What are you doing this year to reprioritize?